In the early 14th century, a court nutritionist called Hu Sihui wrote his
Yinshan Zhengyao, a dietary and nutritional manual for the Chinese Mongol Empire. Hu Sihui, a man apparently with a Turkic linguistic background, included recipes, descriptions of food items, and dietary medical lore including selections from ancient texts, and thus reveals to us the full extent of an amazing cross-cultural dietary; here recipes can be found from as far as Arabia, Iran, India and elsewhere, next to those of course from Mongolia and China. Although the medical theories are largely Chinese, they clearly show Near Eastern and Central Asian influence.
This long-awaited expanded and revised edition of the much-acclaimed
A Soup for the Qan sheds (yet) new light on our knowledge of west Asian influence on China during the medieval period, and on the Mongol Empire in general.
Paul D. Buell, Ph.D. (1977) in History, University of Washington, Seattle, is Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter at the Horst-Görtz-Stiftungs-Institut, Berlin. He has published extensively on the history of the Mongols including an
Historical Dictionary of the Mongol World Empire (Scarecrow, 2003).
E. N. Anderson, Ph.D. (1967) in Anthropology, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside. A specialist in ethnobiology and human ecology with extensive field work, he is the author of
Floating World Lost (University Press of the South 2007).
Charles Perry, B.A. (1964) in Middle East Languages, University of California, Berkeley, is a Los Angeles-based writer specializing in the food history of the Islamic world. His writings include
Medieval Arab Cookery (Prospect, 2000), with A.J. Arberry and Maxime Rodinson.
Scholars of Chinese, Mongol, Turkic and Central Asian history; medical historians; anyone interested in food and culture in the medieval period.