Humans started using thermally resistant cooking vessels some 15,000 years ago, opening new food groups and leading to major changes in diet and nutrition. Research shows that such vessels were routinely used to process animal products, but until now there has been no evidence of early plant cooking. A new study by Richard Evershed of the University of Bristol in the UK and colleagues reports the earliest direct evidence for plant processing at two archeological sites in the Libyan Desert, dating to 8200–6400 BC. A total of 110 broken ceramic pieces from the early to middle Holocene periods were analysed using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, revealing distributions typical of both animal fat and plant origins. Some samples contained both, indicating that plants and animal products were processed together or that the vessels were used for multiple purposes. The distinctive lipid profile from the vessels demonstrated the processing of a broad variety of plants, including seeds, leafy terrestrial and aquatic plants. The advent of plant cooking would have had a significant impact on human nutrition, health and energy, and the preparation of cooked foods soft enough for infants to ingest could have led to earlier weaning and thus enhanced fertility.