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Spices in Mesopotamian Food: Question & Answer

Patricia Jurado Gonzalez, Gojko Barjamovic, and Pia Sörensen answer questions about spices in Mesopotamian food.

Published onSep 24, 2020
Spices in Mesopotamian Food: Question & Answer

Editors note: This publication contains a lightly edited transcript of the question and answer portion of the corresponding lecture.

Image attribution: Anshik Kumar Tiwari, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Q + A:

Question: The foaming agent that you talked about before, what are some modern uses of that? What do you use it for, a beverage or… ?

Pia: I have had a delicious cocktail where instead of an egg-white foam on top, it was soapwort foam. And it was delicious. It was great cocktail. But Patricia has tried a lot of other things.

Patricia: Yes. People from the Basque Culinary Center helped us to develop this foam in order to use it. Instead of egg whites, they use a soapwort. But you can also make fantastic meringues that last forever, because these are super stable foaming agent. You can also make sponge cakes and replace the egg white by soapwort.

It has some of the properties of the egg whites, but, basically, they stabilize foams. So any food that you can think of that involves a foam can be done using soapwort.

Question: Regarding the bowls, were they just trendy? Is that a possible explanation?

Gojko: No. No, I don't think trend or fashion runs into it. One of the questions that we have here is from none other than Jill Golder, who was the person who was probably worked most on these bowls. And she says, yeah, they're fairly solid loaves but not inedible. I tend to agree. I could probably eat them without breaking my teeth.

But, of course, that is not a smoking gun. I don't think that proves either way whether these things were used to make bread or for something different. But we had to think in alternatives. And Jill has really shown that this is probably the best explanation around at the moment. Others have suggested that they could have been used for salt transport and things like that, which I find totally unlikely.

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