Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Prehistoric Cook.

When we cook, many of us decide to jazz up the flavour of our food by adding a few spices. The idea of adding a bit more spice to our lives is not something which stems from recent times, it could be said that being a bit of a culinary whizz runs in the family: our prehistoric family.

As soon as the phase prehistoric is mentioned, I happen to think of bumbling cave people, dressed in leopard print, wielding either a spear or a club, and with back combed, unruly hair not a person who is able to season their food, to gain the maximum flavour in order to enjoy their meal to their fullest potential.

However, Dr Hayley Saul from The University of York led a research team who discovered the remains of garlic mustard on the surface of shards of pottery from Denmark and Germany. The shards were carbon dated between 5,800 and 6,150 years ago. Alongside the residue of garlic mustard, evidence of fat residue from meats and fish were also found, suggesting the usage of the mustard to be purely for flavour as it contains little to no nutritional value.

This has not been the first case of seasoning discovered to be in use during prehistoric times, as coriander was found to be used in Israel 23,000 years ago. But it is a first in regards to prehistoric Europe.

So the next time, the word prehistoric is mentioned do not think of the bumbling cave person, instead imagine the people who first used spice to season their food.

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