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A collection of 100+ bright, bold recipes influenced by the vibrant flavors and convivial culture of the Arab world, filled with moving personal essays on food, family, and identity and mixed with a pinch of California cool, from chef and activist Reem Assil
“This is what a cookbook should be: passion, politics, and personality are woven through the fabulous recipes.”—Ruth Reichl, author of Save Me the Plums ONE OF FOOD52’S MOST ANTICIPATED COOKBOOKS OF 2022
Arabiyya celebrates the alluring aromas and flavors of Arab food and the welcoming spirit with which they are shared. Written from her point of view as an Arab in diaspora, Reem takes readers on a journey through her Palestinian and Syrian roots, showing how her heritage has inspired her recipes for flatbreads, dips, snacks, platters to share, and more. With a section specializing in breads of the Arab bakery, plus recipes for favorites such as Salatet Fattoush, Falafel Mahshi, Mujaddarra, and Hummus Bil Awarma, Arabiyya showcases the origins and evolution of Arab cuisine and opens up a whole new world of flavor.
Alongside the tempting recipes, Reem shares stories of the power of Arab communities to turn hardship into brilliant, nourishing meals and any occasion into a celebratory feast. Reem then translates this spirit into her own work in California, creating restaurants that define hospitality at all levels. Yes, there are tender lamb dishes, piles of fresh breads, and perfectly cooked rice, but there is also food for thought about what it takes to create a more equitable society, where workers and people often at the margins are brought to the center. Reem's glorious dishes draw in readers and customers, but it is her infectious warmth that keeps them at the table.
With gorgeous photography, original artwork, and transporting writing, Reem helps readers better understand the Arab diaspora and its global influence on food and culture. She then invites everyone to sit at a table where all are welcome.
About the Author
Reem Assil is a two-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: West, a James Beard Award finalist for Outstanding Chef, and the owner of Reem’s California, a bakery with locations in Oakland and San Francisco. She was also the opening chef for Dyafa, an Arab fine-dining restaurant that was awarded a coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand in its first year. She has established herself at the intersection of food, Arab culture, and social justice.
“Chef Reem Assil, who recently released her first cookbook, Arabiyya, hopes this communion and understanding will beget social change . . . The language throughout Arabiyya is deeply human and conversational, which makes Assil’s core message resoundingly clear.”—Bon Appétit
“Chef Reem Assil’s debut cookbook Arabiyya is an unapologetic celebration of being Arab and being Arab in diaspora. It's jam-packed with fresh flavors and is a book that ripples with energy, with particular nods to Assil’s Syrian and Palestinian heritage. In many ways, Arabiyya is my new favorite source of dinner party inspiration.”—Food & Wine
“Reem Assil’s work at the intersection of food, community, and social justice has manifested in what is no doubt bold, delicious eating, pulled from her Palestinian and Syrian roots. Connecting to the diaspora across cultures extends our community. Doing it via food creates a sense-based experience that is undeniable.”—Food52
“This beautifully written and photographed book is not only a masterclass in Arab cooking and the classic dishes it yields, but also a reminder that recipes don’t create food just to be eaten, but also to be a vessel of storytelling, containing within it the imprint of family and ethnic history, of immigration and exile.”—Sunset Magazine
“Bold, colorful and political—would you expect anything less from Reem Assil? In her debut cookbook, the chef and founder of Reem’s California shares the deeply personal stories behind opening her first restaurant in Oakland’s Fruitvale, rising to national acclaim and simply existing as an Arab American in the food world. The recipes are excellent too, including savory breads, luscious dips, festive entrees and spiced desserts.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Arabiyya contains more than 100 recipes for everything from pantry snacks to mezze to desserts, but it’s as much a memoir as it is a cookbook, encompassing many of Assil’s own experiences as a Bay Area woman whose life has been indelibly shaped by her Palestinian and Syrian heritage.”—Vogue
“In Arabiyya, Reem Assil allows us to witness her evolving relationship to food, family, history, and social justice as an ‘Arabiyya,’ an Arab woman.”—Eater
“Assil, who has established herself at the intersection of food, Arab culture, and social justice . . . explores the ways in which Arab food is centered around community and hospitality.”—Thrillist
“She pours the breadth of her being into her first cookbook . . . The secrets to her mana’eesh spread with za’atar and olive oil are here . . . Yemeni honeycomb bread scented with orange blossom and rose waters, and tutorials on regional variations of savory turnovers.”—Los Angeles Times
“In this knockout debut, Assil wryly and skillfully kneads a call for social awareness with an invitation to the table via ‘recipes for resilience’ that are inspired by her Arab heritage . . . This is packed with delicious food and universal truths—chief among them that, ‘through our food, we create home wherever we are.’”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Part memoir, part cultural primer, but mostly cookbook, Assil’s work is a delicious take on cuisines and cultures of the Arab diaspora.”—Library Journal