Historical Islamic Cooking: Andalusian and Baghdadi Recipes

When studying history, we often look for literature, archeology, events, and the like. Seldom do we consider food and recipes to be a topic of history.

However, there are several sites that have recipes from olden days. Some of them have a nice collection of recipes from Islamic countries, most notably Iraq and Andalusia.

These recipes go back all the way to the 10th century, when Baghdad was the seat of the Islamic Caliphate, in the Golden Age of Islam in the East. The Andalusian recipes go further into the 15th century, just before the fall of Granada.

The recipes themselves can be found here, by David Friedman, and they contain many interesting recipes:

There is also the following:

  • Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook, as published by Charles Perry, on David Friedman's web site. It is one of the sources for Greg Lindahl's aforementioned site(s).

David Friedman mentions the following sources for his recipes

  • Al-Baghdadi, A Baghdad Cookery Book (1226 A.D./623 A.H.), A.J. Arberry, tr., Islamic Culture 1939.
  • Kitab al Tibakhah كتاب الطباخة: A Fifteenth-Century Cookbook,*Charles Perry, tr. The translation was published in Petits Propos Culinaires #21(note 1). The original author is Ibn al-Mabrad or Ibn al-Mubarrad.
  • Kitab al-Tabikh wa-islah al-Aghdiyah al-Ma'kulat كتاب الطبيخ و إصلاح الأغذية و المأكولاتby Abu Muhammad al-Muzaffar ibn Nasr ibn Sayyar al-Warraq. This is a tenth century collection of cookbooks; the Arabic original has been published in Studia Orientalia vol. 60, ed. Kaj Ohrnberg and Sahban Mroueh. Charles Perry has translated a few recipes from it, only one of which has been published (the Badinjan Muhassa, in Symposium Fare, recipes from the 1981 Oxford Symposium).
  • La Cocina Arabigoandaluza, translated from Arabic into Spanish by Fernando de la Granja Santamaria and from Spanish into English by Melody Asplund-Faith. This consists of selections from a much longer Arabic original. It is referred to as "al-Andalusi."
  • An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the Thirteenth Century, a translation by Charles Perry of the Arabic edition of Ambrosio Huici Miranda with the assistance of an English translation by Elise Fleming, Stephen Bloch, Habib ibn al-Andalusi and Janet Hinson of the Spanish translation by Ambrosio Huici Miranda, published in full in the 5th edition of volume II of the cookbook collection. Referred to as "Andalusian." The entire Andalusian Cookbook can be found on David Friedman's web site.

Edit: fixed attribution from Greg Lindhal to David Friedman, as per comment below.





Attribution Error and Additional Culinary Sources

The pages you cite on Greg Lindahl's website were NOT written by Greg. They are from a collection of writings known as "The Miscellany" whose modern author is David Friedman, who has tested the recipes and worked on the modern versions. Greg Lindahl is only hosting those web pages. One will notice that they are in the section called "cariadoc", which is the name David Friedman uses in a medieval re-creation organization.

A complete translation of ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's 10th century CE compendium of recipes from the 9th and 10th century CE is now available translated into English with excellent introductory matter and an expansive glossary of food ingredients, medicinal ingredients, and prepared dishes. It is huge - and wonderful. The scholar who translated this into English is Nawal Nasrallah, and it is published by Brill. al-Warraq's book includes chapters on handwashing, dinner conversation and etiquette, and health, along with the recipes and poems about food.

The Andalusi recipes actually go back to the 13th century CE. I've cooked many from the on-line translation of the so-called Anonymous Andalusian cookbook and they have been delicious.

Fernando de la Granja Santamaria translated into Spanish selections from a book that is not just known as "the Andalusi". It is, in fact, "al-Fadalat al-Khiwan fi Tayyibat al-Ta'am wa'l-Alwan" written between 1228 and 1243 CE by Abu'l-Hasan 'Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Abu al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr ibn Razin al-Tujibi. of the Andalusian city of Murcia, who is generally known as ibn Razin and al-Tujibi. Some of his recipes have been translated into Italian by Lilia Zaouali, whose book has been recently published in English as "Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World". This book includes recipes from three 13th century CE culinary manuscripts - al-Tujibi's Andalusian cookbook, an Egyptian cookbook, and a Syrian cookbook - and some from ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's 10th century CE book.

I have a list of medieval period cookbooks from Dar al-Islam - mostly originally in Arabic, but some originally in other languages - that i know of which have been translated into English on one of my websites: Middle East Cookbooks.

Elsewhere on that site i have some recipes i have cooked for myself and for banquets.

A culture is more than its political and economic history and more than its artistic, intellectual and religious thought. I'm convinced one can learn from its cuisine as well.

Thank you

Thank you. Attribution fixed. Also hyperlinked your web site.

Khalid Baheyeldin

Andalucian Cookbook

Hello Khalid,

Just dropping a line to let you know that I've edited The Anonymous Andalucian Cookbook into a more understandable English, with a useful order of recipes and chapters, and made it into a PDF book that is free to download from my website.

This is the link to the page on my site about the book.

And this is the direct link to the downloadable PDF file.

Ciao, and thanks, and salam alaikum,


Violet colored carrots

When I was growing up in Egypt, my grandmother used to make carrot jam. She used the regular orange colored ones, as well as a more unusual violet colored variety.

A few months ago, I was talking about it to my aunt and she found them, made a jam from them, and sent me some of it. The bright violet color is unusual and refreshing.

Carrot Jam

DO have a recipe for carrot jam and any photos?

Re: Carrots and their colors

From a Washington Post blog: "In the 17th century, Dutch growers cultivated orange carrots as a tribute to William of Orange – who led the the struggle for Dutch independence – and the color stuck. A thousand years of yellow, white and purple carrot history was wiped out in a generation."