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Luqmat al-Qādī: The Morsel that Went to the Ends of the Earth

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REPAST VOLUME XXV, NUMBER 1 WINTER 2009
8
LUQMAT AL-QĀDĪ:
THE MORSEL THAT
WENT TO THE ENDS
OF THE EARTH
by Randy K. Schwartz
he “judge’s morsel”, luqmat al-qādī, is one of
the most famous sweets bestowed to us by the
Muslim, Jewish, and Christian peoples of the
Middle East. From its origins in medieval Baghdad as a
deep-fried cake, or fritter, it made its way in the world,
adapting a bewildering variety of ingredients, shapes,
and names in the regions where it found a home.
Before Columbus set sail in 1492, this sweet fritter
had been integrated into local foodways from one end of
the hemisphere to the other— from Spain in the far west
to Indonesia in the far east. In later times it was brought
to the New World, where its wafer version was folded
onto itself to create the modern American ice-cream
cone.
When we trace the evolution of this sweet, we are
surveying not just one item, but a whole complex of
items from the Middle Eastern confectionery. The
metamorphoses undergone by the “judge’s morsel”, and
the lands and peoples that it reached over the centuries,
are truly impressive.
The Ur-Morsel in Baghdad
As far as we know, the earliest mention of “judge’s
morsels” by that name occurs in a cookery manuscript
copied by a scribe named Muhammad of Baghdad in
1226, when that city was the wealthy seat of the
‘Abbasid dynasty. The tenth and final chapter, “On
Making Kushkanānaj, Mutbaq, Crêpes, and Things
Mixed with Flour That are Analogous with Those”,
included a recipe for luqam al-qadi (“the judge’s
morsels”, luqam being a plural form of luqmat). It was to
be made with dough that has been kneaded and then left
for a while to ferment and rise:
There should be strength in the dough of this variety.
When it ferments, take pieces the size of hazelnuts and
fry them in sesame oil. Then dip them in syrup and
sprinkle finely pounded sugar on them.1
The name “judge’s morsel” suggests a delectable
worthy of a judge, a highly esteemed official in
traditional Muslim societies. In ‘Abbasid palace
kitchens, the dough used for this and other pastries
would have been made with samīd, the finest wheat flour
available, high in starch, low in gluten, and free of bran.
The fat used to fry these little balls of dough was not
olive oil but sesame oil, ideal for deep frying since it
imparts a golden-brown color and nutty taste. The oil
would have been flame-heated in a copper vessel, either
a tājin (frying pan, the source of the word tagine) or a
dist (a flat-bottomed cauldron several inches high with
inward-sloping sides).
Some of the paths that would later be taken by this
sweet can be seen from an interesting variant called
barad (“hail”), which appeared in Chapter Nine
(“Mentioning Sweetmeats and Their Varieties of That
Sort”) of the same Baghdad cookery book. Here, a
thinner version of the same kneaded and fermented
dough was used, and the same vessel of boiling oil:
When it boils, scoop some of the dough in a plaited
[i.e., reticulated] ladle and move it with a tremor over
the oil, so that whenever a drop of the dough drips into
the sesame oil, it hardens.2
These puffed, crispy morsels would then be tossed, like
hailstones, into another dist filled with honey that had
previously been boiled with rosewater and beaten to a
milky white. The hailstones were removed from this
sweet bath to a greased tile. There they were mounded
together into any desired shape, which was then sliced
for serving. Iraqi-born Nawal Nasrallah points out that
these are reminiscent of modern Rice Crispy Treats.3
As I interpret it, these two ancient relatives represent
what became “high” and “low” traditions of Islamic
confectionery, one found in palaces, the other in shops,
street-stalls, and fairgrounds. The original luqmat al-
qādī, made with a thicker batter, evolved into types of
fritters that were yet more extravagant, filled with
ground almond, Oriental spices, and other expensive
ingredients. These versions are much harder to find
today. On the other hand, barad (“hail”), which was
prepared using a thinner drip-fried batter, became part of
a custom in which very plain ingredients went into the
fritters themselves, but the latter were given interesting,
sometimes garish, shapes and colors, and usually a
sticky sweet syrup. If not for a confusing overlap in the
various names applied to them, the kinship of these two
traditions would be hard to recognize today.
