Keep It Zesty: A Celebration of Lebanese Flavors & Culture from Edy’s Grocer

Harper. May 2024. 256p. ISBN 9780063280908. $39.99. COOKING
Private chef, caterer, and now owner of Edy’s Grocer (a Lebanese market and deli in New York City), Massih celebrates his family’s Middle Eastern roots—and recounts his own culinary journey—in this splendid collection of 115 tempting recipes. After thoroughly schooling readers about the ins and outs of stocking a Middle Eastern pantry, Massih delivers a plethora of tasty treats, from dips (such as the store’s perennially popular toum) to breakfast items (za’atar shakshuka) to dishes like fasiola ou riz that make for fast and easy weeknight meals. Suggestions for menu planning and instructions for building one’s own version of Massih’s signature “brown paper board” are also included. Threaded throughout are moving essays by Massih on topics such as his beloved grandmothers and how they shaped his cooking, as well as how Oprah became a lifeline for Massih when he immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon.
VERDICT Written with a wonderful sense of humor and a great deal of heart, this cookbook debut is a first-rate introduction to the vibrant and appetizing world of Lebanese cuisine.
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