A recipe is a set of instructions that describe how to prepare or make something, especially a culinary dish.
Modern culinary recipes normally consist of several components
- The name (and often the locale or provenance) of the dish
- How much time it will take to prepare the dish
- The required ingredients along with their quantities or proportions
- Equipment and environment needed to prepare the dish
- An ordered list of preparation steps
- The number of servings that the recipe will provide
- The texture and flavour
Some recipes will note how long the dish will keep and its suitability for freezing. Nutritional information, such as calories per serving and grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates per serving, may also be given.
Earlier recipes often included much less information, serving more as a reminder of ingredients and proportions for someone who already knew how to prepare the dish.
Recipe writers sometimes also list variations of a traditional dish, to give different tastes of the same recipes.
History of the recipe
The earliest known recipes date from approximately 1600 BC and come from an Akkadian tablet from southern Babylonia.
There are ancient Egyptians hieroglyphics depicting the preparation of food.
Many ancient Greek recipes are known. Mithaecus's cookbook was an early one, but most of it has been lost; Athenaeus quotes one short recipe in his Deipnosophistae. Athenaeus mentions many other cookbooks, all of them lost.
Roman recipes are known starting in the 2nd century BCE with Cato the Elder's De Agri Cultura. Many other authors of this period described eastern Mediterranean cooking in Greek and in Latin.
Some Punic recipes are known in Greek and Latin translation.
Much later, in the 4th or 5th century, appears the large collection of recipes conventionally entitled 'Apicius', the only more or less complete surviving cookbook from the classical world. It chronicles the courses served which are usually referred to as Gustatio (appetizer), Primae Mensae (main course) and Secundae Mensae (dessert). The Romans introduced many herbs and spices into western cuisine, Renfrew states that thyme, bay, basil, fennel, rue, mint, parsley and dill were all common in Roman cooking.
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