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Never used! This item is printed on demand. Seller Inventory X. Language: English. Brand new Book. Pepper was once worth its weight in gold. Onions have been used to cure everything from sore throats to foot fungus. White bread was once considered too nutritious. From hunting water buffalo to farming salmon, A Movable Feast chronicles the globalization of food over the past ten thousand years.

A Movable Feast: Ten Millennia of Food Globalization by Kenneth F. Kiple

This engaging history follows the path that food has taken throughout history and the ways in which humans have altered its course. He investigates food's global impact, from the Irish potato famine to the birth of McDonald's. Combining fascinating facts with historical evidence, this is a sweeping narrative of food's place in the world. Looking closely at geographic, cultural and scientific factors, this book reveals how what we eat has transformed over the years from fuel to art.

Seller Inventory LHB Publisher: Cambridge University Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. Eleven thousand years ago is the date generally assigned to the start of the Holocene, which saw the beginning of agriculture and is the age we live in today. Such early agricultural experiments were stimulated by the changing climate at the close of the last great Ice Age. It was a gradual, but cataclysmic, process that lasted for nearly centuries and ended only at the start of the Copper Age. Rising seas, caused by melting glaciers, exacerbated the population problem by inundating land bridges to those New Worlds of the planet that had been safety valves for excessive numbers.

However, left behind in compensation for those not following the animals retreating with the glaciers was a stable climate favorable to the spread of wild cereal plants and, consequently, also favorable to the multiplication of herbivorous animals. That stable climate has continued to persist for the last 10, years during which the human diet that had leaned heavily on animal protein tilted back towards plants — and this despite the domestication of barnyard animals.

But over millennia, as temperatures grew warmer, herds were nudged northward. The caribou, probably the most important game animal in Europe, had long sustained humans and some followed the animals. Others, however, faced up to the problem by taking charge of the caribou, leading them between winter and summer feeding grounds, and harvesting individuals as needed for food. Not really. These animals were probably no more domesticated than the wild grasses being harvested at the time. Most experts are convinced that domesticated plants came before domesticated animals, save the dog, and that the former were vital to the domestication of the latter.

Climatic change at the tail end of the Ice Age produced forests on what had been bare steppes and crafted a habitat of wild plants that fed smaller creatures such as deer, hare, boar, and various birds. These changes involve physical ones to be sure, but also behavior changes such as a loss of defensive alertness and fearfulness, along with relaxed territorial attitudes. Physical changes include alterations in size. Skeletal elements and teeth change as well; those of domesticated animals becoming morphologically distinct from those of their wild ancestors. As animals accumulated, some taming took place and then, ultimately, breeding.

The places where such domestication occurred are similarly obscured because of multiple domestications — and domestications in which the animals may have cooperated because of a need to adapt in a world made increasingly uncertain by growing human domination.

Taming and breeding transformed the Asian wolf into a dog long before the invention of agriculture — around 16, years ago toward the end of the Paleolithic — and at about this time fossil remains from Iraq indicate that dogs had been put to work tracking game the many dog varieties are mostly a nineteenth-century phenomena. Those animals displaying the most tameness were bred with one another, and the domestication process was underway. In fact, dogs, along with pigs and chickens, most likely served as portable food on many such long distance treks.

In fact, such crops may have doubled as lures to draw the animals to places where they could be easily killed garden hunting. Taming came next and then, with domestication, average size began to decrease. Evidence dating from BCE of goat domestication from Capra aegagrus and sheep domestication from Ovis orientalis has been found in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains of Southwest Asia in the eastern sector of the Fertile Crescent. The domestication process was hurried along after humans learned to herd these animals. The herders led them to food, protected them from predatory animals, and looked after the newborn.

In short, the animals became dependent on humans. In part, this is because of multiple, 16 A Movable Feast but undated, domestications of wild boars in a range that extends eastward from the British Isles and Morocco to Japan and New Guinea. Yet in addition, just a few years ago, bones were uncovered in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains of southeastern Turkey that suggested the presence of a domesticated pig around 10, years ago.

If true, this indicates that the pig probably beat goats and sheep into domestication. It also opens the possibility that domesticated animals may have preceded domesticated plants after all, which would precipitate considerable rethinking about the early Neolithic. But although they most likely carried out an independent domestication, this seems to have taken place later than pig domestication in western Asia.

