An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century

Translated by Charles Perry

The footnotes are identified by the initials of their authors: Charles Perry, David Friedman, Elise Fleming, Huici Miranda (editor of the Arab edition and author of a Spanish translation), and Stephen Bloch.

[1]The Spanish "albondiga," meaning "meatball," is from the Arabic "al-bunduqa," meaning "hazelnut," which suggests that the original meatballs were tiny. (CP)
[2]From the name of a famous Berber confederation, the Sanhaja, which included the Tuareg and played an important part in the Almoravid Empire. (CP)
[3]I do not know whether this refers to one of the Razis, historians of the Umayyad caliphate in al-Andalus, or to a doctor, a resident of Medina Sidonia, cited by al-Shaquri, folio 54 v and 56 r. (HM)
It might also be the famous Rhazes, "the Galen of the Arabs," renowned doctor of Iran and Baghdad. He did write about diet. (CP)
[4]Tharid was a dish of bread moistened with meat juices, of great importance since the Prophet valued it above all other dishes; he once said of his adored wife Aisha that she "surpasses other women as tharid surpasses other dishes." (CP)
[5]In other words, it is not sent out of the house to an oven. (CP)
[6]Governor and admiral of Ceuta, son of the Almohada Caliph Yusuf I. (HM)
[7]The word "janb" is always translated as "flank," but studying these recipes makes me suspect that it refers here to lamb breast: all the emphasis on putting a stuffing between the meat and the bones. I wouln't be surprised if the meaty part of a side of lamb had been removed for shishkebab and these recipes are for the more challenging lamb breast. (CP)
[8]All the recipes given for roasts, as well as those of marrows, explained here, are of lordly and refined dishes. There is a break in the account here, and it seems two recipes for birds by the same unknown author are given in the break in the manuscript. After the break the source goes on to copy the cookbook of Abu Salih al-Rahbani, of whom we also know nothing. (HM)
[9]That is, it has medicinal value but is not a compound. (CP)
[10]Al-Baghdadi also gives a recipe for this, p. 13 of the text and 36 of the translation. Rodinson, in his "Recherches sur les documents arabes relatifs a la cuisine," pp. 134 & 137, cites two more recipes that appear in the manuscript of Wusla ila al-habib, as yet unedited. (HM)
[11]Al-Baghdadi reads "sikbâj" and gives two recipes, pp. 9 and 56. (HM) Sikbâj and zirbâj are dishes that appear in all medieval Arabic cookbooks. (CP)
[12]This spelling reflects Andalusian pronunciation; the literary form would be "munashshâ." (CP)
[13]al-Shaquri, fol. 61 r, gives the recipe and says in al-Andalus it is called "al-`asami," the color of dark amber. In Marrakesh it is the dish for `Id al-kabir. (HM)
[14]Several recipes call for hot coals to be put on a pan or lid above the cooking pan so that heat comes from above. In this case it is to cause browning, like a salamander. In other cases more coals may be heaped up around the sides to cause cooking from all sides-a substitute for having an oven. (CP)
[15]There is a recipe in the section on drinks. (DF)
[16]In Spanish, buchones, a type of pigeon or dove well known in the Levant. The word used in the Arabic text is taken from medieval Spanish: bûjûn. Elsewhere "pigeon" and "dove" both render a native Arabic word, hamam. (CP)
[17]"Hantam" was originally the name of a particular kind of earthenware jar, of a shade of red mingled with green or black, that wine was imported to Medina in before Muhammad's time. Occasionally it became a synonym for pottery in general. (CP)
[18]Ibrahim ibn al-Mahdi, an Abbasid prince, who was anti-Caliph for some months, and whose hospitality and culinary expertise made him famous. Al-Bagdadi gives his name to this dish and calls it Ibrahimiya. (HM)
[19]Four ounces of garlic (1/3 of a pound, of course, since there were 12 ounces to a pound) works out pretty close to the 40 cloves called for in a famous classical Provencal dish. Leave out the spices and the almonds, and you'd about have poulet à 40 gousses d'ail. (CP)
[20]an Almohad prince, nephew of 'Abd al-Mu'min and governor of Marra kesh. (HM)
[21]This recipe too must be from Ibrahim b. al-Mahdi. (HM)
[22] The Barmakis (aka Barmecides) were a family of Persian viziers who served some of the early Umayyad Caliphs, in particular Haroun al-Rashid, and were famed for their generosity. (DF, modified from HM)
[23]This word usually means pears, but in some dialects of Arabic, and apparently in this recipe, it means prunes. (CP)
[24]Apparently a particular variety of basil. (CP)
[25]There may be a break here; this dish of chicken with breast meat meatballs "as in the preceding" has little resemblance to lamb stewed with prunes. (CP)
[26]In other words, the (egg and) batter covering of the preceding recipe is to be repeated. (CP)
[27]See the discussion of period gourds in the glossary at the end. (DF)
[28]These eggyolks are probably from the "six or eight eggs". (SB)
[29]The author inserts this fish recipe out of its place. (HM)
