September 12, 2007

SHE'S GOT A BONE TO PICK WITH HER PARENTS, HUH?:

An Aleppo-style Rosh Hashana, fragrant with cinnamon and spice: Poopa Dweck's new book, "Aromas of Aleppo," offers transporting recipes that take you through the holidays and beyond. (Charles Perry, September 12, 2007, Los Angeles Times)

On Rosh Hashana, Ashkenazi Jews dip apple slices in honey for a "sweet New Year." The Aleppine Jews -- whose ancestors were prominent residents of Aleppo, Syria, for many centuries -- may eat scarlet candied quinces instead, or even translucent shreds of candied spaghetti squash.

That's just the beginning of the unexpected quality of their cuisine. Its roots go back many centuries, and the dishes have both rich historical resonance and a remarkable originality. The rest of an Aleppine Rosh Hashana meal might be leek fritters, spicy tomato soup with kibbeh meatballs, stuffed baby artichokes, Swiss chard with chickpeas and a luscious braised breast of veal.

When you get away from the holidays, the really unfamiliar dishes appear. Okra with prunes, apricots and tamarind. Chicken roasted with spaghetti until it starts to crisp. Eggs scrambled with rhubarb.

But scarcely anything had been written about this distinctive school of cooking before Poopa Dweck's "Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews."

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 12, 2007 6:16 AM
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