Before we start in on Mesopotamia, with this being our first blog post, we wanted to give a guide to what we are doing and how we’ll produce going forward.
To introduce everyone to this blog, I want to give a bit of a guide of how it’s going to work. Brad and I discuss the dish plan, I put together the recipe, then, he and I have spirited conversations on what I found, giving his archaeologist view into the accuracy of things. Brad’s feedback and written areas are reserved for historical sections. If you are interested in learning more about us, check out our About Us page.
Mesopotamia, what a place!
While discussing what our first dish would be, we landed on the oldest recorded recipes in history, dating from 1750 B.C.E. Even though the recipes were a bit light on ingredients, I used some other references for spices.
Brad: I don’t trust those references. McCormick is a spice company, not an academic journal.
These recipes were adapted by researchers at Yale and Harvard in 2018, and AtlasObscura wrote an article in 2020, taking some of the other recipes provided and broke down the history and other tidbits.
So with this, here are the recipes, how I did it, our ratings and feedback from the Archaeologist in the room to let me know if the history is right.
We made two dishes – One that’s really just highlighted as a “Mesopotamian Soup”, which is really an onion soup with meat, and “Mersu”, a dessert made from dates, butter and pistachios! Both had unique challenges, but the difficulty overall would be a 2 out 5. The hardest part was getting enough of the ingredients needed without blowing the budget. It made a 4 person serving of both for about $35. Raw, unroasted pistachios in bulk, don’t come cheap!
Historical background of the ingredients
To make sure everyone is aware: Brad’s area of expertise is not Mesopotamian. However, he has completed extensive research into these recipes.
Spices – While assisting in research for this one, the spices used seem to be accurate for the region/time period, based on the white paper “STUDY OF DIET IN MESOPOTAMIA (c.3000 – 600 BC) AND ASSOCIATED AGRICULTURAL TECHNIQUES AND METHODS OF FOOD PREPARATION“. The use of Asfoetida is quite appropriate, due to its origin in Iran and the Middle East, in general.
Ingredients – I may be bias on this one due to my love of lamb, I agree with Meghan’s view on cutting the lamb up. The recipe could be done with beef as well, but I highly recommend with the lamb. Both carrots and leeks are accurate for the region as well.
Ingredients – This was possibly issued for a “King’s Meal”, and was a more important dish. This is a broad term, which uses different ingredients in historical context, whereas we made one of them, which is more dessert-based. All of the ingredients were accurate for the time period/region. If you would like more information on Mersu, see white paper above.
4 out of 5 stars
Dessert was a bit too sweet and the soup filled me up quickly. It’s not bad, just a larger serving than expected.
4 out of 5 stars
Dessert was amazing, soup was a bit bland.