Oldest Cookbook from Ancient Mesopotamia

The earliest cookbooks found around the world give people today a fascinating look at not only what the people of the time ate but also their lifestyles, mainly of those from the upper class. The oldest known documented recipes in the world come from the ancient city of Babylon. The Mesopotamian recipe book is the oldest and the first documented cuisine in the world, of which only three Babylonian cuneiform tablets are extant today and is a set of cracked tablets engraved by an early civilization’s version of a master chef going back to 1700 BCE. The recipes are elaborate and often call for rare ingredients. The dishes were slow-cooked in a covered pot to make the food extra tasty. Ancient foodies seem to have preferred fowl and mutton.

Om Ali — bread pudding of Arab world

Um Ali: Dessert Born in Blood

Recently, I attended an Iftar party at a luxury hotel in Baghdad. After I finished the food, I found a nice, sweet dessert there, called Om Ali — a simple concoction: bread and pastry are combined with raisins, pistachios, coconut and almonds, then drenched in sweetened milk. It’s not the story of a royal chef preparing an innovative dish at the behest of a discerning king, but of a murder and a rather cruel one!