Item description for A Baghdad Cookery Book (Petits Propos Culinaires) by Charles Perry...
Overview A translation of Al-Baghdadi's "Kitab al-Tabikh," the favourite Arab cookery book of the Turks.
Publishers Description 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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Reviews - What do customers think about A Baghdad Cookery Book (Petits Propos Culinaires)?
A demonstration of appliaed erudition Jul 13, 2008
A welcome new edition of a fundamental book on classical Arab cooking. A good demonstration on how to go about reviewing and remaking a book that had already been accepted as a reference. Good read for the text and for the method.
Cuisine Fit for a Caliph Dec 3, 2007
This new translation by Charles Perry is a great improvement over A.J. Arberry's once-novel, now-dated 1930s translation of this legendary 13th century cookbook, which served the kitchens of the wealthy and powerful of the Near and Middle East for well over 300 years.
True, the writing style of these recipes is not like that familiar to most 21st C. Americans, with the exact quantity of every ingredient and every step of the process enumerated. However, the writing style is not much different from cookbooks written in other languages even today, such as those I purchased when I lived in Indonesia. And the recipes are quite useable by the adventurous cook. I've been cooking using al-Baghdadi's cookbook, in one form or another, for about 9 years. I am very happy to have it now in this convenient paperback format.
For those not accustomed to using these sorts of recipes, it may take a bit of courage and several experiments. But I'm sure that once you play with them a few times, you will find yourself rewarded by the opportunity to dine like a Caliph.
For those more cautious, but interested in the history of cookbooks, in the history of cuisines in general, and in Middle Eastern cuisines in particular, even if you don't cook from these recipes, this over 700 year old cookbook will be a fascinating study in the dining of the past.
Highly recommended for ancient food recreationists Sep 28, 2007
A friend of mine has this book. I am going to buy it. It is very useful for ancient/medieval SCA recreationists.
A good book for historians, not for actual cooks. Sep 27, 2007
This book does not contain traditional recipies with contemporary measurements and ingredients. It works better as a historical reference of how cooking was done centuries ago. An interesting read for those seeking knowledge of old times, but unless your actually cook over an open flame with kindling for three fourths of the night, not too helpful for a modern cook.