The Language of Baklava

The Language of Baklava

A Memoir

Paperback - 2006
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"From the acclaimed author of Crescent, here is a vibrant, humorous memoir of growing up with a gregarious Jordanian father who loved to cook. Diana Abu-Jaber weaves the story of her life in upstate New York and in Jordan around vividly remembered meals: everything from Lake Ontario shish kabob cookouts with her Arab-American cousins to goat stew feasts under a Bedouin tent in the desert. These sensuously evoked meals in turn illuminate the two cultures of Diana's childhood - American and Jordanian - and the richness and difficulty of straddling both. They also bring her wonderfully eccentric family to life, most memorably her imperious American grandmother and her impractical, hotheaded, displaced immigrant father, who, like many an immigrant before him, cooked to remember the place he came from and to pass that connection on to his children."
"As she does in her fiction, Diana draws us in with her insight and compassion, and with her talent for describing food and the myriad pleasures and adventures associated with cooking and eating. Each chapter contains mouth-watering recipes for many of the dishes described, from her Middle Eastern grandmother's Mad Genius Knaffea to her American grandmother's Easy Roast Beef, to her aunt Aya's Poetic Baklava. The Language of Baklava gives us the chance not only to grow up alongside Diana, but also to share meals with her every step of the way - unforgettable feasts that teach her, and us, as much about identity, love, and family as they do about food."--Jacket.
Published: New York : Anchor Books, ©2006.
Edition: 1st Anchor Books ed.
ISBN: 9781400077762
Branch Call Number: 641.5956 ABU
Characteristics: ix, 330 pages ;,22 cm


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Jan 25, 2015

Mildly interesting bio about a young woman's experience between cultures. Recipes not anything particularly special. Overall an ''OK'' read.

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 19, 2015

In this lovely memoir the author introduces her extended family with its numerous eccentric members - as generous and expansive as they are unconventional. Food, celebration and family go hand in hand - and a young girl speaks to the cultural ambiguity of a schoolgirl in America whose father has his own ideas about the behaviour of adolescent daughters.

Oct 10, 2011

Whether of our own construction, or constructed for us, we walk within walls, walls that become more visible when we walk in another culture. Food and cooking are subversive - they dissolve these walls, digest them into something else. There are several episodes in "The Language" that demonstrate this beautifully. But I wonder about the title. I wouldn't call food a language. A language is a construct to share experiences that are otherwise personal. When we eat baklava together, we share an experience by virtue of our humanity, an experience that is otherwise ineffable. No language can possibly express that experience, nor is one needed.


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