Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mesopotamian Food - 3,700 Year Old Recipe

There weren't many recommended activities for Chapter 5 of Story of the World, The First Sumerian Dictator. What was suggested didn't strike me as something we could manage successfully. As usual, however, there were some good book recommendations, among them, an activity guide called "Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors" Marion Broida (Chicago Review Press, 1999). We learned that like many ancient people, Mesopotamian's ate a lot of bread. Additionally, and amazingly, we learned some recipes have been discovered that date back 3,700 years! These recipes were written on clay tablets which is why they have been preserved for so long. Since the girls enjoy baking I decided this would make a great activity for us. How awesome to be making bread, specifically Sebetu Rolls, that have been eaten for nearly 4,000 years!!! They point out that some of the ingredients are slightly different but for the most part it is true to the original recipe. Here are the girls mixing up their Sebetu Rolls.  
Mixing the wet ingredients in with the dry ones
The girls making their rolls
Along with bread, we also learned ancient Mesopotamian's had a decent variety of fruit to eat. Two things that we typically don't include in our diet but were recommended as standard food to try were dates and figs. Here are the kids ready to try out this unusual (for us) snack of dates, figs and Sebetu rolls before heading to gymnastics.
Only Tim got excited about the dates, but we learned Jackson and Reagan love figs and everyone thought the Sebetu Rolls were pretty yummy.
We decided to purchase "An Illustrated Treasury of Read-Aloud Classics for Young People" edited by Becky Koh (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2003) from the reading recommendations list. It includes condensed stories of many famous stories. The ones which were specifically recommended in relation to this chapter were two stories from the Arabian Nights retold by Andrew Lang. We are going to be enjoying this book for a long time to come!
Another book the girls enjoyed from this week was "The Golden Sandal (A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story" by Rebecca Hickox (Holiday  House, 1999). It is a bit different from the American version (instead of a fairy godmother there is a very special red fish) but the girls enjoyed the story and did recognized it as Cinderella. It was funny when they tried to relate all the different characters to the Cinderella we're used to but they couldn't quite place a couple such as the rooster (a pretty minor roll) from "The Golden Sandal."  
I liked the book "The Three Princes: A Tale From the Middle East" by Eric Kimmiel (Holiday House, 2000) even better than "The Golden Sandal." It is about a princess who is trying to decide which of 3 princes she should marry. She sends the princes on a quest to bring back the most rare item they can discover for her. One finds a crystal ball that can show anything, one finds a flying magic carpet and the last one finds an orange which can heal any disease. The three princes work together and use their gifts to save the princess' life. Since they each play an equal role in saving her life how can she decide who to marry? I highly recommend checking this book out to learn how the wise and beautiful princess makes her final decision!

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