From Eggs to Apples Episode 1: Mesopotamia

Well, it finally happened. Episode 1 of From Eggs to Apples, my long-in-the-making food history video series, has been released! Co-hosted by Fiorella Di Carlo of Fiorella Eats, and featuring original music by Ismail Butera, as well as help from a whole bunch of different people who I met through all kinds of different means over the years.

In our first episode, we start with the Yale Babylonian Tablets, the first-ever written recipes, produced around 1600 BCE in ancient Mesopotamia. In this video, we’ll make two versions of a beef stew from the tablets: one from Mesopotamia’s north (Assyria) and one from the south (Babylonia).

Babylonian-Style Beef Stew:
½ lb beef (bottom round or chuck), cut into small cubes, 1 large turnip, peeled and cut into small cubes, 3 cloves garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon animal fat (pork or beef tallow) for pan, 1 ½ cups water, Salt
Boil water in a large pot and blanch the meat for a few minutes. Skim foam off the top, remove meat from the water, and discard water. Heat animal fat in a deep pan. Add garlic and sautee for a few minutes. Add turnip and beef and allow it to slightly brown while stirring. Add water, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes on low heat. Add salt as desired. Serve with flatbread.

Assyrian-Style Beef Stew:
½ lb beef (bottom round or chuck), cut into small cubes, ½ lb small intestine (beef or pig), washed, drained and sliced into small rounds, 3 cloves garlic, minced, plus 1-2 more for serving, sliced thin, 1 tablespoon animal fat (pork or beef tallow) for pan, ½ cup lily bulbs, washed and separated (available at Asian markets), 1 ½ cups water 1 ½ cups animal blood (cow or pig, available at some Asian markets and butcher shops), 1 leek or green onion, sliced thin, salt
Boil water in a large pot and blanch the meat and intestine for a few minutes. Skim foam off the top, remove meat and intestine from the water, and discard water. Heat animal fat in a deep pan. Add garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add intestine and meat and allow it to slightly brown while stirring. Add lily bulbs and stir for a minute more. Add water, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat. Add blood, stirring continually to prevent coagulation. Simmer for another 10 minutes, until the stew has thickened and the color is dark and chocolatey. Add salt as desired and top with finely sliced raw leek and garlic. Serve with flatbread.

From Eggs to Apples is hosted by Andrew Coletti (@passtheflamingo) and Fiorella Di Carlo, RN, CDC (@fiorellaeats). Special thanks to Kevin Schreck, Henry Liu, Walden Wang, Huỳnh Nguyễn Tường Băng, Ismail Butera, and Kamilo Kratc. In memory of Bill Mullen. Join us next week for Episode 2: Ancient Egypt!

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