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Delights from the Garden of Eden

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Now Available as an iBook from iTunes and as an eBook from Equinox.

Print edition is out of print. Electronic editions still available. For new print edition please refer to the Abbreviated Edition

A Saveur magazine choice for their 'top ten' best cookbooks in 2013 read more....

First edition awarded the Gourmand World Cookbook Special Jury Award 2007
This edition awarded Best Book on Arab Cuisine in the UK, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, January 2014
Visit Nawal Nasrallah's website and her blog for posts on Iraqi cuisine and culture.
Originally self-published by the author in 2003, Delights from the Garden of Eden became an underground bestseller and award-winner. Now fully revised and updated, this new edition, luxuriously illustrated throughout with colour photos, paintings, medieval miniatures and sketches, displays the diversity of the region’s traditional culinary practices, delicious and enduring. The book contains more than 400 recipes, all tested and easy to follow, and covers all food categories with ample choice for both vegetarians and meat lovers, and many that will satisfy a sweet tooth. Ingredients and cooking techniques indigenous to the region are fully explained.
Unlike the majority of cookbooks, the book uniquely traces the genesis and development of the Iraqi cuisine over the centuries, starting with the ancient Mesopotamians, through medieval times and leading to the present, aided throughout by the author’s intimate native knowledge of cookery. Of particular interest are the book’s numerous food-related folkloric stories, reminiscences, anecdotes, songs, poems, excerpts from narratives written by foreign visitors to the region, and cultural explications of customs, all interwoven with the recipes. The book is supplemented with detailed menus and an extended glossary to familiarize the reader with the indigenous ingredients used in creating authentic Iraqi meals.
The book is a valuable addition to the shelves of specialized and general libraries and a must-have for food lovers everywhere. TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK. An iBook is available

Published: Apr 1, 2013

Book Contributors

Section Chapter Authors
Preface Nawal Nasrallah
List of By-ways and Asides Nawal Nasrallah
Measurements, Equipment and Ingredients Nawal Nasrallah
Introduction - Iraqi Food in Perspective
That Little Street in Baghdad Nawal Nasrallah
Part I - Back to the Roots
Chronology Nawal Nasrallah
I. The Mesopotamian Diet Nawal Nasrallah
II. Agricultural Products Nawal Nasrallah
III. Pioneers of the Gourmet Cuisine Nawal Nasrallah
IV. The Mesopotamian Menu Nawal Nasrallah
V. Cooking Techniques and Kitchen Utensils Nawal Nasrallah
VI. The Babylonian Culinary Documents Nawal Nasrallah
VII. The Question of Consistency and Continuity Nawal Nasrallah
Part 2 Medieval Baghdadi Cooking
VIII. Baghdad: Navel of the Earth Nawal Nasrallah
IX. Gastronomes of the Abbasid Era Great Chefs, Great Cities Nawal Nasrallah
X. Cookbooks of the Abbasid Era Nawal Nasrallah
XI. Culinary Techniques of the Medieval Baghdadi Cuisine Nawal Nasrallah
XII. Elements of the Medieval Baghdadi Cuisine and Affinities with Ancient Mesopotamia Cooking Nawal Nasrallah
Part 3 The Post-medieval Era
XIII. Baghdad during the Ottoman Rule Nawal Nasrallah
XIV. Ottomans and Abbasids in the Kitchen Nawal Nasrallah
XV. Modern Times Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 1 Bread
Baking with the Ancient Mesopotamians Nawal Nasrallah
Baking with the Medieval Baghdadis Nawal Nasrallah
The Modern Baking Scene Nawal Nasrallah
Uses of Bread Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 2 Dairy Products
Dairy Products Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 3 Vegetarian Appetizers and Salads
I. Vegetarian Appetizers Nawal Nasrallah
II. Salads Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 4 Soups
Soups Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 5 Snacks, Sandwiches and Side Dishes (with Meat)
Abbasid Sandwiches Nawal Nasrallah
Street Food in Medieval Baghdad Nawal Nasrallah
The Ancient Kebab Nawal Nasrallah
Sauces and Relishes Nawal Nasrallah
Salsa: A Bit of History Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 6 Snacks, Sandwiches and Side Dishes (Vegetarian)
Snacks, Sandwiches and Side Dishes (Vegetarian) Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 7 Stews
Al-Buraniyya: The Mother of All Musakkas Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 8 Rice
Rice Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 9 Other Grains and Beans
I. Grains Cooked Like Rice Nawal Nasrallah
II. Porridge Soups Nawal Nasrallah
III. Curries with Beans and Pulses Nawal Nasrallah
IV. Thareed with Beans Nawal Nasrallah
V. Macaroni Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 10 Lamb and Beef and Ground Meat Dishes
I. Lamb and Beef Dishes Nawal Nasrallah
II. Dishes with Ground/Minced Meat Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 11 Stuffed Foods
I. The art of Making Kubba Nawal Nasrallah
II. More Stuffed Foods Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 12 Poultry
A Medieval Nabatean Chicken Dish Nawal Nasrallah
Nibatiyyat Dajaaj Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 13 Fish
Fish Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 14 Savory Pastries
Savory Pastries Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 15 Desserts: Puddings and Ice Creams
The Ancient Scene Nawal Nasrallah
Manufactured Desserts Nawal Nasrallah
I. Puddings Nawal Nasrallah
II. Ice Cream (Dondirma) Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 16 Desserts with Syrup
In the Beginning, There was no Baklawa Nawal Nasrallah
Baklawa Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 17 Cakes and Confections
I. Cakes Nawal Nasrallah
II. Confections Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 18 Cookies and Sweet Pastries
Kleicha: Iraqi Traditional Cookies Nawal Nasrallah
Mesopotamia, the Cradle of Festive Cookies, and the Quest for the Meaning and Identity of Kleicha Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 19 Jams and Pickles
I. Jams Nawal Nasrallah
II. Pickles Nawal Nasrallah
Chapter 20 Beverages
I. Hot Drinks Nawal Nasrallah
II. Cold Drinks Nawal Nasrallah
Menus and Manners
Menus and Manners Nawal Nasrallah
Glossary Nawal Nasrallah
Works cited
Works Cited Nawal Nasrallah
I. Index of Food and Ingredients Nawal Nasrallah
II. Ancient Foods and Ingredients Nawal Nasrallah
III. Medieval and Ottoman Foods and Ingredients Nawal Nasrallah
IV. Name and Subject Index Nawal Nasrallah
Illustration Credits
Illustration Credits Nawal Nasrallah

