Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews

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Product Description

When the Aleppian Jewish community migrated from the ancient city of Aleppo in historic Syria and settled in New York and Latin American cities in the early 20th century, it brought its rich cuisine and vibrant culture. Most Syrian recipes and traditions, however, were not written down and existed only in the minds of older generations. Poopa Dweck, a first generation Syrian每Jewish American, has devoted much of her life to preserving and celebrating her community's centuries每old legacy.

Dweck relates the history and culture of her community through its extraordinary cuisine, offering more than 180 exciting ethnic recipes with tantalizing photos and describing the unique customs that the Aleppian Jewish community observes during holidays and lifecycle events. Among the irresistible recipes are:

?Bazargan每Tangy Tamarind Bulgur Salad

?Shurbat Addes每Hearty Red Lentil Soup with Garlic and Coriander

?Kibbeh每Stuffed Syrian Meatballs with Ground Rice

?Samak b'Batata每Baked Middle Eastern Whole Fish with Potatoes

?Sambousak每Buttery Cheese每Filled Sesame Pastries

?Eras bi'Ajweh每Date每Filled Crescents

?Chai Na'na每Refreshing Mint Tea

Like mainstream Middle Eastern cuisines, Aleppian Jewish dishes are alive with flavor and healthful ingredients每featuring whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and olive oil每but with their own distinct cultural influences. In Aromas of Aleppo, cooks will discover the best of Poopa Dweck's recipes, which gracefully combine Mediterranean and Levantine influences, and range from small delights (or maza) to daily meals and regal holiday feasts每such as the twelve每course Passover seder.

  • Formats: hardcover

Customer Reviews:

  • Astounding Scope, Beauty, and Execution
    An extraordinary volume of a truly unique and exotic cuisine. This is by far the most beautiful cookbook I have seen - beautiful in appearance, and in spirit. Dweck reveals the secrets of Syrian-Jewish dishes in her time-tested recipes that will leave you and your guests wanting more. The exquisite images make your mouth water. Beyond the recipes and photographs, the book is a great read with Dweck's generous commentary on the ties between food and the cultural traditions of her community. The entire package is top-notch and destined to be the classic volume on this savory cuisine. No food lover should be without it. When not being used in the kitchen, this gorgeous work will be on your coffee table. A magnificent achievement, astounding in its scope, beauty, and execution....more info
  • Fantastic cookbook
    This is an amazing cook book. It is a trip to the past. When I make some of the recipes I feel I am home again at my grandmothers house. I love it and cannot stop recommending the cookbook to my friends. Just looking at the pictures makes my mouth water. I can taste it reading the ingredient list....more info
  • Great book, beautiful photos and history
    I am not from Aleppo, nor am I Jewish, so this book was a really great read for me and a learning opportunity! Very informative about the culture, I really enjoyed the history lessons provided for each recipe. The photos are stunning and the recipes simple and easy to follow. I also appreciate that the author provides substitutes for items that cannot be easily obtained in the US(such as Aleppo pepper).

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to make simple, healthful meals, as well as anyone who would like to know the history of Aleppian cooking and traditions. ...more info
  • wonderful book
    This book caught my attention because I have a close friend from Aleppo, who always produces amazing food and is a wonderful host. I found the recipes fascinating not only for their visual and gustatory appeal, but for the stories and photos that accompany them throughout the book.

    ...more info
  • historic document and a great cookbook
    I might be a little biased as a picture of my mothers side of the family is prominetly pictured on the cover. but what makes this book amazing and a joy is that it provides the world a catalog of recipes that were only handed down in the kitchens of Syrian Jews, mostly from Mother to daughter.

    But beyond the historical and cultural aspects of a cookbook, you would also want it to be a good guide to make great tasting food. And that is what this is also. The food is very comfortable and warm. And it has a very internationally mixed feeling, combining what seems to me many elements of middle easter, meditaranian, and other cultures to make something very unique and special.

