Michael Rakowitz - A House With a Date Palm Will Never Starve

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  • Cooking With Date Syrup

    'Date syrup has been central to Iraqi cooking and home life for centuries. In this unique book, a fusion of the worlds of contemporary art and food, an artist and forty celebrated chefs present delicious dishes using this staple of Middle Eastern cuisine. Their collaboration had its roots in early 2018, when Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz unveiled a winged bull sculpture made from thousands of date syrup cans as the latest commission for the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square. As his winged bull sat upon the Fourth Plinth, Rakowitz invited chefs from around the world to create new and classic recipes using date syrup as a way to celebrate this ancient ingredient and symbol of Iraqi culture. Pioneering chefs and food writers including Yotam Ottolenghi, Alice Waters, Claudia Roden, Reem Kassis, Prue Leith, Mourad Mazouz, Jason Hammel, Nuno Mendes, Thomasina Miers, Giorgio Locatelli and Marcus Samuelsson responded to his call by creating dozens of dishes. Their recipes range from the traditional to the innovative in a feast for the taste buds, and include everything from simple brunch dishes, salads and sides to mouth-watering mains, cakes, desserts, drinks and condiments. Easy step-by-step instructions enable the reader to make the recipes at home.

    Beautiful photographs of the dishes are accompanied by the artist’s portrait drawings and sketches of the food. Completing the volume is a foreword by awardwinning food writer and chef Claudia Roden and an appreciation of the importance of the date in Iraqi society by Iraqi-American cultural-studies academic Ella Shohat, while Rakowitz writes about the significance of the syrup to his family and in his work. This special book will appeal to anyone who loves the cuisine of the Middle East and the politics of food in that troubled region.'

    Michael Rakowitz is exhibiting at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art 15 July 2023 - 26 May 2024.


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