[30]Perhaps a specific call for "that murri which people make from bread crumbs and other things," which the author so disparaged earlier? (SB)
Note that these recipes are from cookbooks by several different authors. (DF)
[31]A different recipe from that given at first. (HM)
[32]i.e. very finely powdered-kohl is powdered antimony. (HM)
[33]might also be translated as "spangle," since it literally means "place stars on." It's the usual word in this book for placing eggyolks on top of something. (CP)
[34]Named after Hâ rûn al-Rashîd, the famous Caliph who appears in some of the stories of the 1001 nights. (CP)
[35]a Persian name whose recipe we shall find further on.The same sort of little Persian pie that became samosa in India. (CP)
[36]Alternatively, the Arabic might perhaps be read as "if it be near."(CP)
[37]"Pie crust" ("mukhabbazah") literally means "made into or with bread," and it evidently meant either a small pie or a crust. (CP)
[38]The word is unfamiliar to me as the name of an ingredient-it simply means "beneficial," but Huici Miranda, who gives it as fennel in his Spanish translation, may know more. (CP)
[39]Following this in the text is a heading with the title of "Recipe for Cooled Chicken," in which is repeated the previous recipe with the title of "Recipe for Refreshed Chicken," in which the text has been confused by the similarity of titles. It returns to copy another title already given, that of the Jewish chicken, followed by the stuffed-goose recipe and those of Jewish-style partridge and stuffed partridge; I have omitted these repetitions in the Arabic manuscript, pp. 17-18. (HM)
[40]the sediment from vinegar. (HM)
[41]"Khabis" and "khabisa," names derived from "khabasa"--to mix. Belot gives it as a mix of dates, cream, and starch; see Dozy. Later we shall find several more recipes for this dish. (HM)
The word referred to a whole class of puddings, not just date pudding. (CP)
[42]A version of adafina (from an Arabic word meaning "buried treasure," related to the word madfûn, "buried," which is found in the name of this dish), the Sephardic equivalent of the Ashkenazi dish cholent, which could be left in the oven overnight on Friday so that Jewish housewives wouldn't have to violate the Sabbath by cooking. (CP)
[43]Presumably of coals, as in the Jewish Partridge dish above. (SB)
[44]These are small samosa-or bö rek-like pies with a cheese filling (mujabbanâ t). (CP)
[45]meat cooked with sour milk. (HM)
There is a recipe in al-Baghdadi. (DF)
[46]perhaps "hisrimiya," which means [a dish flavored with] sour grapes. (HM)
[47]al-Shaquri, p. 61r, gives the recipe and says that in al-Andalus it is known as "al-`asami." (HM)
Here referred to as al-tabkh al-murûzi, suggesting that the name of the dish is actually marwaziya, "the dish of Merv," an incient Iranian city in what is now the Independent Republic of Turkmenistan. (CP)
[48]The last is a kind known to the country folk of Morocco. (HM)
[49]See Rodinson, pp. 100-101. (HM)
[50]This must refer to a famous garden of that name in Cordova, possibly also to a palace of the same name. (HM)
[51]From "rafasa"--to mash. Later the author gives various recipes for it in dealing with pies and sweets. (HM)
[52]A vinegar flavored dish. (CP)
[53]This cookbook has already been mentioned on the first page preceding this text. al-Shaquri, p. 52v, mentions the book and identifies it as that of Kisra Anushirwan ibn-Barzajamhar. (HM)
Chosroes is the Greek spelling of the Persian name Khusrau, Kisra the Arabic. (CP)
[54]This is obviously a sausage stuffing tube. (CP)
[55]An Umayyad caliph. (HM)
[56]The practice of serving a dinner in courses, so characteristic of Al-Andalus, is not found in Baghdad or Damascus. It was introduced to Spain by a Persian musician and arbiter elegantiarum named Ziryab, who had been driven from Baghdad by Ishaq al-Mausili as a dangerous rival and found a home in the Umayyad court. (CP)
This was in the ninth century. (DF)
[57]Various recipes, of which more later. al-Shaquri, pp. 58v & 59r, says it is called "isfidabaja" in the East, and that an easy kind is known as "Slaves' Stew"; he gives the recipe and divides it into two kinds, white and green. Al-Bagdadi describes it, p. 32. Dozy mentions it under the name masluq--a boiled dish. (HM)
[58]The word is "shiwâ," which was the Medieval word for shishkebab; the sense seems to be that it is cooked in a pot, rather than directly over the flame, but seasoned like grilled meat. (HM)
[59]The author repeats here almost verbatim the recipe he gave at the start. (HM)
[60]Alternatively, one might read "hâl" for "hîlaj," to give "cardamom;" admittedly an extreme emendation, but I can't see why myrobalan, a bland fruit of the plum family, would be called for among the spices, and hîlaj in itself would be a highly irregular variant of halîlaj. (CP)
[61]Dozy discusses the etymology of this word and gives a recipe. Rodinson, "Recherches," p.140, note 6; al-Bagdadi, p.80. (HM)
Qataif usually means crepes; this seems to be an ´asîda recipe that has gotten mistitled. (CP)
[62]Another unknown Baghdadi. (HM)
[63]or fâlû dhaj; the author gives the recipe for this later. See al-Bagdadi, pp. 48 and 72. (HM).
