A history of food

The word “Food” brings many associations to one’s mind – pleasant, aromatic, tasty and sometimes bitter binges that one would have had from time to time. Over the past decade, food delivery apps have sprung up around the globe which has had the effect of satisfying one’s palate for all types of food, ranging from the much abused junk food to the traditional local cuisine. Given the sheer variety of food and food networks available, it is no longer merely a means of nourishing one’s body. For instance, the food near me, whether on my dining table or in the local market is no longer sufficient to cater to my preferences. Different types of food are available around the clock to those who proudly call themselves food connoisseurs.

But did you know that the very evolution of humans as the preeminent species owes it to the evolution of our food?

It was the invention of agriculture that converted the nomadic early human hunter-gatherers to settle down in one place to start forming the semblances of a societal structure. The Neolithic revolution allowed explosive population growth to occur, which is what gave way to language, culture as well as writing and recording of human knowledge that further helped to bestow immortality on the collective human wisdom of the age.

The extinction of Neanderthals, a distinct human species from modern day humans is also thought to be because of their limited dietary palate quite unlike the homo sapiens whose dietary preferences were both plant and animal based.

Which brings us all to the primary question – What is food?

The simple answer is that food is anything that nourishes your body. The varying components of protein, carbohydrate, and fat in the food determines the mental and physical well being of the person who consumes it. The supplementary components of minerals and vitamins are thought to be equally important. My earlier posts on the traditional types of Indian food and how to eat properly talks about the role of food in the society in the current day and age.

It was not just the mass production of rice and wheat that contributed to the prosperity of the human race. The introduction of potato into the popular food culture was thought to have been responsible for population explosion (directly responsible for 25% of population growth) in the 17th century. This wikipedia page provides an interesting timeline of food evolution.

Let’s see what Nina & Nana have to say about this today!

This post is a part of the #NinaAndNana series that I co-host with Kanika G.

12 comments

  1. Who doesn’t love potatoes? Informative post! Can’t imagine what Indian cuisine was like before potatoes and tomatoes came form the new world. No aaloo and no lalu

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a little idea about the food journey, thanks to food insider on History Channel, but not as extensive as you shared here. Potatoes – can’t think of a kitchen and life with them. I will further read about Neanderthals.

    Liked by 1 person

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