Scheherazade's Feasts: Foods of the Medieval Arab World


The author of the thirteenth-century Arabic cookbook Kitāb al-Ṭab&#299kh proposed that food was among the foremost pleasures in life. Scheherazade's Feasts invites adventurous cooks to test this hypothesis.

From the seventh to the thirteenth centuries, the influence and power of the medieval Islamic world stretched from the Middle East to the Iberian Peninsula, and this Golden Age gave rise to great innovation in gastronomy no less than in science, philosophy, and ...

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The author of the thirteenth-century Arabic cookbook Kitāb al-Ṭab&#299kh proposed that food was among the foremost pleasures in life. Scheherazade's Feasts invites adventurous cooks to test this hypothesis.

From the seventh to the thirteenth centuries, the influence and power of the medieval Islamic world stretched from the Middle East to the Iberian Peninsula, and this Golden Age gave rise to great innovation in gastronomy no less than in science, philosophy, and literature. The medieval Arab culinary empire was vast and varied: with trade and conquest came riches, abundance, new ingredients, and new ideas. The emergence of a luxurious cuisine in this period inspired an extensive body of literature: poets penned lyrics to the beauty of asparagus or the aroma of crushed almonds; nobles documented the dining customs obliged by etiquette and opulence; manuals prescribed meal plans to deepen the pleasure of eating and curtail digestive distress.

Drawn from this wealth of medieval Arabic writing, Scheherazade's Feasts presents more than a hundred recipes for the foods and beverages of a sophisticated and cosmopolitan empire. The recipes are translated from medieval sources and adapted for the modern cook, with replacements suggested for rare ingredients such as the first buds of the date tree or the fat rendered from the tail of a sheep. With the guidance of prolific cookbook writer Habeeb Salloum and his daughters, historians Leila and Muna, these recipes are easy to follow and deliciously appealing. The dishes are framed with verse inspired by them, culinary tips, and tales of the caliphs and kings whose courts demanded their royal preparation. To contextualize these selections, a richly researched introduction details the foodscape of the medieval Islamic world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"From the tenth to the thirteenth centuries, when Baghdad was the grandest city in the world and Moorish Spain was a beacon of civilization, all cookbooks were written in Arabic. The Salloums have done a wonderful job of bringing this age of splendor and luxury to life and rendering the party dishes of a thousand years ago in all their fragrant glory."—Charles Perry, translator of A Baghdad Cookery Book

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812244779
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/5/2013
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 1,041,695
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Habeeb Salloum is author of many books, including Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East and North Africa and The Arabian Nights Cookbook: From Lamb Kebabs to Baba Ghanouj, Delicious Homestyle Arabian Cooking. Muna Salloum and Leila Salloum Elias are coauthors of The Sweets of Araby: Enchanting Recipes from the Tales of the 1001 Arabian Nights.
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Table of Contents

Note on Translation


Green Olive Spread
Labnah with Chopped Greens and Walnuts
Fried Eggs with Vinegar and Spices
Fava Bean Salad
Fava Beans with Yogurt and Garlic
Spicy Chard and Fava Bean Dip
Fava Bean Dip with Fennel and Cumin
Tangy Eggplant Stir-Fry
Seared Eggplant with Walnuts
Pickled Onions
Honeyed Carrots in Rosewater
Cauliflower with Tahini-Walnut Sauce
Hummus with Ground Nuts
Sauteed Spinach with Garlic and Coriander
Cold Roasted Chicken with Almonds and Pomegranate Seeds
Cold Roasted Chicken with Lime and Cucumber
Herbed Chicken Salad
An Almond-Mustard Condiment
Herb Sauce for Fish

Cold Yogurt and Cucumber Soup
Spiced Lamb and Fava Bean Soup
Hearty Lamb and Chickpea Soup
Chickpea and Miso Soup
Aromatic Soup with Rice and Pomegranate Seeds
Squash and Lentil Soup
Meatball and Chickpea Soup

