Egypt Book Reviews: Egyptian Cooking - A practical Guide

Volume II, Number 6 June 1st, 2001

Book Review

by Mary Kay Radnich

Egyptian Cooking: A Practical Guide

Samia Abdennour

Hippocrene Books 1998

The delights of Egyptian cooking have been proclaimed both here in the Tour Egypt magazine and elsewhere on the Internet. For those travelers to Egypt who are willing to step outside of their culinary comfort zone and sample traditional Egyptian fuul or Om Ali, they will not be disappointed with the results of their experimentation.

There are many Egyptian delicacies, however, with its location at the corner of North Africa, Egyptian cuisine is also a mixture of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and North African foods. Many regional cookbooks exist that offer Egyptian cuisine, but how can one learn to prepare completely Egyptian foods in the comfort of a private kitchen?

Samia Abdennour has solved this problem for us with her compact cookbook, Egyptian Cooking, A Practical Guide. This handy paperback is a repository of all sorts of local Egyptian foods, the kind you would find in a typical Egyptian restaurant or in a private home. It is not full of westernized delicacies but rather good old home cooking recipes. And she does a good job of introducing the Arabic names for all of the recipes as well as the ingredients and cooking utensils.

The cookbook chapters are divided into sections according to courses, Mezze, Breakfast, Main Courses, and so on, finishing up with chapters on Kitchen Utensils, Spices, a good Glossary and finally, an Index chapter. The final chapters, which explain terms, spices, etc. are very useful for understanding just what all that Arabic means. Within each chapter are divisions according to main ingredient, such as chicken recipes, salad recipes, etc. This feature makes the cookbook a very handy guide in preparing an ethnic meal. In the case of the section on Molokiyya, the popular green of Egypt, no fewer than eight variations of Molokiyya recipes are given.

I found this cookbook to be a good basic cookbook of Egyptian food. Some of the selections are very exotic, such as preparations of various animal organs. I did find that many recipes were bland for our tastes and more spices or hotter spices were required. One significant drawback no photographs. If you are dependent on a photo of what the dish is supposed to look like, then this will be a handicap for you. However, like most home-cooked food anywhere, a soup is liquid, a salad is green and a roast is a roast. I didnt find the lack of photos to be a problem, plus it makes the book a very affordable US $11.95.

Egyptian Cooking, A Practical Guide is available on the internet from the online booksellers, such as

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Editor's Commentary By Jimmy Dunn

Ancient Beauty Secrets By Judith Illes

Book Reviews Various Editors

Hotel Reviews By Jimmy Dunn & Juergen Stryjak

Kid's Corner By Margo Wayman

Cooking with Tour Egypt By Mary K Radnich

The Month in Review By John Applegate

Egyptian Exhibitions By Staff

Egyptian View-Point By Adel Murad

Nightlife Various Editors

Egypt On Screen By Carolyn Patricia Scott

Restaurant Reviews Various Editors

Shopping Around Various Editors

Web Reviews By Siri Bezdicek

May 1st, 2001

April 1st, 2001

March 1st, 2001

February 1st, 2001

January 1st, 2001

December 1st, 2000

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September 1st, 2000

August 1st, 2000

July 1st, 2000

June 1st, 2000