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Moorish Recipes by Lord John Bute first edition 1954

Moorish Recipes by Lord John Bute first edition 1954


Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, [1954]


8vo., green cloth, backstrip lettered in gilt; upper edge gilt, else untrimmed; pp. [iv], v-xxiv, 80; title vignette and a further 20 in-text engravings showing various pieces of culinary equipment; a near-fine copy, the spine a little dulled, endpapers offset with some transfer through to half title and final page (80); rare. 


First, limited edition. No. 120 of just 185 copies printed for private circulation in English and Arabic. One of the first Moorish/Arab recipe books printed, produced posthumously. Recipes include Frach bil shereea, pigeons with vermicelli, Greewush - a sweet eaten during the month of Ramadan - and Moch, or sheep brains. 


John Crichton-Stuart, 4th Marquess of Bute, was born in 1881, and succeeded his father as Marquess of Bute in 1900 at the age of just 19. In 1902 he took a tour of the Far East, and later that year he was sworn in as a member of the House of Lords. By 1938 he was one of the richest men in Britain, and became known as ‘the man who sold a city’ when he disposed of the remaining family estate in Cardiff. In 1923 Lord Bute and Ernest Waller bought the Abrines printing press and The Times of Morocco and created the weekly Tangier Gazette. In the 1930s, Bute commissioned the building of the El Minzah hotel in Tangier, in a style which was to combine the ‘architectural heritage of Morocco whilst embodying all the comfort of an English gentleman's club.’  


Bute first began to compile the recipes printed here while staying with Si Menebbi el Menebbi and his son Si Abdurachman el Menebbi in their Tangier home. The Forward, written before his death, describes a brief history of some of the recipes contained within, including Treed, “introduced into Morocco in the time of Mulai Idris” and Mashi and Bistaela which came from Syria, via Spain. Prohibited foods are listed, as well as the means and method for cooking various dishes. He also describes the way of eating, in which “no utensils are used… the right hand only must be used to eat with, although the left may be used to break the bread”.

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