This 4,000-year-old recipe has had a long time to stew

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. Read the rest

Listen: a sexy hymn to Ishtar, in the original Babylonian

Doris Prechel reads Ammi-ditāna's incredibly hot hymn to Ištar in Babylonian (MP3) as transcribed by D. O. Edzard. Read the rest