This is simply the Persian word for "filtered, refined," and has been applied to a number of elegant sweets, particularly those made from strained fruit juice and starch puddings.[CP]
[64]from "khabasa," to mix. Al-Bagdadi, p. 73, devotes a chapter to this. The Arabs of Africa made it with dates. (HM)
[65]Apparently this means the flesh of the eggplant, judging by its use in this recipe. (DF)
[66]The dictionaries are vague about this bird: "a species of partridge," "a bird smaller than a partridge, a quail." (CP)
[67]According to al-Shaquri this is called "al-mukhallal"--"vinaigrette"--in al-Andalus. Al-Bagdadi, p.9, gives a recipe and Rodinson cites it in his "Recherches," pp. 134 and 137. (HM)
[68]In Tunisia, "little monkey". Prof. de la Granja found in the manuscript for his doctoral thesis, La cocina ará bigo-andaluza (Arab-Andalucí an Cooking), recipes for a maimú n (monkey) pastry and soup. (Martin Alonso, in Enciclopedia del Idioma, says maimó n or maimú nis a ring-shaped pastry, often filled with conserves; the soup called maimones and made with olive oil is to this day an Andalusí an specialty. (SB)
[69]The word translated as "necessaries" (hawâ'ij), which can also mean "things," is used in some cookery writings to mean ingredients other than spices added for flavoring. (CP)
[70]... the bucket (of clay or metal, holding about 2-1/2 gallons) used to draw water from a well. (HM)
[71]See the beginning of this cookbook. (DF)
[72]The recipe calls this a tharda in the title and tharid in the text. Actually, "tharda" is probably a back-formation from "tharida." In the colloquial language "tharida" was pronounced "thrîda," which could be taken for the diminutive of an imaginary word "tharda." (CP)
[73]Known in Morroco as qrun. (HM)
[74]The "mix fold with fold" instruction is vague, but we may proceed on the assumption that the product will look like an ear when fried. I must say that the prospect of eating an "ear" stuffed with green paste bothers me. (CP)
[75]A mush of flour with a little boiling water, butter and honey. In vulgar Arabic it means starch. (HM)
[76]al-Baghdadi, p.48, gives the following recipe the name of "al-faludhajiyya." (HM)
[77]This is part of a khabîs recipe and probably seemed to follow the preceding recipe because it calls for khabîs. The "wheat milk" is evidently a thin batter made with flour, rather than the milky starch liquid mentioned elsewhere, or the "leaves" would not hold together in frying. (CP)
[78]al-Shaquri, fol. 61, mentions a dish-the hisrimiya based on vinegar-from unripened grapes. (HM)
[79]Perhaps the interweaving spoken of is like the arrangement of apple slices in or on a tart? This would be possible with sliced eggs. (CP)
[80]It would seem the walnuts themselves are not used. Huici Miranda translated "walnuts" as "almonds," which would mean that the birds are cooked in almond milk. This is an attractive solution, but against it is the fact that the recipes in this book that call for almond milk always refer to it as milk. (CP)
[81]Persian name. See al-Bagdadi, p. 58 and Rodinson "Recherches," pp. 133, 135 and 139-40. (HM)
[82]Spanish name, which according to al-Shaquri, pp. 58 v, end and 59 r, corresponds to the Eastern isfidabaya; he gives his recipe twice, white and green. See also al-Bagdadi, p. 32. (HM)
[83]The Saqaliba, whose name literally means "Slavs," were northern Europeans recruited for the praetorian guard of the Umayyad Caliphs of Spain. Some of them were certainly Slavs, but they were a mixed bunch including Germans and French. (CP)
[84]Here is the "dish of murri" called for in the outline of the prescribed order of serving dishes. (CP)
[85]He has already given another recipe for goose, different from this one. Also some of the following dishes are repetitions with variations. (HM)
[86]The name "hasty" is a misnomer here, but the 10th century recipe deserved the name-it was just ground meat fried with vinegar and spices. This must be an elaboration. (CP)
[87]This is one of the only recipes to specify stirring the pot with a spoon; note that (1) that verb "Yukhammar" that I've been translating "cover the contents of the pot" is not found in this recipe, and (2) the verb translated as "to stir" is not "yuharrak"(to agitate) but "yu´arrak." (CP)
[88]This is a Jû dhâba because it's a sort of Yorkshire pudding placed under cooking meat to catch the juices. "According to the size of the mould" seems to mean that the size of the crepes or tortillas should match closely the size of the (possibly moulded) casserole. (CP)
[89]Deep-fat fritters and fine bread. See Rodinson, Recherches, p. 140. (HM)
[90]Properly speaking, a mutajjan is a dish cooked in a tajine. Here it is cooked in a pot. (CP)
[91]"Tabahajiya" is a Persian name. Al-Bagdadi also gives this recipe, p. 14. (HM)
[92]Mithqal is a small coin. (HM)
Also a weight. (CP)
[93]Before the 16th century or so celery was grown only for the leaf; the stalks were inedibly bitter. (CP)
[94]As I read the recipe, the cooked egg is cut apart, the yolk removed and mixed with spices and then stuffed back in. The egg is then put back together with the thread and the stick (a medieval toothpick?!). The outside is coated with runny egg white (to which, perhaps, some water has been added). This keeps the coating of flour on the egg and the whole thing is then fried. The leftover egg yolk and spices are then made into a sauce to go with it. (EF)
Note the clearer recipe on page A-24. (DF)
[95]Where's the meat? (CP)
[96]The recipe calls for silfâh, a non-existent word; Huici Miranda plausibly reconstructs it as silhâf, tortoise, except that we 'd rather expect to hear something about the shell. (CP)
[97]I hesitantly propose that the missing title of this dish is "luqumât al-qâdi," "the Cadi's Morsels." (CP) Ibn Battuta, writing in the fourteenth century, refers to a dish with that name; see Volume III, p. 757 of the translation by H.A.R. Gibb and p. 139 of the translation by Mahdi Husain. The latter gives the Arabic, the former only the English. (DF)
[98]Doubtful term; seems to identify a parcel shape of some sort. Dozy translates it as intestines with meat. (HM)
[99]I'm reaching a little here; "scattered" represents "munajjamât," a participle from the verb I've been translating as "to dot" and which literally means "to make into or like stars, to spangle." (CP)
