Arabic cooking is the most exciting new influence on avant-garde British cookery. The incredible balance of spices and fruit, the piercing aromas of herbs, devastating sweetmeats: described by authors such as Claudia Roden and Anissa Helou - these will make a real impact in restaurants and in our homes. This book gives the necessary historical foundation. Arab cookery has identifiable links with the magnificent courts in Baghdad, the Levant and Egypt which were catalysts of a fusion of Classical and (most vital of all) Persian cuisine. The recipes and practices of the medieval Arab world are of more than just antiquarian utility. Claudia Roden acknowledges their inspiration in her foreword, particularly as explained to herby the legendary French linguist, sociologist and scholar Maxime Rodinson. "Medieval Arab Cookery" has 3 authors. There are translations of 2 complete medieval texts. The first is the pioneering translation of a 13th-century cookbook by the late Professor A. J. Arberry. Hitherto, it has been locked in a back-number of the journal "Islamic Studies" since its first printing in 1939.
Then, there is a translation of a 15th-century cookbook (reflecting Egyptian practices) by the American scholar, Charles Perry - this is new, the source never before explored. French essays by Maxime Rodinson are here translated, some for the first time, covering the influence of Arab cookery on the medieval West, and including a study of early medieval Arab cookery literature. Finally, Charles Perry has written a dozen essays on medieval Arab cookery. He is the most active scholar in this field in the world today. His contributions to the famed Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery since 1981 are a highlight of its proceedings. He writes for a living for the "Los Angeles Times". Claudia Roden, Britain's best writer on Middle Eastern cookery, writes a foreword and an appreciation of the work of her friends.