If you’re anything like me, Omani food is like the cool kid in class whose party you’d love to attend, but can’t quite gain access to.
Shamefully, I must admit that my knowledge of Omani food leaves a little to be desired. Sure, I’ve dined at Bait al Luban and Ubhar – both wonderful – and I love sampling weekend food at Souq es Sabt, but I’d never claim to have intimate knowledge of Omani cuisine.
Perhaps it’s because I’m vegetarian. Perhaps it’s because of my kids – amazing though they are, they don’t much care for sampling new foods. They’ll happily eat the same meal at the same restaurant every.single.time (Mani’s, you’ll know who we are). Perhaps – and I suspect this is probably closest to the truth – it’s because I’ve been too busy. I haven’t really made the effort to get out there, to meet people, to learn.
I should make the effort. But in the meantime, my collection of cook books has just expanded to include Felicia Campbell’s The Food of Oman – Recipes and Stories from the Gateway to Arabia and I’m already completely infatuated with it.
Starting with a simple but intriguing front cover, it takes you on a very special journey of Oman. Felicia doesn’t just cite recipes, she shares the stories of how she came to learn both the recipes and the people who cooked them with her.
Reading Ladies who Lunch on page 17, I imagine the lunch buffet as well as the cook and the guests.
From basic pantry ingredients, via the spice route, different flavors of Oman, and development of Omani restaurants, Felicia shares her knowledge of Omani food. Through wonderful photos and detailed, easy to follow recipes, she shows how I can learn about Omani food, too.
The Food of Oman, I cant help but feel, invites me to the party.
All pictures are from the book.