Mesopotamia, ‘the land between two rivers’ as it is known from Greek, was an ancient region situated between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which lies within the borders of modern Iraq and some parts in Syria and Turkey.
The Sumerians and Akkadians (including the
Babylonians) dominated Mesopotamia from the beginning of written history (c. 3100 BC) to the fall of Babylon in 539 BC.
As a relatively new topic in the field of Mesopotamian studies, ancient gastronomy has acquired new meaning and legitimacy because of the translation and publication of the Yale Babylonian Culinary tablets by Jean Bottero in 1987.
The Yale Babylonian Recipes are believed to originate from Southern Babylonia and are dated to the middle of the Old Babylonian period around 1700 BC. It contains twenty seven recipes written in Akkadian and it provides the researcher with a clear account on the ingredients that were used (but not the amounts), some cooking procedures and techniques of cuisine.
My dissertation is called 'Prepare the water and add the fat'. The ancient art of Mesopotamian cooking. I am very excited to have completed my studies in ancient food and have been awarded my Masters degree, after five years of research. I am proud to have managed to recreate one of the 25 recipes called 'Beets and Lamb' (YOS 11 25, recipe 15) and I am currently working on three more recipes from the series.
I have done various talks on the subject already called "Prepare the water and add fat", the latest being during my residency in France where I also cooked the recipe 'Beets and Lamb' for the participants to taste.
YOS 25 11-recipe 15
Lamb with Beets
Prepare water and fat. Add salt, beer, shallots, arugula, coriander, onion, cumin and peeled beets. Garnish with fresh coriander and spring leek.