Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-14-2019, 05:42 PM
robardin robardin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Flushing, NY
Posts: 4,655
Name the oldest continuously eaten prepared foods with the same name as the modern version

By "name of a prepared food" as per the subject, I mean:

a) something with a recipe that produces a finished item, rather than just a food term ("vino" for "wine"),
b) isn't just a descriptive process and name ("fried X" or "cooked Y", etc.),
c) that is known to have been around back in the in Year Whatever, such that
d) if you teleported someone from that era to the present day, dropped a plate of the stuff in front of him/her, and said "have some X" using the modern day term, their reaction would be "OK" instead of "what are you talking about?" or "how is THIS what you call X?".

In this context a location based name would count, but would have to have retained the exact same meaning going back N years for my reckoning.

So for example, the term "fan4" (traditional Chinese/Han character of "飯") has been used for cooked rice for millenia, and "炒飯" ("fried rice") surely has been eaten for nearly as long; but a specific and very common dish of Yangzhou Fried Rice ("揚州炒飯") has a documented history that only goes back to the late 18th Century, even though surely they were eating some kind of fried rice in Yangzhou, China well before that.

The best example I can think of so far is the widespread use of a derivative of the Latin name for a kind of primarily pork sausage eaten during Ancient Roman times, "lucanica", with mention as far back 2,000 years in the Roman cookbook of Apicius. This name has continued to the present day with recognizable cognates in former Roman Empire territories such as the modern Italian "luganega", Greek "loukaniko", Portuguese "linguiça", Spanish "longaniza", Bulgarian "lukanka", and even Arabic "laqāniq".

They are all somewhat different in recipe from each other, and some include more than just pork, but they're all some form of smoked and spiced sausage where I am pretty sure if you dropped one in front of Cicero and identified it by its spoken local name, he'd both understand and agree with the name for what he was eating. Although maybe with a remark along the lines of a "Chicago versus New York Pizza" type of thing.

Any more like that? "Pizza" has ancient roots as a word, related to modern day "pita" for flat, leavened bread, but I think our modern version of what "pizza" is (baked with cheese, garlic, usually sauce, etc., on top) would be unrecognizable to the ancients.
  #2  
Old 01-14-2019, 05:53 PM
adhemar adhemar is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,463
a book of recipes has just been found that dates back to 1140at Durham Cathedral. it has a recipe for "hen in winter" which appears to be a seasonal variation using ingredients normally found in winter, garlic, pepper and sage.
  #3  
Old 01-14-2019, 05:55 PM
Beckdawrek's Avatar
Beckdawrek Beckdawrek is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: So.Ark ?
Posts: 12,878
Bread.
  #4  
Old 01-14-2019, 06:41 PM
robardin robardin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Flushing, NY
Posts: 4,655
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
Bread.

Please reread the OP Not a simple food term like "cooked rice", or "bread", but something like "Challah bread" would count. How old is that term and has it been consistently the same thing?
  #5  
Old 01-14-2019, 06:55 PM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 42,032
Quote:
Originally Posted by robardin View Post
Please reread the OP Not a simple food term like "cooked rice", or "bread", but something like "Challah bread" would count. How old is that term and has it been consistently the same thing?
Bread is hardly simple.

But "Matzo" shows up in the Old Testament. The recipe hasn't changed.
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
  #6  
Old 01-14-2019, 06:57 PM
Beckdawrek's Avatar
Beckdawrek Beckdawrek is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: So.Ark ?
Posts: 12,878
Quote:
Originally Posted by robardin View Post
Please reread the OP Not a simple food term like "cooked rice", or "bread", but something like "Challah bread" would count. How old is that term and has it been consistently the same thing?
Ok, any kind of bread. Do you WANT recipes? There are quite a few.
I wanted to put 'Egg' but I wasn't sure what came first, the chicken or the egg

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 01-14-2019 at 06:58 PM.
  #7  
Old 01-14-2019, 06:59 PM
Skywatcher's Avatar
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Somewhere in the Potomac
Posts: 33,900
Century Eggs have basically been unchanged since at least the Ming Dynasty.

Last edited by Skywatcher; 01-14-2019 at 07:00 PM.
  #8  
Old 01-14-2019, 07:29 PM
robardin robardin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Flushing, NY
Posts: 4,655
Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Bread is hardly simple.



But "Matzo" shows up in the Old Testament. The recipe hasn't changed.

