Tom Verde

Freelance Writer

Pawcatuck, CT

Tom Verde

Freelance Journalist, specializing in Religion/Culture/History
M.A. Islamic Studies & Christian-Muslim Relations


The Long Journey of the Aleppo Pepper

Early in the seven-year-old Syrian civil war, American imports of Syria’s signature dried, ground Aleppo chiles dropped drastically. The spice-trading city of the same name, where the fresh pepper was traditionally grown and processed, has been devastated in the fighting, which has destroyed lives and livelihoods.
The New York Times Link to Story

Egyptology’s Pioneering Giant

Weighing 3.6 metric tons and measuring nearly three meters from chest to crown, the 3,200-year-old red-granite bust of Pharaoh Ramses ii fairly lords over the British Museum’s Egyptian sculpture gallery. Napoleon’s troops had tried, yet failed to so much as to budge the toppled, fragmented figure from its sandy resting spot in the Ramesseum, the pharaoh’s vast mortuary temple in Thebes, on the west bank of the Nile near present-day Luxor.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

Arab Translators of Egypt's Hieroglyphs

Nile Magazine Link to Story

Arabic Type-Making in the Machine Age: The Influence of Technology on the Form of Arabic Type, 1908-1933, Vol. 14

The first Arabic typefaces did not appear until the early 16th century. His deeply researched, wide-ranging history of mechanized Arabic script in the 20th century examines its challenging entré onto the modern, printed page. Highlights include the introduction of the Arabic typewriter (patented by Egyptian Selim S.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & the Caucasus

Combining engaging travel and food essays written by journalist Eden and recipes compiled by tv food editor Ford, this strikingly illustrated cookbook can be savored in the kitchen or the armchair. Described as a “celebration of the richness and diversity” of Central Asia and the “culinary heritage of its distinct populations,” it focuses on the cuisines of seven groups, among others, that “left their mark on Samarkand”: Tajiks, Russians, Turks, Jews, Koreans and Uzbeks.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

Oklava: Recipes from a Turkish-Cypriot Kitchen

The title of this beautifully produced cookbook translates simply as “rolling pin,” a handy kitchen tool for making boat-shaped, stuffed pide, the “Turkish version of pizza.”. The book includes plenty of creative, vaguely Californian riffs on this cultural classic, such as chicken-and-garlic köfte pide with chili yogurt, smoked salsa, walnuts and feta.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

Kaukasis, A Cookbook: A Culinary Journey through Georgia, Azerbaijan & Beyond

This is understandable, as the region has been variously ruled by Arabs, Mongols, Persians and Ottomans, each of whom left their culinary stamp, characterized by hearty fare, on the mountainous landscape. Lamb is favored in dishes like chakhapuli, young lamb stewed with herbs and spices common to Arab cuisine (coriander, fenugreek, tarragon, mint and lots of garlic), tinged with the acidic juice of sour plums.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

Istanbul & Beyond: Exploring the Diverse Cuisines of Turkey

This is a book for those who mistakenly believe that Turkish cuisine is “largely confined to kebabs ... salads, and baklava,” writes Eckhardt. Because Turkey borders multiple countries, from Bulgaria to Iraq, it follows that its cuisine is not singular. Rather, it has been impacted by “an array of culinary regions that make it one of the most gastronomically complex countries anywhere.”.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

Coastline: The Food of Mediterranean Italy, France, & Spain

Arab merchants had as much to do with establishing what we now call “the Mediterranean diet” as did the Greeks, the Romans and even the Vikings, the authors of this colorful volume say. While often considered, historically, a “Roman lake,” the Mediterranean might be better described as a superhighway—of trade.
AramcoWorld Link to Story

In Suburban Connecticut, the Palestinian Avant-Garde

Faisal Saleh, who opened a museum, is increasingly comfortable in the presence of art and artists. Monica Jorge for The New York Times. Faisal Saleh is proud of his Palestinian heritage; his bohemian side, however, has until recently been hidden. Born in the West Bank city of El Bireh, Mr. Saleh came to America as a high-school senior in 1969, studied at Oberlin College, earned his M.B.A. from the University of Connecticut, and eventually helped establish a small benefits and human-resources firm based in Washington, D.C.
The New York Times Link to Story

Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Mashed Fava Beans

It was mid-morning, and I was wandering the streets of Cairo, feeling peckish. I knew what I needed: some ful medames—slow-cooked, mashed fava beans. Filling and ridiculously cheap, ful never fails to satisfy. Traditionally, ful is spooned from gently simmering, amphora-shaped vats called qidras into warm pockets of fresh, wholewheat flatbreads.
Roads & Kingdoms Link to Story

There’s Community and Consensus. But It’s No Commune.

The Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community in Amherst, Mass., is multigenerational, but some cohousing developments are mostly or exclusively occupied by senior residents. Matthew Cavanaugh for The New York Times. In December, Mr. Johnson, along with his wife and their newborn twins, moved to a two-story, three-bedroom house in the Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community that is 120 yards away from his parents, Jane and Kit Johnson.
The New York Times Link to Story


Tom Verde

Specialties: Islam, Middle Eastern history, interfaith relations and dialogue, early Christian history, and comparative religion. Have written and published extensively on religion, culture, the environment, and travel in major national and international publications (New York Times, Boston Globe, AramcoWorld, Biblical Archeology, National Geographic Adventure, Travel & Leisure, Wildlife Conservation, et. al.) as well as broadcast networks including NPR, Public Radio International and the BBC. Worked with the British Council, the Social Science Research Council, and the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University to develop a secondary school curriculum entitled "Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean." Recent awards: 2018, Religion News Association Award for Excellence in Religion News Analysis; 2017 Clarion Award, National Federation of Press Women, and Connecticut Press Club Communications Contest; Finalist, Religion Newswriters Magazine Writing Award, 2015; Folio Award for "Best Single Article" 2013; Clarion Award for "Best Magazine Article" 2011; also past winner of New York Festivals, National Headliner, and National Federation of Community Broadcasters awards.



  • Editing
  • Writing
  • Curriculum Development
  • Lecturing