Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium

ME-feasts-msg



This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

ME-feasts-msg – 5/30/10

 

Middle Eastern feasts. sitting, serving them. References.

 

NOTE: See also the files: feasts-msg, feast-serving-msg, feast-ideas-msg, p-menus-msg, ME-dance-msg, fd-Mid-East-msg, Moors-msg, Arabs-msg, Jews-msg, E-Arab-recip-art, ME-revel-fds-art.

 

************************************************************************

NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.

 

Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is unclear  at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

************************************************************************

 

From: plan9 at main.ionia-mi.net (Barbara Wieland)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Middle Eastern Feast Question

Date: Sun, 23 Mar 1997 05:56:01 GMT

Organization: Continental Cable International Mid-West Region

 

In article <19970320105900.FAA25176 at ladder01.news.aol.com>, tieglion at aol.com (Tieglion) wrote:

>Our Barony is producing a Middle eastern event, and as assistant

>Feastacrat I, and our Baroness were thinking of the idea of eating this

>feast  in the middle eastern tradition also. So i take this into my own

>hands and find the problem with this idea is i have searched the Web and

>found nothing on how a  Middle Eastern Feast is served and is it done on

>low tables with people on pillows and rugs   or this another Hollywood

>invention... any referances, advice or info on this subject would be

>greatly appreciated...

>In service,

>Lady Rowen the Shiftless

>Barony of Hidden Mountain

 

I don't know much, and take this all with a grain of salt... but... here are

some ideas. this is just what i remember off the top of my head from reading

about middle eastern culture over the last year or so.

 

food is served from one large serving platter with people taking what they

want... rather buffet style. or if you have servants, the tradition is to keep

filling plates and cups with food and drink until the guest places their hand

over the cup or plate to indicate they are through. once through, a guest

leaves the table or dining area.

 

as to tables or not... i'm not sure. i guess it might depend on what

cuisine/style you're looking to replicate. i'm sure the bedouins didn't lug

around heavy oak tables through the desert. a fabulously well-to-do persian

merchant might have one though. don't know.

 

the usual dietary requirements: no pork of course, or alcohol. lamb is big.

camel's milk, if you can find it. that's the staple drink of the bedu.

 

those hosting the feast are the last to begin eating--but being a feastocrat,

you'll probably be lucky if you get to sit down and enjoy it at all!

 

and lastly, if you're going to be REALLY authentic, you'd have to seperate the

men from the women. and the men get the good parts (though "good" in this

case includes organs like the heart, etc. i guess good is relative :)  )

i have my doubts about how well that would go over, though!

 

my last word of caution: my info may be off!

 

 

From: Dale Walter <Dwarph at worldnet.att.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Middle Eastern Feast Question

Date: Sun, 23 Mar 1997 22:02:53 -0500

Organization: Dwarph Industries/banu durrah

 

ya yammant!

 

I would recommend such sources as _Personal Narraive of a Pilgramage to al-Medina and Meccah_ by Sir Richard Burton for descriptions of meals served on caravan and in the city (there is a diffence.)

 

Before the meal, a bowl and ewer are used to allow the guests to wash thier hands (water is poured from the ewer over the guests hands, as it is "unclean" to wash your hands in the water used by others.  The catch basins are works of art in themselves.)

 

Typically, the meals are served on a large tray of three or four items (more if you are being lavish) that is placed upon a stand, about which the guests sit on cushions.  "Bismallah" is exclaimed, and the food is consumed in silence, after which coffee and conversation is served.  The Host usually does not sit, and when possible, a servant will actually present the meal.  Guests will not eat everything, for this is insulting to the host (indicating that the guests were not sufficiently served.)  After the meal, coffee is served (small cups are used) and discussions are then had.  Guests should be entertaining (storys and songs are most welcome as well as customary), and arguments should be kept small.

 

BTW, some of us Western Europeans (I'm a Moozarab from al-Andalus) follow these same customs, so it is not just Middle-Eastern (since the lands of Aethemearc lie between the Middle and the East, shouldn't that be the Middle-East?)

