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Near and Middle Eastern Cuisine
Sites Worth Seeing

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NOTE: When i put this page together all the links were current. Things change unexpectedly on the internet, and i cannot guarantee that they all still work. If you find links that don't work, please let me know.

Documentably Authentic Recipes

The Anonymous 13th c. Maghrebi and Andalusian Cookbook
While commonly called the Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook in the SCA, the original title is Kitab al-tabikh fi al-Maghrib wal-Andalus - Book of Dishes from Morocco/the Maghrib and Andalusia/the Andalus. A wonderful collection of tasty recipes from the 1200s. The translation of this Muslim cookbook from 13th century southern Spain is by noted food writer Charles Perry, with commentary by David D. Friedman/Cariadoc of the Bow, Stephan Bloch/, and several others. I love cooking from this book! Yummy!

Four recipes from Ain-i Akbari
The recipes from a late 16th c. Mughal Indian cookbook are scattered down this page, along with other historical recipes from a variety of other cookbooks and times.

Books

Medieval Arabic Cookery by A. J. Arberry, Maxim Rodinson, and Charles Perry. Prospect Books, Totnes, Devon: 2001.
Contains several complete SCA-period cookbooks translated into English as well as Charles Perry's invaluable notes to Arberry's translation of the fairly well-known cookbook written by al-Baghdadi. If you want to cook Medieval Middle Eastern food, this book is essential. I think it's worth every penny.

Charles Perry now has a completely new translation of the al-Baghdadi cookbook correcting the mistakes made 70 years ago by A.J. Arberry. I don't have it yet, but when i do, i'll post info and comments here.

In a Caliph's Kitchen by David Waines. Riad El-Rayyes Books Ltd., London UK: 1989.
While a significant number of the recipes in this book are from al-Baghdadi (and appear to be directly from Arberry's translation), the remainder are a true treasure, recipes from 9th and 10th century Abbasid cookbooks. The opening essays are also very informative. Warning: ignore Waines' worked out recipes, as they often differ immensely from the original recipes. You can cook better than Waines. Out of print and hard to find. Worth getting via Inter-Library Loan (ILL) and photocopying, since you are unlikely to find a used copy for sale, as there was only one printing and a limited print run.

The Ni'matnama Manuscript of the Sultan of Mandu. The Sultan's Book of Delights, translated by Norah M. Titley. RoutledgeCurzon, London and New York: 2005.
A late 15th century book of the eccectric Sultan of Mandu (now Madhya Pradesh), Ghiyath Shahi, collected and added to his son and successor, Nasir Shah. It contains recipes, remedies, and aphrodesiacs, as well as directions for preparing betel leaves and advice on the logistics of hunting and warfare. It contains 50 illustrations, the first few of which are in the Shiraz style but gradually show the indigenous styles of Central and Western India.

The Medical Formulary or Aqradadhin of al-Kindi, translated and with Materia Medica by Martin Levey. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia: 1966.
Out of print. This is a translation of a 9th century Abbasid collection of medicinal remedies written by al-Kindi. The Materia Medica is *fabulous*.

The Medical Formulary of al-Samarqandi, and the Relation of Early Arabic Simples to Those Found in the Indigenous Medicine of the Near East and India, translated and commentary by Martin Levey and Noury al-Khaledy. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia: 1967.
Out of print. This is a translation of a 13th century Abbasid collection of medicinal remedies written by al-Samarqandi. This book is better organized than al-Kindi's but that's what four centuries can do.


Modern Versions of Historic Recipes

Some Recipes of al-Andalus
Modern worked-out versions of some recipes from the Anonymous Andalusian cookbook, by Stephen Bloch.
An Islamic Dinner
From Cariadoc's Miscellany, modern worked-out versions with the original historic recipes.
My own Medieval Persian and other cooking pages
If you came here via a link from another website, maybe you don't know that i have worked out a number of Persian, Arabic, and Andalusian recipes from before 1601 which are elsewhere on this website.



Good Food Book Lists

Before you buy, read some reviews... I prefer annotated lists - with comments by the list's author.

A Cookery Bibliography
A good annotated bibliography, reviewing a wide range of books on Medieval and Renaissance food by an acquaintance of mine, Master Wulfric of Creigil. Some books he rates low are excellent and were only so rated because they are OOP for the SCA.
Medieval Cookbooks - An Annotated Bibliography by Jaelle of Armida
An annotated list of authentic "period" cookbooks going back to the Romans. Note: This list was updated in 2003 - still, there are some new books that aren't on it.
Gode Cookery Bibliography
An *un*annotated list of books, magazine articles, pamphlets, etc. on topics related to Late Antique, Medieval and Renaissance cooking.
Books on Medieval Cooking
An annotated list of "period" cookbooks by Paul DeGory. Appears to stop around 1992.
Comparing and Choosing Medieval Cookbooks
A very helpful article by THL Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina. Discusses early SCA cooking, how to evaluate a book, and gives an annotated list of cookbooks and books on food history

Good Food Book Vendors

And now, where to buy those books...