On the one hand, they need shade and dampened skins to prevent heat stroke, so they are choosy about locales. On the other hand, as village life began, that food was generally human leftovers — garbage that pigs polished off to clean up human settlements. And in addition to these janitorial duties, pigs provided sweet and succulent meat as well as skins for a variety of uses. After a gestation period of only four months sows give birth to an average of 10 piglets that can potentially increase their weight by 5, percent. Also, like other barnyard animals, they probably experienced multiple domestication efforts from aurochs B.

Although cattle domestication took place after cereal domestication, the animals were on hand to help power the emerging agricultural civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley. Fortunately, horses had migrated to Asia a few million years earlier to spread out across the Eurasian grasslands. Featured prominently in European cave art of the Paleolithic, horses were a popular prey of hunter-gatherers. They were domesticated in the Ukraine around BCE to be mounts and later were hitched to wheeled vehicles.

Horse domestication spread from the Ukraine to the south and the west so that they were soon present in the Indus Valley and, by BCE, well-established in Western Europe and 18 A Movable Feast around the Mediterranean. Such reluctance was probable tied to religious hostility to hippophagy because Jews, Hindus, Moslems, and even Christians at one time or another, all proscribed the practice. But in tropical regions geography could also be hostile. But it too had migrated to Asia millions of years before leaving behind its relatives, the llama and alpaca. Camels are browsers, able to eat some plant species that others cannot, and come in a couple of models: the onehumped dromedary Camelus dromedarius of the deserts of Africa, India, and Arabia, and the two-humped bactrian C.

According to archeological evidence, by about 10, years ago, at the beginning of the Holocene they had become rare in eastern, central, and southwestern Asia, even teetering on the edge of extinction because severe droughts limited their access to water. Yet, when they did congregate around water sources, their exposure to growing wolf populations increased.

A solution was association with humans who could show them to Building the Barnyard 19 water and keep wolves away. In exchange, humans got rich sources of protein in camel milk, blood, and meat, along with transportation. Apparently the Assyrians had begun keeping the dromedary camel for its food value earlier and they had put the camel to work as a mount about 3, years ago — the approximate date that saddles were developed for the beasts.

After this, the importance of the Camel increased enormously. They subsequently migrated eastward into China and southward into South and Southeast Asia where their skeletal remains discovered at human sites indicate that hunter-gatherers consumed their meat. In Italy, for example, river buffalo are kept for making mozzarella cheese, and their milk is also made into cheeses in the Balkans and Southwest Asia.

Evidence from the Indus valley might place the date as early as 4, years ago. But it is likely that this evidence points to wild buffalo — present in the riparian environment of the Indus River and its tributaries — and that domestication there was delayed for another 1, years. Water buffalo probably also lived in the swamps of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and some scholars support the notion that the Sumerians or Akkadians domesticated them. But the most likely place is the Yangtze Valley of China, where wet rice cultivation has been underway for some 20 A Movable Feast 7, years and where an unusually large number of buffalo bones have been found, indicating a heavily exploited resource and thus probably one that was domesticated.

Yak milk, cheese, and butter are dietary mainstays for their keepers, as are products of their blood — extracted by men and prepared by women. But in this case piety does not get in the way of a good meal because Muslims and other non-Buddhist butchers do the killing and are believed damned for the transgression.

Caribou Rangifer tarandus seem to have been the most important game animal in much of the world toward the end of the Paleolithic and humans have continued to take advantage of their dense aggregation into bands of dozens and herds of thousands. Yet the domesticated reindeer is only to years old. But reindeer were also employed as draft animals, not to mention for pulling sleighs as in the familiar nursery poem about the reindeer-powered sleigh that goes airborne to transport the patron Saint of children.

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There are some different kinds of pigeons that have been eaten by humans but none more important than the easily captured rock pigeon Columba livia. Its domestication took place around 5, to 6, years ago, probably at many locations but certainly in Sumer whose art prominently depicts them and where ancient recipes feature them. Squabs from these nests were easily taken into captivity to become dovecote pigeons — domestics that foraged for food during the day and returned to the pigeon house or dovecote at night. Their eggs and meat were especially valuable during cold months when food was often scarce.

In fact, some assert that aristocratic pigeon-keeping in France contributed to that rebellion against social privilege which turned into the French Revolution. Chickens were carried across the Asian landmass to reach Europe around BCE, and at about the same time they were also introduced to the Indus Valley and Persia. The Chinese were enthusiastic egg users and partial to brooded eggs with a well developed fetus. They also prized those abominations in the eyes and nostrils of Westerners — year-old eggs — really just buried for a few months in a mixture of saltpeter, tea, and other materials that makes them look old by turning the egg shell black and giving the interior a hard-boiled appearance knitted together by green veins.

