16 Oldest Foods Discovered That Will Send Shivers Down Your Spine
When you think of “oldest foods,” you may be secretly thinking of that yogurt that got pushed to the back of your fridge and forgotten about. But it goes beyond that. (Also, you should probably throw that yogurt out.)
Think about it. Food is one of the basics that we need to survive. Culturally, it’s such an important staple that has shaped who we are and helped us understand what’s important. Mostly, food is good for nourishment and energy. But it also tells us a lot about ourselves as people, and how we’ve evolved.
Archaeologists often study food for this very reason. In order to learn more about humans, it’s important to figure out what was being made for sustenance so long ago.
Of course, you’d expect meat and vegetation to be on the menu. Yet you’d be surprised to learn that some of the oldest foods around contained old dairy and other things that we’d view as being super gross and disgusting today.
And who knows? Maybe in the future, other generations will think that our Frappuccinos and brunch specials were gross.
Since we’ll all be long gone by that time, let’s go back in history and learn about some of our ancestors oldest foods.
1. Mummy Cheese
This isn’t something that’s served up at a Halloween party. Instead, it’s cheese that was detected near 3,600-year-old mummies, making it the first historical appearance of cheese and one of the oldest foods of the bunch.
The cheese was found in a jar in Egypt, and some believe it may be haunted.
It’s gross, sure. But it’s also kind of cool.
2. 112-Year-Old Ham
It hasn’t reached its thousandth birthday yet, but there’s still an old ham floating out there that might make you gag.
According to the BBC, the ham is located in America. Its story? A meat company totally forgot about it in storage back in 1902.
3. 3,300 Year Old Beer
The Danish National History Museum actually recreated the ancient beer that was found in a teen girl’s coffin.
According to The Daily Meal, it was made of malt, pollen, bog myrtle, and honey with some cranberries also added in.
4. Tomb Wine
For the wine fans out there, tomb wine has also been uncovered from way back when. Discovered by excavators in Germany, it was actually preserved in a liquid thanks to the use of olive oil.
After aging for 1600 years, the alcohol actually evaporated from the mix — thus, a reminder that not all good wines necessarily have to be aged.
5. Bog Butter
These days, we have plenty of great ways to store our butter. But back then, some people went ahead and stuffed it in peat to preserve it.
Then the inevitable happened — it was forgotten about.
According to Mental Floss, Carol Smith, a conservator from The National Museum of Ireland, referred to the found butter as a “natural treasure.”
6. 2,000-Year-Old Beef Jerky
We all know that jerky travels well, so it makes sense that 2,000 year ago, someone from Wanli, China would bring it into a tomb. When it first appeared, archaeologists didn’t even know what it was based on its strange black texture.
Turns out, it’s just beef.
7. 46-Year-Old Can Of Kidney Soup
Even you can be an archaeologist if you look in the right place.
One of the oldest canned foods out there still in existence is said to be this can of kidney soup, which was donated to a food pantry. By now it probably serves better as a prop than actual lunch.
8. 2,400-Year-Old Oxidized Soup
Back in 2010, Chinese archaeologists found an ancient bone soup that managed to stay sealed in a bronze cooker.
While it’s something you don’t want to necessarily eat, it’s kind of a big deal as it marked the first discovery of soup in China.
9. Old Honey
Less than a decade ago, archaeologists stumbled across honey in ceramic jars that was determined to be 5,500 years old.
There’s a good chance that even Winnie the Pooh would want nothing to do with it.
The jars were found in a tomb that belonged to a noblewoman (of course). Perhaps she was a fan of the spread and wanted it in the afterlife.
10. 9,000-Year-Old Fish Bones
If you’re a fan of seafood, you know that there’s a proper way to toss it when you’re done.
That is, unless you want everyone to immediately evacuate due to the smell. One can only imagine what these 9,000 fish bones found in southern Sweden smelled like.
One cool thing about the discovery is the fact that they weren’t preserved using salt or storage containers, much like the other food finds. The fish was fermented using pine bark and seal blubber. Not exactly staples in our kitchen pantry.
11. Noodles And Meat Bones
In early 2019, a story broke about a college student who unfortunately passed after eating unrefrigerated pasta leftovers. The dish was previously left out for around a week. So we can only imagine how dangerous it would be to eat 2,500-year-old pasta.
Think that doesn’t exist?
Think again. Researchers at the Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences found remnants of noodles, bones, and porridge in a Chinese cemetery. And we’ll steer clear of that.
12. Roasted Peas
Curious about vegetables? National Geographic reports that Paleolithic veggies like peas definitely existed, but their forms were almost completely different.
In fact, in order to actually eat them, they had to be roasted.
13. 14,000-Year-Old Bread
Okay, so it may look a little more like coal than bread. But, archaeologists working out of Jordan were able to identify it just fine when they recently found it. Oddly enough, that bread gave them a really good idea of what food was really like back then.
“It tells us that our ancestors were smart people who knew how to use their environment well,” archaeologist Andreas Heiss said to NPR regarding the discovery.
“It also tells us that processing food is a much more basic technique in human history than we thought — maybe as old as hunting and gathering.”
14. Prehistoric Mashed Potato
In 2017, a mashed potato that was aged 10,900 years was found in Utah.
It came in the form of potato starch, which was found on a stone tool used to harvest them.
Called the ‘Four Corners’ potato, it’s very important analyzing how our ancestors used to eat.
15. 36,000-Year-Old Bison Stew
Fancy a stew? It makes for an excellent lunch. During the summer of 1979, a mummified bison was found in Alaska.
So, discoverer R. Dale Guthrie and his team did what anyone else would do — eat the aged, possibly dangerous meat.
At least it was preserved in ice.
16. A Civil War Cracker
It might not be as old as that bison, or in the fish bones category for “oldest foods,” but one YouTuber still took it to the extreme with a 153-year-old cracker that originated during the Civil War.
In his eyes, it tasted like “moth balls and old library books.”
You should probably take his word for it.