So that's the (Ancient) Hebrew term for it? I should've guesed that!
  #9  
Old 01-14-2019, 08:15 PM
markn+ markn+ is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: unknown; Speed: exactly 0
Posts: 2,006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
Ok, any kind of bread. Do you WANT recipes? There are quite a few.
I wanted to put 'Egg' but I wasn't sure what came first, the chicken or the egg
The OP is asking not just for a food, but for the NAME of a food. Obviously any English word is not going to be in the running since the English language is only about 1000 years old. "Bread" is a pretty old word in English, although it wasn't originally the usual word for what we call "bread". The OED's first citation for the word is from 950 AD.
  #10  
Old 01-14-2019, 08:33 PM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 42,032
Quote:
Originally Posted by robardin View Post
So that's the (Ancient) Hebrew term for it? I should've guesed that!
Yes. And it refers to a very specific recipe that's estimated as being 2700 years old. If you took someone from that era and said "matzo," she'd know exactly what you meant.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 01-14-2019 at 08:34 PM.
  #11  
Old 01-14-2019, 08:51 PM
Beckdawrek's Avatar
Beckdawrek Beckdawrek is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: So.Ark ?
Posts: 12,878
I think, maybe I don't understand. When the Neanderthal grunted 'ugh' at the pretty red berries, that was his term for them. If this is a linguistic excercise, I bow out. If it's just trying to figure out what was the first prepared food we have to go back to the discovery of fire.
I guess.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 01-14-2019 at 08:52 PM.
  #12  
Old 01-14-2019, 09:11 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 16,433
Frosted Mini Wheats.
__________________
Uke
  #13  
Old 01-14-2019, 11:03 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness's Avatar
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 40,033
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View Post
Frosted Mini Wheats.
Obviously not. Prior to the eighteenth century, when most homes lacked refrigerators, frosted mini-wheats were valued for their ability to retain cold ("frost") even when they were removed from the ice-caves where they grew. Adding them to boiled porridge is the origin of the term "cold cereal."

It's not until the invention of the nuclear refrigerator in the 1950s that they became obsolete, and Kelloggs began marketing that nasty sugar-frosting version of the ancient treat.

Same name, but totally different product.
  #14  
Old 01-14-2019, 11:14 PM
ZipperJJ's Avatar
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
Just Lovely and Delicious
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 24,994
Along those lines, looks like kimchi was probably around in 37 AD. It didn't become spicy until the 17th century.
  #15  
Old 01-14-2019, 11:15 PM
Riemann's Avatar
Riemann Riemann is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Santa Fe, NM, USA
Posts: 6,741
Quote:
Originally Posted by robardin View Post
The best example I can think of so far is the widespread use of a derivative of the Latin name...
I'm guessing that something Greek or Chinese is likely to be a strong candidate, because of the continuity of culture & language.

Fasolada (bean soup) is supposed to have been around since Ancient Greece. I've found internet articles vaguely claiming it's mentioned in old texts, but no proper references, not clear if the name itself is ancient.

Last edited by Riemann; 01-14-2019 at 11:15 PM.
  #16  
Old 01-14-2019, 11:19 PM
Riemann's Avatar
Riemann Riemann is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Santa Fe, NM, USA
Posts: 6,741
Wikipedia strikes again...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ancient_dishes

Not focused on exact names, but there must be some candidates here.

Baobaofan (rice dish) dating to 1000 BCE looks like a good start. Characters will be the same, although ancient pronunciation will not have been identical of course.

Last edited by Riemann; 01-14-2019 at 11:22 PM.
  #17  
Old 01-14-2019, 11:24 PM
Riemann's Avatar
Riemann Riemann is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Santa Fe, NM, USA
Posts: 6,741
Here's another one, Papadzules - from Mayan cuisine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papadzules
  #18  
Old 01-15-2019, 12:20 AM
Beckdawrek's Avatar
Beckdawrek Beckdawrek is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: So.Ark ?
Posts: 12,878
I think you need to know how to make bread before you can think of noodles of any kind. They all, including rice, come from grain. But to make bread you need yeast. Beer brewing is probably older than bread, or rising breads, anyway.
ETA. I know rice IS a grain, but you know what I mean.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 01-15-2019 at 12:22 AM.
  #19  
Old 01-15-2019, 12:25 AM
lingyi lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,392
Challah also appears in Numbers in the Old Testament.

The problem with asking for an unchanged name is that despite what scholars claim, no one can prove with certainty that our pronunciation of ancient words is true to the original. Add in regional dialects and foreign influence and the task is insurmountable.
  #20  
Old 01-15-2019, 12:45 AM
lingyi lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,392
Quote:
Originally Posted by robardin View Post
By "name of a prepared food" as per the subject, I mean:

So for example, the term "fan4" (traditional Chinese/Han character of "飯") has been used for cooked rice for millenia, and "炒飯" ("fried rice") surely has been eaten for nearly as long; but a specific and very common dish of Yangzhou Fried Rice ("揚州炒飯") has a documented history that only goes back to the late 18th Century, even though surely they were eating some kind of fried rice in Yangzhou, China well before that.
Since rice, like most grains and starches is primarily eaten to bulk up a meal (reducing the need to consume more meat and vegetables), I suspect that fried rice may well have originated with Yi Bingshou as he was wealthy and could afford the luxury of it. I find that I and others can consume more fried rice than if the same amount of ingredients were served separately with plain rice. There's something about mixing flavors with grains and starches that excites the taste buds and increases appetites. How much jelly and bread could you eat separately, versus jelly spread on bread?