 

Salaam alikum, durr

--

D. E. Walter  dew at ecl.psu.edu   Member # 02933

(Formerly, Smokey) Baron Dur of Hidden Mountain

durr al-jabal al-makhfi abu niifa ben durrah sultan al-Tabl

Orluk Oasis on the War Road (of Aethelmarc)

 

 

From: capncarp at aol.com (CapnCarp)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Middle Eastern Feast Question

Date: 24 Mar 1997 15:42:02 GMT

 

Madame;

As my Lady Samirah al-Mansur is deeply wise in these matters, I have

gained a few crumbs of wisdom on this subject.

 

1) No chairs, except for those gentles who are too infirm to be seated on

pillows on the floor next to the low tables

2) No utensils, except for an individual cup/goblet/etc., a napkin, and

the occaisional serving spoon or knife; which leads to...

3) Eat with the RIGHT hand (the left is reserved for attending the needs

of the body below the waist); this requires some practice,especially to

gentles with large amounts of facial hair.  The technique is to take some

of the savoy dish and mix it with the usually accompanying rice, roll the

mixture into a ball, and place it in your mouth. Have  your napkin

ready....

4) The large platter is a communal dish; it is polite to segregate the

amount of food you have chosen to your edge,away from the rest of the food

on the platter;this is a matter of hygienic politeness, so that your hand

touches no one else's food.

5) Alcoholic beverages are NOT ALLOWED by Islamic law.

 

This is all my poor brain will provide at this time; good luck, and may

your feast be both enjoyable AND culturally and historically correct!

 

I am your humble servant,

 

Geoffrey fitzJulien fitzStephen, called Soulspeeder

eka (electronically known as)

CapnCarp at aol.com

  

 

From: DDFr at Best.com (David Friedman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Middle Eastern Feast Question

Date: 24 Mar 1997 19:34:33 GMT

Organization: School of Law, Santa Clara University

 

In article <3335EEDD.45AD at worldnet.att.net>, Dwarph at worldnet.att.net wrote:

 

> BTW, some of us Western Europeans (I'm a Moozarab from al-Andalus)follow these > same  customs, so it is not just Middle-Eastern (since the lands of Aethemearc

> lie between the Middle and the East, shouldn't that be the Middle-East?)

>

> Salaam alikum, durr

> --

> D. E. Walter  dew at ecl.psu.edu

 

Actually, there seems to be a significant difference between feast customs

in al-Andalus and in the East. As I understand it, the standard procedure

throughout period in the middle east was to serve on one platter of rice,

with some of one dish on one part of the platter, some of another dish on

another part, etc. But after the changes credited to Ziryab, the custom in

al-Andalus was to use a separate plate for each dish. You can find a

discussion of this in Manuscrit Anonimo (the 13th c. Andalusian cookbook

original published by Ambrosio Huici-Miranda and translated into English

by Charles Perry); the author regards the one platter system as old

fashioned and uncultured, and the many dish system as the way

sophisticated people serve feasts nowadays.

 

On another topice, incidentally, feast custom in the Middle East, at least

in present day traditional areas and I think in period, also included

perfuming guests--apparently using an incense burner to scent their

garments (while they were wearing them). Perhaps someone else can offer

more information on this custom, which I have never seen done in the SCA.

 

David/Cariadoc

 

 

From: manth at ozemail.com.au (Aramanth Dawe)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Middle Eastern Feast Question

Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 05:12:35 GMT

Organization: OzEmail Ltd - Australia

 

plan9 at main.ionia-mi.net (Barbara Wieland) wrote:

 

><snip of some really terrific suggestions>

>and lastly, if you're going to be REALLY authentic, you'd have to seperate the

>men from the women. and the men get the good parts (though "good" in this

>case includes organs like the heart, etc. i guess good is relative :)  )

>i have my doubts about how well that would go over, though!

