Sunday, 2 August 2009


I was sorting through a box I have with old recipes in today and realised that a lot of them are from various family and friends. Some of whom aren't with us any more and I found one that is dated 1888 and it is the oldest recipe in the box that I have full of them. It belonged to my grandmothers, grandmother....too many greats for my brain to work out. It is for a cake fruit recipe, that I grew up with, it has a couple of variations to it, but is used by my family as an every day fruit cake and also as a special cake for weddings and Christmas. Or as a gift to friends at Christmas.

Any way I got to thinking, when was the first recipe written down, so I went and did a little digging and found out these facts for us all to enjoy.

The history of recipes can be traced back to the Egyptians, maybe a little further; however I am unsure of this, but I do know some of the earliest recorded recipes date back to the ever resourceful Egyptians.
The Egyptians left us old cook books that were in the form of hieroglyphic recipes for preparing foods.

Historians tell us that most ancient recipes have in fact been found in the form of stone tablets
One of the earliest recipe that has been found, is the one written in the Sumerian Language; that tells of the baking of bread, this bread is then used to make a drink in a form of a beer. It is when drank meant to be make the drinker feel "exhilarated, wonderful and blissful".

In about 25BC, the time of the Romans, Apicius wrote down a number of scripts or rather recipes. This is the first recording of meals being separated into courses of "starters, entrees and desserts". What we now think of as a very modern way of eating.
In his 'scripts' Aspicius mentions the facts that Roman chefs use many herbs that we take for granted today i.e. Rosemary, Basil, Fennel and Parsley.

By the 1400s, the Crusaders were bringing back foods, spices and herbs from the Holy Lands, these included all the herbs already mentioned. With the new foods, spices and herbs recipe books started to come into their own. Many of these early recipe books are now in the hands of private collectors.

With the advent of easier ways to print books, more and more households had their own recipe books and in many cases these were added to by various members of one family and in some cases found their way into print. There was also the chefs of big houses, Kings and Queens and hotels who invented recipes which are also common places recipes of today.

Television also brought us many chefs, spin offs, books, videos, and dvds. Today we have the Internet where we have hundreds of thousands of recipes at our finger tips and just a click away.

(Sumerian is the first known written language. Its script, called cuneiform, meaning "wedge-shaped". The Cuneiform script is one of the earliest known forms of written expression. Created by the Sumerians in the late 4th millennium BC, cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs. Over time, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract.)


  1. Wow, Lia. When you wonder about something, you pursue the subject, like Sherlock Holmes. Good for you and good for all of us who get to reap the benefits of your research.

    A bit off the subject, may I ask what that is in the photo up and to the left, just below the bubble wrap (which I love to spend time with!) I've looked at it closely several times without knowing what my eyes are gazing upon. Pray tell.

  2. Do you ever wonder how the first man/woman had the idea to crush bits of seeds, mix it with water and get it hot? THus inventing bread. Sort of.


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