One Thousand and One Nights, or Arabian Nights is a literary classic of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. Arabian Nights contains popular stories such as ‘Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp,’, ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’ and ‘The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor’, all of which are part of popular culture and the inspiration for countless movies, novels, illustrations, songs and other arts.
Food in Arabian Nights
Most literary works contain some references to food; many plot points revolve around meals, while food consumed goes a long way in telling us about character and their lifestyles.
In Judar and His Brethren, characters become jealous of a magic saddlebag which produces a variety of dishes, while in Three Apples, the story revolves around apples.
Through the Arabian Nights, sherbet is referred to multiple times and is described as a medicinal drink – “And he ceased not to nurse him for three days, giving him to drink of sherbet of sugar and willow flower water and rose water…”
The Story of Sherbet
Sherbet, or Sharbat is often called the world’s first soft drink and is made using fruits or flower petals such as rose water, lemon, orange, mango and pineapple. Common in India, Turkey, Iran, Arab and Pakistan, Sherbet has a fan following in the West; Lord Byron famously once wrote “Give me a sun, I care not how hot, and sherbet, I care not how cool, and my Heaven is as easily made as your Persian’s.”
During the holy month of Ramadan, Sherbet is drunk by Muslims breaking fasts. Since we’re in the midst of Ramadan, we’re sharing a sherbet recipe, inspired by Arabian Nights. Have it as a refreshing drink through the day or with meals.