During the lockdown, many of us found a new passion for cooking. Not as many, however, tackled 3770-year-old dishes.
Professor Bill Sutherland challenged himself with ancient Mesopotamian recipes and shared the results on Twitter. The thread went viral and people absolutely loved it.
Recipes From A Mesopotamian Tablet
The recipes that inspired the professor of conservation biology at the University of Cambridge "are the oldest recipes existing." With them, Bill prepared what he praised as:
"best Mesopotamian meal I have eaten."
Bill got the idea from Dr. Moudhy Al-Rashid, who recommended him a book from the Yale Babylonian Collection. As he checked the recipes, Bill thought:
"it would be fun to try and cook them."
It did not take much more than a regular Sunday meal, either. All in all:
"This was about an hour of planning and a couple of hours cooking."
Lamb Stew Is A Favorite
Part of the challenge of cooking these dishes was in the instructions, that Bill found "astonishingly terse" and "perplexing." More than once, he had to guess and try things out. He explained:
"I didn't fry the onion and garlic that was sprinkled on top as it wasn't in the recipe."
He continued, saying that he:
"added the sourdough breadcrumbs and then baked it so it was like a crumble, but perhaps I should have used it as a sauce thickener."
His daughter Tessa also helped, preparing some barley cakes to go with the lamb stew. With her contribution, the lamb turned out delicious. He said:
"I sprinkled a couple of cakes in and they made a lovely thick stew."
Colorful And Delicious
All in all, Bill thought that the preparation was easier than expected. Most of the recipes had lots of greens and herbs in them, like coriander, onion, garlic and leek.
These inviting servings would not look weird in a modern restaurant. The professor is sure that:
"You probably wouldn't consider them odd if served to you."
The Tuh'u does look like a nutritious side dish, with its contrasting colors. The Unwinding, on the other hand, was apparently lacking a bit of taste.
Bill took some liberties with the Elamite broth, switching sheep's blood with tomato sauce. The result is a bright, thick soup that vegetarians could enjoy.
Going Viral On Twitter
The Cambridge professor did not expect so much attention. As his Twitter thread went viral, he said with surprise:
"Currently, 3.7 million people have seen this."
Here are some reactions from Twitter users:
For sure, these look mouth-watering. Next, we hope to see recipes from other ancient civilizations pop up on the Internet soon.