Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens

Ibn Sayyār al-Warrāq's Tenth-Century Baghdadi Cookbook


Written nearly a thousand years ago, al-Warraq’s cookbook is the most comprehensive work of its kind. This traditional cookbook with more than 600 recipes from the luxurious cuisine of medieval Islam is also a rare guide to the contemporary culinary culture. Its numerous anecdotes and poems unfold the role of food in the politics of Islam’s golden era.

Introducing this elegant translation is a thorough survey of the period and its food culture. An extensive Glossary, in Arabic and English, of medieval ingredients and dishes, and an Appendix of historical figures provide the necessary reference tools for this work. Making this key resource available in English for the first time to scholars and the general reader fills a gap in the cultural history of medieval Islam. Over 30 color illustrations.

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Nawal Nasrallah was a professor of English and comparative literature at the universities of Baghdad and Mosul. As an independent scholar, one of her recent publications is Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and a History of the Iraqi Cuisine(Authorhouse, 2003).
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,

"[...] 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 valuable source in academic and public libraries for researchers interested in cultural/culinary history in general and medieval Islam, social sciences, anthropology, comparative literature, and linguistics. Equally interesting for the general reader.
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