[100]Huici Miranda has the word "meat" here but places it in brackets, whether to indicate an unclear word or to throw doubt upon the literal reading; since the "it" of the next phrase doesn't agree in gender with "meat," I presume that the recipe is actually calling for gut or paunch here, to be stuffed and made into 'usbas as in the "Dish of Chicken or Whatever Meat You Please" above. (CP)
[101]Variant of "`asba." Derived from "`asaba," "to tie, to bind down." See third recipe above. (HM)
[102]When I translate "removing its water," I'm reading the incomprehensible "dhâ 'uhâ" as "mâ'uhâ," "its water." "Draw off the grease to the oven" is a strange instruction, not found elsewhere. The instruction to boil and take off the fire indicates that the pot itself does not go to the oven. (CP)
[103]A small coin. (DF)
[104]A giant thistle with edible stalks from which the artichoke was developed, almost certainly in Andalusia (our word artichoke ultimately comes from "al kharshûf," which is a diminutive of "kharshaf.") Since the recipes say nothing about leaves, choke or calyx, I think we should assume that cardoon is really what is being called for here; probably the artichoke had not been developed yet. (CP)
[105]reading "khabbâza" for "jâziya."(CP)
[106]Perhaps the master of Jahiz, author of the Book of Misers. (HM, corrected by CP)
[107]Here I think we see a rare usage of the word "thumn" meaning 1/8 of a dirham. This is a credible measurement for saffron, though it doesn't amount to much for the honey. (CP)
[108]Rodinson cites in the Kitab al-Wusla a recipe for jamaliya,which seems to be related to this. Professor De la Granja in his thesis on the Kitab fadalat al-khiwan gives a dish called "jamali." (HM)
[109]This may just possibly be a fish .... (HM)
[110]Probably the eggs are used to cover the contents of the pot, though the recipe says nothing of their fate. (CP)
[111]text has "yukhammar," to cover or coat, in error for "yughmar," to cover as a liquid covers; to engulf, submerge. (CP)
[112]Huici Miranda translates as if the text reads "yuhammar," to brown or redden, instead of "yukhammar," to cover, coat. (CP)
[113]Probably refers to the earlier dish "isfunj." There is also a later recipe for a "sponge." (EF)
[114]admittedly, this is a puzzling instruction unless a measurement of liquid or eggs has been omitted. (CP)
[115]We do not know how many recipes are taken from this anticaliphate cook. (HM)
Ibrahim ibn al-Mahdi, brother of Harun al-Rashid, was a famous poet and singer and a proverbial gourmet.It may be that only the one recipe is his; he would not have known of the Saqaliba. (CP)
[116]More later on this recipe. See al-Bagdadi pp. 48 and 72. (HM)
[117]This is a poetical or fantasy name: the green fava beans are compared to pistachios. (CP)
[118]I do not know "durra" and "jaus." 'anqara is the fatty part of a bullock's neck, known today in Morocco as "'angra." (HM)
[119]This reads a little confusingly, but I think what is happening is that the stewed bird is taken from the fire, bubbling hot, and then given one of those coatings I'm always insisting on. Since the pot is not going to the oven, the recipe specifies that the topping be made only of breadcrumbs and eggs, with no flour-the breadcrumbs are already cooked and the eggs will set because of the heat, though flour might remain raw. The two yolks you chop over the completed dish are, of course, the two you threw in the pot. NB: Huici Miranda translated "large clay dish"-quite absurdly-as "outside to the cool air" the first time it appeared in the text. (CP)
[120]The recipe calls for "the fried fish," not "a fried fish," so I'm inclined to think this is another scribal error: "the boiled bird " is what is meant. Sloppy of the writer not to have mentioned those eggs before, though. (CP)
[121]Here the flesh of the eggplant is called "seeds" ("zurai'at," a diminutive form), bringing to mind the pellicle business earlier. (CP)
[122]I admit these instructions are puzzling, but I'm going with the idea of cabbage rather than cauliflower for two reasons: the recipe calls for cabbage, while Arabic has a word for cauliflower; and "throw away the rest of the leaves until it remains white like the turnip" suggests a vegetable with a non-white color in its outer parts. I'm figuring the heart of the cabbage is being treated like turnip. It may be that the cabbages available were not very leafy; and the recipe calls for a "coarse" cabbage. (CP)
[123]The eyes are looking more and more like the gaps in a cabbage head toward the heart. The hole has me stumped. (CP)
[124]Possibly squeezing the fennel without letting any of the "body" or substance into the fennel juice? (EF)
[125]The famous arbiter of elegance during the caliphate of 'Abd al-Rahman II, in Cordoba. (HM)
'Abd al-Rahman II became Caliph in 822. (DF)
[126]Musk, moschatel, musk-crowfoot, hollow-root. (HM)
[127]I have no idea why HM persisted in seeing herb-ivy here; the recipe calls for carrots and the other 13 century books all use carrots in "narjisiyya." (CP)
[128]This really is a recipe thickened with eggs. Note the difference in terminology: It openly says "pour in enough eggs to bind" and later refers to cutting the dish with a knife. The recipes using the verb "yukhammar/yakhtamir" are not thickened, though they may refer to the surface binding or becoming corrugated, and so they are always ladled from the pot, not being of cuttable consistency. (CP)
[129]And wife of the Abbasid Caliph, al-Ma'mun. (HM)
[130]Meaning pertaining to or resembling hare; in Syria today there is a dish called arnabiyya, which likewise contains no hare meat
[131]This recipe is fairly clear in general outline but troublesome in details. It is a stew called "Mahshi," literally the stuffed dish, exactly parallel to the Mahshi of birds that appears on page A-9 of our English translation. Just as in that dish, a main ingredient (birds there, eggplant here) is first cooked (fried with onions, spices and murri there, boiled here) and then removed from the pot and set aside. Then a tajine is filled with breadcrumbs, spices, oil and eggs, all beaten together, and then the reserved main ingredient, together with (probably hardboiled) egg yolks, is buried in the mixture. The whole thing is then baked until thickened and browned.
