The Language of Baklava

Front Cover
Pantheon Books, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 330 pages
91 Reviews
From the acclaimed author of Crescent, called “radiant, wise, and passionate” by the Chicago Tribune, 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 exquisite insight and compassion, and with her amazing talent for describing food and the myriad pleasures and adventures associated with cooking and eating. Each chapter contains mouthwatering 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 iden-tity, love, and family as they do about food.

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A wonderful combination of life stories and recipes. - Goodreads
And some of the recipes are so ridiculous. - Goodreads
Abu-Jaber is, incidentally, and excellent food writer. - Goodreads
Great character development. - Goodreads
I loved the vignettes in this book, and the recipes! - Goodreads
That takes great writing. - Goodreads

Review: The Language of Baklava: A Memoir

User Review  - Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) - Goodreads

I love to read. I love to cook. I love to eat good, well prepared food. I love to read about people who cook. But the author apparently isn't a person who cooks, at least not beyond helping grandma or ... Read full review

Review: The Language of Baklava: A Memoir

User Review  - Deb - Goodreads

Review Excerpts: "...there is something special about foodie memoirs that make them one of my favorite book genres. I especially enjoy memoirs where the author reflects on the food and practices of ... Read full review

About the author (2005)

Diana Abu-Jaber is the author of Crescent, which was awarded the 2004 PEN Center USA Award for Literary Fiction and the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award and was named one of the twenty best novels of 2003 by The Christian Science Monitor, and Arabian Jazz, which won the 1994 Oregon Book Award and was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award. She teaches at Portland State University and divides her time between Portland and Miami.

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