Caliph’s Feast

People may be enjoying turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie this weekend, but how about some humus atuf— chickpeas roasted in lamb fat and embellished with chopped lemon, ground pistachios, and mint. Or maybe your more of a naranjina person, savoring the dish of two meat balls coated in egg yolk, half-submerged in steaming orange and rosewater-seasoned beef broth.Caliph's Feast

Those and many more dishes were the menu at a recent “Caliph’s Feast,” attended by Abbie Rosner. As she writes for Nextbook, the meal’s host used recipes taken from medieval Arab cookbooks from the seventh to the 13th centuries.

For the evening’s meal, Mayer-Chissick (the host) consulted reproductions of manuscripts written in the original Arabic, as well as the recently published compilation of tenth-century Baghdadi recipes, Annals of the Caliph’s Kitchens , in an English translation by Nawal Nasralla. Written in narrative form, many of the recipes contain long lists of ingredients and spices, often with quantities no more specific than “as much as a nail will hold,� as well as commentary on the most salubrious conditions for their preparation and consumption. (MORE)


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