Ancient grindstone

Ancient grindstone

French baguettes

French baguettes

One of the fascinating things about foods is, who the heck first started eating certain plants and animals and who and how were the first cooking recipes created. It is one thing to modify an existing recipe, but starting from absolute scratch, no pun intended? Great chefs invent new recipes all the time, that is part of what makes them great. But, as far as I know, all or most of the ingredients are already known to be edible.

Who decided to try the first oyster? How many people died discovering which mushrooms were edible or did early humans observe what animals were eating? I could go on.

Who came up with the idea of making bread, a staple food for thousands of years and made from a variety of grains and other plant matter, such as roots? Making bread, at the very least, involves grinding something into flour, adding some water, and cooking it in some way.

Contrary to prior beliefs about the paleolithic diet, early man did not eat only lean meat and raw fruits and vegetables. As early as 30,000 years ago, cavemen ground flour from cattails and archaeologists believe water was added and it was cooked as a flat bread on a hot stone. The Afghan flat bread I have seen made uses a pretty primitive, but very effective technique. Ancient man also prepared many vegetables for consumption rather than just eat them raw.
So, some early human decided that it might be a good idea to do this and since then, bread has evolved into a marvelous thing, made from many substances and prepared in many different ways. I still think nothing beats real French baguettes. Not the imitations found in US grocery stores.

Regarding the use of cattails, most westerners aren’t even aware of its uses, which are many. In addition to the aforementioned flour from the rhizomes and/or pollen, bases of leaves are edible when young, and the green flower spike can be eaten. There are also many non-food uses.


Cattail, I find it interesting that Virginia Tech lists cattail in a weed identification guide!

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1 Comment on Bread making 30,000 years ago

  1. Tai says:

    I’ve always wondered the same thing. Fruits are fragrant and meat is primal, so those are understandable. Maybe hunger drove early humans to branch out.

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