Fez - Traditional Moroccan Cooking (1st state, Rabat, 1957)


by (Madame) Z. (Zette) Guinaudeau, J.E. Laurent, Oudaia, Rabat. The real deal. First printing, 1957. Rare in this evocative first state version with handsome period typefaces. Translated from the French by J.E. Harris. Drawings by J.E. Laurent throughout. Preface by groundbreaking Moroccan novelist Ahmed Sefrioui.

From the author’s nearly poetic foreword, now nearly 60-years-old: "I offer this book which is the result of search and investigation, by smell, by touch and by taste, during more than 20 years among both the rich and the poor families of (the city of) Fez... The time has come to fix the tradition of cooking in Fez before it becomes too Europeanised. Cooking composed chiefly of well cooked meat, simmering in spiced sauces heavy with oil and butter, sauces in which ginger and pepper mingle with honey and sugar; the part played by fruit and vegetables reduced to a discreet accompaniment.

“This tradition, coming from the Orient with the conquerors, was impregnated, via Tetouan and Algiers, with the sweet and insipid perfume of Constantinople, passing again through Andalusia. Finally taking certain simple and nourishing dishes from the Berbers, to end in the highly civilized cuisine to be found to-day among the bourgeosis of Fez."

Before getting to the traditional recipes, Madame Guinaudeau first takes the reader through table manners and customs, the order of dishes served, the kitchen, including utensils and vessels for cooking a serving, and spices. This book was republished with "modern" graphics by small indie publishers in small printings in 1995 and 2008, but alas they are also out of print.

Soft paper tan pictorial covers, front cover title in English and Arabic, title in black also on book spine. Condition: slight curling of page ends, slight soiling on covers, but still a strong VG copy of a classic in its hard-to-find first iteration.

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