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250 × 190 mm
272 pages
115 illustrations, 81 in colour
14 May 2018

Bountiful Empire A History of Ottoman Cuisine Priscilla Mary Işın

The Ottoman Empire was one of the largest and longest-lasting empires in history. In this powerful and complex empire, the production and consumption of food reflected the lives of people from sultans to soldiers. Food bound people of different classes and background together, defining identity and serving symbolic functions in the social, religious, political and military spheres. Bountiful Empire: A History of Ottoman Cuisine examines the foodways of the Ottoman Empire as they changed and evolved over more than five centuries.

The book starts with an overview of the earlier culinary traditions in which Ottoman cuisine was rooted, such as those of the Central Asian Turks, Abbasids, Seljuks and Byzantines, and goes on to focus on diverse aspects of this rich culinary culture, including etiquette, cooks, restaurants, military food, food laws and food trade. This meticulously researched account draws on more than six hundred primary and secondary sources, ranging from archive documents to poetry, and includes over one hundred illustrations. It is a fresh and lively insight into an empire that until recent decades has been sidelined or viewed through orientalist spectacles. Readers interested in food history and Ottoman history will enjoy this beautiful volume.

EXTRACT: to read the introduction from the book please click here.

‘Etiquette, celebrations, food laws and trade, water and sherbet, coffee houses and taverns are but some of the topics explored. Işın’s meticulous study shines here; she has researched more than six hundred primary and secondary sources, ranging from archive documents to endowment deeds and poetry. Over one hundred illustrations, including beautiful miniatures make this book a pleasure to look at as well. Işın says her aim has been to hold up a mirror to life in this large and complex empire through its food culture. She certainly has accomplished it.’ – The Middle East in London magazine

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Priscilla Mary Işın is a food historian and researcher. Her publications include A King's Confectioner in the Orient (2003) and Sherbet and Spice (2013), which traces the history of Turkish confectionery and desserts.

1 Culinary Roots: From Central Asia to Anatolia
2 Historical Development, 1299–1922
3 Meals 39 4 Etiquette
5 Hospitality and Charity
6 Palace Cuisine
7 Cooks and Kitchens
8 Celebrations
9 Food Laws and Trade
10 Restaurants and Street Food
11 Picnics and Travel Food
12 Military Fare
13 Kitchen Utensils and Tableware
14 Water and Sherbert
15 Coffee and Coffee Houses
16 Alcoholic Drinks and Taverns

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Photo Acknowledgements