However, there are two thorny problems. One is the word "qatâmir," which I have translated as "seedy flesh." Literally it means the pellicles or paper-thin coverings of date seeds. Since these eggplants were peeled before the eggplant flesh was boiled in salted water (to remove its bitterness)-which was long before we are told to remove the "qatâmir"-the word cannot refer to eggplant skin (furthermore, a later recipe that calls for "qatâmir" refers to the skins by their usual name, "qishr"). In any case, the parallel with the other mahshi recipe requires "qatamir" to mean eggplant flesh.
My theory is this: An overripe eggplant, or any eggplant belonging to some varieties (note that this recipe and several that follow call for either "sweet" eggplants or large eggplants; and that the recipe for Arnabi above refers to "sweet eggplants of great size") develops large seeds in cavities that seem lined with a sort of skin or pellicle. I think "qatamir" has acquired the sense of the seedy flesh, the loose, fissured center of an overripe (or perhaps "sweet") eggplant. (Cf. the recipes that refer to eggplant flesh as "little seeds.") The removal referred to is not removal from the skin, of course, but removal from the cooking pot, as in the earlier mahshi recipe.
The other difficulty is more vexing; it's the expression that was previously translated "put hot (???) with the eggplants." The Arabic is "tuj'alu mahmiyya lil-badhinjan fi tajin," literally, "[a] heated [thing-feminine gender] is put/made for the eggplants in a tajine" or "[something, feminine gender] is put/made as a heated thing for the eggplants in a tajine." The only feminine noun that has appeared in the recipe to this point is "qatâmir," but the author cannot be asking to heat the qatâmir in the tajine because it goes in later. On the basis of the other mahshi recipe above, I assume with some hesitation that mahmiyya was a standard basis of a saute, like the present-day Spanish sofrito: a mixture of oil, onion, spices (in the earlier recipe they were salt, pepper, coriander, cinnamon, saffron) and murri naqî'. In the other mahshi recipe, however, the birds are first fried in that mixture until they make a broth; here the eggplant is simply boiled. And I must admit that I have not found this usage of "mahmiyya" elsewhere.
The only alternative is to assume that "make heated for the eggplants in a tajine" is a term of art meaning to heat the tajine. This would be a little easier to accept if "mahmiyya" were not a passive participle but a verbal noun; then the reading would literally be "make an act of heating for the eggplants in a tajine." As it happens, there is a verbal noun "mahmiyya," which is properly the verbal noun of "hamâ," to protect, but it is possible that it has been appropriated by the homonymous verb "hamâ," to heat. Of course, it's remotely possible that "mahmiyya" does mean "protection," referring to some cooking practice, I know not what.
