Hello dear reader(s) and welcome back to the blog. In this edition of Nessa reads and reviews series I will write about Lilia Zaouali’s captivating book Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World: A Concise History with 174 recipes. This was the 4th book from my December reading list and I’ve managed to finish it on New Year’s Eve. 😀 Food before wild parties is my motto. 😀
There is little information about the Tunisian born author Lilia Zaouali online. I haven’t been able to find any website or her social media that I could direct you to. According to the information from the book cover doctor Zaouali obtained her Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Université Paris-Sorbonne. She taught at the University Jussieu Pris-7 and the Sarah Lawrence American Academy.
As the title itself implies Zaouali’s book is an amalgam of an old cookbook and the story about the history of food in the Islamic World. Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World: A Concise History with 174 recipes is divided into 3 parts. In the first part of the book the author introduces the reader to the history and tradition of ingredients, food preparation, cooking techniques, meals, recipe writing and so on. It is an enchanting read filled with new and interesting information. The kind of stuff you were always curious about, but you didn’t quite know where to find. The second part of the book consists of medieval recipes from 4 medieval cookbooks. Lastly, in the third part of the book the author brigs a selection of contemporary recipes from North African cuisine.
If you love food and cooking you will find this book truly engrossing. Although cooking is not my forte, nor do I care for cookbooks in general this was an enjoyable read. Personally I liked the first part about the history and tradition of food and food preparation more than the parts with the recipes. It’s great that they are included and they are interesting. However, since I don’t really like to cook and the recipes were not the reason why I wanted to read this book I could have lived without them. 😀 But you don’t need to read every part of this book, you can read the parts you find interesting and skip the ones you don’t. That’s the beauty of this cookbook-history of food amalgam.
Before I sign of, if you’re interested about the recipes from the Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World and you’re wondering if someone made those you can go to S. A. Chakraborty’s Twitter @SAChakrabooks. She made a few dishes using the recipes from this book and made a thread about the process. Photos are included and everything looks amazingly scrumptious! Until next time dear reader(s)!
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