OUR contemporary obsession with food and cooking can seem like the apex of a shared civilising tendency. After all, to have such wealth and freedom that we can indulge the intricacies of nuanced flavour and culinary technique is historically rare.
But one maxim has held true throughout the ages – the processes that bring great food to life must be taught and shared. And so the cookbook was born.
The oldest complete cookbook is an English compendium from the court of Richard II whose contents include the preparation of dolphin porridge and jellied chicken milk. Who said British cookery was boring? Even older recipes abound. A collection of Roman dishes from the first to fifth centuries curated under the title “De re coquinaria” and shared widely during the Imperial period.
Further back, recipes begin to fragment, owing both to the manner of recording and the passage of time. The oldest known recipe was discovered on an Akkadian tablet from southern Babylonia, describing a method for making a local version of beer. Howe However, of all these treasure treasured historical notation notations, none is more amusing that the recipe shard th that survives from the Syracusan cook Mithaecus. Steeped in his native Greek heritage and flaunting his adopted Sicilian wealth, he was a b badly behaved but widely respected chef. It seem seems some traits do not cha change through the ag ages. Quoted in a book by h his contemporary Athanaeus, he referred to a method for preparing fish with olive oil and cheese. His is not re really a recipe, ho however, but a sar sarcastic insult to local ten tendencies. Mithaecus foun found the idea of fish and c cheese barbaric. For he was not just one of our first co cookbook writers, he was the earliest critic.
Mithaecus found the idea of fish and cheese barbaric.