Cookbook captures Iraqi culinary heritage

Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:04am EDT
 
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BEIRUT (Reuters Life!) - Lamees Ibrahim decided to write "The Iraqi Cookbook" in 2004 after a trip to her homeland as it descended into bloodshed.

"It promotes Iraq as a country with a rich history and culture rather than a place of bombing and suicide attacks," said Ibrahim, who embarked on the project the year after Saddam Hussein was toppled by U.S.-led forces.

"We have civilization and history and I wanted to show this," said Ibrahim, who was born in Baghdad and has lived in London since the 1970s. Her collection of more than 200 recipes was published in April.

The book includes recipes for Iraq's best known dishes such as masgouf, a type of fish barbecued on wooden sticks, and qoozi, a whole stuffed lamb served on a bed of rice. There are also dishes and salads found elsewhere in the Middle East.

A doctor of medicine, Ibrahim learnt her cooking skills while growing up in Iraq. Supplemented by recipes from friends, the draft of the book initially grew to well over 200 recipes, she told Reuters during a visit to Beirut.

"It got too big, so we had to take some out."