The oldest written recipe discovered in Egypt is dated from approximately the year 300 AD. A recipe for red lentils, it was written on papyrus in the Greek language.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities recently released a video on the history of cooking in Egypt, showing the oldest known recipe in the North African country.
It turns out that the recipe from the third century was either written there by a person who possessed fluency of the Greek language or that the recipe written on papyrus had otherwise originated from Greece.
The ancient Egyptians consumed lentils since prehistoric times, or since around 4000 BC. However, the fact that the lentil recipe is written in Greek indicates that it was also a part of the Greek diet.
Greeks in Egypt
Greeks have resided in Egypt since at least the 7th century BC. Herodotus visited Egypt in the 5th century BC and claimed that Greeks were one of the first groups of foreigners to have ever lived in the region.
The Greek presence is particularly strong in Alexandria even to this day.
The story of Hellenism in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city, goes back to more than two millennia and is marked by Alexander the Great’s placement of the first stone as part of the city’s first street in 331 BC.
Hellenistic Alexandria was best known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria (the Pharos), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; its Great Library (the largest in the ancient world); and its Necropolis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages.
Alexandria was at one time one of the most powerful cities of the ancient Mediterranean region second only to Rome.
In more modern times, Greeks once again began to settle in Alexandria in the 18th and 19th centuries. A new wave of immigration flooded Alexandria shortly after the Greek revolution of 1821, marking the beginning of the so-called European era of the city.