Best of Delectable Foods and Dishes from al-Andalus and al-Maghrib: A Cookbook by Thirteenth-Century Andalusi Scholar Ibn Razīn al-Tujībī (1227–1293)

English Translation with Introduction and Glossary


The thirteenth-century cookbook Fiḍālat al-khiwān fī ṭayyibāt al-ṭaʿām wa-l-alwān by the Andalusi scholar Ibn Razīn al-Tujībī showcases the sophisticated cuisine that developed in the Iberian Peninsula under Muslim rule through its 475 exquisite recipes. Now available for the first time in English, this edition contains al-Tujībī’s complete text, based on a newly discovered manuscript now available for the first time in any language. To introduce readers to the wonders of cooking and foodways in al-Andalus and the Maghreb, the translated text is supplemented with an extensive introduction and glossary, illustrated throughout with 218 color miniatures and artifacts, with 24 modernized recipes to give readers a taste of the cuisine. This is a key resource on medieval material culture and the Arab culinary heritage in Iberia, and a delight to all lovers of food and cookbooks.

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Nawal Nasrallah, Independent Scholar, has published books and articles on the history and culture of Arab food, including Delights from the Garden of Eden (Equinox 2013), and English translations Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens (Brill 2007), Treasure Trove of Benefits and Variety at the Table (Brill 2018), and Smorgasbords of Andalusi and Maghribi Dishes and their Salutary Benefits (Brill 2024).
"I have enjoyed reading Best of Delectable Foods, I have been fascinated and learnt a lot. Nawal Nasrallah has brought an extraordinary medieval world to life in an intimate kind of way through Al Tujibi’s cookbook. With this book, the English-speaking world will be able to better understand the Hispano Muslim styles of Spain and North Africa today and their influence further afield. They will also better understand the countries."
Claudia Roden, celebrated, pioneering author of books on Middle Eastern and Jewish food, June 2023.

“... al-Tujībī’s tome is a revelation... It will affect the way we cook from now on for sure.”
Sam and Sam Clark, cook book authors and chef-owners of Moro, in the Financial Times, June 10, 2022. click here.

"One of only a handful of surviving medieval Spanish cookbooks, Ibn Razin's Fiḍālat has been long known to scholars, even if incompletely. By at least the 17th century, 55 of its 475 recipes had disappeared. Then in 2018 a nearly complete 15th-16th century copy of the cookbook, originally composed in Tunis around 1260 CE, surfaced in the British Library. Alerted to the discovery, Nasrallah, a food historian, set out to produce the first complete English translation, preserving lbn Razin's culinary legacy while modernizing 24 of the recipes for the home cook. The book serves as Ibn Razin's ode to the cuisine of Muslim Spain, before having to flee the Iberian Peninsula's conquest by Christian armies. He nostalgically surveys a wide range of dishes, from everyday boiled fava beans to special-occasion sinhaji, an elaborate stew and forebear of Spain's classic olla podrida. This faithful translation is an important contribution to the history of Andalusi cuisine."
Tom Verde in AramcoWorld, July 1, 2022.

"When flipping through the 600 or so pages of the Fiḍāla’s recipes, their “novelty and exquisiteness,” as al-Tujībī characterized them, quickly becomes evident... While al-Tujībī never saw his beloved al-Andalus again, ...all of his favorite recipes have now returned home."
click here.

"Dankzij dit boek krijgen we inzicht in gerechten, hoe ze met de jaren zijn veranderd of juist hetzelfde gebleven, en hoe gerechten de verschillende gemeenschappen met elkaar verbonden. Dat wekt bewondering en is een aansporing om te experimenteren met die oude methodes en receptuur... Wat een bijzonder document heeft Al-Tujibi de wereld achtergelaten. Gelukkig maar. Wie beweert dat tijdreizen niet mogelijk is, heeft duidelijk nooit van dit magische boek gehoord."
Hassnae Bouazza in NRC Handelsblad, Zaterdag 11 maart/Zondag 12 maart, 2023.
click here

Shortlisted for the 16th Sheikh Zayed Book Award in the category ‘Translation’.

Listen to a special extended episode of the podcast "Cooking the Books" about 13th century Moorish cookery. On stage at the British Library in London Gilly Smith sits with the sold out audience as Polly Russell, curator of the British Library's Food Season introduces Sam and Sam Clark of Moro to the stage with translator Nawal Nasrallah and the Curator of Arabic Scientific Manuscripts, Bink Hallum to time travel to Moorish Andalucia and taste 800 year old recipes from the recently published Brill book cooked up Moro-style. click here.

Read an interview with the translator in the November/December 2022 issue of Aramco World click here.

