* Do not cut vegetables with the same knife used for meat.
* Do not use old spices.
*To test the cleanliness of a pot, put a stone in one nostril and the washed pot close to the other and sniff. They should smell the same.
* Iron pans are the best for frying fish because they help crisp the skin, the most delicious part in fish.
* To get rid of the taste of burned food, put a couple of whole walnuts in the pot, and let them cook with the food for a while, then discard the walnuts.
* If you eat what you do not crave, it will eat you.
* Some foods are aphrodisiac and have the power to increase male sperm, such as sweets, especially dates and grapes. Other foods: carrot, eggs, onions, coconut, pine nuts, asparagus, and chickpeas.
* Eating cheese after a heavy meal will aid digestion.
* Cumin, cinnamon, and rue are gas-repellents and digestives.
* Having too much rose water would cause hair to turn white.
* Juices of pomegranate, quince, and apple are kidney-stone repellents.
* Cauliflower causes stomach gurgles.
* Exercise before a meal, but avoid it after a heavy meal.
* A brief snooze after a meal is recommended, provided you lie on your back, and do not use a high pillow.
* How to make yogurt without using milk: peel pieces of coconut. Shred it, then cover it with water, and squeeze it with the fingers until it becomes milky in texture. Strain and let it sour as you do with regular milk.
* How to make omelet without eggs: Cook chickpeas until mushy in texture, and mix them with boiled onion, oil, and coriander. Then mash mixture and fry it as you do with eggs.
The Two Dancers of Samarra
A medieval wall painting
Of Miles and Men
In his cookbook, Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq entertains his readers with an anecdote, which satirizes stinginess (Chapter 131). It tells of two men who used to socialize together regularly. When one of them was invited to the other person’s house and happened to eat a whole bread, the host’s servant-boy would announce, “Sire, he has walked a mile.” If he happened to eat two whole breads, the servant-boy would say, “Sire, he has walked a league.” The hosting friend would then say, “Fie upon you boy! Bridle him!” at which the boy would bring a glass of water for the man to drink with the food, announcing, “He is now walking with his bridle, Sire.” The guest finally understood what was going on, and when it was his turn to invite this friend of his, he served the bread broken to pieces. When the friend asked him why he was offering the bread like this, he said, “So that we will not know the miles from the leagues.”