Five and a half years ago, as a young doctoral student researching nutrition in the medieval Arab Muslim empire, Uri Mayer-Chissick decided to prepare a meal that would recreate the dishes served in the 13th century. Working out of his home kitchen, he put together seven colorful dishes, rich in bright spices and based on recipes he found in an ancient cookbook from Baghdad. Some examples include sprouted chickpeas roasted in lamb fat with lemon, spearmint and pistachios and stewed meat patties thrice dipped in egg yolk and served in a beef-and-orange broth. There was even a beverage made out of honey, spices and flour called “honey beer.”
In time, that unusual meal, nicknamed “Dining at the Caliph’s Table,” evolved into an eponymous lecture that included tastings. On April 22, the eve of the traditional Mimouna festival, Mayer-Chissick, who now holds a doctorate in the history of medicine and nutrition and is an expert in foraging for edible plants, delivered his lecture at the Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem.