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The Oldest Cookbooks From Libraries Around the World

Atlas Obscura: “For as long as libraries have been repositories of wisdom and knowledge, there has been a place on the shelf for cookbooks. In fact, many early cookbooks were more than just recipe collections—instructions for concocting medicine often jostled with dinner ideas for page space. Atlas Obscura has previously displayed ancient recipe collections, such as the Yale Peabody Museum’s Babylonian tablets, which contain the oldest known recorded recipes, and the New York Academy of Medicine’s 9th-century De re culinaria, the oldest surviving cookbook in the West. Cookbooks were once intended mainly for upper-class households. Only relatively recently did printing and educational advances make them more democratic. Today’s versions tend to hold well-lit photographs and elegant prose. But humanity has long turned to cookbooks for inspiration and entertainment, and whether sauce-stained or Gothic-lettered, cookbooks offer glimpses of humanity’s food history. Here is a collection of some of the oldest cookbooks from libraries around the world…”

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