Definitely to be avoided is any confusion with lokum
(known widely as “Turkish delight”), which is not
actually related to luqmat al-qādī at all. Lokum, a more
recent invention by Ottoman confectioners, is a gummy
sweet made with fruit or other syrups that are simmered
and then poured into a tray to gel. The jelly is sliced into
cubes and rolled in sugar. The gelling agent was
traditionally mastic resin, and now usually cornstarch.
T
REPAST VOLUME XXV, NUMBER 1 WINTER 2009
9
Lokum is short for rahat lokum (originally rahat-i
hulkum), a Turkish phrase meaning “comfort to the
throat”.
The High Tradition
To see what became of the more luxurious version
of luqmat al-qādī, we turn to a later Arabic cookery
manuscript, The Description of Familiar Foods, the
oldest surviving copy of which was written out in Cairo
in 1373. It contains most of the 100 or so recipes of the
earlier Baghdad book, along with over 300 recipes
collected from various other sources, mostly unknown
today.
In this 14th-Century recipe for luqmat, the batter is
used to lightly coat a filling consisting of a 2:1 mixture
of finely pounded sugar and nuts (almonds or pistachios)
kneaded with rosewater, musk, and/or syrup. These
coated morsels are then deep-fried in sesame oil, dipped
in more syrup, and finally sprinkled with “spiced
sugar”.4
The book also includes a ring-shaped variant called
qāhirriya, named, like Cairo itself, for al-Qāhir bil-lāh, a
caliph who ruled over the Fatimid dynasty in North
Africa in 932-4. For this ring version, the filling is
stiffened with a little flour and formed into good-sized
rings that are dried overnight; an additional optional
ingredient in the filling is camphor, an expensive
aromatic from East Asia. The rings are then dipped in a
batter made from fermented dough (further lightened
with the addition of saltpeter and eggwhite), fried in
sesame oil, glazed with hot syrup and/or honey, and
sprinkled with spiced sugar and, optionally, more
pounded nuts, rosewater, and musk.5
The Low Tradition
The same Description of Familiar Foods that had
such luxurious versions of luqmat al-qādī also included
three recipes for fritters that were plainer, made of batter
that was thinned with water and then dripped into the hot
oil.
One of the three recipes, barad (“hail”), was copied
faithfully from that in the Baghdad cookbook noted
earlier, except that the drops of batter were to be drizzled
from a bare hand rather than from a reticulated ladle.6
The second recipe, zulābiyā, called for a more highly
leavened dough that could optionally be colored yellow
with saffron or red with wine lees. These zulābiyā
fritters were gobbets eaten individually; in contrast to
barad, they were not mounded together like Rice Crispy
Treats.7
Zalābiyya in a latticed form. Image used with permission
from Nawal Nasrallah, Delights from the Garden of
Eden: A Cookbook and a History of the Iraqi Cuisine.
Cooks who preferred their zulābiyā in a more lattice-
like form were advised to use a third recipe, mushabbak,
which made creative use of a coconut shell:
Take some of this mentioned batter and put it in a
coconut pierced at the bottom. Then you put your finger
on the hole and you fill it with batter. You put sesame
oil in the cauldron, and when it boils, you take your
finger from the hole and move your hand around. Rings
of latticework are created from it. So take them up and
throw them in syrup and it comes out excellently.8
Using the coconut shell produces a lengthy, swirled tube
of dough on the hot oil’s surface, as with modern
American funnel cakes. The resulting mushabbak were
plaited, pretzel-size fritters that could take any of a
variety of forms, such as circular spirals crossed by a
few spokes, window-like squares, etc.
Zulābiyā and mushabbak, which go back centuries
earlier, would be strongly influenced by luqmat al-qādī
and elevated by their association with it. They were
already being widely sold in Baghdad markets in the
Ninth Century, where they seem to reflect Persian
influences. In these early decades of the ‘Abbasid
dynasty the Arabs of Baghdad admired the more highly
refined culture and cuisine of Persia, which they
officially ruled.