NB: Here again a dish is thickened with raw eggs which is said to "bind" (using the same verb that appears in pudding recipes). The verb "yukhammar/yakhtamir" does not appear. (CP)
[132]Here we have qatamir again, being reinserted into eggplant peel. (CP)
[133]Kind of a mystery why these batter-fried eggplants are called mu'affara, "dusted." Cf. the dusted fish on p. 51 of the English translation. (CP)
[134]These really are dusted (though a different verb is used, "ghabara"). Perhaps this is the original recipe and the batter version is an elaboration. (CP)
[135]Variant of the recipe given at the beginning of the book. (HM)
[136]The name of the dish is "Muzawwar," literally "counterfeit;" the idea that a vegetarian dish is counterfeit is also found in the Turkish term for grapeleaves stuffed with rice, "yalanci dolma." NB: For this dish you heat a metal or ceramic lid, giving a Dutch oven effect. (CP)
[137]Besides the customs officer of the Almohade caliph Yusuf I, there was another ibn Muthanna, a friend of Jahiz, by whom he is cited in his Book of Misers. (HM corrected by CP)
[138]Note that the recipe calls for two kinds of cucumber: "quththa," which is the slender, ribbed cucumber, often pointed at the end, which is sold in Armenian markets as "ghoota," and "khiyâr," the usual smooth-skinned salad cucumber. (CP)
[139]The Arabic word for shad is "shabal," borrowed from the Spanish sabalo. (CP)
[140]"Qabtûn" is a word borrowed from Spanish meaning a fish with a large head; it may well be the Spanish "capitan," grey mullet. "Fahl" means a stallion, clearly a large fish. (CP)
[141]The material in brackets is found in Huici Miranda's Spanish translation but not in his published edition of the Arabic text. (CP)
[142]Muslim Spain, not the modern Spanish province of Andalucia. (EF)
[143]This is the only time Huici Miranda recognizes a bûrâniyya as such. It's because in the text of recipe-though not in the title-it's correctly spelled with the long u in the first syllable. (CP)
[144]Huici Miranda very misleadingly translates "tharîd" (also called "tharîda") as "torta." It is actually a dish of meat or meat and gravy mixed with bread, or as nearly always in Andalusia, with bread crumbs; sometimes "tharîd" simply refers to the crumbs. (CP)
[145]The couscous in this recipe has already been cooked, either by boiling or steaming. Large-grained couscous varieties are still often steamed, then rubbed with melted fat or butter and then cooked for a while in broth. (CP)
[146]from "fityâ n," youths: the name of a militia. (CP)
[147]"Mudhakkar" means masculine. This may have something to do with the order of serving dishes, where the first is always a dish called feminine. (CP)
[148]Presumably a fresh farmer's cheese or cottage cheese. (CP)
[149]A "shâ shiyya" is a fez with a white tassel, characteristic of southern Morocco in our times. (CP)
[150]literally, unleavened bread; here as in the second sentence it seems to be the name of a particular preparation of bread and meat much like tharî d. (CP)
[151]"Fidaush" is the word found in modern Spanish as "fideos." The etymology is disputed; it has been traced to a diminutive of Latin filum, "string," although that would have given a word beginning with h instead of f in Spanish. The fact that this the earliest recipe known is for little orzo-like soup noodles or thin flat sheets weakens the theory further. Prof. Corominas in his Diccionario Critico y Etimologico de la Lengua Castellana derives the word from a medieval Spanish verb itself derived from an Arabic verb meaning to swell, viz. in boiling. A joint Spanish-Moorish origin does seem likely. (CP)
[152]Itriyya is the pasta of Greek origin known to the Arabs since the 8th century or so. (CP)
[153]The Arabic text published by Huici Miranda misspells the word "matwi," folded, as "mutarrâ," moistened. The word translated as "coarsely ground" is a guess. The only adjective spelled the same way means "advanced in years," but there is a related adjective that means coarse as opposed to fine, and one of the Arabic words for flour literally means fine. Semolina, as a hard wheat, resists grinding into fine flour and tends to look like fine sand when ground. Elise has speculated that "thin bread" means something like pita, but on the contrary, even raghîf, translated as "flatbread," was usually thinner than pita, and ruqâq, which I translate as "thin bread," was rolled as close to paper-thinness as possible. Certain bakers in the Arab world still specialize in it; it has to be eaten within a couple of hours because it stales rapidly. (CP)
[154]The Lamtuna were the main Almoravid tribe. More exactly, they were the dominant tribe of the Sanhaja confederacy, the nomadic Berbers of southern Morocco who were the basis of the Almoravid power, and constituted the aristocracy of the Almoravid state. The MS has a marginal notation explaining "iskalfâj" as "isfanâkh," spinach, but we can recognize it as a variation on the Romance word "iskarfâj"/"iskanfâj," grater. (CP)
[155]A gold coin. (DF)
[156]The sticky or thick and the fried. (HM)
[157]What these two dishes have in common is that they are both cooked in a burma or earthenware pot. (CP)
[158]The meaning of "mu'allak" is obscure; literally, it means "chewed." It's the past participle of the verb translated as "blend" in "blend with a spoon," which may refer to some technique of stirring or beating. (CP)
[159]"Rikshâb" is a scribal error for "dikshâb," the name of this specialized mallet used for beating "harîsa" smooth. (CP)
[160]In the text it is "lahm," which should be corrected to "milh." (HM)
[161]Huici Miranda's text refers to "hasu;" in this recipe, as it happens, the word is "hasa'." In any case, both words derive from the verb to sip, and mean a variety of things that can be sipped such as soup, not necessarily the sweet almond paste HM mentions. (CP)
[162]Al-Bagdadi, p. 82 points it out as a synonym of "kabula" and gives its recipe. (HM)
[163]"Mother of joy." Al-Bagdadi gives five recipes, p. 70-72. (HM)
