Don’t Miss Our Latest Recipes With a Past E-Cookbook!

Recipe Ebook 2015 coverAre you having a difficult time deciding what to cook for the historian in your life? Do you have a dinner party coming up and you don’t know how to wow your guests? Do you want to spice up meal times at your house? AntiquityNOW to the rescue! Download our latest free e-cookbook, Recipes With a Past 2015, and you’ll have recipes for everything from soup to nuts. And you won’t just be serving up delicious and unique dishes, you’ll also be helping to preserve cultural heritage by passing on the history behind these ancient foods.

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Ancient Thai Rose Salad

Thai Rose SaladIn preparation for Valentine’s Day, today we are celebrating the rose. You may not think of the rose as a food, but we assure you it is an ancient culinary treat. In fact, the rose has been cultivated since ancient times as a source of food, medicine and for perfume. In some cultures, rose gardens were considered important croplands, much like orchards.[1] Read our post, The Rose in History: Power, Beauty and the Sweet Smell of Success, for a fascinating history of this beautiful, fragrant and delicious flower. And once you’ve learned all about the rose’s past, you’re going to want to indulge in some rose cuisine. Look no further! We’re bringing you an exotic and delightful recipe for an ancient Thai Rose Salad. This Valentine’s Day, don’t just shower your love with a bouquet of roses. Serve up this dish redolent with flavor and flair!

Thai Rose Salad

Recipe courtesy of food52.com

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons of Thai roasted chili paste
  • Fish sauce
  • Castor sugar
  • Lime juice

For the salad

  • 1 chicken breast, boiled and torn into long pieces
  • 1 handful of prawns, blanched and refreshed
  • 3 shallots, sliced lengthways, deep fried
  • 2 handfuls of white rose petals, gently washed and dried
  • Freshly roasted peanuts, crushed

Instructions

For the Dressing

  1. Work the roasted chili paste in a pestle and mortar add fish sauce, sugar and lime juice, mix well to combine without any lumps,taste and adjust seasoning.

Make the Salad

  1. In a bowl add all of the other ingredients, adding the delicate rose petals last.
  2. Dress with the dressing, gently toss to combine and serve immediately, garnished with rose petals.

 

[1] Paterson, A. (2004). A history of the fragrant rose. London: Little Books.

Happy Mardi Gras from AntiquityNOW!

mardis grasIt’s Mardi Gras time! Break out the beads and get ready to party. But first, enrich your festival experience by learning about the history of the holiday in our blog post, Music, Color, Costumes and Beads—It’s Mardi Gras Time!

And take a walk down memory line in this slideshow of vintage Mardi Gras photos: A Brief History of Mardi Gras. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

 

Fact or Fiction? Soap

Fact or Fiction curly and roundValentine’s Day is soon upon us, and with that in mind, AntiquityNOW is testing your knowledge of ways to keep the romance fresh.

Today we are awash in all varieties of soap. Products for the hair and body can be all-natural, fruit or flower fragranced, organic, infused with lanolin, honey, aloe…the list goes on and on. There is also laundry soap and its variations on the themes of squeaky clean and fresh scents. Disinfectants, anti-bacterial cleansers and scrubbing agents of all kinds prove that there is no end to our obsession with cleanliness. As we’ve learned through centuries of dirt, sickness and plain old yuck, hygiene as we have come to understand and practice it has saved our noses from stench and our bodies from disease.

But soap is a relatively new product in the history of human sanitation, being discovered and perfected only 500 years ago in a small town in what is now Eastern Hungary. It was here that soap took form as a cleansing agent. It was quite the discovery, for now rather than dousing one’s self in perfume and wiping down haphazardly, one could actually wash the dirt and ripeness of smell away.

Fact or Fiction?

Scroll down for the answer!

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FICTION! Soap has ancient roots, which proves that humankind from early on realized that the nose can only bear so much. Look at these facts:

  • 2800 BCE: Babylonians combined fat and ashes to make some of the earliest soaps.[1]
  • 1500 BCE: Egyptians manipulated animal and vegetable fat to create a soap-like substance.[2]
  • 600 BCE : Phoenicians used goat tallow and wood ashes for cleansing.[3]
  • 175 – 150 BCE: Germans and Gauls rubbed their hair with a combination of ashes and animal fats.[4]
  • CE 130 – 210: The Greek physician Galen recommended soap for medicinal purposes.[5]
  • CE 600: Soap guilds formed in Naples, Italy and fragranced bar soaps resembling what we know of today were invented.[6]

[1] Eastman, Peter, “The Dish on Soap”, Slideshare, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/PEastman/history-of-soap-8439499.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] H B Walters, ‘Athena Hygieia’, The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 19 (1899:165-168), p167. Retrieved from http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/people/hygeia.aspx.

