🫓 How To Cook a 70,000-Year-Old Neanderthal Flatbread
Last month, scientists reported recovering the world’s oldest cooked meal. The 70,000-year-old burned food remnants were found in the Shanidar Cave in Iraq.
This is the first evidence of soaking and pounding pulse seeds by Neanderthals, according to Ceren Kabukcu, an archaeobotanist at the University of Liverpool. Archaeologists have even tried to recreate the recipe using seeds from nearby caves. They made a sort of pancake/flatbread with a nutty taste.
As a foodie myself, I’m looking forward to cooking a Neanderthal flatbread someday. Luckily, Nature has published the recipe.
You’ll need two parts grass seeds (wheat berries or pot barley) and one part lentils (brown or Puy lentils).
Soak everything overnight and then drain.
Grind in a pestle and mortar (sure, you can use a stick blender, but what would Neanderthals say?).
Keep going until you have a mush composed of 1-2 mm or smaller pieces.
Add water until you have a thick paste.
Scoop some mixture onto a flat griddle or frying pan.
Cook gently on low heat, browning on each side.
You can make the recipe more interesting by adding modern versions of other known staples of the Neanderthal diet, like fruit from the terebinth (a pistachio relative), almonds, a wild precursor of the fava bean and mustard seeds, wild grasses and wild lentils. According to science, combining flatbread with grilled goat or fish would also be legitimate. Salt, on the other hand, is out of the question.
Now, to be fully authentic, you should use folded animal skin to soak seeds since the Neanderthals had no pots. But stainless kitchen cookware will also do the trick.
Illustration: Elia Kabanov feat. MidJourney.