Turmeric is very popular in recipes, dishes, and tales of the last few years. Yaniv Cohen, the author of My Spiced Kitchen: A Middle Eastern Cookbook, tells a story from his childhood in which a neighbor helped stop a badly bleeding cut on his hand with turmeric, “That encounter is the inspiration behind this book and continues to fuel my love of spices to this day.” Cohen is fascinated by the health aspects of spices as he shares notes on their uses throughout time and in varied cultures around the world. Now with the internet, Cohen declares that the world is a global spice market.
Cohen’s instructions for cooking and using spices are helpful and include when to use a certain spice and how to store them. The spices are discussed in alphabetical order from A (allspice) to Z (za’atar); additionally, there is a list of resources at the end of the book, a clear Index, and a glossary, which defines certain ingredients and terms used in the book. For example, we learn that, “S’chug is a hot sauce originating in Yemenite cuisine.” Cohen notes that lately silan is also making an appearance in a number of dishes. The author describes it as “A thick, dark and sweet syrup extracted from dates.”
One of the many delightful dishes in this book is the Beet and Baharat Kibbeh which Cohen adds that, “When I was a child, this sweet-and-sour meal was unique to Jews from Iraq. Today it’s well-known throughout Israel.” A couple other recipes of note were the Za’atar Coconut Popcorn and, of interest to many, Za’atar-Scented Carb-Free Tahini Bread — an easy dish which can be assembled very quickly.