Early examples
Apicius, De re culinaria, an early collection of recipes.

The first known written recipes time to 1730 BC and were recorded on cuneiform tablets found in Mesopotamia.

Other early written recipes date from around 1600 BC and originate from an Akkadian tablet from southern Babylonia. Additionally there are works in old Egyptian hieroglyphs depicting the preparation of food.

Several old Greek recipes are known. Mithaecus’s cookbook was an earlier one, but nearly all of it’s been lost; Athenaeus estimates one small formula in his Deipnosophistae. Athenaeus mentions many other cookbooks, all of them lost.

Roman recipes are known starting in the 2nd century BCE with Cato the Elder’s De Agri Cultura. Many authors with this time identified western Mediterranean cooking in Greek and in Latin. Some Punic recipes are identified in Greek and Latin translation.

The large assortment of recipes Delaware re coquinaria, conventionally called Apicius, appeared in the 4th or fifth century and is the only complete remaining cook book from the classical world. It provides the classes offered in a meal as Gustatio (appetizer), Primae Mensae (main course) and Secundae Mensae (dessert). Each menu starts with the Latin command “Take…,” “Recipe….”

Arabic recipes are noted starting in the 10th century; see al-Warraq and al-Baghdadi.

The initial menu in Persian dates from the 14th century. A few recipes have survived from the time of Safavids, including Karnameh (1521) by Mohammad Ali Bavarchi, which include the preparing instruction greater than 130 various recipes and pastries, and Madat-ol-Hayat (1597) by Nurollah Ashpaz. Formula publications from the Qajar era are numerous, probably the most significant being Khorak-ha-ye Irani by king Nader Mirza.

Master Richard II of England commissioned a menu book named Forme of Cury in 1390, and about once, yet another book was printed titled Curye on Inglish, “cury” meaning cooking. Both publications provide an impression of how food for the noble classes was prepared and offered in England at that time. The lavish taste of the aristocracy in the Early Contemporary Period brought with it the start of what can be called the current recipe book. By the 15th century, numerous manuscripts were appearing explaining the recipes of the day. A number of these manuscripts give very good information and record the re-discovery of numerous herbs and spices including coriander, parsley, basil and rosemary, many which have been cut back from the Crusades.