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Dining at the Safavid Court

Madatolhayat [The Substance of Life], 16th Century Royal Persian Recipes by Nurollah.

Availability: In stock
Published: 2017
Page #: xiv + 154
Size: 8.5 x 9.5
ISBN: 978-1-56859-306-7
appendix, glossary, index, notes

 
$35.00

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Quick Overview

"Madatolhayat" is one of the few pre-twentieth century Persian culinary sources to have survived. Its author, Nurollah, was the chef to the most renowned king of the Safavid Dynasty, Shah Abbas I (1588-1629). Regarded as one of the greatest monarchs in Persian history, Shah Abbas moved the Safavid capital from Qazvin to Isfahan, reviving its glory and making this ancient city a cosmopolitan center once again by building magnificent architectural edifices, including palaces, mosques, bridges, and boulevards. In fact, Isfahan during his reign acquired the title of "Half the World," and its central square, with its two grand mosques, the Grand Bazaar, and the most important magnificent royal palace, Ali Qapu [the Grand Gate], became a center of government, religion, and commerce and was given the name "the Image of the World." Ali Qapu, a seven-story building, which with the exception of the domes and minarets of the great mosques was the highest building in the city even up to the second half of the twentieth century, was not only the residence of the royal family, but also the place where the king entertained the nobility and foreign emissaries.

In addition to a relatively large number of 16th century royal recipes, Nurollah's manuscript presents to the reader a picture of domestic life in Ali Qapu palace, including not only information about the type of food served but also instances of the king's personal involvement in more mundane tasks, such as cooking and experimenting with food preparation. In Dining at the Safavid Court, M. R. Ghanoonparvar provides us with a translation of Nurollah's culinary treatise, which was presented to his patron, Shah Abbas I, in gratitude for the king's permission to go on an offseason pilgrimage to Mecca, as well as modernized versions of the recipes in The Substance of Life.

This volume is profusely illustrated with color drawings of the Safavid period.

author

M. R. Ghanoonparvar

M. R. Ghanoonparvar is Professor Emeritus of Persian and Comparative Literature at The University of Texas at Austin. He has published widely on Persian literature and culture and is the author of Prophets of Doom: Literature as a Socio-Political Phenomenon in Modern Iran, In a Persian Mirror: Images of the West and Westerners in Iranian Fiction, Translating the Garden, Reading Chubak, Persian Cuisine: Traditional, Regional and Modern Foods, and most recently Iranian Film and Persian Fiction. His translations include Jalal Al-e Ahmad’s By the Pen, Sadeq Chubak’s The Patient Stone, Simin Daneshvar’s Savushun, Ahmad Kasravi's On Islam and Shi'ism, Sadeq Hedayat’s The Myth of Creation, Davud Ghaffarzadegan's Fortune Told in Blood, Mohammad Reza Bayrami's The Tales of Sabalan, Bahram Beyza'i's Memoirs of the Actor in a Supporting Role, Nima Yushij’s The Neighbor Says: Letters of Nima Yushij on Modern Persian Prosody, and Ja'far Modarres-Sadeqi’s Horse's Head. Among his edited volumes are Iranian Drama: An Anthology, In Transition: Essays on Culture and Identity in Middle Eastern Societies, Iranian Languages and Culture: Essays in Honor of Gernot Ludwig Windfuhr, and Critical Encounters: Essays on Persian Literature and Culture in Honor of Peter Chelkowski. His latest translations include Red Olive: The Memoirs of Nahid Yusefian, Amir Moazenzadeh's The Battle of Prophets & Wizards: The Nostradamus Code and Vampires, and Mohammad Reza Bayrami's Eagles of Hill 60. His forthcoming volumes include Death, Literary Diseases, and Persian Stories and translations of Modarres-Sadeqi’s Appointment in Allepo and Shahrokh Meskub’s In Alley of the Friend.

Acknowledgements
Introduction
About the Volume

The Substance of Life: A Treatise on the Science of Cooking
Prologue
Prefatory Chapter: On Whom a Master Is and His Attributes
Introduction: On the Varieties of Baklava, Buraq, and So On
Part One: On Khoshk Palav and What Is Necessary for It
Part Two: On Varieties of Palav, Including Sour, Sweet, and Plain
Chapter One: On Plain Palavs
Chapter Two: On Tart Palavs
Chapter Three: On Sweet Palav and Other Palavs
Part Three: On the Varieties of Qelyeh, Including Tart and Plain
Chapter One: On the Varieties of Tart Qelyeh
Chapter Two: On the Varieties of Qelyeh-ye Sadeh
Chapter Three: On the Varieties of Burani
Part Four: On the Varieties of Ash-e Ardineh and So On
Part Five: On the Varieties of Sholeh Palav
Part Six: On Shir Palav and Milk Porridge with Lamb and Chicken Gipa

The Substance of Life: Modernized Recipes
Part One: On Khoshk Palav and What Is Necessary for It
Part Two: On Varieties of Palav, Including Sour, Sweet, and Plain,
Part Three: On the Varieties of Qelyeh, Including Tart and Plain
Part Four: On the Varieties of Ash-e Ardineh and So On
Part Five: On the Varieties of Sholeh Palav
Part Six: On Shir Palav and Milk Porridge with Lamb and Chicken Gipa

Glossary
Index

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