The Neanderthal Diet—From Teeth to Guts

Some populations of Neanderthals were definitely more carnivorous than others. By Dr. Anna GoldfieldArchaeologist One of the more tenacious misconceptions about Neanderthals is that they were exclusively meat eaters. Sure, in some of the colder regions of Europe plant food would have been very seasonally limited, so meat was almost certainly a large part of[…]

Evidence Confirms Health Benefits of an Ancient Chinese Sweetness

Examining two recent discoveries in goji berry chemistry and shedding light on how and why they are beneficial to your health. What in the Heck Is a Goji Berry? For those of you who aren’t yet familiar, (worry not, you’re about to be) goji berries (fruits of Lycium barbarum –L. and Lycium chinense –Mill.) originate from and have[…]

Edible Lessons in Asian-American History from a Cookie Artist

The artist uses her craft to represent and raise awareness of Asian-American history and identity. Jasmine Cho knows the power of a good cookie. “Cookies,” she says, “can make anything more palatable.” Including conversations about race and social justice in America. A baker based in Pittsburgh, Cho creates intricate, hand-drawn cookie portraits of Asian-American figures[…]

Foods of the Columbian Exchange in the 15th and 16th Centuries

How did the Columbian Exchange shape food culture in the modern world? Introduction Can you imagine Kansas without wheat fields, Italy without marinara sauce, or Spain without gazpacho? Wheat, tomatoes, chili peppers, and many other foods were transferred between the Old and New Worlds, the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, following Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to[…]

Tasty Ancient Recipes from Mesopotamia

The origins of Iraqi cuisine and continued popularity. Mesopotamia (from the Greek, meaning “between two rivers”) was an ancient region in the Near East, which corresponds roughly to present-day Iraq. Widely regarded as the “cradle of civilization,” Mesopotamia should be more properly understood as a region that produced multiple empires and civilizations rather than any[…]

Colonial American Fast Food

Let’s adventure back to Colonial America—a time of exploration, revolution, taverns and….fast food? Yes, that’s right, fast food! We may think of the desire for fast food as being a 20th century phenomenon, but our colonial ancestors had the same desire for quick, convenient, and affordable fare that we do today. During the 18th century, colonial cooks,[…]

Agriculture in Ancient Rome

The great majority of the people ruled by Rome were engaged in agriculture. Introduction Roman Agriculture describes the farming practices of ancient Rome, an era that lasted 1000 years. From humble beginnings, the Roman Republic (509 BCE to 27 BCE) and empire (27 BCE to 476 CE) expanded to rule much of  Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East and thus comprised a large[…]

The Kellogg Brothers, Breakfast, and Religion

Informed by their religious faith, the siblings merged “spiritual” with physical health. The popular singer and movie star Bing Crosby once crooned, “What’s more American than corn flakes?” Virtually every American is familiar with this iconic cereal, but few know the story of the two men from Battle Creek, Michigan who created those famously crispy,[…]

A Pressing Matter: Ancient Roman Food Technology

Researchers show that an Ancient Roman text has long been misinterpreted, shedding new light on how innovation in olive oil and wine presses developed. Introduction No self-respecting Melbourne hipster café would be caught dead without its Gaggia coffee machine and drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar. These quintessentially Mediterranean food habits have crossed the seas[…]

Food in the Roman World

What the Romans ate and how. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The ancient Mediterranean diet revolved around four staples, which, even today, continue to dominate restaurant menus and kitchen tables: cereals, vegetables, olive oil and wine. Seafood, cheese, eggs, meat and many types of fruit were also available to those who could afford it. The Romans[…]

Softer, Processed Foods Changed the Way Ancient Humans Spoke

Considering language from a biological perspective led researchers to the idea that new food processing technologies affected neolithic human beings’ jaws – and allowed new language sounds to emerge. The human capacity for language divides our species from the rest of the animal kingdom. Language has not only allowed us to conquer all corners of[…]

Friedrich Haberlandt’s Failed Vision: Soy in European Food Cultures, 1873–1945

The “age of extremes” from 1914 to 1945 created renewed demand for cheap supplies of protein. One of the attractions at the 1873 Viennese World’s Fair was the exhibition of the Japanese Empire. The exhibits included Japanese flora, among them soybean plants. The soybean had been part of Japanese and other East Asian food cultures[…]

A Comparison of Ancient Greek and Roman Sports Diets with Modern Day Practices

Examining the dietary and physiological requirements of a modern athlete and contrasting this with those of ancient Greek and Roman athletes. By Dr. Adrian Paul Harrison (not pictured) and Dr. Else Marie Bartels (above)Harrison: Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of CopenhagenBartels: Honorary Research Fellow, The Parker Institute, Copenhagen University Hospital Abstract With the[…]

The Politics of the Turtle Feast in 18th-Century England

The humble sea turtle became the pinnacle of haute cuisine in the eighteenth century. From calipash to calipee, the green sea turtle was without doubt the most expensive, status-laden, and morally contested feat of eighteenth-century English cuisine. Virtually unknown as human food before mid-century, the amphibious reptile quickly became an enduring symbol of both refined taste and savage indulgence,[…]

From Migrant Food to Lifestyle Cooking: The Career of Italian Cuisine in Europe

Examining the reception of Italian cuisine in Europe with the early modern and modern movement of migrants and tourists. Abstract In recent decades, Italian cuisine has had a greater impact upon the development of eating habits than any other national cuisine. Spaghetti, pizza, tiramisù und espresso are ubiquitous in Europe and North America. This article[…]