In Europe, however, although the Romans kept several species in captivity for eggs and meat, it seems that the duck was not fully domesticated until the Middle Ages. Duck eggs are also much more appreciated in the East than in the West. Rather they were used in places as guard animals and could be herded over long distances.

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  8. Little is known of the early career of the latter, but the greylag is thought to have entered Egyptian barnyards during the Middle Kingdom sometime after BCE. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization. Rather, beginning about 11, years ago, grain gathering began to shade into grain cultivation in the Jericho Valley and, at about that time or a little later, hunting started giving way to herding in the Zagros Mountains.

    These early Neolithic Revolutions link the end of the Stone Age with the beginning of recorded history, when we can see early civilizations with relative clarity. Its crops could and did spread westward throughout the Mediterranean and into North Africa, northwestward to Europe, and eastward to the Indus valley. The Fertile Crescent is an area surrounded by bodies of it — the Persian Gulf on its southeast, the Red Sea to the southwest, the Caspian and Black seas to the north, and the Mediterranean to the west. It is also bounded by mountains on the north and east, and desert to the south, all of which acted in concert to moderate a climate that nurtured the growth of wild grains, especially the ancestral forms of wheat and barley — seminal crops that were the foundation of food production in western Asia.

    These plentiful wild grains made possible and practical widespread cereal exploitation and, consequently, encouraged sedentism, as previously nomadic peoples discovered perennial sources of food. It is a strategy that promotes reproduction but is wasteful of food. Domestication involved reversing this procedure so that the spikelets became plumper, tended to stay put even on a ripe ear during harvesting, and sported poorly developed barbs. But the price was that wheat that had always planted itself now depended on humans for that task. Such accidents were often the midwives of domestication and this one must have taken place at some time before BCE — the approximate date when domesticated einkorn and emmer were being cultivated around Jericho in the Jordan Valley and at about the same time, at Tell Aswad just to the southeast of Damascus.

    In the new agricultural societies 5, acres of wheat could sustain 5, people. According to the archeological records of the third and second millennia BCE, new foods such as apples, garlic, and Promiscuous Plants of the Northern Fertile Crescent 27 coriander were being cultivated along with foods domesticated outside the Fertile Crescent such as millets, sesame, and rice, indicating contact with the other early centers of agriculture and early steps in the direction of food globalization. People in civilizations that practiced irrigation — those in the south — used wheat but favored barley and beer, along with dates and date wine.

    In the hilly regions, however, wheat was the favored grain and grape wine the most important of the beverages. Close to the Mediterranean wheat and wine were joined by olives and olive oil. Meat was seldom available to the lower classes, and state workers received grains as the bulk of their food rations. But there were also other cereals and a host of legumes as well. It was gathered for many millennia before evidence indicates that domestication took place in the eastern Fertile Crescent around 9, years ago. But although domesticated barley H. They spread together into the Aegean region and then into the Balkans, central Europe, the Nile Valley, and the western Mediterranean basin.

    By 8, years ago barley agriculture, but not yet wheat, had reached the foothills of the Indus Valley and from there it moved into South and East Asia. This was an important, early use of the grain in ancient Mesopotamia13 and by BCE barley had almost completely replaced wheat in the Mesopotamian Valley. A major problem with dating the domestication of rye is that it existed for a long time as a contaminant of wheat and barley and was consequently unintentionally cultivated.

    At times, however, such virtues were cancelled out by the susceptibility of rye ears to the ergot fungus, which, when ingested, causes the disease ergotism. Often its symptoms were manifested in the nervous system dysfunction of consumers, but sometimes in gangrene, and untold thousands died during the European epidemics of ergotism counted between and Like rye, oat found its way into domestication as a weedy admixture in cultivated cereals such as wheat or barley, Promiscuous Plants of the Northern Fertile Crescent 29 but unlike rye there is no evidence of oat domestication during the Neolithic or even the Bronze Age.

    But if their potential as cultivars was initially overlooked, wild legumes were nonetheless handy additions to the diet. They were consumed fresh to be sure but, more importantly, could be dried and stored for porridge during winter months. Lentils Lens culinaris are probably the oldest of the cultivated legumes which includes peas and beans.

    In late Paleolithic times they were being gathered in the wild throughout much of the Old World and especially in a range from the Fertile Crescent to Greece. Domestication took place some eight or nine thousand years ago. Seeds from an apparently domesticated plant that date from around BCE have been found in northern Israel and many other Fertile Crescent sites have yielded just slightly younger seeds.

