Recreating Ancient Recipes With VAWAA - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Recreating Ancient Recipes With VAWAA

3 sessions
$70 per person
See Dates
$70 per person
$70 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this 3-part lecture series, become a culinary archaeologist as we recreate dishes from ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Rome, and the Mediterranean Middle Ages.

Course Description

Join Vacation With An Artist (VAWAA) along with archaeologist and culinary historian Ursula Janssen and learn the art of recreating ancient dishes.

Together, we’ll turn our kitchens into vessels for gastronomic time travel, using historical recipes and modern ingredients to create dishes from ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Rome, and the Mediterranean Middle Ages. We’ll focus on the Middle East, Southern Europe, and the Mediterranean region, tracing ancient foodways and trade routes along the Mediterranean Sea and the lasting legacy they had on several regional cuisines. From Babylonian fowl pie to Mustacei, we’ll treat each recipe we cover as a portal to the past, looking at the traditions, culinary innovations, and societal values it was steeped in. We’ll explore how various foods, cooking methods, and notions of “healthy eating” were viewed across time, and what a profession in the food industry of yore may have entailed. By the end of the course, you’ll not only have a deeper understanding of ancient Babylonian, Roman, and Mediterranean cuisines, but also the knowledge and skills to weave elements of them into your own cooking practice.

Gastro Obscura Courses: delving deep into the world’s culinary curiosities with expert instructors.

Syllabus At A Glance

This course includes three total sessions, each lasting for 2 hours on three consecutive Saturdays beginning June 4.

Session 1 (Saturday, 6/4, 12–2 PM ET): Babylonian: Fowl pie and Mersu

Session 2 (Saturday, 6/11, 12–2 PM ET): Ancient Rome: Mustacei with Moretum cheese paste, Alexandrian gourds, and dulcia domestica

- two weeks off -

Session 3 (Saturday, 7/2 12–2 PM ET): Mediterranean Middle Ages: Itriyya and hummus

Between Sections

Students will be given suggested readings to do outside of class. 

Course Materials

 A detailed ingredients and materials list will be sent to students closer to the start of this course.

Pricing Options

This course is available at three ticket prices. This tiered pricing model is designed to increase access for a wider range of students as well as to support our instructors. In addition to tiered tickets, we offer a limited number of no-pay spots for students who would not otherwise be able to take this course. No-pay spots are selected via a randomized drawing two weeks before each section begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.

Community Guidelines for Students

Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience. 

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive community-driven guide to incredible places across the planet and is now an award-winning company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.

Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
VAWAA & Ursula Janssen
VAWAA & Ursula Janssen

Vacation With An Artist (VAWAA) is a platform to discover and book mini-apprenticeships with remarkable artists and makers around the world – from pottery in Joshua Tree, weaving and textile dyeing in Oaxaca to culinary food preservation in Newfoundland.

Ursula is an archaeologist, cook and author, passionate about sustainability. For years, Ursula worked on excavation projects in Syria, Turkey and Egypt, where she often lived in small, traditional villages and picked up a variety of recipes and traditional food preparation techniques. Historic methods of producing and cooking food inspire Ursula academically, but also motivate her lifestyle. She believes that looking back to traditional cooking techniques also encourages getting back to a more sustainable way of living. She lives in Southern Italy where she grows most of her own food, eats fresh ingredients seasonally, raises chickens, makes wine and olive oil, and in her spare time, practices archery!

What Else You Should Know

This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording of each session, after it airs, at a time that is convenient for them. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.

Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Dates and Availability

There are no upcoming experiences at the moment. Fill out the form below to be notified when we add new dates.

All fields required.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.