Articles & Recipes
Middle Eastern Cuisines
he Middle East encompasses the birthplace of civilization and it's history goes back as far as 3,500 BC with a pre-history dating back to 10,000 BC. The contributions to world knowledge
(including culinary arts) cannot be disputed.
From a culinary standpoint, the region can be divided into number of areas. Greek, Turkish and Persian cooking make up one unit, Arabic cooking another.
Israel teems with recipes brought in by dozens of immigrant
groups, as well as producing original recipes never cooked
Origins: Similarities & Diversities
When talking about Middle Eastern food, one always inquires
as to which dish originated in which particular country.
History can solve this in part, however, there has been so much
interchange of culture through colonization, migration, invasion
and counter-invasion, that even this presents its difficulties. So many similar recipes turn up in the culinary repertoire of a
number of countries that to detect the source of many of them
is virtually impossible. For example, there are dolmas -
stuffed vegetables - with variations in both name and ingredients
stretching from Greece to Afghanistan and south to the Arabian
Gulf States. Therefore, because of such widespread similarities,
it is not clear which peoples developed what food or recipe.
Evolving Over Thousands of Years
Its exotic dishes make up a cuisine that indeed has been
evolving over thousands of years. The result is food that is at
once homogeneous and diverse, lavish and thrifty, plain and
imaginatively seasoned. There can be no single characteristic;
however, in all nations, lamb is the basic meat, wheat bread a
basic source of carbohydrate; eggplant is a favorite vegetable,
and yogurt the preferred form of dairy. These similarities of
cuisine have persisted for centuries despite vast geographical,
cultural and political differences.
Middle Eastern cooks have taken advantage of their
surroundings in innovative ways, using a combination of familiar
and unique herbs, spices, dried and fresh fruits, nuts and
The Honored Guest
Characteristic of all cooking is the importance placed on dining and entertaining. Eating is more than an activity, it is a social function. The phrase, "a guest is a gift from God" truly represents Middle Eastern hospitality. No matter how rich or poor, the guest receives an honored place at the table.