    Domesticated lentils were introduced to southeastern Europe when Neolithic agriculture took hold during the sixth millennium BCE, and they were also among the new crops that diffused from Mesopotamia to Egypt in one direction and the Caspian Basin and the Indian subcontinent in another. Its ancestors grew wild in the Mediterranean Basin and the Middle East, where they were munched on by hunter-gatherers.

    A number of ancestral strains contributed to what we now think of as the common garden pea. According to pea remains found in early Neolithic farming villages, the legume became one of the domesticated crops of the Middle East between and BCE. However, physical evidence of the legume only becomes plentiful in archaeological investigations of Bronze Age sites — in Israel, Jordan, and the eastern Mediterranean Basin.

    Chickpeas were probably domesticated around 7, years ago, but unlike lentils or peas did not accompany Neolithic agriculture deeply into Europe. There is disagreement about whether the fava bean originated in the Middle East or outside the region — perhaps in South Asia. It is a disagreement not easily reconciled because the wild ancestor of the cultivated fava has not yet been discovered and may have become extinct. Somewhat later favas reached China — now their major producer. Fava beans grew well in the warm Mediterranean Basin where they were a major food source for many, even though, in the sixth century BCE, the Promiscuous Plants of the Northern Fertile Crescent 31 famous sage Pythagoras along with Greek physicians warned against them.

    With good reason! In folklore, as in real life, favas and their pollen were associated with sudden, acute illness that could result in death and, in fact, the beans did indirectly kill Pythagoras. About years later it had reached China via Nepal and about a century after that spinach was carried to Sicily by invading Saracens from North Africa who had earlier encountered the plant in Persia, by now centrally located on the Silk Road and a clearing house for foods bound for both the East and the West.

    Sometime after this the vegetable surfaced in Moorish Spain. It was slower to reach other tables of Europe where it was still regarded as an oddity in the sixteenth century. The onion Allium cepa , which seems to have originated in central and western Asia but not in the Fertile Crescent, can be found as far back as one is able to search the historical record, beginning in Sumer some 4, years ago, where it was widely used in cooking and where bread and onions formed part of a core diet for the peasants. Bread and onions were central as well to the diet of laborers on the Great Pyramid in Egypt, and the consumption of onion, garlic, and leek is depicted in Egyptian tomb art.

    It was in use by the Bronze Age, but had a mixed reception in the Classical World; the Greeks favored the vegetable but not the Romans, who nonetheless made garlic a part of the diet of laborers to give them strength and soldiers to give them courage. It was only in India, however, that alliums — every one of them — were regarded as unrespectable. Elsewhere, at one time or another, all of them including shallots A.

    Onions were used against everything from sore throat to foot-fungus and garlic, often employed to bring down fevers and packed into wounds, also enjoyed a reputation as an aphrodisiac. With a sugar content of over 50 percent, dates gave its consumers energy whereas the trees provided toddy from their sap. But it is known to have been cultivated for at least 6, years because dates were employed to feed workers constructing the temple of the moon god near Ur in southern Iraq.

    The Sumerians and the Babylonians made this palm their sacred tree and initiated the date palm breeding that has resulted in the more than 1, date varieties available today. It was also grown in the Maghreb and Sahel regions, and later became a holy fruit for both Jew and Muslim. Christian legend has it that it may have been the date palm, not the apple, that was the fruit Eve offered to Adam. Figs served as a cheap and staple food for many, had the virtue of tasting sweet whether fresh or dried, and in some places they were more heavily consumed than dates. It later entered medieval Russia, where it continued to be employed into modern times because the Orthodox Church did not proscribe its oil during days of fasting.

    But, as a rule, meat was consumed only on festive occasions and in dishes that stretched the meat such as kibbeh about 6, years old consisting of pounded lamb, burghul cracked wheat , and onions. More likely it was a process discovered much earlier in the Neolithic, when humans began milking animals. Milk spoils quickly, but cheese is a different matter and all it took to get cheese was to leave skimmed milk out in the sun to ferment.

    The sickle and the wheel were both pre—Bronze-Age inventions, and by the time of the Bronze Age domesticated animals were being harnessed to plows and wheeled vehicles. The surpluses generated by this sort of agricultural activity, in turn, gave rise to the growth of towns housing as many as 10, people that began to dot the landscape; then city-states, such as Uruk, arose around BCE.

    Eating the Environment: A Literary Kitchen Cornucopia

    Like other city-states that followed in western Asia, Uruk was administered by a priestly class made powerful by their control of food and its production. This agricultural record keeping led, in turn, to pictographic writing. The many segments of modern civilization were falling into place. Far to its south and east — in East and Southeast Asia Indochina — parts of this vast region can claim a close second in agricultural development.

