6,100-Year-Old Crock Pot Reveals Earliest Evidence of Food Flavoring

A Stone Age chef may have started a culinary revolution when she seasoned a dish with garlic mustard seeds

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

A 6,100-year-old clay cooking pot contains remnants of garlic mustard seeds mixed with meat fats or traces of fish.

One culinary genius living 6,100 years ago may have been the first ever to season her food when she flavored a dish of meat or fish with garlic mustard seeds, according to NBC News. Whether or not she was a culinary expert, her innovation has survived to present time with our cooking today.

When researchers from the University of York studied burnt food remnants from clay cooking pots found in Neolithic areas in Denmark and Germany, they identified leftover meat fats or traces of fish, as well as the remains of garlic mustard seeds (garlic mustard is a mustard relative, Alliaria petiolata, with a garlic-like pungency).

"What we found is that it's definitely being cooked with, mixed with the food," says Hayley Saul, a lecturer in York's department of archeology.

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Previous research in parts of Southern Europe, the Middle East, and India collected the spices cumin, coriander, capers, basil, poppy, and dill, but they are believed to be for medicinal or decorative purposes. The discovery of garlic mustard seeds is the earliest known use of a spice for cooking.