The Heritage of Baghdad’s Medieval Sweets

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

The sweet legacy of medieval Baghdad spread far in place and time, to the medieval Levant, Egypt, Morocco, and Andalusia, and even beyond Muslim territories. But the Mongol invasion of 1258 eclipsed Baghdad’s star, and with the rise of the Ottoman Empire the limelight shifted to Istanbul. Even so, many Abbasid desserts were incorporated into Ottoman kitchens, for which Arab cooks were often hired. The first Turkish cookbook, Muhammed Shirvani’s fifteenth-century Kitabu’t-Tabīh, was based on his translation of al-Baghdadi’s thirteenth-century Kitāb al- ؓabīkh.