Food News

Our first-ever Middle Eastern issue has landed

Expect plenty of sweets, recipes designed for feasting and interviews with rock stars of the region including Claudia Roden, Yotam Ottolenghi and Eyal Shani.
History of Middle Eastern food in Australia

This month issue of Gourmet Traveller celebrates the food, people and destinations of the Middle East and the region’s enduring impact on Australian tastes, habits and culture. From a conversation with Lebanese matriarch Salwa Moubarak, who bakes 400 loaves of flatbread a week for her son’s Brisbane restaurant Gerard’s Bistro, to recipes by Greg Malouf designed for feasting, this issue covers plenty of ground, including the frankincense trails of Oman and the new Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Here, editor Sarah Oakes introduces the issue.

“I’ve only lined up for hummus once, but it was well worth the wait. It was a hot morning on the waterfront in Tel Aviv and the crowd that had gathered around Abu Hassan made it look like they were giving it away for free. I struggled to the front, fought for a spot at a shared table and had my first taste of musabaha, morning hummus, still warm and textured with whole chickpeas, served with ful, raw onion, hot sauce and bread. In that mouthful I understood that hummus is a meal, the star of the table, not just a side dish or a final resting place for limp crudités.

The theme of this issue is the Middle East, but the broader theme is how, along with people, recipes travel, immigrate, evolve and keep culture alive. The history of how Australia fell in love with food from Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Iran and the region isn’t well documented. As historian Alecia Simmonds explains in her story Suburban Spice Routes, “It’s a secret history that can only be gleaned through peering over backyard fences, inviting ourselves into family kitchens and uncovering the lives of those whose survival once depended on concealing their aromatic herbs from delicate Anglo-Saxon nostrils.”

From hummus to the halal snack pack, this issue is a celebration of the people, places and dishes that helped food from the Middle East carve out a special place in our culinary culture.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the very real and devastating impact of ongoing violence and conflict in the region. Like all Australians, our hopes and thoughts are with all those whose lives are affected by these tragedies. I want to mention in particular that we are passionately supporting #BakeForSyria, #CookForSyria and the Ration Challenge, all happening over the next few weeks.”

Get your copy now from all good newsagents and major supermarkets.

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