Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq is the author of the 10th century (as in 1000 years old) Kitab al-Tabikh, or the “The Cooking Book” in English – the oldest cookbook in the Arab world that was helpfully translated into English by the scholar Nawal Nasrallah.
The 1000 year old cookbook is a massive compilation of more than 600 recipes from the Abbasid period, many of which are totally unrecognizable as Middle Eastern cuisine today. Besides some pretty strange and (I’m assuming) tasty recipes, it also included medicinal advice and preparations for drugs and tonics.
Strangely, considering that alcohol is and always has been forbidden for Muslims by the Qur’an, the Kitab al-Tabikh cookbook included some pretty sharp advice for curing a hangover!
It made sense, considering that alcoholic beverages of the time were equal parts weird and genius:
One of al-Warraq’s recipes for a wine known as dadhi calls for mixing 50 pounds of date syrup with five pounds each of honey and hop cones, then mixing it all up with water and putting it in containers sealed with mud for two months. After that point, al-Warraq says, “the wine will be splendid.”
If date-wine didn’t do the job, then there was always a version called sharab al-fusaq—”the wine of evildoers.”— made with a plant that the books translator claimed was “undoubtedly…marijuana.”
After a night of date and weed wine, you can imagine that you weren’t springing out of bed the next morning. The ancient Kitab al-Tabikh cookbook prescribes lemonade to be drunk along with your alcoholic beverage to cure hangovers. Particularly lemonade made with quince juice, mint, or myrtle tea!
To really erradicate the worse of your hangover symptoms, al-Warraq recommends a dish called kishkiyya; a hot stew made with three pounds of meat, a half pound of chopped onion, herbs, some chickpeas, galangal, olive oil, seasonal vegetables and water.
To that, add some kishk (a dried paste of wheat and yogurt that’s still popular in parts of the Middle East) plus cumin, cloves, cassia, and an aromatic plant called spikenard, and your hangover should be cured!
A medieval poet once proclaimed about kishkiyya:
“Having eaten it intoxicated one will be all anew and the hangover will renew itself.”
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