I thought I would perhaps expand on my reasons for writing the previous ‘food is history’ post (and others like it).
There are very few things humans can absolutely not do without, and one is food.
So food, cooking, eating and producing are everywhere. But this does not make their role in our lives stand out and be important.
I think it does the opposite – it buries them in the commonplace, and trivialises them.
“Eating = Existing”, and that’s it. Civilisation is something other – something more significant. It’s a bit like the classic mind-body dichotomy that I hope is conceptually dead by now.
I think it is useful to understand how closely cooking is integrated into, and at times has driven, virtually every aspect of what we refer to as modern civilisation.
So it was no coincidence that the first 3 posts I put up on this blog covered the topics of what it means to be human, brain metabolism and function, and the evolution of Homo sapiens. Not the sort of thing you might have expected to see at the start of a food blog.
Likewise, in ‘food is history’ I wanted to draw attention to the role agriculture played in shaping the very institutions (government, church, law) that underpin the world in which we live.
Still today, food is central to any reasoned argument about our society, our environment, and us. Politics, environment, public health and culture are all linked to some extent to food. Think globalisation, genetic modification, global heating, bio-diversity, sustainability, population growth, obesity. Then add in social standing, self esteem, manipulation (government and industry), food fads (for profit or influence), regulation and control.
Food is deeply entangled with all of this. It is not a passive bystander.