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10 Questions with An Edible Mosaic Cookbook Author Faith Gorsky & A Giveaway

by Spicie Foodie on December 5, 2012

An Edible Mosaic Cookbook by Faith Gorsky

Today we have a special guest joining us, cookbook author and blogger Faith Gorsky. Faith has written a mouthwatering cookbook called An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair. She is joining us today to share a little bit about the book. Also Faith and Tuttle publishing were kind enough to offer a copy of the book to one lucky winner. The giveaway details will follow the interview. So let’s get to it and please help me give Faith a very warm welcome.

An Edible Mosaic Cookbook by Faith Gorsky

1. Describe your cookbook to us, what should readers expect?

The book has over 100 authentic Middle Eastern recipes (along with photos taken by me), that are streamlined just a bit for the way we cook today. The recipes were mostly taught to me by my wonderful mother-in-law, Sahar, during the time I spent in the Middle East after marrying. If you’re like me and you enjoy Middle Eastern food but didn’t grow up learning how to cook it, I explain things in an approachable way with easy-to-follow cooking techniques – so this book is for you!

I also de-mystify a few exotic ingredients, cooking tools, and cooking techniques. And because cuisine and culture are so closely intertwined, I include a bit of Middle Eastern culture in the cookbook.

Here are the chapters in the cookbook: Cooking Tips and Techniques; Basic Cooking Tools; Buying the Right Middle Eastern Ingredients; Basic Recipes; Breads and Pies; Salads; Vegetable and Rice Side Dishes; Appetizers and Light Meals; Beans and Lentils; Chicken and Seafood; Beef and Lamb; Desserts; Drinks; Middle Eastern Grocery Stores.

2. Both your cookbook and blog are named “An Edible Mosaic”, is there a story behind the name?

When I was in the Middle East, the craftsmanship there impressed and astonished me time and time again. Here in the U.S., many of the items we purchase were mass-manufactured in other countries; in Syria, they take pride in each item they make, and they make it the same way it’s been made for hundreds of years. The craftsmanship of mosaic in particular has always taken my breath away.

When I got back to the U.S. after visiting the Middle East for the first time, the word “mosaic” stuck out in my mind as a lovely description of food. Since a mosaic is a bunch of different small pieces that fit together, I saw it reflected in my cooking. I was cooking the Middle Eastern food that I had just learned from my mother-in-law, along with the traditional American food I had grown up with, as well as a few Indian, Mexican, Greek, and French dishes I’d been taught by friends along the way. As different as everything was, it came together seamlessly.

When I originally started by blog in May 2009, I was blogging under the name Thought 4 Food. I knew this title wasn’t the best reflection of my cooking and my food philosophy, but I wasn’t quite sure what to change my blog name to. Then one morning I had my answer…I literally dreamt of my blog title, An Edible Mosaic: Everyday Fare with Extraordinary Flair. Giving my cookbook the same name was a natural fit.

3. When did your passion for cooking begin?

I first noticed my passion for quality food back in high school, thanks in large part to my high school French teacher! I was a member of the French Club, and we met after school once a month to enjoy a French feast. Sometimes we cooked together and sometimes each student brought in a dish to share, but with dishes like Coq au Vin, Boeuf Bourguignon, and Crepes Suzette, I had no choice but to fall in love with good food.

4. In the book you mention learning to cook Middle Eastern foods from your mother-in-law Sahar. You also state that, “…The only way to learn how to cook from authentic old world cooks is to watch them in action. Nothing is written down… and certainly no measurements.” I’m sure Sahar is excited to see your family’s recipes put to paper and must be so proud of you too. Has she seen your cookbook and what was her reaction?

She is so proud! She treats me as though I’m one of her daughters, and so she is showing and telling everyone and beaming with pride. For me, this is incredibly humbling.

5. What was it like watching Sahar in her kitchen and cooking alongside her?

Watching Sahar in the kitchen is always like watching a well-rehearsed ballet. Every step is choreographed, and she moves freely around the kitchen with the grace and elegance of an experienced dancer. It is enlightening for me.