 

We (Barony of Stormhold, Lochac) did this for one day of our Tour

Through Outer Mongolia camping event one Easter. The general

consensus was that it was a _terrific_ idea.  The Women's side was

full of lots of giggles and 'girl' talk and to judge from the noises

coming from the Men's side they had just as much fun.  We simply

strung a dividing curtain throughout the middle of the room, and left

it at that as a separator.

 

We sat on cushions and furs on the floor, with Servers circulating

with the food (each of the feasters took it in turns, so there was

little fuss with it.)  I was assistant cook, and as we made mostly

finger-foods it was easy for us to prepare and serve this way.

 

The entire weekend was one of the best I had been to for a long time.

 

Aramanth

--

manth at ozemail.com.au

Aramanth Dawe,

Adelaide, Australia

 

 

From: keightp at goodnet.com (Kate Pitroff)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: middle eastern feast:incense

Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 21:38:43 UNDEFINED

 

DDFr at Best.com (David Friedman) writes:

 

>On another topic incidentally, feast custom in the Middle East, at least

>in present day traditional areas and I think in period, also included

>perfuming guests--apparently using an incense burner to scent their

>garments (while they were wearing them). Perhaps someone else can offer

>more information on this custom, which I have never seen done in the SCA.

 

>David/Cariadoc

 

This is common among women and is mentioned in Marianne Alireza's _At the Drop

of a Veil_.  A metal censer, containing charcoal and incense, (probably

frankincense, I imagine) is brought out at the end of the party held by the

Alireza family for women of the town.  The censer is swung amongst the women,

then set on the floor.  Each woman then steps over the burner, arranging her

clothes into a tent to catch the smoke.  As a nod to more modern custom, the

hostess of the party then goes down the line of guests with a large bottle of

French cologne, and splashes a little into the hand of each guest, signalling

that if they wish, they may leave, but they are by no means required to do so.

Quite nice, I think.  You might twist it a bit for your feast and offer small

bottles of perfumed oil or boxes of amber to each guest...never know if that

incense will set off someone's asthma...

 

kate

tucson, az

 

 

Date: Thu, 20 Nov 1997 23:01:52 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Andalusian cookery

 

Yumitori asked about Andalusian feasts.

 

There is a fair amount of stuff in the Miscellany, which you have in a

fairly recent version, but you might also try looking at the big period

Andalusian cookbook in Cariadoc's cookbook collection vol. 2.  It has

discussions of how to keep your kitchen (i.e., make sure your pots get well

scrubbed so that bad vapors don't accumulate and poison you) and how to

serve food ("Many of the great figures and their companions order that the

separate dishes be placed on each table before the diners, one after

another; and by my life, this is more beautiful than putting an uneaten

mound all on the table, and it is more elegant, better-bred, and

modern...") as well as recipes; and you may be able to figure out something

about bread and roasts by looking through this book.

 

As to what you are forgetting to ask, how about sweets? We have a bunch of

those worked out in the Miscellany.

 

Elizabeth

 

 

From: DDFr at best.com (David Friedman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Middle east feast info

Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 13:07:12 -0700

Organization: Santa Clara University

 

"dehring" <dehring at iserv.net> wrote:

>I have taken under task for a cooking and brewing RUM (Royal University of

>the Midrealm) class the idea of researching what the customs and food you

>would expect from a middle east feast. The idea being here whats happening at

>home. This is what the crusader encountered in that culture he traveled to.

>If any of could point me to books to look into, and any period paintings

>that would show what the table and feast gear would have looked like I

>would appreciate it!

 

The 13th c. Andalusian cookbook translated by Charles Perry and included

in Volume II of the cookbook collection I sell has a section describing

how to serve a feast, order of dishes, etc. Of course, that is western

Islamic; my understanding is that feast service was different in eastern

Islam. In particular, Ziryab appears to have introduced in Andalusia the

custom of serving each dish separately, replacing the old custom of

serving a pile of rice with some of this and some of that and ... on it. I

gather the new style did not catch on in the central and eastern parts of

al-Islam.

