A collection of 100+ bright, bold recipes influenced by the vibrant flavors and convivial culture of the Arab world, filled with moving personal essays on food, family, and identity and mixed with a pinch of California cool, from chef and activist Reem Assil
“This is what a cookbook should be: passion, politics, and personality are woven through the fabulous recipes.”—Ruth Reichl, author of Save Me the Plums ONE OF FOOD52’S MOST ANTICIPATED COOKBOOKS OF 2022
Arabiyya celebrates the alluring aromas and flavors of Arab food and the welcoming spirit with which they are shared. Written from her point of view as an Arab in diaspora, Reem takes readers on a journey through her Palestinian and Syrian roots, showing how her heritage has inspired her recipes for flatbreads, dips, snacks, platters to share, and more. With a section specializing in breads of the Arab bakery, plus recipes for favorites such as Salatet Fattoush, Falafel Mahshi, Mujaddarra, and Hummus Bil Awarma, Arabiyya showcases the origins and evolution of Arab cuisine and opens up a whole new world of flavor.
Alongside the tempting recipes, Reem shares stories of the power of Arab communities to turn hardship into brilliant, nourishing meals and any occasion into a celebratory feast. Reem then translates this spirit into her own work in California, creating restaurants that define hospitality at all levels. Yes, there are tender lamb dishes, piles of fresh breads, and perfectly cooked rice, but there is also food for thought about what it takes to create a more equitable society, where workers and people often at the margins are brought to the center. Reem's glorious dishes draw in readers and customers, but it is her infectious warmth that keeps them at the table.
With gorgeous photography, original artwork, and transporting writing, Reem helps readers better understand the Arab diaspora and its global influence on food and culture. She then invites everyone to sit at a table where all are welcome.
About the Author
Reem Assil is a two-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: West, a James Beard Award finalist for Outstanding Chef, and the owner of Reem’s California, a bakery with locations in Oakland and San Francisco. She was also the opening chef for Dyafa, an Arab fine-dining restaurant that was awarded a coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand in its first year. She has established herself at the intersection of food, Arab culture, and social justice.
“You will want to cook everything in this book—and hope that Reem writes more.”—Ruth Reichl, author of Save Me the Plums
“I literally want to eat everything in this book! Reem Assil is telling a long overdue story and paints a beautiful picture of Arab heritage in each and every dish. From delicious spreads to savory breads, this piece of art will be the reason your friends can’t stop coming over for dinner.”—Kwame Onwuachi, chef and author of Notes from a Young Black Chef and My America
“A dazzling cookbook filled with mouthwatering recipes and moving stories that take you to the very heart of Arab culture and the migrant experience. Reem’s cooking and storytelling is an inspiration.”—Yasmin Khan, author of Ripe Figs and Zaitoun
“I was extremely moved by Reem’s recounting of her identity through food and stories in Arabiyya. She explores the essence of her cuisine's identity through personal recipes while combining memories, the diasporic kitchen, and everything that being an 'arabiyya' means in the United States. The recipes are fabulous, the pictures mouthwatering, and Reem courageously leads us by the hand into snippets of her life, revealing much but leaving us to question even more about our identity, culture, and cuisine.”—Fadi Kattan, Palestinian chef of Fawda in Bethlehem and Akub in London
“Arabiyya is a spectacular ode to rebirth in diaspora. It is inspiring, provocative, engaging, and mouthwatering all at once, a feat few cookbooks or cookbook authors can claim! Read it, cook from it, and get inspired by it!”—Laila El-Haddad, author of The Gaza Kitchen
“This book is so much more than a collection of dishes. While Reem's vibrant, easy-to-follow recipes are the through line, this book expands upon her passionate community-building work of more than two decades. In the spirit of her people's hospitality traditions, Reem invites us all to break bread while learning more about the cultures, people, and cuisine of the Arab world.”—Bryant Terry, James Beard Award–winning author of Black Food
“Part memoir, part cultural primer, but mostly cookbook, Assil’s work is a delicious take on cuisines and cultures of the Arab diaspora.”—Library Journal