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Iraqi food is simple, homey and thanks to this rather sensibly presented cookbook, easy for nonnatives to prepare. Author Ibrahim-who was born in Baghdad and now lives in London-presents more than 200 recipes in what was initially an attempt to capture for her children in written form the cooking traditions handed down orally through the generations but which has evolved into a formal compendium, illustrated by color photographs. There are earthy bean soups accented with cumin, turmeric and vermicelli; dense breads stuffed with ground meat, cheese or dates, and a host of light vegetable salads accented with lemon juice, parsley and olive oil. Ibrahim devotes an entire chapter to kubba, cracked wheat or rice flour domes that are filled with all manner of stuffings and then deep-fried, boiled or baked in sauce. Fried fresh-water fish, ground meat kebabs and cinnamon-spiked rice biryanis are other staples, followed by date and almond sweets and rosewater-doused pastries. With the easygoing style of a casual home cook, Ibrahim describes her dishes and ingredients in an appealingly narrative manner, encouraging a relaxed approach to preparation while explaining the customs and rites of Iraqi eating. Fresh and simple, Ibrahim's cookbook is a welcome addition for those interested in exploring an intriguing cuisine through its most authentic flavors. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.