 

David/Cariadoc

 

 

Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 12:58:17 -0700

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - meat on rice question

 

At 1:46 PM -0500 4/5/99, Helen wrote:

>> .  Putting the beef, pre-sliced, on the rice and pre-sauced, as

>> someone suggested, is a good trick for making a little go a long way.

>So, taking this a step farther, how do you get this pile of meat, sauce

>and rice on the trecher/plate from the serving tray with 8 servings on it?  

>I am thinking of doing this with my venison and fumerty.  I have very

>little venison.

 

I'm coming into this late, but the serving procedure in the Islamic world

in period, with the exception of al-Andalus after the reforms credited to

Ziryab, seems to have been a tray with a pile of rice, with some of this

stuff on part of it and some of that stuff on part of it, and the diners

simply served themselves from that. The 13th c. Andalusian cookbook

mentions this way of serving and puts it down, claiming that the more up do

date, sophisticated approach is separate dishes for serving the separate

things.

 

David/Cariadoc

http://www.best.com/~ddfr/

 

 

Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 20:49:30 -0700

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: Service Styles (was Re: SC - re: Dayboard - feast crashers)

 

Manuscrito Anonimo, a thirteenth century Andalusian cookbook, has a

discussion of how feasts should be served. It explains that you

should not use the old-fashioned approach, in which your guests were

served a pile of rice with some of this on it in one place and some

of that on it in another place and ...   but instead should send out

each dish separately. So when we were doing an Islamic feast a good

many years back, we did the old-fashioned way, which greatly reduces

the amount of work. If you have (say) three recipes all of which you

want to serve over rice, you make a pile of rice on the tray, put one

thing at one end on the rice, one at the other, one in the middle.

You now have only one tray to take out for the whole course.

- --

David/Cariadoc

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/

 

 

Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 12:37:16 -0700

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

From: david friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Help with planning Islamic feast (longish)

 

"Many of the great figures and their companions order that the

separate dishes be placed on each table before the diners, one after

another; and by my life, this is more beautiful than putting an

uneaten mound all on the table, and it is more elegant, better-bred,

and modern; this has been the practice of the people of al-Andalus

and the West, of their rulers, great figures, and men of merit from

the days of 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz and the Banu Umayya to the

present."

 

One thing you might want to think about is whether to do the

sophisticated western Islamic style of feast or the eastern

islamic/unsophisticated western Islamic style.

 

The former is credited as one of Ziryab's innovations, and seems to

be basically what we think of as the standard approach to serving a

feast--a series of courses, with each dish served separately. So far

as I can tell, it never caught on in the eastern (i.e. middle east

and beyond) parts of the Islamic world.

 

The eastern style involves a tray piled with rice, with some of one

dish at one end, some of another at another, some of a third ...  .

 

When Elizabeth and I do an Islamic feast, we tend to go with the

latter style, both because it is easier to serve and because it is

more different from what people are used to. As far as I can make

out, it is appropriate for western Islamic as well as eastern,

provided you don't mind the snootier members of your audience passing

comments about how uncultured you are.

 

If you decide to do the easier version, you might also do more

research than I have to confirm my interpretation of what it was. I'm

going in part by the quote above, in part from a modern description

of a feast in a traditional part of the middle east.

--

David/Cariadoc

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/

 

 

Date: Tue, 02 Dec 2003 16:14:45 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Food service in period -- arab, jewish

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

jenne at fiedlerfamily.net wrote:

>I'm doing a feast on February 21 that is conviviencia-era Spain and I'm

>trying to come up with some period food service schtick for the Muslim and

>Jewish courses.

 

You might look at God's Banquet which discusses banquets in the

Arab litertature of the medieval period. Geert Jan Van Gelder is the author.

It's been remaindered and turns up cheap at various places.

