Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead
University of Regina Press / 28 March 2018

Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead: Recipes and Recollections from a Syrian Pioneer by Habeeb Salloum Published by University of Regina Press Review by Michelle Shaw $34.95 ISBN 9780889775183 I had no idea that Arab immigrants settled in rural Saskatchewan in the early part of the twentieth century. And, from the dumbfounded looks on the faces of my born and bred Saskatchewan friends, it’s not a fact that’s widely known. The story of one such family can be found in Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead. Habeeb Salloum’s family immigrated to Canada in the 1920s. Most Syrian immigrants of that period settled in the Eastern Canadian provinces of Quebec or Ontario, but Salloum’s father ended up settling in rural Saskatchewan. The 1920s and 30s were a tough time to be a farmer in Saskatchewan. But Salloum’s parents survived, as he puts it, on the “ingenuity and the recipes they had inherited from their forebears.” They found that many of the crops they grew traditionally in the Middle East, such as lentils and chickpeas, were ideally suited to Saskatchewan conditions. I found it amusing that, as a child, one of the highlights of Salloum’s year was his annual supply of bologna….

Bison Delights

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,…