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"The Arabesque Table": Exploring the History of Arab Cuisine with Reem Kassis and Dr. Krishnendu Ray

Bowls of Arabic dishes on a green background. Sujuk Fried Eggs; “Secret” Shankleesh Salad; Fried Arabic White Cheese; Labaneh, Red Chili, and Egg Salad.
4:00pm-5:00pm ET

Join Reem Kassis, author of the acclaimed cookbook The Palestinian Table, in conversation with Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies and Associate Professor Krishnendu Ray, to discuss Kassis's new cookbook, The Arabesque Table: Contemporary Recipes from the Arab World.

Their conversation will touch on the book as a journey from past to present, stressing how cuisine, just like the arabesque patterns that inspired the title of Kassis's new cookbook, is inherently intertwined and cross-cultural, even as it remains crucial to defining the relationship between people, place, and identity.


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Krishnendu Ray

Associate Professor, Food Studies; Department Chair

About Reem Kassis

Reem Kassis

Reem Kassis is a Palestinian writer whose work focuses on the intersection of food with culture, history, and politics. You can find some of her writings in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the LA Times, and various academic journals. She is the author of Phaidon's acclaimed cookbook The Palestinian Table, which won the Guild of Food Writers First Book award and a Gourmand World Cookbook award and was a James Beard Best International Cookbook award finalist and one of NPR's Best Books of the year. Her second book, The Arabesque Table is a one-of-a-kind collection of contemporary recipes tracing the rich history of Arab cuisine. She grew up in Jerusalem, then lived in the US, France, Germany, Jordan, and the UK. She now lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two daughters.

About The Arabesque Table 

The cover of The Arabesque Table.

The Arabesque Table takes inspiration from the traditional food of the Arab world, weaving Reem Kassis's historic research and cultural knowledge with her contemporary interpretations of an ancient, remarkably diverse cuisine.  

In her personal, engaging voice, Reem bridges past and present to open up the world of Arabic cooking today, showcasing a mosaic of 130 delicious, accessible home recipes. Organized by primary ingredient, the recipes and vivid photographs bring the dishes to life while her narrative offers not only a sense of taste, but a sense of time and place as well. 

More than just a compilation of modern Arabic recipes, The Arabesque Table celebrates the evolution of Arab cuisine and the stories of cross-cultural connection it recounts, paying tribute to the history and journey that have led to this point. 

With the past on full display in this heavily researched and exciting book, you will find dishes from the Golden Age of Islam: like Narjissiya (a fava bean and egg hash) and Makmoora (a layered chicken, onion, and pine nut pot pie), as well as contemporary and globally inspired interpretations: like Tahini Cheesecake and Caramelized Butternut Squash Fatteh with Za'atar, revealing a cuisine that is vibrant, nourishing, and exciting, but above all, reminding us of how powerful food is in defining the relationship between people, place, and identity.

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