[6] Ibid.

Bon Appetit Wednesday! National Cherry Month

cherriesWe’re celebrating cherries! In honor of National Cherry Month take a look back at our fact-filled Bon Appetit Wednesday! Cherry Clafoutis for Cherry Blossom Season, including a mouth-watering recipe for Cherry Clafoutis at the end of the post.

Of course, we’re not just bringing you one delicious cherry recipe today! Enjoy the recipe below for an ancient Cherry Honey Drink from Russia. Not only is it delicious, but it has detoxifying properties to help you fight cold and flu season. This drink was consumed by the nobility in Russia for thousands of years. The best versions were said to be found in monasteries where the monks devoted their time to perfecting the nectar.[1] Continue reading

Strata, Portraits of Humanity, Episode 15, “American Revolutionary War Fort”

StrataImage-webIn this episode of Strata, Dan Elliot of the LAMAR Institute set out to document Carr’s Fort, a fortified farmstead used during the American Revolutionary War. The fort originally was commanded by Captain Robert Carr and housed his 100 patriot troops.  In February of 1779, the woods of north Georgia were bristling with small skirmishes between the patriots and the British.  The battles helped determine the outcome of the Revolutionary War.  Carr’s Fort and its sister sites are part of the fabric of the history of America. Continue reading

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Figs Part 2: Greek Fig Cakes (Sykomaitha)

fig-929268_960_720Last week we told you a bit about the prehistoric history of the fig and how it spread to Greece and Rome, where it became a major dietary staple. This week we’re exploring more about the fig itself and as well bringing you a recipe for Greek fig cakes, called Sykomaitha. Just as figs have some unexpected palate-tickling qualities, these sweet little cakes up the deliciousness factor with a delightful surprise ingredient. Continue reading

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Figs Part 1: Pork and Fruit Ragout

figWe are so excited about today’s Bon Appetit Wednesday. It marks the beginning of a series on the succulent fig. As we all know, there is nothing more exciting than a good fig recipe! Okay, now that may be a bit of an overstatement, but in all seriousness, these little ancient fruits are amazing. There are so many ways to use the fig, which have been filling the bellies of our ancestors for thousands of years. Because the fig has been around for so long and has had such an impact on history, we’re devoting more than one post to its story. So whet that appetite and enjoy the glorious tale of the fig. Continue reading

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Sarson Da Saag for the Lohri Festival

Sarsoon_Ka_Saag_CookedTonight is the Punjabi Lohri festival. A celebration with ancient roots, it boasts numerous special foods. Today we’re bringing you a recipe for sarson da saag, a popular vegetable dish featuring mustard leaves and spices that is often eaten during the festivities.

No one is entirely sure when or why the Lohri festival began. As with many holidays celebrated today, it has ancient origins of a mysterious nature. The one unifying feature is that it is meant to recognize the winter solstice. It is thought that the ancient celebration of Lohri originally took place on the day of the winter solstice when the night is the longest of the year. The very next day began a trend of longer days and shorter nights, each slowly shortening by “the grain of one sesame seed.”[1] Continue reading

Top Picks Named for 2015 Children and Young Adult Books on Middle East

meocEach year the Middle East Outreach Council (MEOC) selects children’s and young adult books that best promote understanding of the Middle East. Shirley K. Gazsi, president of AntiquityNOW, serves on the selection committee. According to Gazsi, research is revealing how storytelling has an enormous effect on children’s world views and attitudes.

“Studies are continuing to show how reading fiction enables us to put ourselves in others’ shoes, and actually shapes the way we see individuals and the diversity of their cultures and times. This is particularly influential during childhood,” she said. “MEOC’s book selections are powerful tools in bringing the rich expanse of cultural heritage in the Middle East to children and young adults, and in seeding a commitment to multiculturalism for generations to come.” Continue reading