GAVALAHORI, CRETE, GREECE - 2014/05/25: Moussaka at Gavalianos Kafenes in the village of Gavalahori on the Greek island of Crete. (Photo by Leisa Tyler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The Medieval Origins Of Moussaka
By Elaina Friedman
People across Europe and the Middle East have been chowing down on moussaka — a comforting eggplant dish that typically includes ground meat, potatoes, and spices — for longer than any of us have been alive. Greek moussaka may get the most attention, but the dish actually dates back to medieval times.
The precise origins of moussaka are still debated, but many believe that the medieval Arabic book "A Baghdad Cookery Book" houses the dish's first known recipe, says Culture Trip. This evidence lines up with records of Arabs' popularization of the eggplant, which was first discovered in China and India, according to Harvesting History.
Per Dishes: Origins, Turkish moussaka made its way to the English-speaking world through a translation of Turabi Efendi's "Turkish Cookery Book," an 1862 adaptation of the 1844 book "Cooks' Refuge." It was this version that found Nikolaos Tselementes, serving as a canvas for his decidedly Western European take on the dish.