I have a wonderful older book, Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors: An Activity Guide, which has been one of the best books for fun and easy hands-on history ideas for ancient civilizations. It has 4 sections in it: Hittites, Nubians, Mesopotamians and Egyptians. And today, in Day 2. Ancient Mesopotamia (Hands-on History): Cook Sebetu (seh-BAY-too) Rolls, I’m sharing a fun recipe to do while studying about Ancient Mesopotamia. But first, look at a few interesting facts about this area.
Even though Ancient Mesopotamia is a region, there were several civilizations in this area like the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians to name three of them. So there was a variety of food grown and cooked throughout each civilization but there were common foods to all of them.
MESOPOTAMIA- It TRULY is the CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION
The book Mesopotamian Archaeology states: “Wheat and barley were grown on a large scale, and without doubt formed the staple food of the people, providing them with an ample supply of material for cakes and different kinds of bread, including milk loaves and black bread. The principal fruits which were cultivated at this period, were dates, figs, pomegranates and grapes: they were eaten cooked and uncooked, sometimes forming part of a fruit salad, at other times being made into fruit cakes. As regards vegetables, onions, radishes, cucumbers and beans appear to have been the most favoured.”
So we decided to make a staple from their diet which is bread and tweaking the recipe some from Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors: An Activity Guide to make Sebetu (seh-BAY-too) Rolls.
It piqued our interest because supposedly its based on a 3,000 year old recipe. Scholars found recipes written on clay tablets. This bread or crust was part of bird pie and a few ingredients have been changed. We don’t know what sasku flour is, so we’ll use just regular flour.
I love it when I have all the ingredients already which has to be a great standard for doing hands-on history projects. No fuss and simple are best.
Look at this cast of characters that we had our house.
- 1 c. flour
- 2 t. olive oil
- 1 clove fresh garlic (we used minced)
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1/4 c milk
- 2 T water
- 1-1/2 t. baking powder
- 2 or 3 green onions (white part only)
Supplies: 1 big mixing bowl, one small bowl, cookie sheet, measuring spoons, 1 cup dry measure and a liquid measuring cup.
First, oil the cookie sheet and set aside. It doesn’t have to be much. I think we used a couple of teaspoons and wiped it on with a papertowel.
Then mix the flour and baking powder in large bowl and set aside.In the smaller bowl stir together water and salt. Add milk. Stir. And then add the 2 t. olive oil and stir.Mix in the garlic and we chopped the white part of the green onion a bit more fine before we added it to the liquid mixture. I think Tiny got some green part of the onion, but this isn’t science, so it was all good.He kneaded the dough as fast as he could and I’m sure not too long as he is not a patient cook.
There’s that cute baker (okay, okay).
Then he halved the dough to form 8 balls and baked them on 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. He cooked them a bit longer and checked like every two minutes. So about another 6 minutes or so.
I was shocked! The boys flipped out over how good the rolls were.
They said it reminded them of the biscuits at Red Lobster. They were absolutely delicious with the onion and garlic flavoring added to them.
And we were surprised to learn that the ancient recipes seemed so modern.
I think your kids will like this!
Here are more activities you’ll like:
Go to my Ancient Civilization page for free lapbooks for the civilizations of Ancient Mesopotamia, and my Ancient Civilizations II page also has a free Mesopotamia book and Hands-on History Activities for Learning about Ancient Civilizations.
And here is first day in this series if you missed it:
Hugs and love ya,
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