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Monday, July 7, 2014


Arab Portal at the Casino in Murcia
Photo from WacKmaNUF
Fadälat al-Jiwān fī tayyibāt al-ta 'ām wa-l-alwān (Ar), Sp. Relieves de la mesa, sobre manjares y guisos. Eng. Culinary Abundance Rich Recipes with Medieval Variations by Abū l-Qāsim ibn Muhammad ibn Abī Bakr ibn Razīn al-Tuŷībī al-Andalusī.  The author, Ibn Razīn was from Murcia, a province south of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast, see Ibn Rasīn. In 1238 Valencia was conquered from the Muslims and incorporated into the kingdom of Aragon. In 1243, Muslims in Murcia were conquered and the province was incorporated into the crown of Castile. Ibn Razīn seems to have written at least part of the manuscript while still living in Murcia, under Almohade domination, as he states in the that rice was not common except in Murcia but Marín believes that the bulk of the work was written in during the second half of the 13th C after Ibn Razīn moved out of Iberia. Granja, on the other hand, believed that Fadalat was written in Murcia after the conquest of the Hispano-Muslims in Valencia by Jaime I of Aragon in 1238 and before 1243, when Fernando III of Castile conquered Murcia.

Casino de Murca Patio arabe
Photo from: Santiago Abella
Fadalat is one of the two surviving medieval Andalusian manuscripts from the 13th C. It is believed to be the first cookbook written about Muslim-Andalusian cooking and customs, revealing several recipes coming from northern Africa, others coming from Bagdad and still others as a result of the Roman domination and culinary contributions during the six centuries that they occupied Hispania.

In 1960 Fernando de la Granja Santamaría translated the manuscript into Castilian as his doctoral thesis and Susan Lord-Williams translated a condensed version in 2008 into English, which is on line. In 2007, Manuela Marín published the entire manuscript translated into Spanish with the results of her study of the manuscript and notes.

The other manuscript, called An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century (Anón. Al-Andalus) was written during Almohade domination in southern Spain. It was first translated from Arabic to Castellan by Ambrosio Huici Miranda and later from Arabic to English by Charles Perry. (Perry's edition is now available online.)  Both MSS are cookbooks for the elite. They reveal customs and diets of the elite in Muslim Iberia. This is obvious considering the products used: meats of all types, refined olive oil, spices such as pepper, saffron and cinnamon; the finest wheat flour for bread and imported products such as sugar until cultivated in Al-Andalus beginning in the 10th C. [Ibn Razīn/Granja. 1960:11; Ibn īn/Marín. 2007; and Lord. Fadalat. 2008] 

Sauteing Carrots in Olive Oil
Photo by: Lord-Williams


1 lb carrots[2]
salt to taste
¼  c vinegar
1 garlic clove mashed
½ tsp caraway
2 tbsp olive oil for frying

1 tbsp cane (brown) sugar
1 tbsp oregano[3]

Simply Hummy
Photo by: Lord-Williams

Cut the roots without peeling[4] and wash them. Cut them in half.

Boil in salted water. When soft remove from the water and dry them.

Fry in olive oil. When browned remove oil and then pour boiling vinegar over them with mashed garlic and caraway.

Let cool a little, garnish with brown sugar and serve.

[1] This recipe was purposely chosen to point out that vegetables were a part of the medieval diet.
[2] White, red, yellow or purple carrots should be used as it is claimed that they did not become orange until 16th Century with the founding of the Orange Dynasty in the Netherlands. In the times of William I, the orange carrot is said to have been developed in his honor.  Unfortunately, orange carrots dominate the market and were used, therefore, when preparing the recipe.
[3] The Medieval Spanish Chef’s addition.
[4] This is inconceivable today. Common practice is to peel carrots.

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