Scents and Flavors: A Syrian Cookbook

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NYU Press, May 2, 2017 - Literary Collections - 352 pages
This popular 13th-century Syrian cookbook is an ode to what its anonymous author calls the “greater part of the pleasure of this life,” namely the consumption of food and drink, as well as the fragrances that garnish the meals and the diners who enjoy them. Collecting 635 meticulous recipes, Scents and Flavors invites us to savor an inventive cuisine that elevates simple ingredients by combining the sundry aromas of herbs, spices, fruits, and flower essences.

Organized like a meal, it opens with appetizers and juices and proceeds through main courses, side dishes, and desserts, including such confections as candies based on the higher densities of sugar syrup—an innovation unique to the medieval Arab world. Apricot beverages, stuffed eggplant, pistachio chicken, coriander stew, melon crepes, and almond pudding are seasoned with nutmeg, rose, cloves, saffron, and the occasional rare ingredient like ambergris to delight and surprise the banqueter. Bookended by chapters on preparatory perfumes, incenses, medicinal oils, antiperspirant powders, and after-meal hand soaps, this comprehensive culinary journey is a feast for all the senses.

With the exception of four extant Babylonian and Roman specimens, cookbooks did not appear on the world literary scene until Arabic speakers began compiling their recipe collections in the tenth century, peaking in popularity in the thirteenth century. Scents and Flavors quickly became a bestseller during this golden age of cookbooks, and remains today a delectable read for epicures and cultural historians alike.
 

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Contents

Beverages
28
How to Make Various Kinds of Fruit Juices and Treat Them
36
How to Melt the Several Varieties of Tail Fat
40
8
44
Section on maṣūṣ
53
Recipe with tamarind
60
Camphorwhite meatballs
66
Sauts and Related Dishes
76
Maidens Cheeks
164
Frosted cookies
177
Baked goods
188
How to Make the Various Types of Sour and Salty Pickles
196
The sixth type is caper pickles of which there are several kinds
210
The seventh type is bottlegourd pickles of which there are
213
The twelfth type is pickled onions of which there are three
221
The nineteenth type is pickled carrots
227

Faux marrow
85
Section on the ridgedcucumber dish of which there are four
92
four recipes
99
Section on cabbage dishes for which there are two recipes
107
Section on green almonds for which there are two recipes
112
Two variations on sourorange stew
126
Kashk crushedwheat dish of which there are two types
133
Section on lentil dishes for which there are four recipes
139
Section on bananas for which there are three recipes
140
The twentythird type is seasoned iskandarāniyyah fish paste
231
The twentyseventh type is eggplant dishes of which there
238
On Handwashing Powders and Perfumed Soaps
256
On Distilling Waters and Perfuming the Breath
262
Notes
281
Weights and Measures
300
About the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute
321
Copyright

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About the author (2017)

Charles Perry is a culinary historian who has written widely on cooking in the medieval Middle East. He has published and consulted widely on Middle Eastern food history, and has translated a number of pre-modern texts, including A Baghdad Cookery Book: The Book of Dishes.

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