Muhammad b.al-Hasan b.Muhammad b.al-Karîm, Charles Perry (tr.)
ISBN-10 1-903018-42-0 ISBN-13 978-1-903018-42-2 Published Dec 2005 127 pages; 187×138 mm; paperback; illustrations
Kitâb al Tabîkh, composed by a thirteenth-century scribe we usually call al-Baghdadi, was long the only medieval Arabic cookery book known to the English-speaking world, thanks to A.J.Arberry’s path-breaking 1939 translation as ‘A Baghdad Cookery Book’ (reissued by Prospect Books in 2001 in Medieval Arab Cookery).
For centuries, it had been the favourite Arabic cookery book of the Turks. The original manuscript, formerly held in the library of the Aya Sofya Mosque, is still in Istanbul; it is now MS Ayasofya 3710 in the Süleymaniye Library. At some point a Turkish sultan commissioned very a handsome copy, now MS Oriental 5099 in the British Library in London. At a still later time, a total of about 260 recipes were added to Kitâb al Tabîkh's original 160 and the expanded edition was retitled Kitâb Wasf al-Atima al-Mutada (my translation of it also appears in Medieval Arab Cookery); three currently known copies of K.Wasf survive, all in Turkey – two of them in the library of the Topkapi Palace, showing the Turks’ high regard for this book. Finally, in the late fifteenth century Sirvâni made a Turkish translation of Kitâb al Tabîkh, to which he added some recipes current in his own day, the first Turkish cookery book.