For a long time, we thought Neanderthals survived on a diet of berries and meat. But researchers at John Moores University have found charred remains of what appears to be the world’s oldest cooked dish. These were excavated in a cave complex in northern Iraq.
The results show that Neanderthals prepared complex meals and may have been foodies. They used different forms of food preparation, from mixing and soaking to boiling and mashing.
Evidence has also been found of seed mixtures in food products imparting unique vegetable flavors. This shows that Neanderthals had particular taste preferences.
The researchers attempted to recreate the recipes from seeds collected near the caves. “It turned out to be a combination of a pancake and a flatbread that was very tasty – with a sort of nutty taste,” said one of the researchers.
The remains of burnt food are the oldest ever found. Researchers discovered the remains in Shanidar Cave, about 800 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad in the Zagros Mountains. They are around 70,000 years old and were discovered in one of the many cave hearths where many Neanderthals lived.
“Food expert. Unapologetic bacon maven. Beer enthusiast. Pop cultureaholic. General travel scholar. Total internet buff.”