Not Primary Middle Eastern/Persian Cookbooks

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I didn’t get to go to Pennsic this year, but I did get to indulge in one of my favorite Pennsic past times. Book shopping. Namely cookbook shopping. I must admit I prefer being able to actually look at the books so I can see if they have period recipes for redacting. The ones I prefer and promote do. I stumbled across the Arabian Nights Cookbook on Amazon promoted as a book based on period recipes.


I like the cookbook, but it is NOT period. The dishes are modern without historical input. I was very sad to find this out when I received the book. I do like the recipes, but if you are looking for historical recipes, this is NOT the book to get. Get this book if you want modern cookbook though.

So I have a handful of books that aren’t good for primary sources of documentation.  This does not mean they aren’t with out merit.  While the books do not cite the original recipe, each one has either really great historic pieces of information, GORGEOUS pictures, or a really great idea to point in the right direction a period recipe may be hidden at.

Arabic Recipes & History for Medieval Feasts (Middle Eastern)- Good ideas but no original recipes.  I would use this as a secondary source at best.  Great references though for original recipes and historic facts.

A Taste of Persia (Persian) – I like this book just for the modern recipes.  There are no original period recipes and the history is more of a 1st cooking view, however the recipes are wonderful. I like the description of the rice dishes.  One of my favorite!

The Legendary Cuisine of Persia (Persian) – This book has no original period recipes…what it does have are great modern recipes that point the way on how things might have been cooked and a break down of a period Persian kitchen.  Good for historical kitchen and cooking points, not so much as a primary reference.

The Emperor’s Table (Indian/Persian) – I adore this book.  The period art piece pictures are worth the price alone.  The recipes are close to period; however there are no original recipes listed so again a good secondary cook book but not good for a primary reference.  If you are looking for period pictures on women wearing choli tops with bare midrifs, this is your book!  The cook portions are exacting for how to prepare dishes that do show up in period manuals even though these recipes do not quote original historic documentations.  Thumbs on this one!

A Drizzle of Honey – The lives and Recipes of Spain’s Secret Jews (Spanish/Moorish)- This book has really good historical references not only to the cities, political events, but the size and reason for how things were used and cooked, i.e. the size of a pat of butter was the size of a coin suggested in X recipe.  This book does not have original period recipes yet it contains some very excellent historic information for Spanish and Moorish cooking adapted by the Jewish people.

From Persia to Napa. I like this book, but not for the recipes at the end.  This book as excellent Persian painting photos, great for costumers.  This book has great period Persian poetry and history of wine.  This book is great for costumers and those interested in Persian history of wine and cooking with wine.  However if this is not a period book by any imagination for cooking.