Food History

This section is about human food history. I try to create a timeline going back to early hunter-gatherers and through various cultures until the Renaissance in Europe. Aspects like religious significance and agriculture is discussed. Main topics are how trade, development and intercultural exchanges changed what was on the plates.

Pre Historic Food This period spans all the way from the dawn of our species until the first ancient cultures. For a long time we were hunter-gatherers and the search for food a continuous task. About 12000 years ago the first steps towards agriculture and animal domestication was taken. If you want to read more about Pre Historic Food go here

Ancient Egyptian Food
The first culture that I will describe is the Egyptian. Already in Egypt wheat bread and beer was common, lentils, peas and beans as well. Fish was probably the major source of protein. Seasoning was often made with honey. The wealthy enjoyed a more varied diet where wine, coconuts, apples and roasted meat could be on the menu. Read more about Ancient Egyptian Food here

Ancient Greek Food
Cheese, wine, fruit, garlic and olives was readily on the menu, pretty much what you get when you go an a vacation to Greece today. Fish and seafood was the main source of protein. Food fulfilled religious and philosophical purposes as well, read more about Ancient Greek Food by clicking this link

Roman Food
Moving on to another of the great Mediterranean cultures we have a much more refined kitchen. Imported food from faraway places catered for the exotic taste of the Romans. The variety of vegetables and fruits was quite good, of course some only available for a fortunate few. The Romans loved spices, pepper was imported from Asia. The fermented fish sauce “garum” was very popular. Read more about Roman Food here

Ancient Chinese Food
The food history of China is impressive. The cultivation of rice started in China, it is believed as early as 7000 years ago! Millet was common in the northern parts. They were great agriculturists and grew soy beans, bamboo sprouts and cabbage, the drinks were rice wine and tea. Steaming, marinating and stir frying were common practices. A lot of today’s Chinese food is quite similar to the ancient. Read more about Ancient Chinese Food here

Ancient Indian Food
Rice, lentils and lots of vegetables. Spices such as turmeric, black pepper and mustard seeds. Many ingredients that are common today, such as chilies and tomatoes, are quite recent additions. The religious and the social has strong implications on what people ate, the sacred cow and a large number of vegetarians are just some examples. Go here to read more about Ancient Indian Food

Ancient Mayan Food
Leaving the Eurasian continent changes the content of the diet completely. Maize, squash and beans was what they had available. Beans was together with fish the main source of protein, still today very important in Latin America. Go here to read more about Ancient Mayan Food

European Medieval Food
This really wasn´t an affluent period in European food history. The many poor people people had very meager diets many times just consisting on variations on barley or oat, salted cod and herring were main protein sources since meat was only for the rich. Some parts of Europe with better climate developed a proper cuisine, many times influenced from the Asian regions of the crusades. Read more about European Medieval Food

Religion And Food
The last aspect of food history I will bring up is religion and food. How our beliefs have manifested itself in how and what we eat. How religios rituals all the way from the beginning has had elements of eating, drinking or sacrificing food. Read about Food and Religion

 


 

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