[164]The "Indian mirror" called for is also referred to as a tray in some recipes. It was a special flat metal utensil for cooking ultra-thin crepes, which is what these ruqâqs really are. I'm guessing that what I translate as the "moistener" is what they call the cup that they pour the batter onto the mirror with. In the passage about how long to leave in the oven, I am reading "lahm" ("meat") for "milh" ("salt"), as Huici Miranda does on a couple of occasions elsewhere; evidently a characteristic error of this scribe. (CP)
[165]The word translated "fine flour" is "sawiq," which can also mean porridge of parched grain. I assume Huici Miranda is right, the instruction means to indicate a degree of pounding, but it may possibly mean to indicate the texture of the contents of the mortar. (CP)
[166]Fascinating recipe. Today kunafa is the baked Arab pastry that looks like shredded wheat; in the Middle Ages it was a thin crepe, here cut in small pieces and fried rather than baked. (CP)
[167]I'm not sure whether beating the cooked breads between the palms is intended to loosen the flaky layers or to crumble the breads. (CP)
[168]Almohad Vizier. (HM)
[169]Great architect in the times of Abd al-Mu'min and his son Yusuf I. (HM)
[170]Obviously, these are simply pancakes, cooked only on one side. The stoneware plate is used as a lid on the frying pan. The surface is pocked-"pierced"-because of the bubbles. Interestingly, some careful cooks in North Africa still make pancakes-which are called "khubz rgig" in Arabic and "elfetat or harhayet" in Berber-not by adding lots of liquid to flour but by kneading dough hard and then diluting it. (CP)
[171]Huici Miranda read the name of this dish as "markaba," boat, but it is clearly "murakkaba," composed, because of the method of making it. Constantine is a city in Algeria; the name "Kutâmiyya" refers to the Berber tribe Kutama, centered in the area around Sitif in Algeria, who were prominent during the ascendancy of the Fatimid dynasty in North Africa during the 9th and 10th centuries. One notices in the course of the recipe that the clay frying pan becomes a tajine; as a tajine is a clay casserole, it can serve for frying. (CP)
[172]The word "rafî s" comes from a verb which literally means "to kick," but the dictionaries report that in cooking (specifically in preparing meat) it means "to pound." That verb is found in the passage "if you pound it until the rafîs is soft and moist." (CP)
[173]The meaning seems to be to make a domed loaf resembling a sugar loaf ("sugar cup" in Arabic). (CP)
[174]Shaddâkh is a recognized variety of dates. Nevertheless, the first time the word appears in this recipe, Huici Miranda translated it as "pounded," apparently thinking of the word "mushaddakh," which means "unripe dates, squeezed and pressed." This is grammatically impossible; the syntax of the word shows it to be a proper noun in apposition and not an adjective. (CP)
[175]The "aromatic" clarified butter (mistranslated by Huici Miranda as "boiling") might be spiced, but it is more likely smen, the rancid aged clarified butter so valued in Morocco today. (CP)
[176]I don't know how big the mudd of Abu Hafs's measure was. This recipe skips the process of baking but of course ka'k was baked, and baked very hard; then as now it was a slightly sweet version of hardtack, like Italian biscotti. It evidently had some classic shape in al-Andalus, probably a ring. Jauzinaq was a confection made of ground walnuts mixed with sugar syrup; it seems to have been at least as popular in al-Andalus as the more familiar almond marzipan, lauzinaq. (CP)
[177]Here we seem to have a recipe from a source that doesn't like rancid clarified butter. Khushkalân is called "khushkanân" in the Syrian and Iraqi cookbooks, a form closer to the original Farsi "khoshknân," literally "dry bread."(CP)
[178]The huevo/egg is mysterious; literally the text says "an egg is beaten on all sides until it forms crumbs." Some other word probably occupied this space in the original text, but the scribe saw the word "beat" and absent-mindedly wrote "an egg" after it. Huici Miranda read "baida" as "bi-baida" (with an egg); I diffidently propose "yabyadda" (it whitens), but I fear we will never really know exactly what was meant here. The MS does not mention the fried cheese after taking it out of the oil, but I propose that the word "samn" (clarified butter) is a scribal error for "jubn" (cheese). The word has also been transposed out of order in the sentence. Maybe the scribe had a chance to catch a nap after copying this recipe! (CP)
[179]In 15th century Iran, Mishash was the name of a sweetmeat made from sesame seeds. (CP)
[180]Not sure what foliation refers to here. The previous recipe suggests a product with layers; maybe this rather perfunctory recipe presumes the reader will know to make something of the sort, and the honey/sugar/walnut mixture enters between the layers. Mashshash must have been a common preparation, because none of the three recipes given calls for spices but both this recipe and the next presume that the reader will be familiar with a spiced version. (CP)
[181]The "strainer like a palm," or "iron hand," was clearly the utensil for scooping things out of frying oil. (CP)
[182]"from Cairo." (HM)
[183]The verb "to milk" has some technical sense here; see the sambusak recipe below. (CP)
[184]a Persian name, cited by Rodinson, and appearing also in al-Bagdadi under the name "sanbusaj." (HM)
[185]A very uncharacteristic sanbûsak, made without flour. "Sanbûsak" is the same word as samosa. (CP)
[186]another Persian name, interpreted in al-Andalus as "Slaves' Stew" according to al-Shaquri, fol 59r. (HM)
[187]Huici Miranda's derivation of qataif from a verb meaning to sift flour is wrong. "Qataif" is simply the plural of the noun meaning "plush, velvet;" the texture is more fabric-like than bread. This basic recipe-crepes (the crepes themselves were called "mushahhada" in al-Andalus) folded over around a filling and deepfried-is what the word "qatâif" still means in Lebanon and Syria. The "qataif" can be removed from the cooking oil immediately, because the crepe ("flatbread") is already cooked. The last sentence suggests instead of folding over one mushahhada you could glue two together and make a fully round, rather than a half-round, version, so that you can serve both circles and half-circles. (CP)
