How to Make the Oldest Recipe in the World: A Recipe for Nettle Pudding Dating Back 6,000 BC

Atten­tion culi­nary his­to­ri­ans, sur­vival­ists, wild­crafters, and gonzo eaters!

Net­tle pud­ding, Britain’s—and quite pos­si­bly the world’s—old­est recipe, looks like a good bet in the event of a zom­bie inva­sion, or some oth­er cat­a­stro­phe.

The ingredients—sorrel, water­cress, dan­de­lions, nettles—are the sort of thing you can find in a ditch or pub­lic park.

If you’re wor­ried about pulling an Into the Wild, book a pro­phy­lac­tic tour with nat­u­ral­ist Wild­man Steve Brill.

Should bar­ley flour prove in short sup­ply, don’t wor­ry about it! Grind some acorns, like that kid in My Side of the Moun­tain. 

You think ear­ly man sweat­ed sub­sti­tu­tions?

No way! Impro­vi­sa­tion was the name of the game.

Rigid adher­ence to pub­lished ingre­di­ents will have no place in the zom­bie inva­sion! As Cardiff Met­ro­pol­i­tan University’s home econ­o­mist Dr. Ruth Fairchild told The Dai­ly Mail:

You have to think how much more is wast­ed now than then.

Food waste today is huge. A third of the food in our fridges is thrown away every week with­out being eat­en.

But they would­n’t have wast­ed any­thing, even hooves would have been used for some­thing.

They had to eat what was grown with­in a few miles, because it would have tak­en so long to col­lect every­thing, and even col­lect­ing water would have been a bit of a tri­al.

Yet today, so many peo­ple don’t want to cook because they think of it as a chore.

Stop think­ing of net­tle pud­ding as a chore! Start prac­tic­ing for the zom­bie inva­sion with Antiq­ui­ty Now’s step-by-step recipe and let us know how it tastes.

NETTLE PUDDING (an 8000 year old recipe!)


1 bunch of sor­rel

1 bunch of water­cress

1 bunch of dan­de­lion leaves

2 bunch­es of young net­tle leaves

Some chives

1 cup of bar­ley flour

1 tea­spoon of salt



Chop the herbs fine­ly and mix in the bar­ley flour and salt.

Add enough water to bind it togeth­er and place in the cen­ter of a linen or muslin cloth.

Tie the cloth secure­ly and add to a pot of sim­mer­ing veni­son or wild boar (a pork joint will do just as well). Make sure the string is long enough to pull the pud­ding from the pot.

Cook the pud­ding until the meat is done (at least two hours).

Leave the pud­ding to cool slight­ly, remove the muslin, then cut the pud­ding into thick slices with a knife.

Serve the pud­ding with chunks of bar­ley bread.

(Be mind­ful that fire may attract zom­bies. Keep a shov­el beside you at all times. Good luck!)

You can read more about the dis­cov­ery of Net­tle Pud­ding at the BBC and The Tele­graph.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Dis­cov­er the Old­est Beer Recipe in His­to­ry From Ancient Sume­ria, 1800 B.C.

Watch a 4000-Year Old Baby­lon­ian Recipe for Stew, Found on a Cuneiform Tablet, Get Cooked by Researchers from Yale & Har­vard

How to Bake Ancient Roman Bread Dat­ing Back to 79 AD: A Video Primer

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.