'Syria: Recipes From Home' is a cookbook that developed as a result of our 2014 drama workshops in Beirut. It is a cookbook with a conscience, a beautiful artefact, an evocation of the smells and savor of ancient Aleppo and Damascus, and a celebration of the best of Syria at a time when war is working its worst. Included are the tastes and tales of women living in tents, cramped squats and tiny apartments in Lebanon, Greece and elsewhere in Europe.

Each Syrian woman contributed their taste of home, documented by Open Art Co-Founder Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi. Recipes sit alongside stories of home, cherished memories, and the more recent tales of loss and flight. Most of all it is a treasure chest of recipes from the most under-celebrated kitchen culture of the Middle East.

                                          Dina Mousawi (left) & Itab Azzam (right)

                                          Dina Mousawi (left) & Itab Azzam (right)

This is a book of home-cooked food, about people who've lost their homes. These are recipes that you would not see in regular books about the Middle East. It is about more than Tabbouleh and Hummus. These are dishes that have been passed down through the generations, each unique to their own region. From Hot Yoghurt Soup with Turmeric to Cherry Meatballs. One will quickly realise that this is not a call for pity and empathy but instead a delicious celebration of the unique taste, culture and food of Syria - and a celebration of everything that food and memory can mean to an individual, to a family and to a nation.

At the same time, the book draws attention to Syrian women’s experience of war and displacement whilst celebrating their food and culture in exile, a culture that is in danger of being forgotten by the world as it focuses on the atrocities of ISIS and the Assad regime.

The book is being published by Orion Books and will be released May 4, 2017. You can pre-order it here.


Click to see a sample recipe from the book: Fava Beans in Tahini

SYRIA: RECIPES FROM HOME is a book that I look forward to having in my cookbook collection. Syrian cuisine deserves a high place in our culinary knowledge and Itab and Dina, with their brilliant recipes and fascinating stories, are the perfect authors to do this.
— Ruth Rogers