    Consequently there are considerable gaps in the archeological record of foodstuffs and much remains speculative. Geographically there is no problem with this assertion. The wild ancestors of the domesticated 36 banana, Musa acuminata and M. Banana domestication would have been a lengthy process in which a small, seedy, inedible fruit was transformed into a large, seedless, edible one plantains are drier and less sweet but bananas nonetheless. And it seems likely that such a transformation transpired because of another of those fortuitous accidents that so often greased the domestication process.

    Fast Food Culture (Globalisation, Hybridisation)

    Their leaves have myriad other uses including those of wrapping and serving foods. But out of banana-plant cultivation for these other uses a sugar-, starch-, and nutrient-packed fruit would have sooner or later emerged as an edible bonus. When this happened, we have no idea.

    In part the debate has centered on the claim that banana remains were found in early Peruvian tombs and, in part, on observations of early chroniclers, who assumed that banana trees were native to the American tropics because they were so widespread. Most authorities agree, however, that bananas only reached the Americas from the Canary Islands in where they had earlier been carried from Africa by the Portuguese.

    Both taros began migrating with the Austronesians to reach the Philippines around 8, years ago, and Melanesia about 4, years ago. These were the greatest sailors of prehistory — their voyages marked by the Lapita pottery they left behind. Thanks to them taro became a highly valued foodstuff, even in the remote Hawaiian Islands where it is believed to have always been the staple. Shortly thereafter it was introduced to Madagascar and spread throughout tropical 38 A Movable Feast Africa.

    Around AD, taro was taken to Iberia by the Moors and years later was carried to the Americas. Both the greater yam D. From Africa it crossed the Atlantic to the Americas in aboard a slave ship. Two of these D. In part this is because African yam cultivation only became widespread some 2, years ago with the advent of iron working — a technology which provided the tools that made it possible for people to expand deeper into forests where ecological circumstances favored yams over grain crops.

    Abroad D. It is cultivated on a limited basis in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Confusion arises because their pioneering was done gradually and in stages. But — and this is the important point — they did leave the mainland before rice became important there around 5, years ago. A counterargument, of course, is that western Asian hunter-gatherers collected wheat or barley for food long before they had pottery.

    On the other hand they did not have such root crop alternatives. Wild self-propagating stands of rice would have grown best in humid areas on poorly drained soils. Cultivation began when grains were planted nearer the home base, but much time probably elapsed before wild rice — whose original home may have been South Asia — became the domesticated O. In Southeast Asia rice cultivation was almost exclusively of the dry variety, probably beginning in upland forest areas as well as small dooryard plots — primitive forms of cultivation that still persist in remote areas.

    By contrast, wet rice cultivation was not widely practiced in Southeast Asia until after the Suez Canal was opened in — an event that greatly expanded trade to the region at a time when European powers were looking for ways to feed growing colonial populations. They reached Spain with the Muslims and from there moved north into Europe, south to Africa and west to the Americas. Thomas Jefferson is said to have brought them to North America.

    In fact lemons seem to have been in China about BC and reached Rome around the beginning of the Common Era aboard Roman ships taking advantage of the newly discovered route and techniques for sailing across the Indian Ocean. Lemons are depicted in frescos and mosaics found at Pompeii. But the Romans apparently regarded the lemon as an exotic fruit and there is no written record of lemon cultivation in Europe until the Arabs in the tenth century spread the fruit in the Mediterranean region. Limes seem to have been domesticated in both India and China and were later introduced to southern Europe — perhaps by the Crusaders as well as the Arabs.

    Persian limes are a recent cross between the lime and the citron. Domesticated grains have been found there that are 7, years old and rice was the principal food plant for many burgeoning Chinese settlements. The grain was introduced to Korea and Japan about 3, years ago, and perhaps a bit later to Sri Lanka, the Malay Archipelago, the Indonesian islands, the Middle East via the Persian Empire , and from there to Madagascar, whereupon it entered East Africa. West Africa, however, which had its own native rice Oryza glaberrima , had to wait for Asian rice until a few decades after Columbus had carried it to the West Indies from whence it was transported eastward via the Atlantic slave trade.

    By at least BCE the Chinese were cultivating another grain, buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum , thought to be a native of Siberia and Manchuria. But intriguingly there is evidence that buckwheat was being grown in Japan much earlier between and BCE it remains an important crop there used primarily for making buckwheat noodles or soba. Of course this raises, once again, that always pesky question about early contact between ancient cultures. Both were growing in southern China some 4, to 5, years ago, along with apricots Prunus armeniaca and jujubes Ziziphus jujuba.

