[Sca-cooks] Author's Name (was: Banana Recipe)

lilinah at earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Wed Jul 21 10:03:41 PDT 2010

Guillaume wrote:
>In the discussion concerning the banana recipe, the name of the author
>was given as Ibn al Mahdi Al-Warraq. However, in the follow-up it was
>given as Abu Muhammad al-Muzaffar ibn Nasr ibn Sayyar al-Warraq. I am
>familiar with the latter and have not found a reference to the former
>online. I am a little confused on this point. Are these the same
>person, different people, or the result of a typo? Was the original
>citation from al-Kitab al-Tabikh (The Book of Dishes)?
>Will the real al-Warraq please stand up?

Actually, Cariadoc wrote:
>A recipe for Judhaba of bananas by Ibn al Mahdi
>Al-Warraq p. 375

This means the original recipe was from ibn al-Mahdi.

His recipe was included in the vast compendium collected by ibn 
Sayyar al-Warraq.

In this book many of the recipes are attributed (although this 
doesn't mean the attributions are always correct...). Nasrallah has a 
section with information about nearly everyone mentioned by al-Warraq.

The period from which this book comes was something of a golden age 
for science, literature, philosophy, art, music, ... and gourmet 
cuisine (the 'Abbasids went downhill not too long after, although 
they remained nominally the caliphs). There were gatherings of 
wealthy and important men (women were generally excluded, as the 
Greeks did) who cooked (or had cooked for them) wonderful dishes, 
during which they spent much time not only eating but talking about 
food, composing poems (many included in al-Warraq's compendium), 
discussing philosophy, etc.

Among these men was the son of a Caliph, Ibrahim ibn al-Mahdi, who 
was an 'Abbasid prince, famed as a gourmet, poet, and singer, after 
whom dishes were named, some apparently actually from him, others to 
share in the glow of his name, such as Ibrahimiyya. He was a brother 
of the famed Caliph Harun al-Rashid (r. 786-809) and both are 
mentioned in stories in The Thousand Nights and a Night (which are 

Urtatim [that's err-tah-TEEM]
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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