—Henry Hobhouse, quoted in Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination

After listening to Lynne’s segment with Charles Perry on the golden age of Islamic food and conquest, I’d asked The Splendid Table folks about the book they discussed (Now I know it’s called Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World: A Concise History with 174 Recipes). Up to the 15th century, more cookbooks were written in Arabic than all other languages combined.

Jen Russell, one of the producers, couldn’t find that book but placed Out of East on my chair. This book has me reexamining my own preconceptions and some of the “facts” I was taught in my high school and university world history courses.

The wonderful quote above opened the first chapter; Paul Freedman, you had me at paprika.


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