Originally posted on https://getlently.com/blogs/stories/how-did-we-start-to-food.
When my father arrived in the Netherlands at the age of 17 he entered a whole new world. Being a migrant worker in from Morocco in the 60’s, he remembers not being able to get his hands on the most basic of fruits and vegetables, he was used to. “All you had was potatoes, every dish was made with potatoes. And rice, a little. If you had any Indonesian friends.” He once told me. My mom had to discover all kinds of new fruits and vegetables when once tradesmen were able to bring in Mediterranean grown deliciousness from their homeland and introduce them to the countries which they inhabited now.
Overall (brief) history of food and eating
It’s one of the most basic, essential things you need to do daily. Most of the times we’re not really aware of the food we’re eating. Unless something is off. Smell, taste, texture or feeling. I think it’s safe to assume that human beings have been eating since the dawn of our species ( 😀 ). Even though a lot of our developments, technologies and discoveries have changed and evolved over time, the preparation or consumption of food has seen little change since recorded history.
This article is aimed at giving you a slight insight into food and might make you a bit more aware of how food works. I’ve done my best to name all the sources but these insights have been gathered over the course of several years of reading, watching and getting meal schedules and what not. Enjoy the read and if you have any input, please, do get in touch.
Early humans and food
Some people close to me told me to read ‘Sapiens’, by Yuval Noah Harari (if you’re interested in general human history, this book is a great read on the topic). I heard good things about it. After getting three recommendations in a single day, I decided to get it, that same day. Overall the book is captivating, a very interesting look into the history of us, as a species. Among a few other themes, food is one of the topics that is being looked at by Harari.
According to the evolution theory, our predecessors emerged about 14 million years ago. Evidence suggests our ancestors were gatherers and scavengers foremost; they’d eat fungi, roots, berries, fruits and leaves. Basically, anything that was plant based or just lay there, for the taking. We also know humans were nomads and travelers; Not staying in the same place for very long. They’d go where food was abundant. This means, Harari says, that the diet of our ancestors was very varied because each region would have different vegetation and in some areas, different climates. Which would make the nutrients we ingested very varied. We’re talking about ~2.6 million years ago.
Later on, human tribes changed their habits to the hunter/gatherer nomads. The development of tools, weapons and sticks to reach and thud fruits and the like from trees, made it possible to skip the waiting game and actually go after that which provided us with the nutrients and energy we needed. And lot’s of it. More than our previous more herbivore diet, meat is packed with calories and proteins and requires less chewing to swallow. Thus making life a bit easier. It has even been suggested by anthropological biologists that the consumption of meat has played a key role in the development of our brains.