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Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens: Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's Tenth-century Baghdadi Cookbook (Islamic History and Civilization) Bilingual Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-9004158672
ISBN-10: 9004158677
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Editorial Reviews


Gourmand World Cookbook Award 2007 for best translated cookbook Honorable mention of the Arab American National Museum Book Award 2007 [ ] this is an impressive piece of scholarship and a joy to read both for pleasure and for more sober historical reflection on the ways medieval bourgeois Arab Muslim, and also Christian and Jewish urbanites, enjoyed themselves at table. David Waines, Dept of Religious Studies, Lancaster University, "Journal of Semitic Studies," Vol. 54, 2009. "[...] this is a major resource that should be in every university library and will be consulted for years to come by anyone who is interested in the history of cuisine in the Middle East." Daniel Martin Varisco, Hofstra University, "Review of Middle East Studies, 2009" "Nawal Nasrallah's impressive translation of the tenth-century Baghdadi cookbook by Ibn-Sayyar al-Warraq provides a valuable resource for understanding medieval Baghdadi culture through culinary tradition." Leyla Rouhi, Williams College, "Gastronomica," 2010"


"a fascinating and instructive window into the life and culture of medieval Islam. What is equally exciting is that this translation reveals the medieval Greek historian Galen's Humoral Theory and the Concept of Remedying Food or healing foods that was prevalent in the 10th-century Baghdad. Thus, we learn more about the history of medicine and the art of healing from the medieval world and discover some of the roots of natural healing practices that are prevalent today. We are given the exact recipes for these remedies."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 867 pages
  • Publisher: BRILL; Bilingual edition (December 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9004158677
  • ISBN-13: 978-9004158672
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 2.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,779,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens
English Translation with Introduction and Glossary by Nawal Nasrallah

Massive and impressive and marvelous are some of the adjectives that come to mind when attempting to describe this book. For the first time we can hold in our hands an English translation of the complete text of the Kitab al - Tabikh or (Book of Dishes or Book of Cookery) a cookery book by Ibn Sayy'r al-Warr'q. This means that 600 plus recipes dating from the tenth century are now available. This edition is drawn from and cross-checked through the three surviving manuscripts which are located in England, Helsinki, and Istanbul.

In translation, the work begins on page 65 of this volume and extends through page 519. This results in 455 pages of recipes for dishes ranging from stews, cold and hot poultry dishes, dips and sauces, boiled dishes, porridges, vegetables, fried dishes, roasted kid and other meats, puddings, pastries, confections, and beverages. The text also includes discussions of the utensils needed, the spices, foods for the elderly and very young, the humors, numerous food poems, manners and decorum. Footnotes abound to guide the reader and point out differences between the texts.

The editor and translator Nawal Nasrallah includes a comprehensive introduction, glossary of Arabic to English and English to Arabic terms, an appendix of important people and places mentioned in the text, and works cited. A full range of five sub-divided indexes, including an ingredients index and a separate index for prepared foods and drinks, compliments the text. The medical terms, recipes, and advice are in yet another index.

The only drawback is the price. The work is being sold at 139.00 / US$ 195.00. I can report that it seems well worth the price.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating collection of Abbasid recipes that is well worth the price for those interested in the history of food. It is worth getting for just the history alone, with chapters on medieval Baghdad food culture, the alleged medicinal benefits of certain foods, and the vast array of ingredients used during 10th century in the Abbasid capital. But try to cook these dishes, and take yourself back to Abbasid times. It is not easy, as you must convert measurements (ratls and natls to cups, for example), but some of the measurements are given. Get used to "some water" for bread recipes, and enjoy the process. The results are well worth the effort.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very surprised to find recipes for nougat,
flan(as it is called in the Spanish restuarants),
sandwiches of all kinds(open-faced,pressed,wraps)
pot pies,marzipan,quiche etc in this recently
translated 1000 year old book.I had no idea that
these foods had a Middle Eastern origin!I was so
impressed that I have ordered a second book by the
translator Nawwal Nasrallah "Recipes from the Garden
of Eden".
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