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A Baghdad Cookery Book. The Book of Dishes…
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A Baghdad Cookery Book. The Book of Dishes [Petits Propos Culinaires 79]

by Muhammad Ibn Al-Hasan Al-Baghdadi

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This new translation by Charles Perry is a great improvement over A.J. Arberry's once-novel, now-dated 1939 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 usable by the adventurous cook. I've been 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. ( )
  lilinah | Feb 21, 2009 |
Outstanding translation of a book that has been translated by others, Mr. Perry has the depth and background in this area to give us a very useable and well-documented version.
  kiridono | May 11, 2008 |
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