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Go on try it: How about tasting Gulf food

Updated on April 14, 2015

By Marwan Asmar

The delicious aroma of food whiffs around you as you start thumbing

this book on the rich cuisine of the Gulf. Sarah Al Hamad’s Cardamom

and Lime: Recipes from the Gulf Countries ( Interlink Books) is an innovative delight that quickly gets the reader into the

gist of Gulf cooking.

Sarah Al Hamad, a young Kuwaiti writer and researcher, who spends her

time between Kuwait and London, provides an insight into Gulf cuisine

through a lucid, chatty style, talking with the reader, on what

constitutes Gulf cooking—geographical space from Saudi Arabia, Oman,

Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait—underpinned by the

food commonalities of the area over decades and centuries.

Al Ahmad divides her book into different easy, colorful, chapters

involving grains and fluffy rice, fish and meat, vegetables and

deserts, sections she considers as the most important to Gulf cooking

as rooted in the way these societies developed on the shores of the

Gulf during the pre-oil era.

Thus, her introductory chapter contextualizes cuisine in the history

of the Gulf while rooting it in its geography, traditional economies

and trade routes that brought the Indian, Persian and Turkish culture

and diet to the Gulf region.

These food influences still exist today as found in the different

recipes the author provides in the book. “Gulf food” is also today

seen as part of the cultural heritage of these societies and seen “as

a means of communication”, a “social marker” and for providing a

“peace offering” that continues to bind people together in modernity.

With inviting mouth-watering commentary from the author simple but

detailed instructions are provided on “how to” with, lush ingredients

in high resolution colored pictures, dishes that continue to be the

bread-and-better of people from the Arab Gulf.

Al Hamad’s book is certainly interesting for the English reader. In

the UK, it’s published by New Holland Publishers while in the United

States by Interlink Books. Its importance is far-reaching however,

because of the methodology the writer employed.

In researching this book, she employed a set of methodologies that

involved collecting food recipes from her family and friends of the

family and even talked of friends of her friends. She talked to

different cooks employed in different households and went into

people’s kitchens, trying different recipes there and then and taste

them afterwards.

Her aunt’s kitchen for instance, and which the author feels grateful

for was used as a cooking experimental station to make and try out

different dishes as well as allow cameras, laptops and photographers

into the place.

Al Hamad’s book is a book well worthwhile reading for the expert, the

amateur and the general public.


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    • marwan asmar profile image

      Marwan Asmar 6 years ago from Amman, Jordan

      Good for you, call it a tasty cultural experience

    • Shawn May Scott profile image

      Shawn May Scott 6 years ago

      I have very rarly eaten food from this part of the world. Although some of my friends and family are from there. I am inspired to try some of the dishes and expand my horizons!!!

    • profile image

      mohaned omer 6 years ago

      arbic food is f**king gross and so yaakky

    • marwan asmar profile image

      Marwan Asmar 7 years ago from Amman, Jordan

      Thanks for reading, I hope you like.

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 7 years ago from South of France

      I hadn't come across this book before, but I really think Arabic food is the best in the world, so maybe I should add this to my collection. Thanks for sharing.