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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Comparative Literature

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



This thesis provides a practical translation of 101 Arabic recipes selected from three cookbooks by the distinguished Egyptian chef and author Osama El-Sayed, plus a long introduction discussing the history of Arab cuisine including cultural and linguistic factors and the translation strategies employed. The cookbooks are entitled Bil Hanna Wa Shiffa, (With Joy and Good Health) 2001; Maa Osama… Atyab, ‘With Osama, Food is more Delicious’[1], 2007; and Al-Halawiyat Al-Sharqiy, (Sweets of Arabia) 2010. I argue that food plays a defining role in shaping a culture and its identity. In general, Arabic recipes have been translated and many gaps exist in terms of adequate cooking terms and processes in English. This study attempts to reduce cross-cultural barriers by translating recipes both well-known Arabic dishes as well as lesser known dishes that also represent values, customs, and traditions important to Arabic language and culture. The study adopts terminology from Venuti’s dichotomy in translation, “foreignization” vs. “domestication” and draws upon both depending upon the circumstances and availability of adequate terms and expressions in English. After following a blended translations strategy, results show that out of 101 recipes, 35 are fully domesticated, 15 fully foriegnized, 19 partially domesticated and partially foreignized, and 32 foreignized with domesticated translations also provided. The last factor in determining the final version was a process of taste-testing. Each step of the translated recipe carefully “proofed” to ensure the edibility and overall quality of the dishes, showing that anyone who can read English can prepare any of the translated texts even with a humble knowledge of cooking.

[1] This title, ‘With Osama, Food is more Delicious’ is my own English translation of the Arabic original Maa Osama…Atyab. The two other books have been published with their English on the Chef Osama El-Sayed’s main website. More details can be found in the following chapters.


First Advisor

Edwin Gentzler