6. Which was the first Mid-East dish that you mastered? And can you tell us how you felt upon biting into it?

Fried Kibbeh (page 100). My mother-in-law loves to tell the story of when she first showed me how to make this dish…she and I were working in the living room at a coffee table as we shaped the kibbeh, relaxed and chatting happily as best we could – remember, she speaks Arabic and I speak English, and although we both know a little of the other’s language, it is oftentimes a challenge, but surprisingly we understand each other more than you might think! She formed one perfect torpedo-shaped kibbeh and after I saw her shape the first one, I joined right in. Of course my kibbeh wasn’t nearly as perfect looking as hers, but I soon improved and she said I was able to make kibbeh after seeing it made only once, which is something no one else that she has taught has been able to do. Here’s how she describes it: “I’ve tried to teach many Arabic women how to make Kibbeh Mekliyeh; it takes several times before they can do it, and some never even master it. Faith saw me make it once and the next time she made it herself. As we say in
Arabic, laha nefus ala el ekel (literally meaning, she has breath that is good for food, which means she has a deep passion for cooking).”

It was an incredible feeling that night when we sat down to dinner and my mother-in-law pointed out to the family the kibbeh that I had made.

An Edible Mosaic Cookbook by Faith Gorsky

7. There are so many great recipes in the book. Which one is your favorite or the one you cook most often? 

This is a hard question because I cook so many of these recipes so often. If I had to choose just one, it would have to be Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf with Caramelized Onion (page 82). Mike asks for this recipe at least once a week, and I’m glad he does because it’s a favorite of both of ours. At the end of the week when we’re not sure what to make for dinner, this is always our go-to meal. It looks like a simple vegetarian dish, but the flavors come together so perfectly making it completely addictive. Not to mention it’s healthy, vegetarian, and cheap!

8. What recipe, or dish, would you recommend to someone cooking Middle Eastern cuisine for the first time? 

Chicken Shawarma (page 92)! (Or if they’re vegetarian, Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf with Caramelized Onion that I mentioned above.) If someone isn’t sure whether they like Middle Eastern food and you want to win them over, shawarma is the way to go and will convert even the pickiest of eaters. It’s basically the Middle Eastern version of fast food – perfectly spiced meat (it could be chicken, lamb, or beef, but chicken is my favorite) that’s crisp outside and tender inside. Normally it’s made with a vertical rotisserie, but I came up with a special method for making it at home without any special equipment. And my hubby says it’s even better than the shawarma he used to get back home in the Middle East.

9. If you could only use three words to describe Mid-East cuisine what would they be?

Flavorful, enticing, and exciting.

10. What did you enjoy most about writing your cookbook?

What I enjoyed most about writing my cookbook is the opportunity it gave me to delve into my husband’s cuisine and culture. When I make Middle Eastern food for my hubby, it brings the familiarity of the Middle East to him here in the U.S., which is comforting to both of us. And this book not only brought me closer to him, but also closer to my mother-in-law, father-in-law, and my hubby’s siblings. We are all united by a common love for the Middle East, and when they see the deep passion I have for their cuisine and culture, they are filled with joy…and the cycle continues because for me, there is nothing more rewarding.

~Win A Copy of An Edible Mosaic Cookbook ~ This giveaway is now closed!

An Edible Mosaic Cookbook by Faith Gorsky

Rules to participate:
- Giveaway is open to US residents only.
- Leave a comment saying you’d like to win a copy
- Extra entry, follow Spicie Foodie or  An Edible Mosaic on Twitter
- Extra entry, follow Spicie Foodie or An Edible Mosaic on Pinterest
- Extra entry, follow/like Spicie Foodie or An Edible Mosaic on Facebook

Giveaway runs from December 5 to December 12. Winner will be randomly chosen with Random.org and announced on December 12.

That’s it and good luck!

Dec. 12 update: Congratulations to Laura (Tutti Dolci) on winning a copy! 

