By Nawal Nasrallah
This English translation of al-Warraqs tenth-century cookbook bargains a different glimpse into the culinary tradition of medieval Islam. hundreds of thousands of recipes, anecdotes, and poems, with an in depth advent, a thesaurus, an Appendi and colour representation. Informative and exciting to students and basic readers.
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Additional info for Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens: Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's Tenth-century Baghdadi Cookbook
MuÈammad bin à9aqrån, 2nd ed. (Beirut: ò§r al-ó9arb al-Isl§mÊ). 24 introduction to the Aleppan historian Ibn al-bAdÊm (d. 66 He analyzed it and gave a summary of its contents. The book is a practical organized guide divided into ten chapters dealing with perfume compounds, useful kitchen preparations, and food recipes mostly briefly written. 5. Ibn Sayy§r al-Warr§q’s tenth-century edited cookbook came out in 1987. 6. 67 It was written around the fourteenth or fifteenth century, and has 750 recipes unevenly distributed by categories along 23 chapters.
A case in point is the ï9arÊd dish. It can be as simple and cheap as bread sopped in fava beans or chickpeas broth, with or without meat, or as laborious and costly as the meat preparations we encounter in al-Warr§q’s Chapters 61 and 83, where more expensive cuts of meat are used, a wider variety of spices is added, and artistic garnishes and presentations are required. However, we can safely assume that the commoners al-b§mma did enjoy good food, in normal circumstances at least. The trendy dishes the affluent enjoyed such as the varieties of stews called sikb§j§t and zÊrb§j§t were also popular among the rest of the community.
Barbara Inskip, Medieval Arab Cookery (Prospect Books) 178. Also by Rodinson, in Medieval Arab Cookery: “Maamåniyya East and West,” trans. Barbara Inskip (183-97), and “Venice, the Spice Trade and Eastern Influences on European Cooking,” trans. Paul James (201– 15). A more detailed study on the issue is by Toby Peterson, “The Arab Influence on Western European Cooking” Journal of Medieval History 6 (1980): 317–40. She suggests that using “sugar, saffron, and spices…were the three defining parameters of medieval European cooking,” in addition to rose water and pomegranate (330).