The term zulābiyā (and later variants like zalābiyya)
had entered Arabic from the Persian zalibīya, meaning
latticework. Over time, perhaps the meaning of the
Persian word receded from memory, for a corresponding
Arabic word, mushabbak or shabbakiyya (from a verb
meaning to form a tangle, mesh, plait, or lattice, the
continued on next page
REPAST VOLUME XXV, NUMBER 1 WINTER 2009
10
LUQMAT AL-QĀDĪ continued from p. 9
same root found in the Arabic word for “window”),
came to refer to this fritter when it had a distinctly
latticed form, while a zalābiyya fritter might be made in
any shape, such as a ball or whorl.
This distinction can be seen in a Baghdad cookbook
copied down by the scribe Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq, written
in the late 900’s but reflecting the palace cuisine of the
800’s. Chapter 100 of this manuscript is devoted to
zalābiyya and includes six recipes. Five are versions of
zalābiyya designated as “plain” and “unlatticed”. In
these five recipes, the little cakes take many forms: they
can be “fingers”, “rings”, or “disks” of dough that are
fried in fat; they can be slices of oven-baked sponge
cake moistened with milk; the cakes can be dipped in
honey and sprinkled with sugar, or else eaten in savory
form as an accompaniment to porridge.
But one of the six recipes is designated zalābiyya
mushabbaka (“latticed zalābiyya”). It is made with a
thin, yeasty samīd batter poured through a coconut shell
into hot oil. Each latticed cake, as soon as it is fried, is
dipped in a thickened honey made aromatic with
rosewater, musk, and/or camphor. The reader is
instructed not to serve the resulting fritters if they are
soft, dense, or leathery:
If your batter was done right, the moment the batter falls into
the hot oil, it will puff and look like a bracelet with a hollow
interior… The well-made ones should feel brittle and dry to
the bite, and crumble and fall apart in the mouth.9
The manuscript goes on for two more paragraphs
describing how to counteract factors that can ruin
zalābiyya mushabbaka: under-leavened dough, watery
honey, or an unlucky daily temperature or humidity.
The chapter closes with the words of an unnamed
poet extolling this latticed sweet. A few lines:
Like cornelian arranged in rows, as if of hollow tubes
of pure gold woven.
Laced into each other, as if with embroidered silken
fabric made.
Buried in white sugar, cloistered from the prying eyes.10
Regional preferences seem to have emerged for
either latticed or unlatticed varieties of zalābiyya. This is
reflected in a comment made by traveler Muhammad al-
Muqaddasi in his geographical treatise (c. 946).
Comparing the customs of the Levant (including his
native Jerusalem) with other regions, he wrote: “They
make zalābiyya in the Winter, but they do not plait the
dough.” He likened this and other Levantine customs to
those of Egypt.11 It appears, then, that latticed zalābiyya
hadn’t gained a foothold in the Eastern Mediterranean in
early medieval times. Other geographic variation is
mentioned below.
To the Far West and East
Fairly rapidly, the custom of making these morsels
spread, with Islam, to the Atlantic and the Indian
Oceans.
In Morocco and southern Spain, an anonymous 13th-
Century cookbook from the Almohad dynasty included a
few versions of qāhirriya, the elegant sugar-almond ring
fritter noted above in the 1373 Cairo cookbook, The
Description of Familiar Foods. These ones feature
unusual spices and aromatics inside (nutmeg, cloves,
cinnamon, lavender, spikenard, pepper, galingale,
camphor, etc.) and can be batter-fried in almond oil or
even baked in an oven.12
The same cookbook described how to make
zalābiyya fritters using a runny, fermented batter that
could be tinted with purple, red, yellow, or green plant
dye. A punctured vessel was advised for dripping this
batter into the oil. “The batter will run out through the
holes into the frying-pan, while you are turning your
hand in circles, forming rings, lattices and so on,
according to the custom of making it.” These fritters
were dipped in spiced honey and then drained so that
only what had been absorbed remained, one of the ways
to ensure a result that is juicy inside but still slightly
crunchy outside.13
Clifford Wright has found that a different form of
zalābiyya was one of the types of pastry that wealthy
families in medieval Tunisia would prepare for special
occasions. Here, the fritter was a puffy, slightly crunchy
ball of deep-fried batter, glazed with honey and
almonds.14
In the East, Muslim rule was established in northern
India in 1206 with the founding of the Delhi Sultanate.