This giveaway is now closed ~

in Cookbook,Faves,Interviews

{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa December 5, 2012 at 11:36 AM

A lovely interview! Thanks for sharing.

Cheers,

Rosa

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2 TC December 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

I’d like to win a copy. :)

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3 Faith December 5, 2012 at 3:57 PM

I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done to support me, Nancy. You are such a true friend. I had so much fun answering the questions for this Q&A – thank you so much for the interesting and thought-provoking questions. Hugs! xo

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4 Juli-Ann Williams December 5, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Fantastic and this book sounds amzing. I’d love to win it and learn how to make Chicken Schawarma!

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5 Ramona December 5, 2012 at 5:19 PM

This cook book is amazing!! Loved getting to know Faith with your interview questions!

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6 Ramona December 5, 2012 at 5:19 PM

I follow you on twitter

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7 Ramona December 5, 2012 at 5:20 PM

I follow you on pinterest

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8 Ramona December 5, 2012 at 5:20 PM

I follow you on facebook.

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9 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts December 5, 2012 at 5:35 PM

What a great interview. This book is on my Christmas list, would love to win a copy. Everything I have heard about it makes it sound like a must have!

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10 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts December 5, 2012 at 5:35 PM

I follow you both on Twitter

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11 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts December 5, 2012 at 5:36 PM

I follow you both on Facebook

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12 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts December 5, 2012 at 5:37 PM

I follow you both on Pinterest

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13 Adele Forbes December 5, 2012 at 5:47 PM

What a great interview. I would love to own this cookbook.

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14 Donna Wentzel December 5, 2012 at 5:53 PM

I would like to learn more about middle eastern cooking and would love this book

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15 Laura (Tutti Dolci) December 5, 2012 at 5:56 PM

“She has breath that is good for food” – I love, love that! It takes my breath away, really. What a lovely interview with Faith, I’d love a copy of the cookbook!

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16 Laura (Tutti Dolci) December 5, 2012 at 5:57 PM

I follow you both on Twitter.

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17 Laura (Tutti Dolci) December 5, 2012 at 5:57 PM

I follow you both on Facebook.

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18 Laura (Tutti Dolci) December 5, 2012 at 5:58 PM

I follow you both on Pinterest.

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19 sandra December 5, 2012 at 6:07 PM

I would love to win this beautiful cookbook.

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20 Kat December 5, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Sounds like a great book, would love to have it. Thanks for the giveaway.

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21 Maren December 5, 2012 at 7:00 PM

I would love a copy!

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22 Maren December 5, 2012 at 7:01 PM

I follow you on Pintrest

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23 Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) December 5, 2012 at 7:37 PM

I’d absolutely love to win a copy; I’ve been very excited about this cookbook!

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24 Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) December 5, 2012 at 7:38 PM

I follow both of your blogs on Pinterest.

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25 Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) December 5, 2012 at 7:40 PM

I follow both on Facebook.

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26 Angie@Angie's Recipes December 5, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Thanks for sharing and the giveaway!

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27 Barb December 5, 2012 at 8:28 PM

I would be honored to win this book. It looks amazing.

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28 Lucy December 5, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Fabulous! I hope I win ;)

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29 e.s. December 5, 2012 at 10:49 PM

I’d like to win a copy.

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30 e.s. December 5, 2012 at 10:52 PM

following on pinterest

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31 e.s. December 5, 2012 at 10:53 PM

following on facebook

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32 e.s. December 5, 2012 at 10:53 PM

following on twitter

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33 Alyssa (Everyday Maven) December 5, 2012 at 11:03 PM

What a great interview!!! I already have Faith’s book so please do not enter me in the contest but whoever wins it will love it :)

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34 monica mannion December 6, 2012 at 12:27 AM

Hermosa la entrevista,…. I’d like to win a copy of this wonderful book! Edible Mosaic!

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35 Jen Grimm December 6, 2012 at 2:30 AM

The cookbook sounds wonderful!

