Sure, the recipe for hotdog fried rice your mom passed along to you may have been brought over from Ireland by your grandfather but, tasty as it is, it can’t come close to touching the lineage of a 4,000-year-old stew recipe scrawled onto an ancient cuneiform tablet that dates back to the heyday of Babylon. No, not even with green onions thrown in for good measure. Respect where respect is due.
From Open Culture:
While cookbooks containing Mesopotamian fare do exist, to be really authentic, take your recipes from a clay tablet, densely inscribed in cuneiform.
Sadly, there are only four of them, and they reside in a display case at Yale. (Understandable given that they’re over 4000 years old.)
When Agnete Lassen, associate curator of Yale’s Babylonian Collection, and colleague Chelsea Alene Graham, a digital imaging specialist, were invited to participate in a culinary event hosted by New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, they wisely chose to travel with a 3D-printed facsimile of one of the precious tablets.
At the competition, the Yale team cooked up three different one-pot dishes from ancient Mesopotamian as described on the tablets they brought with them. Apparently, the weight of ages didn’t make them taste none too great. One of the dishes, Broth of Lamb, uses blood as a thickening agent, which doesn’t sound too appealing — and I like blood pudding. Unwinding Stew, a vegetarian dish, apparently looked as bad as it tasted, let along what its name implies it might do to the imbiber’s bowels.
Still, food from four millennia ago? Very cool.
[[Generations of propaganda about the instability of "the commons" and the desirability of assigning property rights in everything has led the human race into a very dark place: now, two scholars, David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, have published Free, Fair and Alive, which offers a critique of the "Tragedy," case studies of working commons, and a path to a better world based on shared resources and commons-based production. -Cory]]
Could we please, finally, lay to rest the tendentious "tragedy of the commons" fairy tale that has poisoned the minds of at least two generations? The accurate story about the commons deals with its ability to address the intractable problems of our time -- wasteful economic growth, predatory markets, the climate emergency, savage inequality. The commons offers practical ways to develop non-capitalist social systems that meet needs while helping rebuild our ecosystems and create a sense of belonging.
This was a key reason why we wrote Free, Fair and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons. At some point, Big Deceptions such as the "tragedy" fable become so deeply rooted they need to be confronted and debunked. One way to do this is to recognize the social realities and political potential of actual commons.
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