Sitto’s Kitchen includes the original recipes and memories carried by the author’s grandmother onto the shores of Ellis Island in 1912. These treasures, taught to her grandmother in Aleppo, Syria, comprise over 100 years of traditional Arab cooking.
Author Janice Jweid Reed remembers, “In 1966, I started compiling my grandmother’s recipes in a little spiral notebook. Years later, as my worn and food-stained notebook captured the fruits of my own labors, I realized these recipes were too precious to lose. They’re a testament to all those cooks before me who faithfully preserved their heritage, mother to daughter, through the generations.” Over the years, knowing these time-honored dishes were an important part of her cultural heritage, the author’s notebook led to this cookbook.
Sitto’s Kitchen guides the reader with a Basics chapter offering tips on pantry staples, cook’s tools and the ingredients needed to create this delicious cuisine. Recipe titles written in both English and Arabic, a Where to Buy It section and photos of many of the dishes are all included with today’s cooks in mind. The author carefully describes techniques used long ago but has simplified and updated them. Young cooks or those new to this distinctive cuisine will find the cook’s notes at the end of each recipe a helpful and contemporary touch. Charming stories and anecdotes will give readers a window into the past. Culinary delights, from an Aleppo breakfast of butter-soft turnovers to after-dinner Arab coffee and sweets, highlight this unique cuisine. Tantalizing Open Meat Pies, Tamarind Meatballs, aromatic Barley Pilaf and Syrian Stuffing are mouth-watering. Phyllo-encrusted Spinach Rolls, healthy soups, salads and grains, including several Bulgar Wheat dishes, will appeal to vegetarians.
The next generations of young Arab cooks who long for these traditional foods will be drawn into Sitto’s Kitchen. Readers exploring new cuisines will find these Middle Eastern spices and fragrant herbs carrying them to ancient lands. Sitto’s Kitchen is a homespun adventure in Middle Eastern cookery, simply prepared, with no mystery and traditionally preserved by generations of Syrian cooks who served these humble dishes to their families with love.