* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! *
MAN'OUSHE; inside the Lebanese street corner baker (Interlink Books, 2020, 200 pages, $43.95 hardbound) is by Barbara Abdeni Massaad, a food writer whose family owned a Lebanese restaurant "Kebabs and Things" in Florida. She has since located back to Lebanon, and here gives us a stunning document about kitchen rituals and traditions of Lebanese culture. The national pie is man'oushe, and she has 70 recipes for the perfect style of pies as found in a Lebanese bakery. It's a great snack, and she goes through the range of fillings, from cheese, yogurt, egg, chicken, meat preserve, and Armenian sausage. Photography is by her and by Raymond Yazbeck. She tells stories about the bakeries, the places, and the types of pies. She's got a pantry description as well as kitchen tools and techniques for making/baking the dough. And of course it all starts with za'tar and wild thyme pie. It's a work of art, not just a cookbook, and has been been endorsed by both Alice Waters and Paula Wolfert. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 91
May we all have 2020 vision.