(ORDO NEWS) — Primitive people were real gourmets! They prepared complex dishes for a long time and painstakingly. Their menu included almonds and pistachios, mustard and even truffles!
And we thought that the limit of the gastronomic dreams of Neanderthals and ancient Homo sapiens was a large piece of freshly mined meat! Yes, it was definitely the main dish, the most delicious and nutritious.
But the meat diet was supplemented by vegetable dishes. And complex cooking. And not just picking fruit from a nearby tree or picking berries in the nearby forest (although this also happened).
Actually, not only we, the townsfolk, underestimated the culinary abilities of primitive people. But also scientists.
The discovery, which fundamentally changes the idea of the diet of Neanderthals, was made by British archaeologists and paleobotanists.
They found the remains (I don’t want to write “leftovers”, although it is) the most ancient vegetarian dish, for the preparation of which several culinary techniques were used at once.
It was prepared by a Neanderthal cook 73 – 75 thousand years ago in the Shanidar cave on the territory of modern Iraq.
“This is the first evidence of complex food preparation, so we can already talk about gastronomic culture,” emphasizes Chris Hunt, professor of paleoecology at John Moores University in Liverpool (UK), who led the excavation.
And a recreated recipe for Neanderthal pancakes (see below), published in the prestigious Nature publication.
The ingredients for the modern version of the ancient dish, Hunt and colleagues gathered right in the vicinity of the cave. They used the same simple utensils that its inhabitants had.
– It turned out surprisingly tasty! Something similar to pancakes with a nutty flavor, – assures the scientist-reenactor.
Another part of the study is devoted to the menu from another Paleolithic cave – Franhti, in Greece, on the Peloponnese peninsula.
Representatives of the species Homo sapiens lived here, our ancestors. The age of the finds is much less than in Shanidar – 12 thousand years.
“We have proven for the first time that both Neanderthals and Homo sapiens soaked and ground legumes,” says archaeologist and paleobotanist Cheren Kabukchu from the University of Liverpool.
She and Hunt are like Michelin critics for “restaurants” that have been closed for tens of thousands of years!
– And this is the earliest evidence of the use of these culinary techniques for both types of primitive people. We also found that primitive people used mixtures of different grains, nuts, beans in one dish.
What exactly? Lentils, various types of peas, whole grains of wheat, barley, oats. In general, simple and rich in protein and trace elements food.
However, this is where the list of simple ingredients ends – and the delights begin.
Archaeologists have found in the caves (not only in these two) the remains of almonds, pistachios, mustard seeds and even truffles!
Sounds like the menu of an expensive restaurant, not the humble diet of an ancient hunter. All plants are wild, before agriculture is still many thousands of years old.
– Neanderthals did not have pots or similar utensils. We assume that they soaked lentils and other legumes in containers made from animal skins. Hunt continues.
The grains were ground with the help of stones, but not to the state of flour, rather coarse sand. After I tried to make similar cakes myself, I understood why Neanderthals had teeth in such a terrible state.
Actually, the remains of edible plants were found in the caves of the Paleolithic era before. In Israel, Turkey, Libya.. Fried grains were found in one of the caves in Greece.
In Italy, it seems, they tried to make something edible from acorns – they were ground and rubbed.
But to prove that complex dishes were prepared from legumes and grains, Hunt and his colleagues succeeded for the first time.
RECIPE “NEANDERTHAL PANCAKES”
You only need two main ingredients:
Whole grains – wheat or barley (barley is suitable, although this is already a processed version of barley grains, in ancient times there was no such luxury), 2 parts. For example, 200 grams,
Lentils – 1 part. That is 100 grams.
Soak it all overnight.
Then crush in a mortar – until the particles of the grains are 1 – 2 mm in size. You can add water if the puree is too thick. And a blender can be used, although it’s not fair. The Neanderthals, let me remind you, had only stones.
The result should be a fairly thick paste, gruel, mashed potatoes – call it what you want. Put a little of this mixture in a frying pan and fry on both sides over low heat. According to Hunt, pancakes do not bake quickly, in 15 to 20 minutes.
Won’t you be full of cakes alone? Grilled lamb or fish would be a historically authentic addition. You can add mustard grains, or almonds.
– But only without salt! Hunt warns. She was not yet known then.
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