Roast hedgehog and nettle pud – a Neolithic feast?

Everyone loves hedgehogs, with their snuffly little noses and punky hairdos. But research into Britain’s oldest recipes suggests our ancestors loved them in a rather different way – roasted.

A team from the food science department at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff has discovered that, along with nettle pudding, roasted hedgehogs can be traced back thousands of years. Research suggests nettle pudding may be the oldest known recipe, dating from 6000BC, closely followed by smoky stew, meat pudding, barley bread and roast hedgehog.

Ruth Fairchild, who led the research, said that however off-putting the Neolithic dishes might sound, many were forerunners of the food we enjoy today. “The way our ancestors cooked hedgehog – wrapped in a casing of grass or leaves to stop the meat burning – is an early version of many modern recipes which involve meat being wrapped or coated, such as chicken kiev, beef wellington or cornish pasties,” she said.

Source: Pidd, H. 2007. Roast hedgehog and nettle pud – a slap-up feast for ancient Britons. The Guardian.


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