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Couscous And Other Good Food From Morocco [Paperback]

Paula Wolfert
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 18 1987

Since it was first published in 1973, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco has established itself as the classic work on one of the world's great cuisines. From the magnificent bisteeyas (enormous, delicate pies composed of tissue-thin, buttery layers of pastry and various fillings) to endless varieties of couscous, Paula Wolfert reveals not only the riches of the Moroccan kitchen but also the variety and flavor of the country itself. With its outstanding recipes, meticulous and loving research, and keen commitment to the traditions of its subject, this is one of the rare cookbooks that are as valuable for their good reading as for their inspired food.

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North Africa is the home to one of the world's great cuisines. Redolent of saffron, cumin and cilantro, Moroccan cooking can be as elegant or as down-home hearty as you want it to be. In Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco, author Paula Wolfert has collected delectable recipes that embody the essence of the cuisine. From Morocco's national dish, couscous (for which Wolfert includes more than 20 different recipes), to delicacies such as Bisteeya (a pigeon pie made with filo, eggs, and raisins among other ingredients), Wolfert describes both the background of each recipe and the best way to prepare it. As if the mouthwatering recipes weren't enough, each chapter includes some aspect of Moroccan culture or history, be it an account of Moroccan moussems, or festivals, or a description of souks, or markets. Just reading the recipes will be enough to induce ravenous hunger even on a full stomach. Once you've tried the Chicken Tagine with Prunes and Almonds, or the Seared Lamb Kebabs Cooked in Butter, Paula Wolfert's Couscous and Other Good Foods from Morocco will become a well-worn title on your cookbook shelf.

About the Author

Paula Wolfert is the author of Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco, Mediterranean Cooking, and Paula Wolfert's World of Food. She is married to the crime novelist William Bayer and lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything in its shadow Jan. 14 2004
By peederj
The problem with the first major book on a cuisine being the best is everyone writing books afterward feels they have to change things, usually for the worse.
For instance, if I were to write a Moroccan cookbook today, the best I could do is one line, directing the reader to buy this book instead.
Otherwise, I would have to try to simplify recipes to their detriment, clutter them up with disastrous result, or scrape the bottom of the barrel for more original recipes that aren't particularly good.
So even though this book has few illustrations and was written in the 70's, if you actually want to cook Moroccan food you really don't have any choice. You simply must buy this book and cook through it because every other author on the subject has done the same and cowers in the shadow of this achievement.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good foods indeed. Oct. 2 2002
Reading this book is a joy for a Moroccophile because Ms. Wolfert is so passionate about not only the foods of Morocco but the kingdom itself. Although her recipes for couscous, tagines, and desserts are often time-consuming (Moroccan cooks spend long time in their kitchen --- I reserve those dishes for a special dinner or dessert party), they always give excellent results. I have tried cooking couscous in the oven and in the microwave, but they didn't come close to the light and fluffy couscous I made with a couscousiere following her instruction. Her Moroccan salads can be assembled relatively quickly, and they make excellent side dishes for any Mediterranean-style meals.
A local Moroccan restaurant owner highly recommended this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I can not praise this book enough! It deserves more than 5 stars! The recipes are wonderful and truly AUTHENTIC; the ingredients are simple and easy to find in any market or store. And the recipes are delicious! They take me back to Morocco! I love the fact that the book is not only recipes but little facts, stories, adventures and knowledge about Morocco as well. It reads as a cookbook and a story book all in one! I envy all the years she got to spend there and the knowledge she learned from the other cooks in Morocco! This book is a MUST for anyone who loves to try different foods and especially if you have a Moroccan friend, fiance or husband. They will be suitably impressed with your skill and will wonder where you learned how to make the food! My husband absolutely loves that I have learned how to cook some dishes that he is used to eating in his homeland. I also recommend if you get this book, get Kitty Morse's as well; they go hand in hand like a set. You will have a good Moroccan food base to cook for quite some time to come!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The bible for Moroccan Cooking Jan. 2 2012
By Asher
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wonderfully written; for the experienced cook.
These recipes have come alive in my kitchen. My husband and I are experiencing food on a new level under the tutelage of P.Wolfert's masterpiece. Enjoy the wonderful stories, intricate recipes and hints provided by an obvious master in her art!
Buy the book for the recipes, but love it for the Flavour.

I've made almost everything in this book: from stuffed chickens/squabs, to Couscous Moroccan style to charcoal grilled Mechoui (in my backyard fire pit over charcoal!). Wolfert does a good job of supplying possible substitutions for strange ingredients, but I advise you to have a stocked spice cabinet. I made Ras El Hanout according to her 26 ingredient recipe. It was something of a trick to get everything I needed! But WELL worth it.

I can smell the smell 0f 7 vegetable Couscous cooking in my kitchen now, and it's miraculous!

Also, the bread recipes are straight forward and to the point, but the bread is wonderful. Different from Canadian breads in a way that is enchanting and unusual.

Enjoy your kitchen escapades in Moroccan cooking from Wolfert's gracious cook book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is Paula Wolfert's first book, originally published in 1973, which makes the case that Moroccan food comprises one of the world's great cuisines, on a par with French, Italian, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese. I am not certain she has succeeded, but she has certainly done an excellent job in presenting the case. In laying out her discussion, she contributes a major addition to the dialogue on how great cuisines arise. Her claim is that four conditions are needed:
1. A great variety of local food sources.
2. A wide variety of cultural influences.
3. A great civilization, in this case, the juncture of Islamic Arabs and local Berbers joining to form a group vital enough to conquer medieval Spain.
4. A local palace culture to serve as an impetus to creating new dishes.
Paula claims that Morocco fulfills all conditions and if I believe her presentation is accurate, I am willing to believe her case. My only uncertainty is due to my inexperience in other North African cuisines, so I cannot tell if Morocco stands head and shoulders above, for example, the cuisine of Tunisia or Egypt. Of one thing I am sure. Her contention about the four conditions for a great cuisine make a major contribution to my thinking on the subject. It expands greatly the simpler claim of John Thorne that what you need is the memory of a great civilization. If one applies this criterion to all the cuisines I list in the first paragraph, it is clear this list has the ring of truth about it. My main argument against the case for Moroccan cuisine is that aside from couscous, there are no other distinctive world beating food products, unlike Italy's riches in types of cheese, wine, vinegar, breads, and cured meats.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The recipes take time to cook
This cook book is a fun read, but the recipe take a lot of time to cook. Moreover, to really enjoy some of the recipes, you need really specialise cookware. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Charles Marinier
5.0 out of 5 stars Much More Than Just Couscous!!!
This book is the "Western-wife-of-Moroccan-husband" dream come true, & is the most well-researched, comprehensive manual on Moroccan cuisine I've seen. Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Belami
Amazing book!! The recipes are authentiques and accurates!
Outstanding job.
Published on March 15 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive work on Moroccan food!
I was taken on a business dinner to a Moroccan restaurant in the Bay Area where we removed shoes, given a large turkish towel, and sat on the floor on cushions. Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2001 by rodboomboom
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful reciepes for delicious authentic food
Amazing couscous with a heavenly light grain, succulent lamb tagine moist and sweet with apples and prunes, and hearty Harira soup are just tid bits of delights one can find in... Read more
Published on Sept. 27 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic! The best!
This remains the very best Moroccan cookbook, the gold standard against which all others must be judged. Great recipes, great text, personal, passionate... Read more
Published on April 21 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Moroccan Quisine in a nutshell... envigorating!
This is my most beloved (and food-stained) cookbook! Bisteeya is perhaps the most wonderfull dish in the world... Read more
Published on June 18 1997
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