Last edited by lingyi; 01-15-2019 at 12:46 AM.
  #21  
Old 01-15-2019, 01:06 AM
Half Man Half Wit's Avatar
Half Man Half Wit Half Man Half Wit is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 6,477
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
I think you need to know how to make bread before you can think of noodles of any kind. They all, including rice, come from grain. But to make bread you need yeast. Beer brewing is probably older than bread, or rising breads, anyway.
ETA. I know rice IS a grain, but you know what I mean.
I suppose beer might be a good candidate---it's Spanish name, cerveza, could be recognizable to a Roman knowing it as cervisia.
  #22  
Old 01-15-2019, 02:23 PM
robardin robardin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Flushing, NY
Posts: 4,655
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
I think you need to know how to make bread before you can think of noodles of any kind. They all, including rice, come from grain. But to make bread you need yeast. Beer brewing is probably older than bread, or rising breads, anyway.
ETA. I know rice IS a grain, but you know what I mean.
But "rice", "bread", "noodles", even "beer" are generic terms. That's kind of what I was getting at by specifying "named" foods and giving an example of how even "fried rice" was too generic for my criteria of a "named" food.

What I'm talking about isn't just "what are the most ancient foods eaten", but something like a food with a name for a specific preparation style or recipe to differentiate it from other related foods of the same type ("Yangzhou fried rice" versus "fried rice" much less just "rice"), or something named for a location associated with that style.

"Lucanica" is a great example because in Latin, it originally designated a type of sausage from the region of Lucania - one that became so very popular that it's become the legacy name for a range of narrow, smoked sausages across the Mediterranean. It was not a generic term for any old sausage or smoked meat.

"Matzo" is interesting because it designates sheet form unleavened bread that is required eating at Passover, but can be eaten any other time as well and in other shapes, c.f. Matzo Ball Soup as commonly served in many diners in my area, listeda alongside French Onion, Chicken Noodle, and Minestrone. I could well believe that if you brought a box of Manishewitz Matzoh back to King Solomon, and handed it to him at a Passover meal where he demanded some, he wouldn't complain, except maybe to comment on its regularity of form.

On the other hand, over time, recipes change. The example of the Mayan Papadzules may be something like that; the article linked to by Riemann says "it isn't clear that this dish was actually made in pre-Hispanic times, at least in the way it is made today". On the other hand, the differences seem slight enough, and the terminology similar enough, that an ancient Mayan would likely just think of it as a locally different way to make it, rather than think it was weird permutation of a familiar food.

The reason I started thinking about this in the first place was because my son requested not a birthday cake but a birthday Napoleon, or mille-feuille, from our local pastry shop, named "The French Workshop". I wondered if that meant the dessert was created or named for, or in honor of, Emperor Bonaparte. Instead, the etymology in Wikipedia says it probably came from the French napolitain, designating it a dessert with origins in Naples, which became associated/corrupted with the name of Napoleon during his reign. And that the original version, as described by a French cookbook circa 1800, was filled not with custard but with marmalade or almond paste, which my son would HATE.

So if I were to take his preferred "French" dessert of a "Napoleon" back to the time of Napoleon, they might have a dessert by the same or similar name, but they would not recognize his food by that name!
  #23  
Old 01-15-2019, 02:54 PM
Riemann's Avatar
Riemann Riemann is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Santa Fe, NM, USA
Posts: 6,741
I think Ba Bao Fan (eight treasure rice) is a pretty good candidate for the winner at 3000 years. Check out the references in the Wikipedia article on ancient dishes linked above. Anything that old it's going to be hard to definitively separate myth from reality, but its invention is purported to be associated with a real historical battle. And it's still a common dish today. The pronunciation of Chinese characters will have evolved over time, but that's going to be true of any language to some degree. The written form is exactly the same in classical texts.

Last edited by Riemann; 01-15-2019 at 02:55 PM.
  #24  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:43 PM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 30,765
Puffed rice, maybe?

Quote:
Puffed rice is used in marriage ceremony in Southern India during Gruhsutra ceremony wherein Laja (Puffed rice) is offered to Agni and known as Lajahoma. This Lajahoma was also performed during the marriage of Shiva & Parvati as noted by Kalidasa.

Therefore, it can be believed that Puffed Rice was known to Indian Culture since ancient times.
Unless that suffers from the same deficiency as “fried rice.”

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 01-15-2019 at 10:46 PM.
  #25  
Old 01-16-2019, 01:13 AM
GuanoLad's Avatar
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Where the wild roses grow
Posts: 24,533
Is "milk" too generic? Seems like it was always called something recognisably as the same word.
  #26  
Old 01-22-2019, 06:04 PM
Pushkin Pushkin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Belfast Northern Ireland
Posts: 6,619
Quote:
Originally Posted by robardin View Post
Please reread the OP Not a simple food term like "cooked rice", or "bread", but something like "Challah bread" would count. How old is that term and has it been consistently the same thing?
Would houmous count or not then?
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:49 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017