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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter discusses the Ibn Sayyār al-Warrāq's cookbook in a footnote to his translation of al-Baghdādī's cookbook Kitāb al-Ṭabīkh, written in 1226. The Istanbul manuscript is an adaptation of al-Warrāq's original work. The manuscript is both abridged and augmented, and Masʿūd ibn Mawdūd seems to have been responsible for putting it together. The rapid growth of Baghdad during the Abbasid dynasty created prosperous leisurely classes that demanded the best wealth could offer, which naturally included gourmet cuisine. The Abbasids' own Arab culinary heritage supplemented the Mesopotamian and Persian influences. The galenic humoral theory is applied in cooking to produce the best results. For instance, iron pans, which are cold in nature, are recommended for frying fish, which has cold properties. The cold properties of pan and fish will be counterbalanced by the hot properties of fire and the frying oil.

Keywords: Abbasid Baghdadi Cuisine; food culture; galenic humoral theory; Ibn Sayyār al-Warrāq; Istanbul manuscript; Kitāb al-Ṭabīkh



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