The definition of the word recipe with regards to foods is as follows;

 ‘a set of instructions for preparing a particular dish, including a list of the ingredients required’.

The earliest known recipes for preparing food come from a Southern Babylonian Akkadian tablet dating from approximately 1600BC.  There are also ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics depicting the preparation of foods.

There are many known ancient Greek recipes and Roman recipes are known to start from the 2nd century.  Arabic recipes are documented from the 10th century and in 1390 King Richard II of England commissioned a recipe book called the ‘Forme of cury’.

Foods and recipes vary throughout the world but all follow a similar layout;

  • The name of the dish, and sometimes the provenance of the dish – its origins
  • A list of the ingredients needed to compose the dish
  • How much time it will take to prepare – often separated into preparation time and cooking time
  • The equipment needed to prepare the dish and with many recipes the environment required
  • The number of people that the dish will serve or approximate number of servings
  • Often a photograph of the dish

Nutritional information is often provided with more recent recipes, also how to store the dish, whether it can be frozen and how long it can be kept.

Thousands of recipe and cookery books were available by the middle of the 20th century.  Today food recipes are available in books, recipe cards, via television, and online. 

Recipes are also passed down through friends and family sometimes from generation to generation.

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