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Cook Like a Sumerian

September 8, 2020

Have you ever wondered what people ate 4000 years ago? Well, it turns out that we actually know a little bit about that. At least four clay tablets from ancient Sumeria contain recipes for food from the time.

The earliest known cookbook was engraved in clay around 1600 BC by Babylon’s version of Wolfgang Puck. Even though there are words missing, it’s in Sumerian, and it doesn’t have any listed quantities, it provides valuable clues to our culinary past.

For you pagan foodies out there wondering why Sumerian food would have relevance to your modern palette, have you ever eaten Middle Eastern food? Yummy, right? Mesopotamia is modern-day Iran and Iraq, and the food from that advanced civilization is just as delectable. Modern Iraqi stew seems to be a direct descendant from the stew recipe found on one of the culinary tablets.

Sumerians might eat barley flatbread and honey for breakfast. The ordinary Sumerian’s evening meal might consist of fish mixed with cucumber, onions, apples, cheese, watercress, mustard, turnips and eggs. More wealthy locals added wild boar, venison, lamb, and water fowl to their diets. Milk, butter, and cheese came from cows, goats and sheep. Meals after a hard day of work could contain a grain cake cooked with diverse fruit, along with dried fish and a pitcher of beer. Vegetables were plentiful and added color to most meals.

Attend one of our FREE Sumerian cooking classes at Virtual Ishtarfest 2020 Oct. 9-12.

Come, feast your eyes and soul with recipes from the cookbook of Siduri, the Innkeeper at the End of the World. Learn to cook Gilgamesh’s last meal on earth. Maeve will conjure up Fesenjan, a walnut pomegranate stew. Traveling back in time she will breathe new life into this time-honored recipe using the slow cooker of a modern-day chef.

Conny Jasper will be creating a simple and delicious dessert using Sumerian spices. She’ll be exploring ancient food with nutritious and medicinal properties. Conny will discuss some of the delicious and health boosting Sumerian and Mesopotamian ingredients and recipes.

Not unlike other ancient cultures, Mesopotamia had its own version of fermented beverage – beer! They even had a goddess dedicated to this nectar of the gods named Ninkasi. Cernunnos will share a brief history of beer in Sumeria, as well as the role the brewing goddess played in the culture. Best of all this class will serve as a practical introduction to ancient brewing methods as our brewmaster demonstrates how to make an ancient Sumerian beer.

Dedicated priestess to the Goddess Inanna, our resident Sumerian expert Enheduinanna will recreate an ancient bread and date spread in her cooking segment. If you were at Ishtarfest last year, you know it was delicious!

We hope you will join us. Gates open at 4 p.m. on Friday Oct. 9. Be there or be a cooking pot!

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