Date syrup has been central to Iraqi cooking and home life for centuries. In this unique book, a fusion of contemporary art and food, Chicago-based Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz and 41 celebrated chefs present delicious dishes using this staple of Middle Eastern cuisine.
In early 2018, Rakowitz unveiled a winged bull sculpture on the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, a life-size replica of a Mesopotamian lammasu made from thousands of date syrup cans. The artist’s choice of material was laden with historical significance: for decades, until the industry was decimated by war and disease, dates had been Iraq’s second biggest export after oil.
As his winged bull sat upon the Fourth Plinth, Rakowitz invited chefs from around the world to create new and classic recipes using date syrup. Chefs and food writers including Yotam Ottolenghi, Alice Waters, Claudia Roden, Reem Kassis, Prue Leith, Jason Hammel, Nuno Mendes, Thomasina Miers, Giorgio Locatelli and Marcus Samuelsson answered Rakowitz’s call, creating dozens of sweet and savory dishes with date syrup, now collected in this cookbook.
Easy step-by-step instructions and gorgeous photographs enable the reader to make these recipes at home. Ranging from the traditional to the innovative, with everything from simple brunch dishes, salads and sides to mouthwatering mains, cakes, desserts, drinks and condiments represented, the recipes in this volume showcase the richness of a humble ingredient. This special book will appeal to anyone who loves the cuisine of the Middle East and is interested in the politics of food in that troubled region.
Chefs include: Sara Ahmad, Sam and Sam Clark (Moro, Morito), Linda Dangoor, Caroline Eden, Cameron Emirali (10 Greek Street), Eleanor Ford, Jason Hammel (Lula Café, Marisol), Stephen Harris (The Sportsman), Anissa Helou, Margot Henderson (Rochelle Canteen), Olia Hercules, Charlie Hibbert (Thyme), Anna Jones, Philip Juma (JUMA Kitchen), Reem Kassis, Asma Khan (Darjeeling Express), Florence Knight, Jeremy Lee (Quo Vadis), Prue Leith, Giorgio Locatelli, Nuno Mendes (Chiltern Firehouse), Thomasina Miers (Wahaca), Nawal Nasrallah, Russell Norman (Polpo), Yotam Ottolenghi (Ottolenghi, NOPI), Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich (Honey & Co), Michael Rakowitz, Yvonne Rakowitz, Brett Redman (Neptune, Jidori, Elliot’s Café), Claudia Roden, Nasrin Rooghani, Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster, Aquavit), Niki Segnit, Rosie Sykes, Summer Thomas, Kitty Travers, Alice Waters (Chez Panisse) and Soli Zardosht (Zardosht).