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a fine introduction to the history and diversity of Iraqi cuisine. Lavishly illustrated, supremely informative, and deeply personal, Nasrallah’s publication is far more than an average cookbook or culinary history; instead, it’s an adventurous exploration of Iraq’s colorful past through food history. This title is unique in not only its breadth – Nasrallah covers everything from exotic ancient desserts to refreshing medieval beverages – but also the way in which recipes are presented in tandem with a sociocultural and historical context.
Ancient History Encyclopedia, online review published  Oct. 15 2014

The book, its illustrations, photographs and design, is generous and thoughtful and guides your historical journey through Ms. Nasrallah's personal lens. Huffington Post review by Rozanne Gold

interview, National Public RadioAll Things Considered aired on the 24th of January 2014

o Canada. com review by Laura Brehaut including three recipes

...the introduction offers an excellent history of food in the Middle East. ...At the other end, the book's extensive glossary and references make this a useful resource. ...An additional note to please cooks is tht the book sits flat on every page... .A splendid achievement, Delights from the Garden of Eden is obviously a labour of love, and the author has done readers, cooks and noncooks alike, a great service n producing such an impressive book. Each page shows erudition; every recipe a passion for food.
Eamonn Gearon, Times Literary Supplement, Nov 1 2013

Already respected among food historians for her translation of the 10th-century Baghdadi cookbook Annals of the Caliph's Kitchen, Nasrallah is sure to gain more acclaim with this significant contribution to the culinary history of the Middle East.
Tom Verde, Aramco, 2013

If you've ever had even a shred of interest in the cuisine from this part of the world, I recommend taking a look at this book. For curious and adventurous cooks, it has enough to inspire our meals for years to come.
Emma Christensen,

Fascinating, thorough and delicious.
Vered Guttman,

She has brought together scholarship, personal motivation through tragedy, and a love of cooking to produce this unsurpassable volume...
Margaret Obank, Banipal 48 (2013)

This book is a treasure. Its just a matter of parking it somewhere in your kitchen where you can flip it open and go on to cook the next mouthwatering receipe. Miriam Kresch, GreenProphet: Sustainable News for the Middle East

Ms. Nasrallah has done for Iraqi cuisine what Julia Childs did for French cooking, but to the nth degree. There are over 400 recipes to be explored, hundreds of beautiful images, and text so meticulous and thoughtful, it could have only been written by someone with incredible knowledge and passion. Immerse yourself with endless plates full of delicious food and stories of a land and its people so rich with history it will astound you. A delight indeed.
The Kitchen Journals