Last year date syrup inspired a winning art sculpture. Now it's inspired a whole cookbook
The 14-foot-long winged bull currently perched amongst Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth has prompted a new cookbook. The statue, which is covered in 10,500 empty Iraqi date syrup cans, was erected last year after Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz won the Fourth Plinth Commission. Entitled The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, the bull represents Lamassu, the stone deity that once protected the ancient Assyrian city Nineveh until Isis destroyed it in 2015. Rakowitz was inspired by the homeland of his mother’s family – who emigrated to the US from Iraq in 1946, fleeing as Arab Jews – and the recipes of his Iraqi-Jewish grandmother.
The culinary guide, entitled A House with a Date Palm Will Never Starve: Cooking with Date Syrup, features many a delicious dish containing the traditional ingredient, which Rakowitz describes as a way to "taste the sculpture". Amongst the recipes are contributions from 41 guest chefs, including Yotam Ottolenghi, Bake Off's Prue Leith, Wahaca founder Thomasina Miers and the artist's mother Yvonne.
The cookbook release also coincides with a new exhibition of Rakowitz's artwork plucked from his entire portfolio, which opens at Whitechapel Gallery, east London, on Tuesday 4 June (running until Sunday 25 August). A House with a Date Palm Will Never Starve: Cooking with Date Syrup will be available to purchase from Monday 8 July and The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist will be no display in Trafalgar Square until 2020.
By Danielle Goldstein
Header photo: The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist by Michael Rakowitz, 2018. Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square. Image courtesy GLA