In 1334, in an incident described by Tim Mackintosh-
Smith in his article in this issue, traveler Ibn Battutah of
Morocco presented the Sultan of Delhi with trays of
luqmat al-qādī and other sweets made by his Yemeni
confectioner. I conjecture that this luqmat was probably
one of the opulent varieties found in the 1373 Cairo
cookbook, which we noted had a filling of sugar and
pistachio/almond inside a ball (‘Abbasid) or ring
(Fatimid) of batter. The Fatimids, who were based in
Egypt and held power until 1171, had maintained
connections of faith and commerce with communities in
Yemen, Syria, Iran, and western India.
Soon, less-refined fritters also appeared in India.
They were very close to the squiggly, latticed version of
Arab zalābiyya, but made with local ingredients. For
example, different mixes of flour (wheat, rice, and
pulses) were used in different regions, and they were
REPAST VOLUME XXV, NUMBER 1 WINTER 2009
11
often fried not in sesame oil but in Indian ghee
(preserved butter) or other fats, until the fritters were
golden, or a deep orange if the dough was colored with
saffron.
The name given to this Indian fritter is not zalābiyya
but jalebī (otherwise transliterated as jilābi or the Anglo-
Indian jelaubee). A well-known 1886 Anglo-Indian
historical dictionary15 hazarded that jalebī is a corruption
of the Arabic term zalābiyya. But now it appears far
more likely to be rooted in the Persian word for
rosewater, julāb. In the West, julāb gave us the name for
a beverage, “julep”, while in India and elsewhere it
became a general word for “syrup”. This etymology
makes sense because jalebīs are finished by, and derive
all of their sweetness from, a bath of syrup made with
cane sugar and rosewater.
The late K. T. Achaya listed jalebī as one of the
refined and festive foods that Muslims brought to India
after the year 1000, enriching its cuisine. He gave a
number of historical references to the fritters, beginning
with a Jain work by Jināsura (c. 1450) that mentions
jalebīs served at a feast.16 Today, the jalebī is also
known, by that name, as far west as Afghanistan and as
far east as Indonesia, regions that have felt strong
Muslim influences historically.
In Modern Times
It’s not surprising that these morsels, already so well
traveled in medieval times, left modern descendants in
many countries. To bring some order to the variety of
names, shapes, and techniques, I find it convenient to
classify them as either whorls, lattices, puffballs, rolled
strips, or wafers.
I was able to taste a homemade “whorl” variety
when I lived with the Aytounas, an Arabic-speaking
family of Berber origin, during Summer 2001 in
Chefchaouen, a mountain town in northern Morocco.
We ate these little fritters, which had been made in the
kitchen by Mrs. Aytouna and her eldest daughter, during
a humble dinner on the evening of Mawlid, the Prophet’s
Birthday. As is traditional, the sweets were served as an
accompaniment to harīra, a savory soup with symbolic
religious undertones. Isolation, religion, and many other
forces have made Moroccan mountain towns more
traditional, if not backward, compared to some other
Arab lands, and even these fritters seemed like preserved
relics of the foodways of yore. Although the Moroccans
refer to them as shabbakiyya (literally “latticework”),
these are not the long spirals or convolutions of dough
normally given such a name, but short arcs, stubby and
gnarled. They were a bit crunchy on the surface and a bit
chewy inside, dark golden brown in color, glazed with
honey and sprinkled with white sesame seeds.
Greek loukoumathes, “puffball” pastries fried in oil
and glazed in syrup, are one of the derivative forms of
Arab luqmat. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Later, on a trip to Tunisia in 2004, I was surprised to
see that the honey-soaked fritters are made there in the
swirling “lattice” style. They are called zalābiyya and are
a garish, translucent orange, 3-4 inches in diameter, piled
up on platters for sale at shop counters and street stalls.
In neighboring Algeria they have the same name and
appearance.17
Among Lebanese Christians, these colorful, latticed
fritters are instead called mushabbak. In Iraq and Iran,
they are zalābiyya and are sometimes given as alms to
the poor during Ramadan. Those dipped in honey
instead of sugar syrup are considered of higher quality.
