A Baghdad Cookery Book: The Book of Dishes (Kitāb Al-ṭabīkh)

Front Cover
This special issue of Petits Propos Culinaires is wholly devoted to a new translation of the text called, for convenience' sake, A Baghdad Cookery Book, that is, The Book of Dishes (Kitab al-Tabikh) by Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Muhammad b. al-Karim, the scribe of Baghdad, usually called Al Baghdadi. This thirteenth-century text was for a long while the only medieval Arab manuscript available in English thanks to the translation, in the 1930s, by A.J. Arberry which was subsequently re-published by Prospect Books in 2001 in Medieval Arab Cookery. In this new translation Charles Perry corrects many errors and misreadings that had crept into early transcriptions. Here we have spread before us, as if on a glorious sideboard, the immense wealth and ingenuity of cooking in the golden age of Arab civilisation. We can detect the influence of Persia, as well as echoes of the Bedouin life, and even the mark of the infidel Christian crusaders.

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About the author (2005)

Kitāb al Tabīkh, composed by a thirteenth-century scribe we usually call al-Baghdadi, was long the only medieval Arabic cookery book known to the English-speaking world, thanks to A.J.Arberry's path-breaking 1939 translation as 'A Baghdad Cookery Book' (reissued by Prospect Books in 2001 in Medieval Arab Cookery).

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