List of Figures
Notes on Translating the Text

Part I: The Making of Fiḍālat al-khiwān
Part II: Food and Foodways in al-Andalus
Part III: The Andalusi Cuisine as Depicted in the Book of Fiḍāla
Part IV: The Years They Ate Couscous Dangerously

Best of Delectable Foods and Dishes

Part 1 القسم الأول في الأخباز والثرايد والاحساء وطعام الخبز وغير ذلك وهو خمسة فصول On Bread, Tharāyid, Soups (Aḥsāʾ), Pastries, and the Like; and It Has Five Chapters

I.1 Part One, Chapter One: On Varieties of Bread (Akhbāz)

I.2 Part One, Chapter Two: On Tharāyid

I.3 Part One, Chapter Three: On Soups (Aḥsāʾ) and Porridges

I.4 Part One, Chapter Four: On Pastries and Varieties of Mujabbanāt (Cheese Pastries), Isfanj (Fritters, Buñuelos), and the Like

I.5 Part One, Chapter Five: On All Kinds of Dishes That Are Sopped in Broth like Tharīd; and Those Cooked in Ways Similar to Soup

Part 2 القسم الثاني في أصناف لحوم ذوات الأربع ويشتمل على ستة فصول On Meats of Quadrupeds, and It Has Six Chapters

II.1 Part Two, Chapter One: On Beef (Luḥūm Baqariyya)

II.2 Part Two, Chapter Two: On Mutton (Luḥūm Ḍaʾn)

II.3 Part Two, Chapter Three: On Lamb (Luḥūm Khirfān)

II.4 Part Two, Chapter Four: On Young Goat Meat (Luḥūm Al-Jidāʾ)

II.5 Part Two, Chapter Five: On Wild Meat (Luḥūm Al-Waḥsh)

II.6 Part Two, Chapter Six: On Foods Incorporated into Dishes Cooked with Meat of Quadrupeds, and Which Are Akin to Making Meatballs (Banādiq)

Part 3 القسم الثالث في أصناف لحوم الطير ويشتمل على سبعة فصول On Dishes with Various Types of Poultry, and It Has Seven Chapters [136r]

III.1 Part Three, Chapter One: On Meat of Geese (Iwazz)

III.2 Part Three, Chapter Two: On Chicken (Dajāj)

III.3 Part Three, Chapter Three: On Meat of Partridges (Ḥajal)

III.4 Part Three, Chapter Four: On Meat of Squabs (Firākh Ḥamām)

III.5 Part Three, Chapter Five: On Meat of Fat Turtledoves (Yamām Musmina)

III.6 Part Three, Chapter Six: On Meat of Starlings (Zarāzīr)

III.7 Part Three, Chapter Seven: On Meat of Sparrows (ʿAṣāfīr)

Part 4 القسم الرابع وهو ثلاثة فصول في طبخ اللون المسمى بالصنهاجي والكرش المحشوة واللسان الصنهاجي And It Has Three Chapters: On a Dish Called Ṣinhājī, Stuffed Tripe, and Ṣinhājī Tongue

IV.1 Part Four, Chapter One: On Cooking a Dish Called Ṣinhājī

IV.2 Part Four, Chapter Two: On Making Stuffed Tripe (Karsh Maḥshuwwa), Wonderful

IV.3 Part Four, Chapter Three: On Making [Ṣinhājī] Tongue

Part 5 القسم الخامس في أنواع الحيتان وضروب البيض ويشتمل على فصلين إثنين On Varieties of Dishes With Fish And Eggs, and It Has Two Chapters

V.1 Part Five, Chapter One: On [Dishes with] Various Types of Fish

V.2 Part Five, Chapter Two: On Varieties of Egg Dishes

Part 6 القسم السادس في الألبان وكل ما يكون منها ويشتمل على ثلاثة فصول On Dairy Foods (Albān), and It Has Three Chapters

VI.1 Part Six, Chapter One: A Recipe for Rennet-Curdled Milk (ʿAqīd Al-Laban Al-Ḥalīb) and What Is Made With It

VI.2 Part Six, Chapter Two: On Making Rāyib (Yogurt) and Extracting Butter

VI.3 Part Six, Chapter Three: On Ripening Hard Cheese in a Jar (Khābiya) and Ways for Cooking It; and Remedying Butter and Milk

Part 7 القسم السابع في البقول وما اليها ويشتمل على عشرة فصول On Vegetables (Buqūl) and the Like, and It Has Ten Chapters

VII.1 Part Seven, Chapter One: On Dishes Made with Gourd (Qarʿ)

VII.2 Part Seven, Chapter Two: On Dishes with Eggplants (Bādhinjān)

VII.3 Part Seven, Chapter Three: On Dishes with Carrots (Jazar)

VII.4 Part Seven, Chapter Four: On Dishes Made with Desert Truffles (Kamʾa)

VII.5 Part Seven, Chapter Five: On Cooking Asparagus (Isfarāj), and It Has One Dish

VII.6 Part Seven, Chapter Six: On Ḥarshaf, Which Are Qannāriyya and Afzan

VII.7 Part Seven, Chapter Seven: On Cooking Mushrooms (Fuṭr), and It Has One Dish

VII.8 Part Seven, Chapter Eight: On Cooking with Spinach (Isfānākh), Blite (Yarbūz), Lettuce (Khass), and the Like