    After their arrival in China, melons seem to have been almost rushed over to the Indus valley. Oranges, by contrast, moved more slowly. Initially, however, all oranges were bitter and used mostly for their scent — that bitterness probably the reason that they remained in China and India for many centuries before they became known elsewhere. But there is evidence, as suggested earlier, that the fruit actually originated in China and may have been cultivated there for some 5, years. It arrived in Mesopotamia, by way of northern India, and later Alexander the Great introduced the fruit to Greece, leaving Roman legionnaires to spread it throughout Europe.

    From China the fruit spread out over East Asia and was cultivated in the Mediterranean circa 2, years ago. In fact, the lotus jujube Ziziphus lotus was the fruit of the lotus-eaters of Libya known to us from accounts by Herodotus and Pliny. Roughly a thousand years later, cinnamon was passed westward as far as Egypt, where it was used in embalming, and perhaps as a foodstuff as well.

    This, in turn, provoked mass migration southward into the temperate and subtropical lands along the Yangtze River and beyond with long growing seasons. Tea and sugar also came into general use during the Song dynaty. Another virtue of Champa rice was that it could be cultivated in poor soils and, consequently, the amount of land planted in 44 A Movable Feast rice grew enormously, and an already thriving trade in rice to the cities grew exponentially. So did the population, which almost doubled in the two centuries between and Four of these, barley, wheat, millet, and rice, have already been noted.

    Others insist, however, that the wild soybean G. Regardless, the soybean has become the most widely consumed plant in the world. Moreover, it is the only plant food that yields a whole protein as do meat and milk — an especially important quality in crowded countries where animal protein is in short supply. The beans are also dried and salted as a snack. Soybeans also found their way into the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia at an early date, and made the journey to India, but eons would elapse before they developed into a major crop in the Western Hemisphere.

    But long before tea became popular they were drinking alcohol. In fact, millennia before the advent of distillation in the West the Chinese were producing beverages with an alcohol content of between 10 and 15 percent. The common carp was a symbol of fortune in China and frequently given as a gift.

    It may also have been the largest, encompassing an area stretching from present-day Pakistan into India. That area contained hundreds of towns and villages and at least two major cities — arbitrarily named Harappa and Mohenjo Daro we do not know their names in antiquity.

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    Excavation has revealed the Indus civilization to be one concerned with agriculture and trade that had links with Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Crete. Trade seems to have been conducted with the Far East as well. And, India was not that far from Sumer — by ship along the coast of the Persian Gulf to the mouth of the Indus River or overland across Iran and Baluchistan.

    Wheat, by contrast, was mainly cultivated in the north, whereas millet — grown on the poorest soils — was the staple of the poor. Barley and peas, also Middle Eastern imports, were cultivated, as was sorghum. Although the dispersal of sorghum to Asia is poorly documented, the best guess is that it reached India from East Africa across the Indian Ocean in the second century BCE — probably in one of those dhows.

    Some 24, couplets of the Hindu epic Ramayana c. Both the ancient Greeks and the Romans knew cucumbers — the Romans eating them in a salad of sorts, with salt, pepper, vinegar and other seasonings. It may have originated in tropical Africa, but India, Southwest Asia, and Egypt are also mentioned as cradles of the melon, opening up the distinct possibility that melons may have originated, or at least become domesticated, in a belt running all the way from India to Africa.

    Plant expert Charles B. Heiser Jr. The Indo-European or Aryan invasions that destroyed the Indus cities around BCE hastened the collapse of an already fading civilization and, shortly after this, the pig disappeared while cattle became sacred and therefore taboo animals. On the other hand, the Aryans, previously herders, brought with them a heavy reliance on dairy products, and the conquered peoples had no problem expanding their milk-based diets even more.

    Other grains that came from China included barley and wheat now some distance away from their Middle Eastern cradle , along apparently with buckwheat, which as previously reported the Japanese still use to make buckwheat noodles soba. As in China, milk and dairy products failed to become popular in either Korea or Japan. This factor, along with Buddhism, whose monks from China brought with them tea, soybeans, and a taboo against killing animals, militated against an intake of good-quality protein. All three of these items had a profound effect on cuisines and cultures, with the effect most dramatic in Japan.

    Sushi is a Japanese word but the same preservation practice was also employed in southwestern Korea, China, and Southeast Asia, where it appears to have originated — probably diffusing throughout East Asia from the Mekong River. Exploitation quickened of a peasantry that now had nowhere to go.

