The Culinary Crescent

The Culinary Crescent


A History of Middle Eastern Cuisine

by Peter Heine

translated by Peter Lewis



September 2020
ISBN: 9781909942424


Published: October 2018
Pages: 235

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This culinary history of the Middle East satisfies the elusive criteria of being all things to all people: broad in scope, yet detailed in discussion, and encyclopedic in its organization, but like a work of narrative nonfiction in its execution.”
– Tom Verde, AramcoWorld

“Heine’s absorbing narrative triumphs totally with the inclusion of more than 70 recipes translated and scattered throughout the volume accompanying discussion of each dish that has been carefully selected from the medieval corpus. There are many feasts to be enjoyed from this volume, intellectually and gastronomically suited for all tastes.”
– Professor David Waines

“Heine’s book is so packed with fascinating information and anecdotes that if you are anything close to a food aficionado it would be very hard to put it down.”
– Asian Review of Books


The Fertile Crescent region—the swathe of land comprising a vast portion of today’s Middle East—has long been regarded as pivotal to the rise of civilisation. Alongside the story of human development, innovation, and progress, there is a culinary tradition of equal richness and importance. In The Culinary Crescent: A History of Middle Eastern Cuisine, Peter Heine combines years of scholarship with a personal passion: his knowledge of the cookery traditions of the Umayyad, Abbasid, Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal courts is matched only by his love for the tastes and smells produced by the contemporary cooking of these areas today. In addition to offering a fascinating history, Heine presents more than seventy recipes—from the modest to the extravagant—with dishes ranging from those created by the celebrity chefs of the bygone Mughal era, up to gastronomically complex presentations of modern times. Beautifully produced, and designed for both reading and cooking, The Culinary Crescent is sure to provide a delectable window onto the history of food in the Middle East.

Peter Heine taught at the University of Münster and Bonn and was Professor for Islamic Studies at the Humboldt-University in Berlin until 2009.


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