Recipes are basically a guide, a set of instructions you follow to create a something – usually that something is food related.
The word ‘recipe’ derives from the Latin verb recipere, which means ‘to take’ and it was originally used to describe a medical prescription. This was back in the day when a prescription was not a bottle of penicillin but a concoction of bark, plants and herbs.
The oldest written recipes are believed to be Babylonian and date from around 1600BC. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics refer to preparing dishes of food and the Ancient Greeks were well known for their recipes; some recipes are still known. The Romans were also keen cooks – Apicius, a Roman recipe collection from around the 5th century, survives to this day and breaks down recipes into the same sort of courses we use in the contemporary world. We also use herbs the Romans introduced, including mint, basil, dill and parsley.
In England, the first recipes that were written down in a book were at King Richard II’s bidding in the late 14th century. Called Forme of Cury it describes the preparation and serving of food in noble houses. By the 15th century, many recipe manuscripts had appeared.
It seems that modern recipe collections evolved from books written to document the domestic management of large, wealthy households. Cookery’s great renaissance occurs around the 1660s, when renowned cooks became highly fashionable and much in demand, and wisely published books to cash in on their new-found fame.
In the 19th century the recipe book to own was Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. Such was Mrs Beeton’s influence, her legacy lives on, as do the reputations of 20th century cooks such as Fanny Craddock, and Graham ‘the Galloping Gourmet’ Kerr, who captured the culinary zeitgeist of the time, and whose TV programmes influenced home cooks. Today, the cult of the celebrity chef reigns and chefs are using modern technology to push boundaries ever further.
From books, to TV, to the internet, websites and apps are now becoming the quickest and most convenient way to source recipes.
For delicious recipes, visit http://www.greatbritishchefs.com