Food and "taste" rarely feature in thinking about notions of urbanity in early modern Islamic cities. Where they do, it has been in accounts of the spaces and practices of sociability, cafés and taverns in particular. Istanbul, Isfahan, and Delhi were among the most important early modern cities to have been fitted with such purpose-built spaces; in fact, earlier than any in Europe. This essay focuses on Isfahan and the remarkable confluence of material culture evidence and written sources in the Persian context that point to the emergence of a highly sophisticated culinary culture and its broader social practices. Cooks, dishes (objects), and dishes (recipes), paintings, and treatises of, and on, food—these point to the close conceptual linkages between the cook and the artist in early modern Iran. Taking the phenomenological approach into the realm of sensory experience of taste, this essay uses the case of Isfahan to situate the notion of implied taste as a condition of urbanity.


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pp. 129-153
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