VII.9 Part Seven, Chapter Nine: On Cooking JināNiyya

VII.10 Part Seven, Chapter Ten: On Cooking Taros (Qulqāṣ), and It Is Has One Dish

Part 8 القسم الثامن في الفول والحمص و ماأشبههما وهو يشتمل على ثلاثة فصول On Fava Beans (Fūl), Chickpeas (Ḥimmaṣ), and the Like. It Has Three Chapters

VIII.1 Part Eight, Chapter One: On Fresh and Dried Fava Beans (Fūl)

VIII.2 Part Eight, Chapter Two: On Dishes with Chickpeas (Ḥimmaṣ)

VIII.3 Part Eight, Chapter Three: On Cooking All Kinds of Lentils (ʿAdas), and It Has One Dish

Part 9 في المعسلات وأنواع الحلواء و ما يتنوع من ذلك كله من العسل والسكر ويشتمل على سبعة فصول On Muʿassalāt and All Sorts of Confectionary (Ḥalwāʾ), with All Kinds of Variations, [186r] Made with Honey and Sugar. It Has Seven Chapters

IX.1 Part Nine, Chapter One: On Making Muʿassal and Ghassānī

IX.2 Part Nine, Chapter Two: On Making Varieties of Confectionary (Ḥalwāʾ)

IX.3 Part Nine, Chapter Three: On Making Qāhiriyya (Delicate Cairene Ring Cookies) and Sanbūsak (Marzipan)

IX.4 Part Nine, Chapter Four: On Making Jawzīnaq and Lawzīnaj (Walnut and Almond Confections)

IX.5 Part Nine, Chapter Five: On Making Qaṣab Ḥulw (Reeds of Candy)

IX.6 Part Nine, Chapter Six: On Making Fānīdh (Pulled Sugar Taffy) and Ishqāqūl (Rings of Solomon)

IX.7 Part Nine, Chapter Seven: On Varieties of Desserts from the Eastern Region (Sharqiyya)

Part 10 القسم العاشر في الكوامخ وما ينضاف اليها من عمل الخلول وعمل المري على اختلاف انواعه واصلاح الزيت واستخراجه ان عدم من حبوب أخر واستخراج الادهان المحتاج اليهافي الطبخ وما يصلح الاطعمة من كثرة الملح ونتن اللحم وما اشبه ذلك ويشتمل على اثني عشر فصلا On Pickles and Condiments (Kawāmikh) and Other Related Preparations for Varieties of Vinegar and Murrī (Fermented Liquid Sauce); Remedying Olive Oil and Replacing It With Other Oils When Not Available; Remedying Overly Salty Foods and Raw Meat That Does Not Smell Fresh; and the Like. It Has Twelve Chapters

X.1 Part Ten, Chapter One: On Making Ṣināb (Mustard Sauce)

X.2 Part Ten, Chapter Two: On Curing Olives (Zaytūn)

X.3 Part Ten, Chapter Three: On Pickling Lemons (Taṣyīr Al-Līm)

X.4 Part Ten, Chapter Four: On Various Ways for Pickling Capers (Taṣyīr Al-Kabar)

X.5 Part Ten, Chapter Five: On Pickling (Taṣyīr) Eggplants (Bādhinjān), Onions (Baṣal), and Turnips (Lift)

X.6 Part Ten, Chapter Six: On Pickling Fish (Taṣyīr Al-Ḥūt)

X.7 Part Ten, Chapter Seven: On Making Varieties of Vinegar

X.8 Part Ten, Chapter Eight: On Making Sun-Fermented Liquid Sauce (Murrī Naqīʿ), Cooked Liquid Sauce (Murrī Maṭbūkh), and Other Kinds

X.9 Part Ten, Chapter Nine: On Making Oil (Zayt) with Ingredients other than Olives When They Are Not Available; and Remedying Olive Oil When It Spoils and Its Flavor or Aroma Deteriorates

X.10 Part Ten, Chapter Ten: On Extracting Oils (Adhān) When Needed for Some Dishes

X.11 Part Ten, Chapter Eleven: On Making Cured Meat (Qadīd)

X.12 Part Ten, Chapter Twelve: On Ways to Remedy Food

Part 11 القسم الحادي عشر في طبخ الجراد والقمرون وأغلال On Cooking Jarād (Locusts), Qumrūn (Freshwater Shrimps), and Aghlāl (Edible Land Snails)

Part 12 القسم الثاني عشر في الغاسولات وهو فصل واحد On Handwashing Preparations (Ghāsūlāt), and It Has One Chapter

[Final Bonus Recipe]


1 Beverages

2 Breads, Grains, Pasta, Noodles, and Sweet and Savory Pastries

3 Dairy

4 Desserts and Sweeteners

5 Dishes and Prepared Foods: Main and Side Dishes, Snacks, Condiments, Pickles, Dips, and Table Sauces
A valuable resource for academic and public libraries; for readers interested in medieval material culture, including that of al-Andalus and the Maghreb, social sciences, anthropology, comparative studies, linguistics, and for all interested in Middle Eastern food culture and history.
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