Lamb and Prune Tajine
Spiced Lamb with Walnuts
Lamb and Sour Apple Tajine
Lentil Stew with Lamb and Swiss Chard
Spiced Lamb and Lentil Stir-fry with Rice
Browned Lamb with Saffron-Cinnamon Rice
Lamb and Rice Porridge
Lamb and Cabbage Tajine
Lamb with Honeyed Onions
Lamb with Greens and Clockwise-Stirred Yogurt
Fried Bananas with Lamb and Hazelnuts
Spiced Lamb and Fennel Tajine
Sweet and Sour Lamb and Vegetable Stew
Savory Meatballs and Cubed Lamb with Coriander
Spice-Infused Cucumbers with Lamb and Walnuts
Asparagus Wrapped in Lamb
Ground Meat with Fried Halloumi Cheese and Spices
The Caliph's Wife's Eggplant and Lamb Stir-fry
Stuffed Eggplant
Lamb and Vegetables with Spiced Onion Sauce
Garlicky Spinach with Buttered Lamb and Chickpeas
Spiced Lamb with Honeyed Apricots
Sweet and Meaty Lamb and Date Kebabs
Spicy Lamb Sausage
Fried Lamb Turnovers Two Ways
Hearty Stuffed Tripe with Lamb, Chickpeas, and Rice
Aromatic Couscous with Veal and Vegetables
Stuffed Dumplings in Yogurt
Herbed Chicken Pita Rolls
Chicken Stew with Pomegranate Juice and Pumpkin
Savory and Sour Chicken, Lamb, and Egg Casserole
Grilled Chicken in Yogurt
Fried Meatballs with Pistachios and Honey
Pistachio-Stuffed Roasted Chicken
Chicken and Vegetables in a Tart and Creamy Sauce
Tangy Sumac Chicken
Saffron Chicken Tajine
Zesty Almond and Chicken Pie
Aromatic Chicken with Fried and Boiled Eggs over Toasted Pita
Creamy Stew with Meat and Vegetables
Ginger-Fried Shrimp for Lent
Fried Fish with Garlic and Coriander Sauce
Poached and Baked Fish with Fennel
Fried Fish with Tahini and Onions
Walnut-Stuffed Roasted Fish
Summertime Fried Fish
Fried Salmon with Raisins and Almonds
Sweet Tooth Rice and Yogurt
Sauteed Aphrodisiac Greens
Garlicky Yogurt and Chard
Spiced Chickpea Fritters
Gardener's Vegetable Tart
Basic Dessert Elements
Sugar Syrup
Honey Syrup
Rosewater and Orange Blossom Custard Cream

Sugared Lettuce
Honey and Almond Candy
Chewy Fruit and Nut Candy)
Muḥammad's Wedding Cookies
Fried Rosewater Melts
Honeyed Sesame Cakes
Adult Butter Cookies
Caliph's Favorite Shortbread
Sesame-Nut Shortbread
Hazelnut Filo Dough Cake
Fried Dough with Pistachios and Rosewater
Honey-Cream Crunch
Seven-Layer Ricotta Cake
Almond Fingers
Fried Dough Bites
Crunchy Beaded Honey Squares
Crispy Lattice Fritters
Fried Stuffed Pancakes
Sweet Cheese Fritters
Honey-Dipped Almond-Stuffed Rings
Braided Fried Dough with Spices
Aromatic Nut Cigars
Almond-Sealed Stuffed Cigars
Fried Nut Turnovers

Hot Sweet Rosewater Drink
Aromatic Honey and Grape Juice Drink for Wintertime
Zesty Mint Drink
Hot Aromatic Honeyed Milk
Pomegranate Seed Smoothie
Sour Apple Syrup
Cold Apricot Drink for Breaking a Fast

Sample Menus for Special Occasions
A Dinner During Ramadan (Breaking the Fast)
A Dinner During Lent
A Dinner During Passover
A Dinner for Christmas
A Dinner Feast Such as That Held in the Caliph's Court

Regal Recipes for Stuffed Meats

Measurements and Metric Conversion Chart
Tools and Ingredients

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