Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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The Cooks of Divine Mercy
Asci, the Ottoman era kitchen boss. European engraving, 19th century. Click for larger image.

The cooks of the poor of Constantinople are two thousand men, with five hundred and fifty-five shops. Their first patron is Adam, who cooked the soup called Baba-chorbassi, the Father's Soup; the second Abraham; the third the Prophet, who on the day of the conquest of Mecca cooked himself soup and the dish called harisa, serving at the same time all the Muslims. Then Chumjem-ud-din was named by the Prophet the chief of all cooks... Dinner being absolutely necessary to life, the cooks are given an honorable rank in the public processions; in the Qur'an itself it is said, "They will eat dinner on his love, and we shall give you to dine for God's sake," and again, "Eat and drink first." If some hungry guest enters their shop, they begin crying out, "Look, a greasy guest!" and then name their dishes in a rhyming strain.