Take one step further east and they go by the name
jalebī, starting in Afghanistan, where they are
traditionally served with fish in the Winter and are even
sold from fish stalls. Because it is fried in oil, the Indian
jalebī has much symbolic importance during Diwali, the
Hindu festival of lights in mid-Autumn. In southern
India, the batter can include a mixture of wheat flour,
urad flour (made from the black gram bean), vegetable
oil, and yogurt. The batter is extruded into the hot oil
using a coconut shell or pastry bag.18
The third form of zalābiyya is what I call a puffball,
a hollow sphere of deep-fried batter the size of a Ping-
Pong ball, glazed in honey or syrup. This is the kind
popular in Egypt today. (We noted earlier how Clifford
Wright has identified this as a type that was enjoyed in
medieval Tunisia.) To make them, spoonfuls of soft,
yeasty, well-fermented dough are dropped into the hot
oil. A few years ago, I prepared some with pre-mixed
ingredients from a zalābiyya packet that I bought at an
Arab-owned grocery in Ann Arbor. This had been
exported by an Egyptian firm, Holw El-Shām. Within
Egypt, the balls are actually more often called lu‘mat al-
continued on next page
REPAST VOLUME XXV, NUMBER 1 WINTER 2009
12
LUQMAT AL-QĀDĪ continued from p. 11
ādī, the local pronunciation of luqmat al-qādī (“judge’s
morsel”). Similarly in Greece (loukoumathes) and
Turkey (lokma), where the puffball fritters are common
at festivals, shops, and funerals, and are usually glazed
with a honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon or
other spices. In Oman (loqemat), rice flour is added to
the batter, and cardomom, lime juice, saffron, and
rosewater may be added to the sugar-syrup.19
A rolled-out form of zalābiyya fritter is made in
Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, particularly among Chris-
tians. The
dough, once
risen, is flat-
tened with a
rolling pin
and cut into
ribbons or
triangles.
These are
fried in oil,
then sprin-
kled with
sugar or
glazed with
syrup. The
dough might
include spices
such as
nigella seeds
(black cumin)
or mahlab (an
almondy-tast-
ing powder
made from
the pits of
wild black
cherries).
Such fritters
are some-
times served
for breakfast
with fruit
preserves,
and can also
be eaten as a
simple des-
sert anytime
or following
evening mass during Epiphany. The fritters can also be
made in the puffball form, which the Christian Arabs
call ‘awwamah, literally “floating thing”.20
We must note two other types of zalābiyya that have
been eaten in Syria in modern times. One, a puffball type
that was fried in olive oil, was made by Jews there
during the eight feast days of Channukah.21 The
symbolism is evident, as this holiday commemorates a
miracle of olive oil following the successful Maccabean
revolt against oppressive Syrian rule (165 BC).
The final Syrian type of zalābiyya was not fried at
all, but cooked waffle-style between a large hinged pair
of iron plates. This produces a thin, crisp, round wafer
with a grid pattern on the surface, similar to the Italian
pizzelle. The Syrians would sprinkle sugar on the
surface, sometimes first rolling the wafer into a cone
shape while it was still hot.
A little over a
century ago, when
it was noticed that
the conical
zalābiyya wafers
cooked by Syrian-
American immi-
grants would
make an ideal,
edible cup for a
frozen treat, the
“ice-cream cone”
was born. Al-
though the exact
details are in
dispute, the mo-
ment of creation
might have oc-
curred at the
Louisiana Pur-
chase Exposition,
a world’s fair held
in 1904 in St.
Louis.22
How remark-
able that luscious,
deep-fried morsels
served in the rich
palaces of med-
ieval Baghdad
would evolve— in
the New World
about 1,000 years
later— into one of
the most cheap
and common
forms of pastry
ever known!
Endnotes
1. Charles Perry, trans. and ed., A Baghdad Cookery Book,
published as a special issue of Petits Propos Culinaires
79 (Totnes, Devon UK: Prospect Books, 2005), p. 104.
