Why didn't I hear about this book sooner? Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber is a must read for anyone who loves food or cooking and who understands how you feed the soul when you feed other people, how food helps you have roots and how food helps you wander among other cultures. (Of course now you should read all her other books, too. She has her own wonderful website here.)
I just finished reading it, and I find myself craving Middle Eastern food. She has sprinkled her favorite recipes throughout the book. Yesterday, I came home from our Publix with dried chick peas, which are soaking now (will I make hummus or falafel? I don't know yet); bulgur (cracked wheat for Subsistence Tabbouleh) and long grain rice. I think today I'll seek out ground lamb and use the wheat for kibbeh the way she describes it ("Cowboy Kibbeh" in the Bad American Girl chapter).
I would pass this book on to everyone I want to read it, which is what I normally do with books I love, but I can't. It's a cookbook, too, and I must have it in my cupboard.
Her novels include Arabian Jazz, Crescent and Original. I've got Crescent (Oooh! I just read that it is banned in Texas. I will have to make all my children read it.), which I will plunge into today, since it is New Year's Eve and I'll take the day and indulge myself, perhaps at the beach here in South Florida.