Ancient Recipe for Pigeon Confit

The Yale Library have wished their patrons happy holidays with an e-card showcasing an ancient cuneiform tablet in their collection that has a list of recipes from c.1750 BC. The small clay tablet contains 21 meat stew recipes and 4 vegetable stews. Unfortunately, there are no quantities and cooking times listed—just the ingredients and the order in which to add them.

Fancy cooking up a nice Pigeon Confit for Christmas? You can try recipe #7:

Split the pigeon in half, add other meat. Prepare the water, add fat and salt to taste, breadcrumbs, onion, samidu, leeks, and garlic (first soak the herbs in milk). When it is cooked, it is ready to serve.

Bon apetite!

There appears to be a discrepancy between the image of this tablet (YBC 4644) pictured on the e-card and images of the same purported tablet found elsewhere, such as here.

2 thoughts on “Ancient Recipe for Pigeon Confit

  1. Yum! Having finished my first ever dinner of pigeon stew, thanks to your passing on the recipe,I was fortified enough to think that the discrepancy you speak of is that one of the images is upside down.

    • I initially thought the image was inverted, also. However, there do appear to be some other substantive differences, such as the position of cracks and and writing dividers on the clay. Of course, this could simply be a trick due to the photography, but it highlights the necessity of inspecting artifacts personally and not relying solely on images.

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