    They worked it under the supervision of civil servants and turned over their crops to a government that redistributed them. It was a rationing process that allotted food to the peasants but could also withhold it. We know something of the foods consumed by ancient Egyptians from depictions in tomb and temple art, as well as hieroglyphic writing. Also ancient is ful medames, boiled brown beans seasoned with olive oil. The Egyptians failed to domesticate numerous African species such as the gazelle, antelope, ibex, and hyena.

    A problem here is the extent to which religion interfered with meat consumption. Most beef apparently went to the elite including the priests, who did the butchering, although at times Egyptian priests refrained from eating beef; and from time to time there were sweeping beef prohibitions. Yet, when the south conquered the north, pork avoidance became broad-based. Consumption slowed, then ceased almost completely and, at best, was spasmodic for religious and political11 reasons during the Dynastic — BCE and Post-Dynastic periods.

    During the Early Dynastic period c. However, by the time of the New Kingdom c. New foods such as pine nuts, almonds, pomegranates, grapes, and olives acquired from the Middle East were probably the exclusive property of the elite, as honey and beef had always been. Arabs in North Africa outside of Egypt found another use for wheat and barley in the form of couscous.

    But as the dish evolved, dough was employed and shaped into sizes ranging from pellets to tiny balls. These were prepared in tiered clay devices within which vegetables, and perhaps mutton were cooked on the lower level and the couscous steamed on top. These domesticated animals arrived in waves from southwest and central Asia. First there were sheep and goats, and then came cattle although as mentioned earlier it is possible that indigenous wild cattle were domesticated in North Africa.

    Africa sorely needed these new animals. Although it hosted more native cereals than any other continent, this abundance was not extended to domesticated animals. In fact, Africa only contributed two animals to the growing pool — the ass Equus asinus and the guinea fowl or hen Numida meleagris. These settlements were founded some 7, years ago, according to archeological remains from Kadero and Esh Shaheinab where wheat and barley may have been grown at a later date.

    From these bases people spread out to the southeast, reaching Ethiopia between 5, and 6, years ago. There are numerous variants of this important tropical African grass bicolor, durra, guinea etc. It is remarkably adapted to heat and aridity, easy to grow, and more disease resistant than most other grains. The peoples in this case apparently also included North Africans because archeological evidence indicates that palm oil was available in ancient Egypt some 5, years ago — meaning that it was traded overland. Oil palms produce fruit in large bunches weighing twenty pounds or more, with each containing a thousand or more fruits about the size of a small plum.

    It was this trade to Brazil that reunited the African oil palm with a long lost native-American cousin Elaeis oleifera. Both are now important in producing American palm oil. However, we know that the Egyptians used okra in the twelfth century AD and that it entered Moorish Spain at around the same time.

    Like the oil palm, okra found its way via the slave trade to the Americas probably in the latter half of the seventeenth century , and today is used in most of the hot-weather cultures of the world. From Asia to the Western Hemisphere, okra is grilled, fried, batter-fried, mixed into curries, and is a chief ingredient of stews.

    Consequently they are important as stimulants. Kola trees are indigenous to the forest zone of West Africa, and their nuts about the size of a chestnut joined gold and salt as important items of long-distance African trade. Much later kola trees left Africa with European colonizers — the British Fecund Fringes of the Northern Fertile Crescent 57 introducing them to the East Indies, and both the British and the French taking the nuts in the opposite direction to their West Indies possessions.

    One is ackee Blighia sapida , a fruit used in West African cooking whose late eighteenthcentury introduction to Jamaica is erroneously attributed to Captain William Bligh it arrived on a slave ship. They had a head start in such globetrotting because of the antiquity of their domestication. Watermelons were originally domesticated in the savanna zones of central and southern Africa where they were, and remain, a life-giving source of water.

    In desert oases such as those in the Kalahari Desert, for example, they still grow wild around water holes, and their presence alerts one to the existence of water below them, even if it is not visible. Watermelons were introduced to southern Europe by the Moorish conquerors of Spain, but were slow to 58 A Movable Feast spread northward where summers were not hot enough for a good yield.

    Watermelon seeds came to the Americas from Africa with the slave trade, and probably from Spain as well. Other yams from Asia reached the Bantu somewhat later as they spread throughout equatorial Africa, especially the greater or water yam D. Moreover, bananas, which grew well in forest regions not favorable to yams or millets, joined them in engineering something of a population explosion. In Africa south of the Sahara, humans increased from around 12 million in BCE to some 20 million by the year , to Yet, sometime in the late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age, Fecund Fringes of the Northern Fertile Crescent 59 although still hunting and gathering, they were also cultivating lentils, foxtail millet, and peas.

