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Caliphs-Ktchn-rev - 1/10/09

 

A review by THL Johnnae llyn Lewis of "Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens - Ibn Sayya-r al-Warra-q's Tenth-Century Baghdadi Cookbook".

 

NOTE: See also the files: fd-Mid-East-msg, fd-Turkey-msg, E-Arab-recip-art, ME-revel-fds-art, fd-Persia-msg, murri-msg, goat-msg, dates-msg, puddings-msg.

 

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    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 13:41:50 -0500

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

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens-- a Review

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

        "SCAFoodandFeasts at yahoogroups.com" <SCAFoodandFeasts at yahoogroups.com>

 

My copy has arrived and I have been very pleasantly immersed in

another time and place. It really is a marvelous book and I am so

impressed that I have already written the following up.

 

Johnnae

 

*Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens*

 

*Ibn Sayya-r al-Warra-q's Tenth-Century Baghdadi Cookbook*

 

English Translation with Introduction and Glossary by Nawal Nasrallah

Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2007 xii, 876 pp., 32 pp of color plates.

ISBN (13): 978 90 04 15867 2 * ISBN-10:*90 04 15867 7

 

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 Sayya-r al-Warra-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 cost. For those of us

seriously interested in food and culinary history, this is a volume to

treasure and honor with a place on our shelves.

 

In her /Preface/, the editor writes that she was most concerned with

accuracy and readability. She seems to have accomplished her aims in

this fascinating volume about "this most interesting book."

 

Unsure? Take a look at the actual book. Go to

http://www.brill.nl/product_id24049.htm and click on the link to look at

the book through Google book search.

 

SCA Cooks' Note: Can you cook a feast from is provided here? I think the

answer will be a resounding yes. I suspect that the volume (if enough

people can scrape together the funds to buy it) will be used by many

cooks who are interested in preparing Middle Eastern fare and feasts. I

would suggest that owners keep the volume out of the actual kitchen and

off any countertops. Xerox your chosen recipes and take those to the

kitchen. It would be a tragedy to splatter the actual volume. With some

work, testing of versions, adapting to our ingredients and kitchens, I

predict that the recipes are going to be able to be adapted and used in

the SCA.

 

Review by Johnnae llyn Lewis, CE

 

Copyright//JK Holloway. 10 January 2008

 

<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