by Simón de Swaan
The ultimate aim of civility and good manners is to please: to please one’s guest or to please one’s host. To this end one uses the rules laid down by tradition: of welcome, generosity, affability, cheerfulness and consideration for others. People entertain warmly and joyously. To persuade a friend to stay for lunch is a triumph and a precious honour. To entertain many together is to honor them all mutually. It is equally an honour to be a guest.–Claudia Roden, A Book of Middle Eastern Food (1968)
Claudia Roden is an Egyptian-born food writer. She studied in Paris, then later moved to London, where she has lived for most of her life. She travels as a food writer and is the author of the James Beard award–winning The Book of Jewish Food and A Book of Middle Eastern Food amongst other works. Her most recent book Arabesque won the Andre Simon Memorial Fund Award for Best Food Book, the Glenfiddich Best Food Book Award, and the Gourmand World Media Special Award of the Jury.