2. Perry, A Baghdad Cookery Book, p. 101.
Albert Doumar, owner of Doumar’s Cones and Barbecue in Norfolk, VA, shows
how to turn wafer-style zalābiyya into an ice-cream cone. The disk-shaped pastry
is cooked like a waffle between metal plates, then rolled around a wooden mold
while still warm and pliable. It soon cools to a crisp. Doumar’s uncle, Abe
Doumar, was one of several Syrian-American vendors who recalled fashioning
ice-cream cones in this way as an innovation at the 1904 world’s fair in St. Louis.
Photo: David Alan Harvey/Saudi Aramco World/SAWDIA (see Endnote 22).
REPAST VOLUME XXV, NUMBER 1 WINTER 2009
13
3. Nawal Nasrallah, Delights from the Garden of Eden: A
Cookbook and a History of the Iraqi Cuisine (1stBooks
Library, 2003), p. 546.
4. Charles Perry, trans. and ed., “The Description of
Familiar Foods”, in his Medieval Arab Cookery (Totnes,
Devon UK: Prospect Books, 2001), pp. 430, 462.
5. Perry, “Description”, pp. 422, 433-4, 438-9.
6. Perry, “Description”, p. 421.
7. Perry, “Description”, p. 438.
8. Perry, “Description”, p. 421.
9. Nawal Nasrallah, trans. and ed., Annals of the Caliph’s
Kitchens: Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq’s Tenth-Century
Baghdadi Cookbook (Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2007),
pp. 414-5.
10. Nasrallah, Annals, p. 417.
11. Muhammad ibn Ahmad Muqaddasi, The Best Divisions
for Knowledge of the Regions, trans. and ed. by Basil
Anthony Collins (Reading, UK: Garnet Publishing,
1994), p. 167.
12. Charles Perry, trans., “An Anonymous Andalusian
Cookbook of the 13th Century”,
http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/An
dalusian/andalusian_contents.htm, pp. 67, 182-3.
13. Perry, “An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook”, pp.
188-9.
14. Clifford A. Wright, A Mediterranean Feast (New
York: William Morrow and Co., 1999), p. 112.
15. Henry Yule and Arthur Coke Burnell, Hobson-Jobson:
A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and
Phrases (London: John Murray, 1886, 1903), available
in full text at
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/hobsonjobson
16. K. T. Achaya, Indian Food: A Historical Companion
(Delhi: Oxford India Paperbacks, 1998), pp. 154-5.
17. Robert W. Lebling, Jr., “Flight of the Blackbird”, Saudi
Aramco World 54:4 (July-August 2003), pp. 24-33.
18. Madelain Farah, Lebanese Cuisine (Portland, OR,
1990), p. 120; Nasrallah, Delights, pp. 482-5; Alan
Davidson, The Oxford Companion to Food (Oxford
UK: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 412 s.v.
“jalebi”; Monique Zetlaoui, “La Ronde des Beignets”,
Qantara 69 (October 2008), pp. 65-7; Hemalata C.
Dandekar, Beyond Curry: Quick and Easy Indian
Cooking Featuring Cuisine from Maharashtra State
(Ann Arbor, MI: Univ. of Michigan Center for South
and Southeast Asian Studies, 1990), p. 55.
19. Samia Abdennour, Egyptian Cooking: A Practical
Guide (New York: Hippocrene Books, 1998), p. 169;
Davidson, Oxford Companion, p. 412; Peter Conistis,
Greek Cuisine: The New Classics (Berkeley, CA: Ten
Speed Press, 1994), p. 125; Marcia S. Dorr, A Taste of
Oman: Traditional Omani Food (Muscat, Oman:
Mazoon Printing Press, 2005), p. 14.
20. Helen Corey, The Art of Syrian Cookery (Garden City,
NY: Doubleday and Co., 1962), p. 169; Farah, Lebanese
Cuisine, p. 119; Christiane Dabdoub Nasser, Classic
Palestinian Cookery (London: Saqi Books, 2001), pp.
183-4; Zetlaoui, “La Ronde des Beignets”.
21. Poopa Dweck, Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary
Cuisine of Syrian Jews (New York: Ecco, 2007), p. 250.
