Medieval Arabic Culinary Literature Offers Lessons for the Present

A Trove of Medieval Arabic Cookbooks

Excess was in vogue at the zenith of the Abbasid Empire. The wedding of its seventh caliph, al-Mamun, cost 50 million dirhams, according to the historian al-Tabari. It required 140 mules to make three trips a day for an entire year to transport wood for the stove. It then took two days and nights to burn through all the wood as the food cooked above it.