    If you are not familiar with Syrian food I can guarnatee you this, it will be different than anything you ever tasted, in a good way....more info
  • My favorite cookbook!
    I grew up in the Syrian Community and love these classic Syrian recipes. Now that I have established my own home and do all the cooking myself, this book stands as a guidance for all my favorite recipes. Its not just a cookbook to cook from, you can also just curl up on the couch and you'll get entranced by the history, stories and pictures. Really a masterpiece and I highly recommend it!!!...more info
  • Great Aleppo
    Great book, some recipes are not very original, but over all it contributes to the legendary Aleppian cuisine that I wish to see more materials about it to share with the world of sophisticated cuisines....more info
  • This is the book
    WoW! this is a deep investigation with perfect pictures and a very entertaining commentary.
    This is THE BOOK on Halab.
    WONDERFUL....more info
  • Delicious Delights
    I bought it as a present for my wife, since we used to live in the author's community. My wife loved the book. She told her friends and then they bought the book. The kids & I love the food....more info
  • A must have for anyone who loves to cook!
    Aromas of Aleppo goes way beyond being a cookbook.
    Poopa Dweck fills her book with the rich history and traditions of the Syrians from Aleppo, both past and present.
    In addition to the many vibrant pictures, the origins and explanations of spices, fruits, and vegetables are explained in a way that makes the reader turn page after page. The mouth watering recipes are pictured and written with easy to follow directions.
    Aromas of Aleppo is a treasure for anyone who loves Sephardic cooking. And for those who just like to look at beautiful pictures. The book makes a wonderful gift for both young and old.
    Mrs. Dweck is to be commended for her great achievement in producing this delightful book.
    ...more info
  • Fabulous--On So Many Levels
    This book was recommended to me based on some other Amazon purchases. So, prior to buying, I took it out of the library. It was love at first sight. It is a truly beautiful book--filled with history, stories, and amazing recipes. The first recipe I tried was the chicken with crispy spaghetti. My Egyptian husband wandered out of his office to find out just what smelled so good. :) I haven't had a flop yet. It's quite a large book... coffee table size... but to be honest, I wouldn't change one thing. I love all of the old photos, stories, and history. As a Muslim, I'd like to thank Poopa for accurately portraying Muslim treatment of Jews in Spain and Syria. If you like Claudia Roden's books and recipes, you'll love "The Aromas of Aleppo."...more info
  • Wonderful
    This book amazingly has all my family recipes. We found it in a book store while walking around San Francisco. We have bought one for all our children and nearly all our relatives have bought one too! It has everything in it and it's beautiful. The measurements on my 3x5 cards say a glass of this, a pinch of that and a taste of the other. Now I have actual measurements. It's great....more info
  • Tell me what you eat...I'll tell you who you are....

    The exploration of culinary culture is one of the most effective ways to awaken the uninitiated to both the complexities of other societies and the possibilities for fruitful interaction with them.

    What do most Americans know of Aleppo, a settlement founded several millennia BCE and continuously inhabited ever since? Not nearly enough. Also known as Halab, Halep, Alep... the city lies in what is now northern Syria. Jews, Muslims, and Christians have long mingled in what was a provincial capital of the Ottoman Empire. Until recently, in this polyglot and multi-ethnic city, a cultural rival of Damascus, one could find residents representing most of the faiths and ethnic groups of the Near East and eastern Mediterranean.

    Surrounded by pasturage supporting flocks and agricultural land yielding nuts, wheat, and olives, the city was a stop for the caravans bringing silk and spices from farther east. Given the ingredients at hand, it is no surprise that the inhabitants of Aleppo expressed themselves as much in the kitchen as they did in the city's esteemed metal, glass, and textile workshops. Aleppo, with its population of Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Greeks and other Europeans has long been renowned for the variety and sophistication of its food.

    Through their research and documentation of the rich social, spiritual, and gastronomic textures of Aleppo's Sephardic community, Poopa Dweck and Michael J. Cohen have succeeded admirably in presenting and preserving a culture through food.

    Sadly, most of Aleppo's specifically Jewish dishes are now to be found only in the diaspora of Aleppian Jewery. Middle Eastern political tensions over the past 60 years have caused virtually the entire community of Syrian Jews to emigrate. Aleppian Jews are scattered from London to Latin America. In the US, where large communities reside in Brooklyn, NY and New Jersey, they, like immigrants before them, live amidst other ethnic and religious groups, and use food to maintain their distinct identity. And what food!

    While one cannot claim that a Druse, Armenian, Turkish Sufi, or Maronite Christian would never serve roast chicken with lamb-stuffed eggplant or that only a Jew would make a bulgur and walnut salad with tamarind extract, the ingredients and techniques of such dishes drop big hints and speak volumes about communal identity. And that's most evident in the recipes reflecting kashrut, Jewish dietary law, to which the Aleppian community is strictly adherent. Thus, the rice dishes rich with sheep's milk butter won't be prepared by observant Jews if they are serving their pilaf with meat; Aleppian Jews would make theirs with vegetable oil.

    There's a wealth of general Middle Eastern culinary information here: well-photographed and detailed instructions for making string cheese with nigella seeds and recipes for candied eggplants with cloves, pistachio-studded Turkish delight, and sesame halvah. In both Syria and the US, most Aleppians would never make these things at home, but would buy them from specialty shops. Apparently the authors are leaving nothing to chance: they've seen their parents' generation leave home, and that's enough to make them meticulously list and document what the immigrants managed to bring with them.

    Some dishes, like sliha, a concoction of wheatberries with pomegranate seeds, nuts, and coconut served to celebrate a baby's first tooth, are occasion-specific. Arcane, but easily made, it's safe to say that sliha is probably something that would be lost were it not for the efforts of the authors.

    The production values of this hefty tome are exceptional. With its lush graphics, fascinating archival photos, and luxurious contemporary food styling, the book is--in a word--gorgeous.

