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Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World

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Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World
A Concise History with 174 Recipes. By Lilia Zaouali. Translated by M. B. DeBevoise. Foreword by Charles Perry. (University of California Press, Berkeley: 2007. Pg. 266. 32 Color Illustrations.) ISBN 13: 978-0-520-24783-3.

Reviewed by Angela Evans - October 16, 2007

Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World is both a history book, and a cookbook. The first half of this volume is devoted to exploring the history and practice of Islamic cooking, starting in the Caliph's palaces of 9th and 10th century Baghdad, and then spreading out across the entire Mediterranean. The second half of the book is given over to a wealth of original recipes gathered from Medieval culinary sources. Also included are 31 contemporary recipes that can easily be recreated by both novice and seasoned chefs seeking to add an authentic taste of the Middle Ages to their culinary repertoire.

This exciting volume was written by Lilia Zaouali, a native of Tunisia who earned her doctorate in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. This work was translated into English by M. B. DeBevoise. The text also includes an informative foreword by Charles Perry that not only introduces the material in the book, but also introduces the readers to the rich literary and cultural heritage that surrounded cooking, and cookbooks, in the Medieval Islamic world, and how this heritage laid the foundation for modern Arab cuisines around the world.

Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World is a must-have book for both scholars and general readers who are desirous of learning about Islamic culinary traditions from the middle ages. It is also a valuable cookbook for cooks of every skill level seeking to delve into this unique culinary heritage or of expanding their own cooking skill by trying out some, if not all, of the 174 recipes in this captivating book.


Related Reviews:

The Ornament of the World, By Maria Rosa Menocal.
How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain.

The Travels of Ibn Battuta in the Near East, Asia and Africa 1325-1354, Translated and Edited by Rev. Samuel Lee.
A republication of the 1829 English translation of Ibn Battuta's 'Travels' which chronicles his epic 75,000 mile journey of discovery.

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