 

There is this title that I have never seen but you might ILLoan it in

and check it out--

A Medieval Banquet in the Alhambra Palace

Audrey Shabbas, editor. AWAIR, 1994

http://www.makanalislam.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&;Store_Code=AWAIR&Product_Code=BANQUET-101

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 10:28:03 -0800

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Food service in period -- arab, jewish

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

On 2 Dec 2003, at 12:30, jenne at fiedlerfamily.net wrote:

>  How about Jewish period food service practices? I know about

> handwashing (on the sabbath)...

 

Brighid ni Chiarain replied:

> Jewish law calls for handwashing before every meal.

 

And since Muslims eat with their hands, hand washing in a luxury

setting such as a large feast is also suitable.

 

Anahita

 

 

Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 14:19:02 -0500

From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <rcmann4 at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Food service in period -- arab, jewish

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

On 2 Dec 2003, at 12:30, jenne at fiedlerfamily.net wrote:

> What elements of the meal _service_ would be typical of muslim

> (specifically andalusian) feast service in period? For instance, is

> handwashing before eating part of the food service?

 

From what I can find, Muslim practice is to wash hands before and after eating.

 

Brighid ni Chiarain *** mka Robin Carroll-Mann

Barony of Settmour Swamp, East Kingdom

 

 

Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2004 19:16:17 -0400

From: "Daniel  Phelps" <phelpsd at gate.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] looking for middle eastern

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Was written:

> Hi there.  I am looking to plan an event for this year in which it will have

> a definite middle eastern theme (thousand and one arabian nights,

> Concordia's crystal snowflake ball). I am looking to instead of a feast

> provide what amounts to a never ending buffet through out the day and was

> wondering what suggestions people might have as to where to look for

> recipes, recipes or dishes.

 

1001 Nights contains a story in which a feast is described in detail dish by

dish.  Years ago I ran a cross a book with a title like "Feasts of the

Past", "Food in Literature" or some such that detailed the story and

"redacted" portions of the feast.  The story as I recall it is that someone

is invited to feast and the dishes are laid and the host describes the

dishes to the guest and mimes eating but there is nothing on the plates.

This goes on and on until the guest finally remarks upon the state of

affairs and then the feast is actually served.  Such a story might be  

of use mayhaps?

 

Daniel

 

 

Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2004 18:57:35 -0700

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] looking for middle eastern

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

Daniel  Phelps wrote:

> 1001 Nights contains a story in which a feast is described in detail dish by

> dish.  Years ago I ran a cross a book with a title like "Feasts of the

> Past", "Food in Literature" or some such that detailed the story and

> "redacted" portions of the feast.  The story as I recall it is that someone

> is invited to feast and the dishes are laid and the host describes the

> dishes to the guest and mimes eating but there is nothing on the plates.

> This goes on and on until the guest finally remarks upon the state of

> affairs and then the feast is actually served.  Such a story might be  

> of use mayhaps?

 

Alas, one must be cautious with translations.

 

In "Medieval Arab Cookery" Charles Perry has an essay devoted to the

ways food was described inaccurately in translations of "A Thousand

Nights and a Night". So I would not recommend using any translation

of fiction unless you can verify that the translation is accurate

rather than the fancy of the translator.

 

Anahita

 

 

Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2004 22:47:44 -0400

From: "Daniel  Phelps" <phelpsd at gate.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] looking for middle eastern

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Regards my reference to 1001 Nights was written:

 

> Alas, one must be cautious with translations.

> In "Medieval Arab Cookery" Charles Perry has an essay devoted to the

> ways food was described inaccurately in translations of "A Thousand

> Nights and a Night". So i would not recommend using any translation

> of fiction unless you can verify that the translation is accurate

> rather than the fancy of the translator.

 

Hmmm... I've three translations that I've used over the years.

 

(1) Tales From the Thousand and One Nights.  Translated by N.J. Dawood.

Penguin Classics Cox and Wyman Ltd. London, England 1973

 

(2) The Book of The Thousand Nights and One Night.  Rendered into English

from the French translation by Dr. J.C. Mardus by Powys Mathers.  St.

