I recently spent five weeks in Beirut, Lebanon, creating recipes and consulting for a new restaurant there called Eat Sunshine. Beirut is a lovely and very charming place. It’s also a place with amazing food! So here’s a recipe with a special spice mix that I picked up there, which includes cumin, sweet pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, basil, and cloves. It’s not a traditional Lebanese recipe. I’m just naming it this way because of the spice mix and the inspiration.
Legends of Nutrition and Medicine: Herophilos (330 to 260 B.C.)
During the 3rd century B.C., the epicenter of knowledge and scholarship was Alexandria, a city on the northern coast of modern-day Egypt, founded by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.. Alexandria hosted the most prominent philosophers and medical practitioners of the day, including Herophilos, who is known as the Fathers of Human Anatomy.
Herophilos was one of the first physicians in medical history to perform systematic dissections of human cadavers for the purpose of gaining anatomical knowledge. About 250 years after his death, Herophilos was accused of performing dissections and experimental operations on living people – prisoners who were awarded to him. These accusations, however, remain speculative to this day.
During the 3rd century, dissection was strictly outlawed throughout the ancient world. Only in Alexandria was the prohibition lifted for a period of about 30 years, which paved the way for great scientific and medical advances. After this 30 year period, dissection was again banned for another 1,800 years! It wasn’t until the 14th century A.D. that doctors and scientists were able to learn about anatomy through this revealing practice.
When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.
Some of Herophilos’ work was destroyed in the fire at the library of Alexandria, but much of his work remains. As you can see, the knowledge that good food is essential to health is as old as antiquity (and even older).
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Here’s a delicious dessert that is very low in added sugar (only 2 tablespoons of maple syrup plus the natural, fiber-intact sugars of the mango and peaches). It’s super easy to make and sure to impress.