What is the Oldest Meal?

What is the Oldest Meal in Human History?

The debate as to which meal is the oldest and first one eaten by humans is ongoing, but there are some possibilities that could be considered. Throughout global history, citizens of different countries have documented some of their earliest meals, which give a glimpse into culinary history.

Bone Marrow Soup

Archaeological records have revealed that the Paleolithic era’s most popular dish was bone marrow soup. This likely stemmed from the emphasis on clearing out the animal carcass to obtain every last drop of nutrition. Humans would crack the bones open to extract the succulent marrow, boil it with water, seasonings, and whatever vegetables were on hand. People have been consuming bone marrow soup in some form for over 400,000 years.

Fruit Loaves

The ancient Egyptians consumed a variety of cereal loaves including several varieties of fruit loaves. According to records, bread was a staple food item in Ancient Egypt. By combining fruits and grains together, they made a food product that provided sustenance and was easy to store. It is thought that this was one of the first processed meals eaten by humans.


Another example of an old meal is porridge. Porridge is a dish composed of oatmeal or other grains, boiled in milk or water to create a thick consistency. Archaeological evidence dates porridge consumption back to over 20,000 years ago. Porridge continues to be popular in some countries in the present day.

Other Common Old Meals

  • Honey: Honey was documented in the 5th millennium BC in Spain, demonstrating the use of this sweet food item as far back as 7,000 years ago.
  • Legumes: Predecessors of legumes (also called pulses) have been found in many archaeological sites in the Middle East, dating as far back as 10,000 years.
  • Cheese: The earliest records of cheese date back to 5,500 BC in Egypt. This was the first type of dairy product consumed by humans.

The debate surrounding the first human meal is an ongoing one, but the examples mentioned short clearly show that food has been part of human life since its first beginnings. Whether as a means of survival or simply a source of pleasure, food has been one of the constants throughout human history.

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