Martins Press, N.Y. N.Y. 1972.

 

This work is in 4 volumes and while not as complete as Burton's it is in my

opinion the most enjoyable of the current "complete" translations  

available.

 

(3) The Book of The Thousand Nights and A Night.  Translated and Annotated

by Sir Richard Burton.  Privately Printed by the Burton Club.  Printed  

in the USA

 

While not the most readable, at 16 volumes this is the most exhaustive

translation of the collected tales.

 

It is my understanding that the original collection of these tales has been

reliably date to before 956 A.D.

 

That being said and as I (1) do not have access to an orginal and (2) don't

in any case read ancient arabic or even modern arabic which translation does

Perry recommend?  As a side note I suppose that one could compare the text

of the three translations I know of but if the version used as a source is

common to all and corrupt in and of itself any errors in the source would be

perpetuated in all three, yes?  That being said I didn't intend to suggest

using the story as a source for recipes so much as an aid to the theme of

the event.

 

Daniel

 

 

Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 12:23:46 -0700

From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] looking for middle eastern

T: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

...

 

> (3) The Book of The Thousand Nights and A Night.  Translated and Annotated

> by Sr Richard Burton.  Privately Printed by the Burton Club.  Printed in

> the USA

> While not the most readable, at 16 volumes this is the most exhaustive

> translation of the collected tales.

 

Tastes differ--I'm very fond of the Burton translation.

 

> It is my understanding that the original collection of these tales has  

> been reliably date to before 956 A.D.

 

I don't think that is correct--unless you mean that the existing

versions are the result of a process that started that early.

 

What you may be thinking of is the mention of the Sheharazade frame

story in the _Fihrist_ of al-Nadim. But that doesn't tell us that the

tales in the surviving versions of the Nights go back that far--only

that the frame story does. As best I recall, surviving versions are

believed to be about 15th century and later.

 

There are probably individual stories lifted from sources, most

likely Indian, that can be identified as earlier. But as far as I

know, there is no evidence that the stories of the Nights as we have

i were collected earlier.

--

David/Cariadoc

www.daviddfriedman.com

 

 

Date: Wed, 13 Oct 2004 09:08:58 -0700

From: Susan Fox-Davis <selene at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] looking for middle eastern

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Daniel Phelps wrote:

> 1001 Nights contains a story in which a feast is described in detail dish by

> dish.  Years ago I ran a cross a book with a title like "Feasts of the

> Past", "Food in Literature" or some such that detailed the story and

> "redacted" portions of the feast.  The story as I recall it is that someone

> is invited to feast and the dishes are laid and the host describes the

> dishes to the guest and mimes eating but there is nothing on the plates.

> This goes on and on until the guest finally remarks upon the state of

> affairs and then the feast is actually served.  Such a story might be  

> of use mayhaps?

> Daniel

 

I believe you are referring to THE LITERARY GOURMET by Linda Wolfe, a

friend of my late Aunt Evelyn's as it happens. I seem to recall that

chapter of 1001 Nights was included. Great book;  it got me started

with the idea of redacting historical recipes in the first place.  It is

back in print and available through Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/067167353X/102-4600067-3133720?v=glance

 

Selene

 

 

Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 09:58:57 -0500

From: Judith Epstein <judith at ipstenu.org>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] siting table in Middle-eastern style.

 

On Sep 11, 2009, at 9:35 AM, Susan Lin wrote:

<<< I don't have much and no sources but you've already noted one arrangement

here - Islamic and Jewish men and women would not have been seated

together.  Quite likely they would have been in different tents. You would

need to follow Halech (sp?) or Kosher laws regarding what foods may be

served together and what foods are prohibited.

