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Chapter Summary

This front matter section of the book Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens: Ibn Sayyār al-Warrāq's Tenth-Century Baghdadi Cookbook presents the table of contents, a preface, and acknowledgements. The book focuses on Al-Warrāq's tenth-century Kitāb al-Ṭabīkh, which is the earliest known, and the most important culinary document from medieval times worldwide. Kitāb al-Ṭabīkh is a complete text, well written, thoughtfully devised, and abounds with illustrative poems and anecdotes, most of which are nowhere else preserved. The book also addresses the aspects of interest to the modern reader as it places al-Warrāq's work in the era's cultural and historical contexts. Although Arabic has not changed much since the Middle Ages, many names of objects and ingredients have metamorphosed or fell out of use altogether. Each of the book's gastronomic poems, more than eighty in all, traditionally follows a single rhyme scheme.

Keywords: Abbasid Baghdadi Cuisine; food culture; gastronomic poems; historical context; Ibn Sayyār al-Warrāq; Kitāb al-Ṭabīkh



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