[Sca-cooks] UC Titles was The Eminent Maestro Martino of Como

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Sun Sep 21 17:10:35 PDT 2008

Antonia asked:
>Johnna Holloway wrote:
>  > Zaouali, Lilia
>  > Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World
>  > A Concise History with 174 Recipes
>  > California Studies in Food and Culture, 18
>  > $24.95 hardcover, $15.95 hardcover on sale
>Does anyone know whether this one is worth having?

Well... Depends on what you want to do with the recipes.

It has recipes translated into English that have never been 
translated before, so it is useful for that.
- 52 from al-Fadalat al-Khiwan by ibn Razin al-Tujibi from 
al-Andaluz, dated 1230
- 36 from Kanz al-Fawaid fitanwi al-mawaid from 13th C. Egypt
- 29 from the Kitab al-Wusla ila al-Habib from 13th C. Syria

- And 24 from ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's compendium of 9th & 10th C recipes
(the whole book was published around the same time as Zaouali's, 
translated by Nawal Nasrallah, but it costs around $200 US - however 
Nasrallah's book is a work of true scholarship)

It has a section in the back with modern North African recipes (which 
the author thinks show culinary continuity) and many are for dishes 
in none of my other Moroccan and North African cookbooks. Obviously 
not relevant to the SCA, but if you like Maghribi food, like i do...

The introductory matter is useful if one does not have other books, 
like "Medieval Arab Cookery", and it does have some information not 
in M*A*C.

But it is not a work of scholarship like Nasrallah's. The recipes 
appear to have been selected somewhat at random. Since they have been 
wrested from their original manuscripts they lack context. Instead we 
have recipes from 4 books, from 2 centuries, and from 4 different 
cultures. There's no way to compare the books to see how they may be 
similar and how they differ from one another. This makes trying to 
study the changes in cuisines in the Arabic speaking world rather 

I bought it for full price last winter and i think it is worth $25. 
But i also find it extremely frustrating for the reasons above, and i 
hope that the complete texts of the three 13th C. books are 
evenutally translated and published.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

My LibraryThing

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