Wednesday, 7 December 2011

from Gary Allen, author of forthcoming "Herbs"

[Apologies for this late posting from the moderator]
It's Thanksgiving here in the US... and I'm celebrating the fact that I sent in the index for this book last night. 
Now all I have to do is wait to see the printed book on April 15th! 

(I may have a celebratory toast with Beck Sue Epstein's book)

Then it's back to work on my next book in the series, on sausage.

While you're waiting for all these little treats to appear, you can read samples of my work at the website, On the Table, or blog, Just Served.  

Happy Holidays,


Re-Aging Whiskey

Kevin R. Kosar, author of Whiskey: A Global History (Reaktion 2010), has conducted an experiment: re-aging whiskey.  As reader no doubt know, many of the flavors of a fine whiskey come from barrel-aging.  Water-clear, highly alcoholic spirit comes off the still and goes into the barrel, and after some years, out comes an amber to deep brown nuanced spirit that is delicious to sip.

In the name of science and the pursuit of knowledge, Kosar decided to see if he could take a bottle of cheap, low-quality whiskey and imrpove its quality by putting it back in a barrel for a time.  To see how his experiment in booze-ology went, surf to

[See attached image.]

from Nawal Nasrallah, author of "Dates"

To learn more about the date-filled cookies/biscuits – kleicha and ma’moul -- for which I give a recipe in the book (pp. 119-20), read my article “The Iraqi Cookie, Kleicha, and the Search for Identity”, in Repast, vol. xxiv, no. 4, Fall 2008.

Article: Making the date all it has long been, sweet to savory in Boston Globe (August 17, 2011) by Omar Sacirbey

In this small volume, Nasrallah explores the historical, cultural, religious, industrial, nutritional, and culinary aspects of the date and date palm, and offers quirky facts and food lore. One is the legend about North Africa’s popular Deglet Noor dates (“dates of light’’), named after a pious woman, Lalla Noora, who was too poor to buy a rosary to say the 99 names of Allah, so she made one out of date seeds. When she died, she was buried with the rosary, whose seeds sprung the now coveted date.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Review of Dates by Magazine of Etihad Airways

Source: etihadinflight (magazine of Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi, UAE), June 2011

As part of the tasty “edible series,” food writer Nawal Nasrallah delves into the culture surrounding one of the Middle East’s most precious commodities: a wrinkled round fruit called the date. From its intriguing beginnings in ancient Mesopotamia, the date has proved an integral part of the Middle Eastern life for many centuries, and Nasrallah’s epic food memoir offers a smorgasbord of date history and fascinating facts topped with a dash of culture and a sprinkling of Arabic myth. Spicy and exotic, Dates: A Global History is also jam-packed with scrumptious date recipes for every occasion. After one read of the book, you’ll feel like an honorary member of Nasrallah’s huge family: armed and ready to prepare your own Middle Eastern date banquet.  

Monday, 19 September 2011

A sparkling review of Champagne by Becky Sue Epstein

"This short volume, wittily illustrated and beautifully designed, is a pleasure both to look at and to consume. Which, given the subject matter, seems fitting." ––The Spectator

Full review here.

Sunday, 11 September 2011


'Embellished with clever illustrations and a nice selection of historical and contemporary recipes . . . [an] outstanding series of food volumes.' – Wall Street Journal

'Each of these condensed reads is stuffed with irreverent facts, anecdotes and evidence of wide-ranging research.' – The Scotsman

'The Edible series of books are full of fascinating facts but are almost small enough to squeeze into a Christmas stocking.' – Delicious

'Spend your book tokens on Reaktion Books's little collectables for couch potatoes, discreetly yellow-jacketed, entertainingly illustrated hardbacks on a single theme written by serious scholar-cooks. All are subtitled A Global History, a promise which at £9.99 for 150 pages of impeccably researched sweet reason, they indeed fulfill'
– Elizabeth Luard, The Oldie

'The Edible series of little yellow hardbacks has established itself as the backbone of the food history section. They are well-researched and illustrated with a pleasing balance of anecdote and serious history.' – The Bookseller

'Each book in the "Edible Series" describes a food or drink — its history, how it has evolved and how it has figured in various cultures across civilization. Twenty-eight of these little butter-cream-colored gems are in the works; 11 so far have been published. Printed on heavy, rich stock with drawings and color photos, they are an appetizing bunch.'
Los Angeles Times

Friday, 9 September 2011