Bison Delights

6 July 2011

Bison Delights: Middle Eastern Cuisine, Western Style
by Habeeb Salloum
Published by CPRC Press
Review by Jessica Bickford
$29.95 978-0-88977-215-1

As the title indicates, Bison Delights strives to integrate the traditional prairie meat, bison, with the flavours of the Middle East. Habeeb Salloum, an expert in Arab cuisine and a child of Saskatchewan homesteaders, begins by describing his long-standing love of bison, both the majestic animal, and the flavourful meat. He goes on to describe the many benefits of bison beyond the fact that it is truly a prairie meat. Bison is exceptionally healthy and the animals thrive without the aid of hormones or antibiotics; thus it is a great choice for those wanting to live a more healthful life.

This cookbook has my favourite feature – a great index that can be quickly referenced either by the cut of bison used, or the other main ingredient (which is important as every recipe contains bison). It also has a bison facts and tips section, which includes nutrition information, basic tips for cooking bison, and other general bison knowledge, which is great if you have never worked with bison before.

The book itself is broken down into accompaniments, appetizers, soups, stews, and entrees, and each of these sections is started off with a little story about how that broad group fits into Middle Eastern culture, or calls Salloum back to his childhood and the joy that came from his Mother’s kitchen. Each recipe too has nuggets of information about how different cultural groups use specific ingredients, or how the particular food has developed throughout history.

The recipes themselves are easy to read, with both imperial unit measures (cups and teaspoons) and metric measures (millilitres and grams), with descriptive instructions and occasional notes on how the food is traditionally eaten. It also has gorgeous photographs of some of the prepared recipes that make your mouth water and will inspire you to try some of the more exotic bison preparations.

Not only is Bison Delights a cookbook with delicious recipes that are a wonderful fusion of Middle Eastern and Western traditions, it is a book full of stories, full of history, and mostly full of Habeeb Salloum’s consummate love of food.


One Comment

  • PhilaLaithE12 13 March 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Great review as I agree on all fronts. Bison Delights has opened my eyes to another world of foods that I did not know existed. The integration of Bison meat into my and my family’s diet only started after reading this excellent cookbook. Well done to the author! I expect a “Volume 2”! 🙂