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36 Jen Grimm December 6, 2012 at 2:31 AM

I like you both on FB

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37 Jen Grimm December 6, 2012 at 2:32 AM

I follow you both on Twitter

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38 Jen Grimm December 6, 2012 at 2:33 AM

I follow you both on Pinterest

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39 Rivki locker December 6, 2012 at 2:34 AM

Tis cookbook looks wonderful. I’d love to be the winner!

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40 Rivki locker December 6, 2012 at 2:35 AM

I follow @anediblemosaic on twitter. I’m @ordinaryblogger.

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41 Ron December 6, 2012 at 3:22 AM

I’d like to win a copy

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42 Leo December 6, 2012 at 6:17 AM

I would love to win a copy as I love to cook! Cooking relaxes me and enables me to bring my family together.

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43 Amanda Thompson December 6, 2012 at 7:18 AM

I would love to win a copy of Faith’s book!

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44 Amanda Thompson December 6, 2012 at 7:21 AM

I am following both of you on Pinterest {Chipsmama84}

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45 Shannon | JustAsDelish December 6, 2012 at 9:21 AM

wish I could be in US to win a copy of this fantastic cookbook. congrats to Faith on her cookbook

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46 Holly December 6, 2012 at 12:43 PM

A lovely story. It may sound trite, but I was touched by it.

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47 Joanne December 6, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Aww I love faith and it was so fun reading through this!

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48 Linus December 6, 2012 at 9:37 PM

I’d love to win a copy!

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49 ChrissyMc December 7, 2012 at 4:29 AM

I would love to win a copy of your cookbook! If I don’t, then Santa will have to bring me one!

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50 Munira Moosa December 7, 2012 at 4:58 AM

Would love this book!!!!!!!!1

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51 anna December 7, 2012 at 6:51 AM

i would like to win a copy! pick me!

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52 Sarah M December 7, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Would love to win a copy of this book! I’ve had it on my wish list for a while!

Sarah

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53 Julia | JuliasAlbum.com December 7, 2012 at 10:34 PM

I’d love to win a copy!

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54 Cheryl W. December 8, 2012 at 8:48 AM

I want to enter to win this gorgeous cookbook.

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55 Cheryl W. December 8, 2012 at 8:49 AM

I follow Spicie Foodie or An Edible Mosaic on Twitter @HeartnSoulmom

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56 Cheryl W. December 8, 2012 at 8:50 AM

I follow Spicie Foodie or An Edible Mosaic on Facebook. FB i.d. Cheryl HeartnSoulmom

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57 Cheryl W. December 8, 2012 at 8:50 AM

follow Spicie Foodie or An Edible Mosaic on Pinterest

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58 Jan R December 8, 2012 at 5:56 PM

I would LOVE to win this book…PLEASE!

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59 Jan R December 8, 2012 at 5:56 PM

I’m an email subscriber.

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60 Andi December 9, 2012 at 12:40 AM

This looks great. I’d love to win a copy.

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61 Trix December 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Yay I made it in time!! Of coure I would love to win a copy! I love the story about shaping the kibbeh, how cool. And that phrase: She has breath that is good for cooking – so evocative.

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62 Kimberly P. December 10, 2012 at 6:32 AM

I would LOVE to win a copy of this book! This book is the epitome of all foods I enjoy eating. Thanks for the opportunity.

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63 Kimberly P. December 10, 2012 at 6:33 AM

Following Spicie Foodie on Twitter.

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64 Kimberly P. December 10, 2012 at 6:35 AM

Liked Spicie Foodie on FB.

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65 Bambie December 10, 2012 at 8:35 AM

I would love to win a copy of this gorgeous book.

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66 Shree December 11, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Hi,
I would love to win this copy of book .

Thanks,
Shree

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67 Soni December 12, 2012 at 4:27 AM

Loved reading the interview with Faith and would love to win a copy of her book! I love Middle Eastern Food!!

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68 Soni December 12, 2012 at 4:28 AM

Follow Spicyfoodie and Edible Mosaic on Twitter!

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69 Magic of Spice December 22, 2012 at 2:42 AM

It is a wonderful cookbook, as is this lovely interview…hugs to you both!

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