Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a preview of an up-and-coming dinner series gracing Lucha Cartel on March 1st—Meals of Antiquity. The first dinner features a menu painstakingly researched by designing cook and historian Colin Barth, and aims to recreate a hearty, seasonal meal that would have been served during the First Dynasty Period almost 4,000 years ago.
At first glance, the menu may read like a standard, hearty winter’s meal studded with nourishing grains and gamey proteins. But a closer look reveals several less common ingredients like Emmer, nigella sativa, and cypress. The meal is also served with leavened Ninda, a deliciously dense bread the color of burnt umber.
Special thanks to Evi Numen for the beautiful photos.
Barth has been researching the menu since November with a goal of remaining as faithful to ingredients, which hasn’t always been easy. As it goes with translating ancient languages, sometimes meaning can be debatable. He learned this the hard way after a particular mistranslation resulted in a recipe test that failed in such a way he knew one of the ingredients must have been translated incorrectly. It turns out what he read as “pounded yogurt” actually meant “pounded locusts*“.
While I am calling this a “new” dinner series, that isn’t entirely true. A few years ago, special events and concerts group Dancing Ferret organized two sold-out Uyghur dinner events. They’re looking forward to re-launching the series and bringing a unique culinary experience to their attendees.
Tickets are just $45 and are selling fast, so snag your spot now if you want to part of this historic (pun fully intended) event. You can view the full menu here and find more info at dancingferret.com/babylon. Don’t forget to follow Meals of Antiquity on Twitter to stay up to date on future events.
*The Babylonian dinner menu does not contain pounded locusts. Unfortunately.