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Thursday, 13 July 2017


The word 'recipe' comes from Latin 'recipere' - 'take' as most Roman recipes start with 'Take.. ' and go on to list the ingredients.

A 3,900-year-old poem honoring the Babylonian goddess Ninkasi contains instructions for brewing a beer, which happens to be the oldest known written recipe.

The ancient Egyptians painted hieroglyphics showing the preparation of food.

The first recorded fish recipe (a fish salad based on marinated and spiced carp) came from China in around 1300 BC.

Marcus Gavius Apicius was a well known Roman gourmet and epicure who lived sometime in the 1st century AD, during the reign of Tiberius. He wrote ten books on the art of cooking which were later summarized in De Re Coquinaria ("On Cookery").

Apicius' recipes featured numerous spices including pepper, which were intended to preserve the food, aid the digestion, and improve the flavor of the dull Roman fare. "Sprinkle with pepper and serve" was the last step in a recipe for diced pork and apples from one cookbook.

Apicius, De re culinaria, an early collection of recipes.

More than half of Apicius' recipes included honey.

Marco Polo brought back with him from China a recipe for making sorbets (fruit flavored water ice) . He taught his fellow Venetians to make the sorbets by running a mixture of water and potassium nitrate over containers filled with the substance to be cooled.

King Richard II of England asked his chefs to compile a recipe book. The result was Forme of Cury, which was published in 1390 (“Cury” is a term for cooked food). It consisted of 196 recipes, several of being for soups and pottages, which were poured over bread that had either been toasted or dipped in liquid.

Title page

In her younger days when she was a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn created a recipe for a small tart with an almond, curd cheese and lemon filling. Henry VIII was so pleased with her confection that he named Anne maid of honour.

Best known for his prophetic utterances, Nostradamus published in 1555 a recipe book, Excellent er Moult Utile Opuscule a tous necessaire qui desirent avoir connaissance de plusieurs exq uises recettes (An excellent and most useful little work essential to all who wish to become acquainted with some exquisite recipes). Included were recipes for various fruit jams such as cherry, lime or oranges made with ginger, honey, cooked wine and sugar.

Shakespeare gave a recipe for pies in A Winter's Tale including mace, nutmeg, ginger, prunes, raisins and saffron to color it.

François de la Varenne, originally learnt to cook in the kitchen of Catherine de Médici's cousin, Marie de Médici. In 1651 he wrote Cuisinier Français, which was the first book to establish cooking rules, to present recipes in alphabetical order and to include instructions for vegetable cooking.

The first curry recipe in English appeared in Hannah Glasse's The Art Of Cookery in 1747.

American food began to distinguish itself from its European and British origins at the end of the 18th century. Cooks were creating new recipes reflecting the use of the continent's many native ingredients, such as cranberries, maize and squash. There was soon an abundant and varied American cuisine.

Isabella Beeton (1836–1865) was an English journalist and editor, who wrote the cookery column for her husband's The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine. She is best known as the writer of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, which was initially serialized in 24 monthly installments, in the magazine. Of its 1,112 pages, over 900 contained recipes, which were plagiarized from other works, or sent in by the magazine's readers.

Presentation of fish dishes from the book. By

Count Pavel Stroganov of St Petersburg was a noted gourmet as well as a friend of Alexander III of Russia. A recipe called Beef Stroganoff had been in the Count's family for some years and was brought to the notice of people in his circle due to his love of entertaining. A chef, Charles Briere, who was working in St. Petersburg introduced the dish to the general public when he submitted the recipe to L 'Art Culinaire in 1891.

The disabled principal of Boston Cooking School, Fannie Farmer, wrote The Boston Cooking-School CookBook in 1896. Farmer was the first person to standardize the methods and measurements of her recipes, rather than such vague terms as "heaping spoonful", assuring reliable results to her readers.

The French artist Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 –1901) was also an excellent amateur cook.He created such original recipes as plums in rum and grilled grasshoppers, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Bagels were brought to the United States by immigrant Polish-Jews. By the 20th century a thriving business was developing in New York City. Their recipe for bagels was fiercely safeguarded for many years.

Colonel Harland Sanders owned a small restaurant and petrol station in Corbin, Kentucky. He served to travelers the recipes that he had learned as a youngster including one for fried chicken. By July 1940 Sanders had finalized his Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe with a secret blend of 11 herbs and spices. Although he never publicly revealed the recipe, the Colonel admitted to the use of salt and pepper,

KFC original recipe chicken in bucket

Flamin' Hot Cheetos were first created as a result of a batch of crunchy Cheetos at the Frito-Lay factory not getting dusted with cheddar cheese. A Mexican janitor took the botched batch home and added chili powder to them. He then pitched this recipe to the CEO, who loved the idea.

The secret recipe for Dr Pepper's soda is protected as a highly valuable trade secret. It is reported that only three people have access to the formula, which is kept in a locked vault at company headquarters.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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