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April 2023

Doubled down on beer brewing.

After brewing beer based on ancient cuneiform texts for four months – with failures such as explosions (not kidding) and molded beer – I decided to take the matter with professionals. First, I called Tate Paulette from the University of North Carolina. Tate holds a PhD in Near Eastern Archaeology and is probably the most educated "Mesopotamian-beer-person" in the world. Then I contacted a local brewery in Stockholm. And a ridiculously kind person, Diego – who brews beer as a profession and hobby – gave us invaluable guidance. My sister and I bought explosion-free equipment and brewed nine different Mesopotamian beers in the following weeks.

Had Swedish beer legends over

After finally getting a sense of Mesopotamian beer brewing, I boldly invited two beer legends from Sweden. Both have written best-selling beer books. Both know more about beer than any reasonable person should know about anything. And both – Sanna Lindberg and Janko Svensson – accepted my invitation. They and Diego came to my apartment in Stockholm. We started with ancient food and went on to taste nine Mesopotamian beers. And to our astonishment, three of them were tasty. So much so that the beer experts said we could even sell it. Needless to say, my dopamine levels were high that evening. Not sure if they were higher than my alcohol levels though.

Wrote a new chapter – Kalhu

This chapter has been one of the most enjoyable to write so far. I think you're going to love it. The chapter takes place in Kalhu, during the late summer of 879 BC. And there's only one thing to do in Kalhu at that time. Party. Being an Assyrian myself, I know a thing or two about partying. At my wedding, there were 600 guests, plenty of food and drink, and entertainment all night long. That's not bad for a modern wedding. But in contrast to the Kalhu party, it's a joke. King Ashurnasirpal had 69,574 guests, 3,500 tonnes of meat, 200,000 liters of alcohol, and, need I say more? I made an entire YouTube episode about this epic party that you can watch here.

Celebrated Akitu

The first of April is a special day for Assyrians worldwide. It's New Year's Day, also known as Akitu. This spring festival dates back to at least 2000 BC, which makes it one of the oldest New Year's Festivals in history. Why April and not January? Because April was the month of harvesting in ancient Mesopotamia. Celebrating Akitu in the land of Assyria (northern Iraq) was a new experience for me. Almost 25,000 Assyrians participated and paraded on the streets, just as they did 4,000 years ago. My best moment from this celebration was when a girl from the US suddenly approached me and asked if she could take a photo with me. "With me?" I asked. "Yes, I love your work and can't wait for your book to come to the US." I forgot to ask about your name, but if you're reading this, thanks for making me feel like a celebrity. That was a new experience too.

Released two new YT episodes

In April, both videos I released were from my trip to Iraq. One delves into an ancient Assyrian breakfast, cooked and served outdoors by the great Kasrani. Watch it here. The other is about my exploration of the Assyrian capitals, which you can watch here. I'm currently working on several videos. One that will cover Mesopotamian beer and our process of recreating it. If you haven't subscribed to my channel, make sure you do. I release new episodes about Mesopotamian history, food, and culture every month.

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