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The Arabic culinary tradition burst onto the scene in the middle of the tenth century, when al Warrāq compiled a culinary treatise titled al Kitab al Tabikh (The Book of Dishes)
, containing over 600 recipes. However, it would take another ten centuries for cookery books to be produced in the European continent. For centuries to come, gastronomic writing would remain the sole preserve of the Arab-Muslim world, with cooking manuals and recipe books being produced from Baghdad, Aleppo and Egypt in the East, to Muslim Spain, Morocco and Tunisia in the West.
A total of nine complete cookery books have survived from this time, containing a total of nearly four thousand recipes. The Sultan's Feast
by the Egyptian Ibn Mubārak Shāh in the fifteenth century is one such book. Reflecting the importance of gastronomy in Arab culture, this culinary treatise features more than 330 recipes, from bread-making and omelettes, to sweets, pickling and aromatics, and tips on a range of topics, from essentials a cook should know to how to distil drinkable water.
Available in English for the first time, this critical bilingual volume offers a sophisticated insight into the world of medieval Arabic gastronomic writing.