    For many, the very idea of Syrian Jewish food may seem recherch谷, but the recipes, simple and clearly written, yield extraordinary results.

    Syrian or not, Jew or gentile, for anyone who seeks to learn more about the Middle East and its culinary legacy, this would be a wonderful present.

    Through what has clearly been a labor of love, Poopa Dweck and Michael Cohen have created something of permanent value, not only to their community, but to anyone who knows--or wants to learn--the power of sharing food. And if our world ever needed that power, it needs it now.

    With the fragrances of garlic, mint, lemon, saffron, allspice, and rose water--Aromas of Aleppo could literally bring a lot of people to their senses.

    holly (at) hollychase (dot) com...more info
  • The Sephardic Jewish Cuisine of Alleppo.
    Frankly, this is the first cook book that I have come across, providing accurate recipes from this Sephardic community, located in New York City. It is an absolutely beautiful book, which integrates the story of the women and their cooking, with their culture and history. ...more info
  • Fabulous Cook book
    This is a spectacular book. Beautiful, interesting and good recipes. My daughter made a whole dinner from the recipes and it was perfect....more info
  • Family Cooking at its best
    Do you like to share family time in the kitchen cooking new and traditional dishes? Is the process of cooking as important as the delicious outcome? Do you love seeing the people who created the recipes and their family members behind the scenes in a truly delicious cookbook? Aromas of Aleppo has all this and more. It is a great conversation starter in a living room and can make a special meal a very special event. ...more info
  • Delisously edible!
    Not only are the recipes inside delicious, but the pages look edible! A beautiful book both visually and spiritually. To have a culinary volume include such incredible recipes and meaningful information on Sephardic customs is both heartwarming and inspiring. After receiving this book, I loved it so much that I bought 3 more as gifts! I just want to know how Poopa and her family can eat like that and stay so thin and beautiful?...more info
  • Great Cookbook!
    What a lovely compilation of recipes, pictures and history! It brought back a lot of memories of food I enjoyed in my younger years but had forgotten existed. There is not a large Jewish community where I now live. It's certainly leading me back to food I love and now that I know how to prepare it, it will certainly be a part of my daily fare! It's also my new coffee table book.

    Belana...more info
  • Delicious Tastes of Aleppo
    This book has awakened my love of the amazing cuisine and history of the Jews in Aleppo. The Syrian Jewish Community is rich in passion, tradition, and great food. This book opens my senses and raises my appreciation for all of it. Highly recommended view of these taste delights and the tradition and community from which they come....more info
  • Good explanations, Great Food!
    Easy to follow, tons of pictures and easy to follow recipes.

    Has every single recipe for all the traditional dishes and more!

    Highly recommended if you like to eat good!...more info
  • aromas of aleppo
    I cannot help but marvel and admire the masterpiece you so graciously composed. Your book shall be a cherished treasure in many Syrian Jewish homes for generations to come. Please except my profoundest wishes for your continued success. May Hashem bless you and all that is yours with his guidance, love and support in all your endeavors.

    Tita Matut...more info
  • An Historical and Sensory Delight
    Aromas of Aleppo walks you through the intricate history of the Jews in Syria and provides some of the most delectable recipes to be found anywhere. The format and photos make it suitable as a table book....more info
  • Very Insightful but Pleasing to the Eye
    I am not Jewish, but after picking this up, in some ways I wish I was, if only for the traditions that seem so tied to the culture. As a cookbook, it has some unique recipes for some of the basics, but also brings to light many traditional foods that I really have not come in contact with. And I am quite the foodie, so this is fun to find new meals. Also, as the owner of many, many cookbooks, I find that I am more selective now about the ones that add to my collection. One requirement is the abundance of pictures, since it is no fun for me, no matter how good the recipes, if there aren't lots of pictures to whet the appetite. No pics, no deal for me. The many full-size color pics fit the bill and definitely inspire me a bit to try some new foods. ...more info
  • Wonderful, heartfelt legacy
    This work of love is so much more than a cookbook. It is a guide to follow for those who love their own history and long for an authentic record. For others, it is a testament to a traditional way of life that co-exists with contemporary convenience. And, it is a photojournalistic journey through a delightful heritage and cuisine.

    I had the pleasure of seeing this work in the process of being born, and know that the author's heart and soul were part of every page. To meet Poopa is to recognize a gracious and prophetic spirit. She is a woman who wants more than anything to preserve and pass on a wealth of tradition as it relates to family, home and the celebration of life. Join her spiritual journey through the traditional stories and recipes she shares....more info
  • really great cookbook, and historical info!
    this cookbook is more then a cookbook. it really is a wonderful historical book that doesnt just give us the recipes, it gives us the history of the foods and the culture. the food is wonderful, but i do tweek them a little bit here and there. like i sometimes add more or less of some of the ingredients, to suit my specific taste. but it is worth every penny if you like syrian food. ...more info