The first cookbooks in the ancient world

Iraqi cuisine or Mesopotamian cuisine has a long history going back to the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Assyrians eras.

Some of the ancient tablets found in Iraq had recipes engraved on them on how to prepare certain foods which were served in the temples during religious festivals. These tablets are considered among the first cookbooks in the ancient world.

Edible herbs known as qaḍb formed an essential part of the Arab diet in the Middle Ages. The origins of Tabola go back to the Chaldeans, who were one of the Semitic people who settled in Mesopotamia, in the year 3000 BC.

The word Tabola is derived from the verb which means mixing vegetables, as the people of this region used to mix all kinds of vegetables in one dish and serve it to the elders.

With the Assyrian conquests of the neighbouring regions, Tabola moved to Lebanon, whose inhabitants developed this dish, by adding bulgur. Later it became one of the most important Lebanese traditional dishes.

Tabola has become one of the most popular salads in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Lebanese National Tabola Day is a yearly celebration dedicated to Tabola. Since 2001, it is celebrated on the first Saturday of the month of July.