Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Mediterranean
Great Book of Couscous : Classic Cuisines of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia
Published: November 16, 1994
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Copeland Marks has written prolifically about authentic ethnic food, covering every place from Guatemala to the Himalayas. In The Great Book of Couscous Marks presents the history and culinary brilliance of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia; the
region of North Africa also know as the Maghreb. Couscous is a common cooking ingredient, along spices--particularly cinnamon, cumin, coriander and paprika, in all these countries. Each of these areas was also originally populated by the Berbers,
occupied by the Ottoman Turks and the Arabs, then colonized by the French. These cultures heavily influenced the local cooking, with some differences in each.
Moroccan food is the most complex and sophisticated, Marks explains. Dishes may blend
half a dozen spices, along with dried fruit and salt preserved lemons or olives. Tunisian food is relatively simple and hot, though many cooks will still find it amply robust and intriguing. Algerian food, Marks claims, is the most creative, as well as
the most marked by French influences. Armchair chefs will enjoy the colorful descriptions of the markets, visits with home cooks, and experiences in restaurants. The recipes for the many tagines or stews, roasted chickens, and other dishes are easy to
follow. Their ingredients are mostly available at supermarkets. The inclusion of Jewish dishes from the Maghreb make this a particularly interesting book for many people not familiar with the garlic-rich Moroccan Chickpea Stew or Algerian Merguez Juive,
a sausage made with lamb or beef, cumin, coriander, and fiery chile powder. Though it takes some work to prepare the clear, precisely written recipes Marks provides, the aromatic, succulent results are worth the effort. --Dana Jacobi --This text refers
From Publishers Weekly
Few cookbooks have single-mindedly tackled couscous, the North African pasta that has become a stellar side dish in cafes and restaurants. Marks (Sephardic Cooking) turns his attention to
the cuisines of North Africa that accompany couscous in all its guises-slow-cooked tagines, simmered charmoulas and others. Recipes from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are presented as the author found them prepared in native kitchens, without much concern
for overlapping styles (there are more than two dozen recipes for kefta or meatballs simmered in sauce). North American palates may have to adjust quite a bit to accommodate the sweetness and warm spices that characterize much of Moroccan and Algerian
cooking (as much as one-quarter cup of sugar in one tagine); Marks rarely compromises. To present the cuisine of the region as he found it is his goal. An indigenous ingredient such as the spiced, fermented butter known as smen, indispensable to
Moroccans, is listed as an ingredient without any possible substitute for Americans. Such authenticity could daunt novices. However, Marks's research and robust writing style make the book absorbing. His preface to a recipe for jaban, a treat commonly
found in the fez or street market, warns, "This nougat is not so hard that it pulls the fillings out of your teeth, but it is a most delicious chew."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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