Archeologists Find First Evidence of Spicy Cooking

Honor goes to garlic mustard seeds used 6K years ago
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2013 9:08 AM CDT
Archeologists Find First Evidence of Spicy Cooking

The first foodies? Archeologists have uncovered the oldest known evidence of humans cooking with spices, they report in PLoS One. The UK researchers found traces of garlic mustard seeds in 6,000-year-old pots dug up in Denmark and Germany. Because the seeds have little nutritional value but deliver a peppery flavor, they conclude that the seeds' sole purpose was to spice up other foods in the pot, one of the researchers tells National Geographic.

The discovery is intriguing because it further challenges the notion that prehistoric people were concerned only about shoveling down food for basic sustenance, explains LiveScience. That is, meals weren't just about consuming calories—they may have had a larger social component than realized. The finding suggests that "cooking and producing food was a very creative process for them," another of the researchers tells NPR's the Salt blog. (Another archeological discovery this week is a little darker: a murderous piece of jewelry.)

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