Feast – Food of the Islamic World is part cookbook, part encyclopaedia. Anissa Helou is a renowned authority on the cuisine of North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Her latest book traverses the Islamic world from Senegal in West Africa to Timor in Indonesia via the Middle East, Pakistan, India and parts of China. It is a huge undertaking, a generous 500 pages, encompassing the development of a diverse range of cuisines and cultures. Helou charts the birth and spread of Islam from the 7th century and the culinary developments that emerged alongside the empires and various caliphs such as the Abbasid Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire and the Mughal dynasty. She explains how Islam spread along the established spice trade route that was controlled by Arabs.

Helou also describes the festivals that punctuate the Islamic calendar and how the associated food traditions find expression in the kitchens of different parts of the Islamic world. Feast is divided into chapters o...

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