By Linda Dalal Sawaya
Linda Sawaya Design, $20.00, 248 pages
This small-format trade paperback Lebanese cookbook is filled with tempting Lebanese recipes. Alice’s Kitchen is in its fourth, expanded edition and it seems the American Lebanese community finds it useful to justify this new edition. Linda Dalal Sawaya used her grandmother’s authentic recipes to write this book, updating ingredients and recipes to current style and taste.
Most ingredients are available at a good market but having access to a Lebanese market will be very useful. The book production is plain and the book focuses on recipes rather than glamour or appearance. A very large number of thumbnail-size photos are scattered throughout the text, mostly family shots (probably of interest only to family members) but some on foods and techniques. Unfortunately the tiny size of these black-and-white photos will not be much help in your cooking. A seventeen-page introduction is mainly the story of the author’s family.
The recipe layout is very good. In only a few cases you’ll need to flip the overleaf. The biggest problem is Sawaya’s recipe writing. She doesn’t follow the convention of listing ingredients according to the order of steps and ambiguities are not uncommon. The index is good and cross referenced but it helps if you understand Arabic.
Reviewed by George Erdosh