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The Oldest Cuisine in the World

Cooking in Mesopotamia

In this intriguing blend of the commonplace and the ancient, Jean Bottéro presents the first extensive look at the delectable secrets of Mesopotamia. Bottéro’s broad perspective takes us inside the religious rites, everyday rituals, attitudes and taboos, and even the detailed preparation techniques involving food and drink in Mesopotamian high culture during the second and third millennia BCE, as the Mesopotamians recorded them. 

Offering everything from translated recipes for pigeon and gazelle stews, the contents of medicinal teas and broths, and the origins of ingredients native to the region, this book reveals the cuisine of one of history’s most fascinating societies. Links to the modern world, along with incredible recreations of a rich, ancient culture through its cuisine, make Bottéro’s guide an entertaining and mesmerizing read.

152 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2004


Food and Gastronomy

History: Ancient and Classical History


“[These recipes] shed light on aspects of social life related to food preparation and eating at the time. Here we are given intriguing, sometimes alluring quotes, on processes of preparation and what the Mesopotamians ate. Often the author has to patch and bridge from the fragmentary bits; what certain items and methods might have been, but he does this with the support of his considerable scholarship, and with a flare that suggests that M. Bottéro must be an accomplished cook himself. These rare recipes carefully reconstructed and sometimes deduced can seem surprisingly modern, yet this book is ever fascinating. . . . It makes one yearn to know more about these ancient sophisticates, as revealed in the swirling robes and haughty profiles of reliefs in the British Museum and in Berlin. Economically illustrated, with neat chapter headings, it is elegantly presented. The engaging chapters go from the practical to the mythical. Truly a wonderful read.”

History Today

“An enticing new book of Ancient Mesopotamian recipes.”


Table of Contents

Translator’s Note
Cooking and the Pleasures of the Table in Ancient Mesopotamia
The Framework, the Region, and the People
Food and Eating
Hearths and Equipment
Indirect Cooking in Fatty Broth
Food Preparation without Heat
Cooking with Heat
Cooks and Culinary Tradition
Meals and Feasts
The Table of the Gods
The Table of the Dead
Food, Life, and Death
Abbreviations and Bibliography

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