Reconstruction of food: scientists examined food debris in ancient dishes

Scientists have restored dishes from antiquity

The scientists managed to reconstruct the dishes that people ate in the past. They investigated the chemical composition of food, the remains of which were found in ancient dishes. Unglazed stoneware played a key role in it. It has the ability to absorb chemical residues from food. The study was carried out by a group of scientists led by archaeologists from the University of California at Berkeley.

By chance, they found out that unglazed stoneware can retain chemical remnants of food not only from yesterday's dinner, but also, possibly, more ancient dishes. Thus, they set out to broaden their knowledge of past gastronomic practices.

A reconstruction of the chemical compounds of such dishes makes it possible to find out what food the Aztecs prepared for themselves, what was served at the Last Supper, since in ancient times, earthenware was used without any processing. A researcher Melanie Miller believes that the data obtained allows us to find out what ingredients were used in ancient times to prepare food, and thereby show the social, environmental, political and even environmental relations in ancient human communities.

A research lasted for almost a year and after that seven chefs prepared about 50 dishes, the recipe of which was discovered due to the ancient dishes. These dishes used corned beef, corn, wheat flour.

The sturdy pottery has been well preserved from pre-Columbian South America, and handcrafted vessels remain popular to this day. Some old recipes used venison, whole and ground grains, and flour made from corn soaked in an alkaline solution.

Each of the seven chefs was able to prepare an experimental dish in a clay pot using the ingredients listed. Some dishes were deliberately charred, as was done in ancient times over an open fire.

Between meals, the pots were washed with water and a branch of an apple tree, it is an old method that has also found application here. The results of the study provide scientists with a new tool for studying ancient diets, as well as provide clues to the production, supply and distribution chains of food from past eras.