11 Foods That Have Been Enjoyed for Over 100 Years

While eating, we seldom consider the origins of the food we consume or how old these foods are. Some foods that are a part of our daily diet have been around for a long time, some even spanning several centuries.

Read on to learn about 11 foods that are over 100 years old.

Popcorn

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Popcorn was previously believed to be around 5000 years old. However, radiocarbon dating done on newfound corn has revealed that people in South America, especially Peru, were snacking on corn cobs even 6700 years ago. They cooked corn by wrapping cobs and roasting them on coals, directly on flame, or in an earthen oven.

Pickles

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Pickling as a method of food preservation is associated with ancient Mesopotamia. Fruits and vegetables were pickled for preservation as far back as 2400 BCE. The earliest foods were pickled in vinegar or brine. Cleopatra, Julius Ceasar, and Napoleon Bonaparte ate pickles as well. It was Christopher Columbus who introduced pickles to America. We have a lot to be thankful to that man. 3.99 million Americans consumed 6 or more jars of pickles in 2020.

Yogurt

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You could not be more wrong if you thought yogurt was a recent health food trend. It is believed to have been consumed since 5000 BCE, which makes its existence older than 7000 years. Though it is primarily thought to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia and Central Asia, Bulgarians claim to have discovered it. Whoever found it, this fermented dairy item that is a staple in many cultures all over the world probably has its roots in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Beer

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Though the earliest alcoholic beverage may have been brewed in ancient China around 7000 BCE, the first barley beer was most likely brewed by the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia around 4000 BCE. Beer was brewed by fermenting barley with water and yeast and was called sikaru, dida, or ebir by the Sumerians. This fermented brew is even mentioned in the Code of Hammurabi; in the Babylonian Empire, there were strict rules for its citizens regarding beer consumption and payment.

Tamale

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This Mesoamerican dish of masa (a dough made from ground corn) and stuffed meat and vegetable dates may have been around for 10,000 years, making it one of the oldest dishes still eaten today. Though it is believed to be a Mexican invention, tamales were a staple food for the Aztecs and Mayans.

Sushi

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This might come as a shock to many, but sushi did not originate in Japan, though its meteoric popularity began from there. Sushi is believed to have originated in ancient China between the 5th and 3rd centuries as a means to preserve fish in salt. Narezushi, the original form of sushi made of rice and fish pickled together, has been made in Southeast Asia for centuries and was introduced in Japan in the 8th century when Buddhism spread there.

Cheese

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The actual date and time of the cheese’s origin remain unknown. However, it is attributed to the domestication of sheep and other milk animals, which began 10,000 years ago. The cheese was likely discovered accidentally while storing milk in containers made from sheep’s stomachs, which led to the milk coagulating, separating curds from the whey. Evidence of cheesemaking has been found in Egyptian tomb murals dating back more than four millennia.

Bread

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Bread has been a dietary staple for thousands of years. The first bread was made in the Neolithic age, nearly 12000 years ago. The first breads were made by grinding grains into flour and mixing with water and yeast. However, it is believed that the Egyptians discovered that allowing wheat dough to ferment resulted in a lighter and expanded loaf.

Hummus

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Hummus, a delicious chickpea dish, may seem like a modern invention, but it has been around for centuries. Many cultures claim to have invented the dish. The dish is believed to have originated in ancient Anatolia, present-day Turkey, some 10,000 years ago when chickpeas entered the trade market. A 13th-century cookbook from Cairo has the first written record of this food, though it didn’t mention tahini or garlic.

Pancake

happy family at kitchen, daughter with father sitting at table with pancakes and looking at each other when daughter drinking milk
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Research suggests that even in the Stone Age, people were mixing flour with water and baking it on hot, greased rocks. Though it was very different to modern-day pancakes, the idea was the same, to have a batter-made fried flat cake. Otzi, the Iceman from the Neolithic era, whose mortal remains were discovered in the Italian Alps in 1991 is believed to have eaten pancakes, probably cooked over an open fire.

Pasta

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Like hummus, the history of pasta is difficult to trace. It is said that Italians may have perfected the art of pasta when Marco Polo introduced it to them when he returned from Asia in 1925. However, this dish, loved by all across continents and cultures, originated in ancient China around 5000 BCE, and from there, it traveled to Europe via the Silk Route. The matter doesn’t end here, as pasta-making devices have been uncovered in the ancient Roman ruins of Pompeii. Whatever the case may be, pasta has been around for more than 100 years.

Pizza

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The ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks consumed flatbreads with toppings. However, pizza is believed to have originated in Naples and remained little known outside the borders of Naples until the 1940s. According to a legend, during her visit to Naples in 1889, Queen Margherita enjoyed a pizza with soft white cheese, red tomatoes, and green basil, which later became famous as Pizza Margherita.

So next time you indulge in one of these foods, remember, you’re tasting history.

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