22. Jack Marlowe, “Zalabia and the First Ice-Cream Cone”,
Saudi Aramco World 54:4 (July-August 2003), pp. 2-5;
Zetlaoui, “La Ronde des Beignets”.
For the Chocoholics
In addition to “Chocolate: Food of the Gods”, a talk
presented to CHAA by chocolatier Nancy Biehn on
March 15, we make note of three recent studies of
chocolate.
Univ. of Texas anthropologist Meredith L. Dreiss and a
collaborator, Sharon Edgar Greenhill, have completed a
book, Chocolate: Pathway to the Gods (Tucson: Univ. of
Arizona Press, 2008; 208 pp. + 60-min. DVD, $30 cloth).
The work, based on the authors’ archaeological and
ethnographic research in Mesoamerica, details the history
of chocolate among the peoples of that region (Mayan,
Aztec, Olmec, Mixtec, and Zapotec), focusing on the
social, cultural, sacred, and medicinal contexts. The
accompanying DVD includes their earlier documentary
film of the same title, whose world premiere was on
February 20, 2005 at a meeting of the Historic Foodways
Group of Austin, TX.
Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage (Hoboken,
NJ: Wiley, 2009; 1000 pp., $99.95 cloth) is a collection of
57 essays written by
members of the
Chocolate History
Group, a scholarly
network formed in 1998
by the Univ. of
California-Davis and
Mars, Incorporated. The
work is co-edited by
UC-Davis nutritional
anthropologist Louis E.
Grivetti and Howard-
Yana Shapiro of Mars,
Inc. Drawing from their
backgrounds in such
diverse fields as
anthropology, archaeo-
logy, biochemistry,
culinary arts, gender studies, engineering, history,
linguistics, and nutrition, the writers examine facets of the
global history of chocolate, from ancient pre-Columbian
times to the present.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American
History and Mars, Inc. teamed up to present a symposium,
“Chocolate: The North American Experience”, at the
museum on March 7. Speakers included Grivetti and
Shapiro, co-editors of the book just mentioned; Peter
Liebhold, the museum’s Curator of Work and Industry;
food writer Marian Burros; pastry chef and author Steve
Klc; Georgetown Univ. Prof. Susan Terrio, author of
Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate
(Berkeley, CA, 2000); and Mort Rosenblum, author of
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light (New
York, 2005).
... Legaimaat is another addition to the list of such tasty sweets where wheat flour is the main ingredient. From its origins in medieval Baghdad as a deep-fried fritter known as luqmat al-qadi, the Middle Eastern confectionary was rapidly adopted into different cuisines [26]. It is prepared by mixing the flour with water and other ingredients like yeast and sugar. ...
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Background Traditional foods are an important part of Bahraini culture, identity, and heritage. The aim of this study was to document plant-based traditional foods and beverages consumed by local Bahrainis. Methods Traditional knowledge of plants used as food and beverage was obtained through 76 personal interviews of knowledgeable informants using a semi-structured questionnaire. Results A total of 52 common foods and beverages were reportedly documented by the respondents. Some traditional foods are not tied to specific seasons, but are consumed throughout the year, such as harees, momowash, sambosa, halwa, assidah, and legaimaat while others such as madquq bisr, mattaai, khabees, gurs al-taabi and khubez zinjibari are common at family celebrations or other specific holidays. Boiling and frying are the most popular traditional cooking methods employed in Bahrain. Conclusion The findings of this study could provide a knowledge basis for relating traditional food consumption and potential health status among Bahrainis.
The Oxford Companion to Food s.v
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The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions
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Muhammad ibn Ahmad Muqaddasi, The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions, trans. and ed. by Basil Anthony Collins (Reading, UK: Garnet Publishing, 1994), p. 167.
La Ronde des Beignets
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Monique Zetlaoui, "La Ronde des Beignets", Qantara 69 (October 2008), pp. 65-7;
Flight of the Blackbird
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Robert W. Lebling, Jr., "Flight of the Blackbird", Saudi Aramco World 54:4 (July-August 2003), pp. 24-33.
An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13 th Century
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Charles Perry, trans., "An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13 th Century",
A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases
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Henry Yule and Arthur Coke Burnell, Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases (London: John Murray, 1886, 1903), available in full text at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/hobsonjobson
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