Poison Pen Press
Devra sells books on many topics of interest to folks in the SCA, including a great range of SCA period and other historical cookbooks and ethnic cookbooks. Devra sells at SCA and other events on the East Coast. She's great - and knowledgeable.
Prospect Books & Petits Propos Culinaires
Publisher of a wide variety of historical food books as well as the scholarly food journal "Petits Propos Culinaires".
Food Heritage Press
An excellent resource for purchasing historic cookbooks, not limited to the Middle Ages or the Middle East.
Acanthus Books
features cookbook and food history titles
Ox Bow/David Brown Book Company - Food & Cooking
Ox Bow is in the UK and David Brown is in the US. They sell all manner of books, not just on cookery or history.
Liz Seeber - Old Cookery, Food & Wine Books
A vendor of used and out-of-print books, for those hard to find books, located in the UK.


Other Mediterranean Food Info

Clifford A. Wright
Cook and Author Specializing in Italy and the Mediterranean



Spice Information

Gernot Katzer's Spice Dictionary
Quite possibly the most informative webpages anywhere on spices and herbs. A fabulous resource. The BEST! There aren't enough superlatives. Also available in German.

Cook's Thesaurus:
http://www.foodsubs.com/

And also here in Dar Anahita
A Spice Box of al-Baghdadi
A Spice Box of al-Andalus
A comparison of the two...

Spice Merchants

The Pepperer's Guild Homepage
SCA vendors who have some of the best prices - and who are at Pennsic every year.
The Spice House
"merchants of exquisite spices, herbs and seasonings"
World Merchants: Spice, Herb, and Tea House
Even sells some Medieval spice blends.
Francesco Sirene, Spicer
"Purveyors of Goods for Historical Cookery and Living". I am not sure if he is still doing business. Check before you send money. He carries (or carried) all manner of unusual herbs and spices, and is concocting a line of medieval spice mixes, such as poudre douce. Also carries period style utensils, cookbooks, natural dyes, incenses. He has great lists of what might be in the spice box of a cook from particular times and places.


More General Period Food Sites - with some Middle Eastern content

A Boke of Gode Links
Also on the GodeCookery web site, Master Huen's web links to Medieval and Renaissance cookery sites.
The Roman Orgy Page
Authentic Roman Recipes, from the cookbook by Apicius, with a photograph of each dish.


Other Sites with Some Middle Eastern Content

Stefan's Florilegium Archive
A well organized collection of messages sent by SCA members on specific topics. As the site owner says "This is a collection of files that I have assembled from various sources since I first joined the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) in 1989. The information in these files comes from the Rialto newsgroup (rec.org.sca), the old fidonet medieval echo conferance area, various mail lists and articles submitted to me by their authors." Check for issues with Middle Eastern topics.
Cariadoc's Miscellany
A compendium of articles by Duke Cariadoc, as well as some by his wife, Elizabeth of Dendermonde, and his translations of a number of SCA period cookbooks. "This is an electronic version of almost all of Cariadoc's Miscellany, which is a collection of articles and recipes. This version is a work in progress; I have not scanned all the illustrations. For more information about food in the Renaissance and Middle ages, check out the Medieval/Renaissance Food Homepage." Check for issues with Middle Eastern topics.
Recreational Medievalism Applied
Links to SCA period cookbooks on-line and a fairly recent version of Duke Cariadoc's own "Miscellany", with his writings and worked out versions of SCA-period recipes.
Kingdom of Atlantia Cooking and Food Links
Many links, mostly to SCA members websites on cooking historic food



