An Appetite for the Past

Conference organized by Yitzchak Jaffe (ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor) and Kelila Jaffe (NYU Food Studies)

NOTE: We are now fully booked for the April 30th conference and are no longer accepting RSVPs. Spots are still available for the tasting symposium on May 1st at NYU Nutrition and Food Studies (Registration required).

This endeavor will bring scholars of the ancient world and food specialists together to create and serve the fruits of their collaborative efforts to the NYU community. Teams composed of chefs and scholars are cooperating on research projects focusing on food to study and create a consumable final product.

The organizers' aim is not simply to combine ingredients in a pot from a particular time and place. Instead, the nature of each team’s project will be one in which collaboration between various specialists will provide for novel and concrete research perspectives. There are seven teams spanning the globe and countless millennia each working together on multi-disciplinary projects investigating complex social issues by addressing food and cuisine.


1:00pm - Introduction and Opening Remarks
Yitzchak Jaffe (ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor), Alexander Jones (Leon Levy Director, ISAW), and Kelila Jaffe (NYU Food Studies)

1:30pm - Scaling the Heights of Filial Gourmandism: Reconstructing the “Bake” (Bao 炮)
Paul Nicholas Vogt (Indiana University) and Wai Hon Chu (Institute of Culinary Education and NYU)

2:00pm - Babylonian Cooking
Agnete Lassen (Yale University), Pia Sörensen (Harvard University), Gojko Barjamovic (Harvard University), Nawal Nasrallah (Culinary Historian, Author, and Chef), and Chelsea Graham (Yale University)

2:30pm - What Do Barbarians Eat? Food and Society at the Fringes of Bronze Age China
Yitzchak Jaffe (ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor), Karine Taché (CUNY Queens College), and Raymond Childs (Chef, ISAW)

3:00pm - Fish Sauces at the Roman Table
Sally Grainger (Independent Scholar), Cathy Kaufman (New York University), Alessandra Pecci (University of Barcelona), and Edward Biddulph (Oxford Archaeology)

3:30pm - Coffee Break

4:00pm - The Medieval Blancmage
Amy Bentley (NYU Food Studies), Jennifer Berg (NYU Food Studies), and Ryan Harrington (NYU Food Studies)

4:30pm - Bygone Fish: Rediscovering the Red Sea Parrotfish as a Delicacy of Byzantine Cuisine
Uri Jeremias (Chef and Founder, Uri Buri), Guy Bar-Oz (University of Haifa), Gil Gambash (University of Haifa), and Efraim Lev (University of Haifa)

5:00pm - Free of Tainting: Vegetarian Recipes from Benxin’s Studio in Song China
Robban Toleno (Columbia University) and Amanda Cohen (Chef, Dirt Candy)

5:30pm - Comments and Discussion
Roger Bagnall (ISAW), Pam Crabtree (NYU Anthropology), Krishnendu Ray (NYU Food Studies)

The workshop is the result of the combined efforts of ISAW, the NYU Department of Anthropology, and the NYU Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, with additional sponsorship from the NYU Center for Ancient Studies and the NYU Center for the Study of Human Origins.

Registration is required at

Reception to follow.

Please check for event updates.

On a limited, first-come, first-served basis, ISAW is able to provide assistive listening devices at public events in our Lecture Hall. To ensure an optimal listening experience, we recommend that guests bring their own headphones (with a standard 1/8-inch audio jack) to connect to our devices. Please direct questions, comments, or suggestions to .

PLEASE NOTE: A tasting symposium requiring separate registration will take place on May 1st at the NYU Department of Nutrition and Food Studies. Teams will prepare tastings of their collaborative research. Stations will be set up where each team will serve a sample of their food research product for attendees to consume.