Cooking With Date Syrup
Forty-One Chefs and an Artist Create New and Classic
Dishes with a Traditional Middle Eastern Ingredient
Michael Rakowitz and Friends
‘Buy the book, it’s lovely!’ — Prue Leith
‘A house with a date palm will never starve’, so the old Mesopotamian proverb goes. And this book is proof of that claim, for it includes recipes for almost one hundred delicious dishes made with date syrup, an ancient staple of Middle Eastern cuisine. Acclaimed Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz has invited forty-one celebrated and pioneering chefs, restaurateurs, and food writers from around the world to create new and classic dishes to showcase the rich versatility of this humble ingredient and symbol of Iraqi culture. Their collaboration had its roots in early 2018, when Rakowitz unveiled a winged bull sculpture made from thousands of date syrup cans as the latest commission for the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square. It was a life-size replica of a gigantic lamassu, one of two monumental winged bulls that guarded the gates of the ancient city of Nineveh in modern-day Iraq for three millennia until destroyed by ISIS in 2015. Contributors including Yotam Ottolenghi, Alice Waters, Claudia Roden, Reem Kassis, Prue Leith, Jason Hammel, Nuno Mendes, Thomasina Miers, Giorgio Locatelli, and Marcus Samuelsson responded to his call by creating dozens of sweet and savoury dishes. Their recipes range from the traditional to the innovative in a feast for the taste buds, and include everything from simple brunch ideas, salads, and sides to mouth-watering mains, cakes, desserts, condiments, and cocktails. Easy step-by-step instructions enable the reader to make the recipes at home.
Beautiful photographs of the dishes are accompanied by the artist’s drawings. Completing the volume is a foreword by award-winning food writer and chef Claudia Roden and an appreciation of the importance of the date in Iraqi society by Iraqi-American cultural-studies academic Ella Shohat, while Rakowitz writes about the significance of the syrup to his family and in his work. Coinciding with a major survey of the artist’s work organized by the Whitechapel Gallery in London and the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, this special book will appeal to anyone who loves the cuisine of the Middle East and the politics of food.
Michael Rakowitz is an Iraqi-American artist living and working in Chicago. He is Professor of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University and is represented by Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Jane Lombard Gallery, New York; and Barbara Wien Galerie in Berlin.
Claudia Roden is an award-winning Egyptian-British cookbook writer and cultural anthropologist. She is the author of many cookbooks including A Book of Middle Eastern Food, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food and Arabesque—Sumptuous Food from Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon, Mediterranean Cookery, The Food of Italy, and The Food of Spain.
Ella Shohat is an author from a Jewish-Baghdadi family. She is professor of cultural studies at New York University.
Sara Ahmad • Sam and Sam Clark (Moro, Morito) • Linda Dangoor • Caroline Eden • Cameron Emirali (10 Greek Street) • Eleanor Ford • Vicky Graham (Vicky’s Donuts) • Jason Hammel (Marisol, Lula Café) • 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 (Locanda Locatelli) • Nuno Mendes (Chiltern Firehouse, Mãos) • Thomasina Miers (Wahaca) • Shatha Alimara Najib • Nawal Nasrallah • Russell Norman (Polpo) • Yotam Ottolenghi (Ottolenghi, NOPI, ROVI) • Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich (Honey & Co) • Michael Rakowitz • Yvonne Rakowitz • Brett Redman (Jidori, Elliot’s) • Claudia Roden • Nasrin Rooghani • Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster, Aquavit) • Niki Segnit • Rosie Sykes • Summer Thomas • Kitty Travers • Alice Waters (Chez Panisse) • Soli Zardosht