 

-S >>>

 

Jewish: Jewish law is called halachah, stemming from the word  

'holeich' meaning 'walk'. In other words, the law is the pathway on  

which you walk, the way in which you go. If there are different tents, it's often preferable to separate men into one and women into the  

other. If there's only one tent, men sit on one side and women on the  

other. In most cases, there's a curtain hung in between for the sake  

of modesty. In some cases, the curtain is lowered -- for instance, at  

a wedding, the curtain runs down the center of the tent or room. The  

bride and groom sit very near to the curtain, she on the women's side  

and he on the men's side, so they can be near one another, even while  

separated by the modesty curtain. Permitted foods or practices are  

called kosher (KOH-shur) or kasher (kah-SHARE). Non-permitted foods or practices are called tamei (ritually impure), treifah or

'treif' (torn), or simply lo-kasher (not kosher). The word kosher or  

kasher means fit or proper according to halachah.

 

Muslim: Much the same, I'm pretty sure, though I am no expert and you  

should check with someone who is both a believer and practitioner of  

Islam. Permitted foods or practices are called halal; non-permitted  

foods or practices are called haram.

 

While there is a good bit of overlap in the laws of kosher slaughter  

and halal slaughter (zabiha), not all the dietary restrictions are the same with Islam and Judaism. Thus, just because something is halal  

doesn't make it kosher, and just because something is kosher doesn't  

make it halal.

 

For both, the separation of the sexes is meant to preserve the ritual  

purity, dignity, respect, and reputation of both men and women. Laws  

of modesty are meant to do the same, and apply to both sexes, though  

in slightly different form because each gender has different parts of  

the body that are considered too holy for common/vulgar viewing.

 

 

Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 12:18:19 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] siting table in Middle-eastern style.

 

How traditional do you want? In very traditional countries

women and girls never eat with the men and boys. To reproduce this

you would have to serve the men their feast; the women would eat later.

 

Modern customs can be searched in Google under such phrases as:

islamic meals women served separately

 

Sources such Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures are available  

for viewing in part online.

 

Johnnae

 

On Sep 11, 2009, at 9:29 AM, Georgia Foster wrote:

<<< How is an Islamic meal structured, served, and cleared away?  Has  

anybody researched this yet, who might have insight they are willing  

to share?  Any references I can start with that might serve as a  

springboard? >>>

 

 

Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 07:57:42 -0700

From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] siting table in Middle-eastern style.

 

<<< . . . not what they ate, but how the meal was structured.  How does

one properly set and serve a meal in the Holy Land, in period?

Anybody know of any references where I would start with to determine

the structure of the Islamic meal? >>>

 

The Anonymous Andalusian (13th c.) discusses the question of how a

feast is organized, but it's describing western Islamic practice

which pretty clearly differed at the time from Middle Eastern

practice due to some changes attributed to Ziryab, an influential

cultural figure in, I think, the ninth century.

 

"Many of the great figures and their companions order that the

separate dishes be placed on each table before the diners, one after

another; and by my life, this is more beautiful than putting an

uneaten mound all on the table, and it is more elegant, better-bred,

and modern; this has been the practice of the people of al-Andalus

and the West, of their rulers, great figures, and men of merit from

the days of 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz[55] and the Banu Umayya to the

present."

 

The discussion rejects the old fashioned way of doing things, which

seems to involve serving everything at once, in favor of the cultured

modern way, which involves a sequence of courses--and it describes

what the sequence is. The book is webbed on my site; the relevant

part is:

 

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Andalusian/andalusian3.htm#Heading125

 

My interpretation of the old fashioned way, which I gather is still

the practice in the Middle East, is that you have a platter with a

pile of rice, and the various things all on it, presumably on

different parts of the pile. This makes serving much easier. It's how

Elizabeth and I did our Islamic feast at Thirty Year.

 

My guess, but it's only a guess, is that one way of doing it is to

use tray tables. The stands are in place, the trays are brought in,

each with its pile of rice (perhaps on a big plate), with (say) three

different main dishes, all served out on top of different parts of

the pile. That would explain the prominence of tray tables.

--

David/Cariadoc

www.daviddfriedman.com

 

<the end>



Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org