Dates : A Global History

Author(s): Nawal Nasrallah


In Dates, Nawal Nasrallah draws on her experience of growing up in the lands of ancient Mesopotamia, where the date palm was first cultivated, to explore the history behind the fruit. Dates have an important role in their arid homeland of the Middle East, where they are a dietary staple and can be consumed fresh or dried, as a snack or a dessert, and are even thought to have aphrodisiac qualities.    

In this history, Nasrallah describes the central role the date palm has played in the economy of the Middle East. This informative account of the date palm’s story follows its journey from its land of origin to the far-flung regions where it is cultivated today. Along the way, Nasrallah weaves many fascinating and humorous anecdotes that explore the etymology, history, culture, religion, myths, and legends surrounding dates. For example, she explains how the tree came to be a symbol of the Tree of Life and associated with the fiery phoenix bird, the famous ancient goddess Ishtar, and the moon, and how the medjool date acquired its name.

This delightful and unusual book is generously illustrated with many beautiful images, and supplemented with more than a dozen delicious date recipes for savory dishes, sweets, and wine.


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'These are food memoirs, salacious and exotic, colourful, powdered, sweet, greasy and globe-trotting ... sharp and speedy little reads, spotted with off-kilter illustrations' - Chicago Tribune 'Nasrallah's epic food memoir offers a smorgasbord of date history and fascinating facts topped with a dash of culture and a sprinkling of Arabic myth. Spicy and exotic, Dates: A Global History is also jam-packed with scrumptious date recipes for every occasion. After one read of this book, you'll feel like an honorary member of Nasrallah's huge family: armed and ready to prepare your own Middle Eastern date banquet.' - Etihad In-flight

Nawal Nasrallah is an independent researcher and food writer who resides in Salem, New Hampshire. She is a member of the Culinary Historians of Boston, and her recipes have featured in publications such as New York Times, Boston Globe Magazine and Food and Wine. Her cookbook Delights from the Garden of Eden (2003) is regarded as the definitive source on the cuisine of Iraq, and her English translation of the tenth-century Baghdadi cookbook Kitab al-Tabikh, Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens, was awarded 'Best Translation in the World' and 'Best of the Best of the Past 12 Years' at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2007.

General Fields

  • : 9781861897961
  • : Reaktion Books
  • : Reaktion Books
  • : April 2011
  • : 197mm X 120mm X 16mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : October 2010
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 136
  • : Hardback
  • : Nawal Nasrallah