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Oldest Recipe Found in Egypt Is Written in Greek

oldest recipe greek
Dried red lentils were the main ingredients for the dish. Credit: /Wikimedia Commons/

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 in the Greek language or the recipe written on papyrus had 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 it was also a part of the Greek diet.

Recipe for Ancient Egyptian Lentil Puree

2 1/2 cups of Chicken Broth

1 medium Onion chopped

1 1/4 cup Red Lentils

1 Tsp. Anise

1 Tsp. Cumin

1 Tsp. Dill

Mix with an immersion blender. Heat until the desired temperature is reached

The oldest written recipe that has been discovered to date is a recipe for beer. It was recorded on a Sumerian clay tablet dating back to around 1800 BC. This ancient recipe detailed the ingredients and process for brewing beer, which was a staple beverage in Mesopotamian society.

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 the 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, which was 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 and second only to Rome.

In more modern times, Greeks once again began to settle in Alexandria in the eighteenth and nineteenth 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.

Related: Ancient Greece VS Egypt: Similarities and Differences

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