The Scent of Pomegranates and Rose Water: Reviving the Beautiful Food Traditions of Syria

Habeeb Salloum, Leila Salloum Elias, et al

The traditions of Syrian cooking, which go back hundreds of years, are notable for their sensory components, in which aroma and texture are as important as taste and nutrition. Over the centuries, the unique dishes of Greater Syria (bilaad al-shaam) were preserved by those who cooked them. For cooks in imperial households, family homes, or on simple peasant farms, recipes were handed down from generation to generation. Despite centuries of occupation, economic hardships, and political strife, the people of Greater Syria continued to cook their bulgur, lentil, chickpea, kishk, and yogurt dishes as if life around them never changed.

Syrian-born Habeeb Salloum and his daughters, Leila and Muna, have researched and explored the far reaches of Syrian cuisine for many years (and in Habeeb's case, decades). With more than 150 recipes, their resulting cookbook paints a colorful picture of the dining tables of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Syria, when the region was influenced by the Ottoman Empire. The book includes delectable, heart-healthy recipes -- some familiar, some never before published in English -- many of which have been updated and simplified for modern sensibilities. The book also provides a poignant window into Syrian culture and everyday life then and now -- framed by ageless and truly beautiful food traditions.

Includes over 150 recipes and numerous full-colour photographs.

Partial proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit Le centre culturel syrien (Syrian Cultural Centre), a non-profit organization based in Montreal currently dedicating its efforts to help alleviate the plight of the displaced and those who have been impacted by the situation in Syria.