Modern Ethnic
Not from between 600 and 1600


Generally Middle Eastern
Middle Eastern Recipes at Epicurious
Middle Eastern Recipes at SOAR (The Searchable Online Archive of Recipes)
Food from the Arab World by Marie Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge
Food from a variety of cultures at Arabic News dot Com
Phood! - Zahra's halal recipes
An Ode to Olives
A long list of recipes using olives, a fruit from the Middle East.
Maghribi/North African
Moroccan Recipes at Epicurious
Moroccan Recipes at SOAR
Moroccan cuisine
30 recipes in English on the Moroccan government's own website.
Sephardic Moroccan Recipes, a small selection
Moroccan Recipes at Sue's Recipe Server
Moroccan Recipes at World Recipes
Tunisian Food and Recipes, many vegetarian.
Friends of Morocco - Moroccan Cuisine
Recettes berberes
in French only. There's an English section, but it doesn't have these recipes.
la marocaine recipe collection in French
Cuisine marocaine et recettes :: La cuisine marocaine in French
Cuisine Marocaine website, in French
Arabian
Six Arabian Recipes, from the Saudi Arabia on line journal
Winter 1998, Volume 14, Number 4, Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabian Recipes
An Omani Kitchen

The Levant
25 mostly Lebanese recipes at al-mashriq
Lebanese Recipes at SOAR
Lebanese/Syrian Recipes, primarily Christian
Recipes of the Syriac Christians in the Middle East
Egyptian
Egyptian Recipes at SOAR
Egyptian Recipes at World Recipes
Turkish and Ottoman Influenced
Turkish Recipes on SOAR
Turkish Recipes at Epicurious
Turkish Recipes at World Recipes
Turkish Cuisine and Recipes, All about TURKEY
Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture - Food and Beverages Peculiar to Special Days
Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture - Recipes
Constructing Ottoman Beneficence: An Imperial Soup Kitchen in Jerusalem (SUNY Series in Near Eastern Studies) at amazon dot com.

Jan Terziyski's Bulgarian recipes.
Kurdish
Kurdish Kubbeh Khamoustah - "dumplings"
Kurdish Hot-and-Spicy Red Lentil Soup
Kurdish Bulgar Pilav and Salad
Kurdish Tolme Bibera
Kurdish Chickpea Salad
fresh Kurdish sauce with tomatoes, garlic, chilis, and mint.
Halik, spiced dried fruits and nuts

Persian/Iranian
Persian Recipes at SOAR
Iran Recipes at Food Down Under Recipe
Persian Recipes at Food Down Under Recipe
Iran ..... Iran ...... Iran ..... Persian Cuisine Recipe at IRAN Online
110 recipes at F. Mokhtarian's site

Armenian
Adventures in Armenian Cooking
Adventures in Armenian Cooking at http://www.saintsarkis.org/laydies_guild_cookbook.htm
Armenian Recipes at SOAR


Beverages

Coffee

Don't believe that silly Ethiopian/Abyssinian goat boy and the dancing goats story on some websites. It's a total fabrication.

And coffee was not commonly known as a beverage in the Middle East until relatively late within SCA period - the last quarter of the 1400's (the 15th century)! It didn't arrive in Istanbul until the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent, in the mid-16th century. And it was unknown in Europe outside the Ottoman Empire until after the beginning of the 17th century.

Coffee History: 1aaa American Green Coffee Beans
A fairly factual history of coffee.
Koffee Pictures at Koffee Korner.
Art and old photographs involving coffee.
Peet's Coffee and Tea
The best coffee i know of. I've been drinking it since 1968, back when there was only one shop and Mr. Peet roasted the green coffee beans in the shop. Now you can buy it via the internet.

Tea

Tea was not known in the Near and Middle East within SCA period as far as i can tell, and definitely unknown in Europe until the 17th century. In fact, according to what i've been reading, tea wasn't drunk in Persia until the late 17th century.

Moroccan mint tea made fresh mint leaves brewed with green, usually Gunpowder, tea, didn't exist until the 18th century, although they may have been drinking infusions of mint alone or with other local herbs earlier.

Spiced tea is popular nowadays. Note that "Chai" actually means "Tea", so to say "Chai Tea" is saying: " 'Tea' Tea", which is repetitive and redundant. What we are generally dealing with is a form of "Masala Chai", spiced tea. Spiced tea sure tastes good hot when it's cold out... and as a cold drink when it's hot out. So even though it isn't period, its blend of spices fits well with the Middle East as a center of spice trade.

Also note that vanilla, a common ingredient in commercial spiced chai, is a New World plant and not used in food in SCA-period Europe, the Near East, or Asia. There are some commercial brands that don't include vanilla... And making your own masala chai is easy! Indian masala chai, the original stuff, is rarely sweetened with honey. They use sugar - refined sugar, although not as fine and white as modern sugar - originated in India. So spice tea is more period sweetened with sugar than with honey.

Chai! Spice Milk Tea
Here's a vast compendium of chai recipes from Indians, Pakistanis, and other chai lovers.



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This page updated and broken links fixed or removed 12 March 2005
Updated 05 May 2005