Incorporating the history, traditions, and techniques of these countries Arto der Haroutunian has assembled an unparalleled breadth of recipes representing the whole gamut of Arab cooking. The basis of society in Arabia, especially in the south, was agriculture cereals, aromatics and spices were produced and exported via the caravan routes which passed from Syria through Arabia to the Yemen. Thus Arab dishes are subtle, varied and exotic. The basic diet largely comprised, and still does, dates, rice, milk, goat or lamb meat and coffee. The patchwork of peoples and countries that form this medley comprise dishes from Egypt some of the oldest recipes in the world such as melokhia, the famous soup of the Pharaohs. From Syria an enormous range of vegetable salads. From Lebanon sun-ripened fruits. From Iraq date, hazelnut, mushroom and fig recipes. From Armenia and Kurdistan the cracked wheat burghul dishes. From Cappadocia the exotic flavours of sesame and tahini. From the Caucasus the vast array of kebabs. From Assyria and Armenia classic stuffed vegetable dishes mahsi, and from Persia yogurt dishes, fabulous rice dishes, sherbets and sweet and sour dishes.