[188]al-Shaquri identifies this with the pastry isfunj. (HM)
[189]Lac or gum-lac; also lake; a red brittle resinous substance brought from India, used for dyeing and making sealing wax. (EF)
[190]Brazilwood, Caesalpinia sappan, is not a New World plant but an East Indian dyewood well known in the Middle Ages. When campeachy wood or logwood, Haematoxylon campeachianum, was discovered in what is now Brazil, it was at first called brazilwood. Since it was Brazil's first big export, the country took its name from it. NB: The "crossed woods" referred to must be a wooden equivalent of the "iron hand."(CP)
[191]Al-Bagdadi gives two recipes, pp 48 and 72. (HM)
[192]Gum Arabic is the gum of an acacia that is used to thicken gumdrops, pastilles and so on. (CP)
[193]Huici Miranda failed to note where the name "qabît" comes from. It is a metathesized form of "qatîb"-or to be precise, its North African colloquial pronunciation, "qtib." This comes from the Classical Arabic word "qadîb," meaning "twig." The "d" was devoiced when the short vowel was dropped in the first syllable, and North African dialects are still wobbly about whether the word has a "d" or a "t"; today "qdib/qtib" means a skewer of meat, and the plural "qutban" is written both "kotban" and "kodban" on menus. At any rate, "qutban," twigs, are what the recipe says this candy resembles. (CP)
[194]As a result of the heating in the pan, the flour is probably parched so that it is digestible. Its purpose is probably the same as that of dusting marshmallows with starch, to keep everything on earth from sticking to it. (CP)
[195]I don't know whether the name of the dish refers to a marbled texture or to its being made on a pastry marble, so I chose an ambiguous name. (CP)
[196]Pulled honey sweet is evidently a variety of taffy made with honey. Maftuna is not explained, but it means "enamored, mad with love," clearly the name of a sweet. Huici Miranda indicates missing words after "excellently," but exceptionally doesn't footnote this. The sense doesn't suffer. (CP)
[197]Yes, the clay jug is actually broken and sacrificed to make this sweet. The writer has neglected to mention putting the dough in the jug. Huici Miranda had the bread in the middle, rather than the jug in the middle. (CP)
[198]This dish must come from a Syrian or Iraqi book, because it's about the only place in the book where he calls white flour "huwwari" rather than "darmak." It's also one of the few recipes where the verbs are in the active imperative mood, as is usual in English cookbooks, rather than in the passive indicative. (CP)
[199]This kind of stumps me. Obviously we have a kind of rich leavened bread cooked in the Spanish utensil called a cazuela. You make a big cut in it and you let it soak up a honey and butter syrup with spices and nuts. You put back a lid, which you evidently created with the big cut. But what of those tubes and embattlements? The only idea that comes to me is that you form a handle out of reeds to assist you in removing the crust lid. (CP)
[200]Plural of "qanut"--canes or cylinders. (HM)
[201]The scribe is dropping things again. The general discussion in the beginning, which is the only place where the stuffing is described, must have dropped the word sugar, as the recipe section omitted the instruction to fry the tubes. (CP)
[202]Evidently the little lumps of breadcrumbs, honey and spices looked like locusts to people. (CP)
[203]The "eyebrow" and the "eye" may be technical terms for parts of a mould. The gilding referred to is also ambiguous in the Arabic; both gold leaf and egg-yolk endoring were practiced in the Islamic world. (CP)
[204]From "fustaq"--pistachio. (HM)
[205]The Wusla, according to Rodinson, gives two recipes of kishk and one of kishkat, the three based on wheat. Dozy derives it from "kashk"--Arabic, and "ab"--Persian. (HM)
[206]The date given is for the copying of the manuscript; the original is 13th century. (CP)
[207]Andropogon schoenanthus, reading "tibn" for "tin" in the ms. (HM)
[208]Pedro de Alcalá translates this as ciridueñ a, and the Vocabulist translates it as mint. See Dozy, II, 13, and pronunciation variants. (HM)
I cannot translate ciridueñ a, but there is a plant called ciridona, in the poppy family, whose juice is used as a folk remedy for warts. (SB)
[209]The word "´urûq" can mean roots or stems/stalks. I've translated it according to what seemed to make sense. (CP)
[210]Eupatorbium, of the rose family. (HM)
[211]"tâ ghandast;" a Berber word, I guess we take HM's authority on its meaning. (CP)
[212]tabâshî r; manna, a sugary substance that appears at the joints of bamboo, or apparently in this case of cane. (CP)
[213]literally, "constipates", without the negative connotation. (SB)
[214]"harîr" means silk; is this a recipe for seeds of the mulberry, on whose leaves silkworms feed?(CP)
[215]"prevents matter from coming down from the brain."(CP)
[216]cited by al-Shaquri, p. 49r. (HM)
[217]possibly isfinar --white mustard. (HM)
[218]Kembra fern. (HM)
[219]this word does not have the definite article and is not proceeded by "and;" it seems to indicate a kind of lavender, but the following recipe puts this in doubt. (CP)
[220]wild spikenard. (HM)
[221]Pellitory. Dozy reads "tagandast," a Berber word. (HM)
Pellitory: "an asteraceous plant (Anacyclus Pyrethrum) of Southern Europe, whose root is used as a local irritant." (Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary, 1989)
[222]Thistle or Jewish greens. (HM)
[223]I have no idea how Huici Miranda decided that "cold poisons" were "colds in the nose." (CP)
[224]In this gap must be the title of the third chapter. (HM)
[225]Juwârish is an electuary, a medicine made to be licked. (CP)
[226]literally, Moon Wood; sometimes HM translates this as aloes. (CP)