TopicFood Was Dull and Bland in History
Historians at the University of York recently analyzed several pottery shards found along the Baltic Sea. The pottery, which was in use about 6,000 years ago, contained traces of lipid deposits, which came from fish, shellfish, and deer, and after comparing other trace residues to more than 120 different types of plants, they found that the prehistoric chefs were using garlic mustard to flavour the dishes.
Garlic mustard seeds are tiny and have a hot flavour similar to a peppery wasabi. What they don’t have is any real nutritional value, leading the researchers to conclude that the only reason they were included in cook pots was to add some spice.
Other European sites, dating back to between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago, have yielded other cooking pots and vessels that still contain traces of spices like turmeric, capers, and coriander.