Paula Wolfert and The Watched Pot + Her New Book

Paula Wolfert considers a pot of couscous
Paula Wolfert considers a pot of couscous
A. Scattergood

As you may know, if you got your fix of Merguez sausage, roasted lamb and Tuareg weaponry this past weekend in Pasadena, Paula Wolfert was in town for the Couscous Festival. The celebrated cookbook author, couscous expert and friend of Paul Bowles gave a couscous demo, which included the above Watched Pot Moment, as Wolfert demonstrated how to make couscous from scratch, steam it repeatedly, etc. It was beautiful.

Wolfert also took some time to chat with Evan Kleiman (see Good Food) and to tell us that she's been hard at work on her next project, a reissue a new book based on her classic Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco, which has been in print since 1973. (Richard Nixon, Secretariat, the Lakers lose the NBA finals to the Knicks.)

Wolfert does not waste time. Her last book, Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking, which was her 10th, came out exactly a year ago. The publication date of the new book, to be titled The Moroccan Cookbook, is October of 2011. It will include about 150 new recipes as well as updated recipes using what's available today, in contrast to when the book was originally published -- with an introduction by Gael Greene and an epigraph by Herodotus.

As Wolfert described the project via email yesterday, "l created a whole new way of making warka, pastries and tagines, and [I] explain the magic of the tagine as a portable oven. In other words, it's a NEW book!"

Photographer Quentin Bacon (lovely name, that) has shot hundreds of photographs for the new book, the original of which had many brilliant things -- footnotes, a recipe that included Spanish Fly, some lovely pictures -- but nothing like what will be in the new book. Start your couscousieres, eh?

For more from Wolfert, you can check out her website, and follow her on Twitter.

couscous making equipment
couscous making equipment
A. Scattergood

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