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A House with a Date Palm Will Never Starve

c. 2019

Date Palm Cookbook Michael Rakowitz 3

This book really resonates with me, due to my love for dates in the kitchen. Iraqi-Amer­i­can Artist and Chef Michael Rakowitz collab­o­rates with forty-one chefs from around the world to show­case Middle Eastern cuisine and the history that Iraq has with date syrup in the inno­v­a­tive cook­book A House with Date Palm Will Never Starve: Cooking with Date Syrup. He was inspired by the pre-1940s, when reli­gions lived together in harmony in the Arab world, sharing cultures and recipes across invis­i­ble borders– partic­u­larly date and date syrup recipes. This cook­book was made, in part, to create a wider appre­ci­a­tion of date syrup that will in turn help replant those date palms that have disap­peared over the many years of war in the Middle East.

A House with Date Palm Will Never Starve is a Mesopotamian proverb that refers to all the palm’s elements that sustain both life and the home: the dates, the shade it provides, the fallen leaves for woven furni­ture, and the wood that can be used to expand the house as the family grows. Through this proverb, this cook­book reflects the deep shared appre­ci­a­tion of dates and the vast child­hood memo­ries that many of the chefs and contrib­u­tors hold in these recipes.

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