You may be wondering how on earth anyone can know what people were cooking 4,500 years ago. While the ancients left behind plenty of broken pots and mud-brick house foundations, they generally didn’t leave us their recipes. And foodstuffs, unlike pots, rapidly decay.
But thanks to technological advances, scientists can identify minute quantities of plant remains left behind by meals cooked thousands of years ago. It is no easy task; researchers must gather crumbling skeletons and find ancient dirty dishes before using powerful laboratory microscopes to pinpoint the ingredients of ancient meals. But the effort is paying off, in the form of evidence that curry may be far, far older than previously thought.
Story: Andrew Lawler, Slate | Photo: Joe Gough/iStockphoto/Thinkstock