    Yet, by BCE or so, cereals were under wide-scale cultivation and herds of sheep and goats had become common sights on the landscape. Until that time, the various Neolithic Revolutions we have examined were gradual in their transformation of foragers into farmers. What happened was agricultural diffusion — a diffusion which abruptly brought much of the farming expertise developed earlier in the Middle East to a heretofore remote foraging people. Pigs, sheep, goats, and cattle had also diffused in Northern Europe where the horse was well established by BCE.

    Crops developed in the Fertile Crescent reached northern Europe through the Balkans via the Danube to blanket river valleys. Following these waves of crops and animals, the pace of agriculture slowed down some. Spelt Triticum spelta did not reach Europe until later, and it was not until the eighth century BCE that invading Celtic-speaking tribes added geese, ducks, and chickens to the barnyard.

    In fact, the oldest groves and vineyards in Northern Europe date from the Roman period thanks to the stability induced by the Pax Romana Roman Peace. Before the Romans, one invader after another had made life violent and chaotic and settlements were consequently short-lived, lasting only a few decades at best — such conditions making the establishment of groves and vines a forlorn hope. This decisive step freed people from the quest for food and released energy for other pursuits.

    No civilization has existed without an agricultural base, whether in the past or today. Richard S. But it did bring profound change to every aspect of human existence in no small part because of the more rigorous demands of an agricultural way of life. This, of course, suggests that the uncertainties inherent in planting and harvesting crops had led to religious rituals aimed at removing some of those uncertainties. Formalized religion, then, grew out of the Neolithic just as surely as the crops it gave rise to.

    As agriculture removed the constraints on the food supply that confronted hunter-gatherers, up to a quarter of the labor force was released for other activities and, at the same time, Middle Eastern priests and later on their Egyptian counterparts transformed themselves into agricultural administrators and invented writing to keep records. Food control was power and, in each of the early agriculture-based civilizations, governments claimed a hefty portion of its production.

    But this made rulers even more powerful, able to withhold food or determine who received it and who did not.

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    Administrative centers grew from towns into cities built by those released from agriculture, containing many more who did not work on the land but made their living from those who did. A good example was the ten day party thrown by Assurnasirpal II — BC to inaugurate his new palace. Sometime after BCE, horses domesticated on the grasslands of the Ukraine about 1, years earlier reached Eastern Europe, the Trans-Caucasus, Anatolia, and the Mediterranean to pull plows — a task to which oxen were also assigned.

    It was also around BCE, at the beginning of the Bronze Age, that human society emerged into the light of recorded history — having accomplished the domestication of most of the vegetables, fruits, and animals that continue to nourish us today. These included such Middle Eastern staple crops as wheat, rye, barley, millet, chickpeas, broad beans, and lentils. In short, they became just as dependent on humans as humans were on them. Food globalization accelerated after BCE as the cereals and sheep domesticated in and around the Fertile Crescent spread north throughout Europe where the westward-moving Celts introduced dairy cattle and south to the Mediterranean shores of North Africa.

    Millet, important in China, spread to India, Africa, and into southern Europe, and Asian yams may have reached East Africa to begin a millennium-long journey across the continent. Rice perhaps from Southeast Asia had long before entered cultivation in southern China and at the time was being introduced to Indonesia, and southern India. One suspects, however, that chicken eggs were welcomed by peoples whose chief egg-producers had heretofore been pigeons.

    But clearing the land for the cultivation of grasses and tubers and the herding of animals brought a whole train of ecological consequences to the planet. Grazing animals also created bald spots in the earth, and many of the weeds that rushed in to cover the soil became favorites of the grazers who moved weed seeds about in their bowels and on their coats.

    Weeds do help to prevent soil erosion, but much topsoil blows away before weeds grow large and tough enough to be effective, and pollutants — especially carbon — began their accumulation in the atmosphere. Problems of water pollution started as manure and later chemical fertilizers drained off into rivers and streams to join other animal and human wastes. Hunter-gatherers, often on the move, had carried everything they owned, which limited the number of children they could have. So did the gathering duties of even semi-settled women.

    But after many more such revolutions and 7, years of farming those numbers had increased to million — hardly a spectacular increase in view of the enormous time span involved, but impressive nonetheless in light of the horrendous infant mortality occasioned by the decline in pediatric care. Malnutrition gets much of the blame. The varied hunter-gatherer diet based on to plant species was replaced by one that tended to center on a single crop that grew best in an area — wheat in one place, rye in another, and barley in yet another — in much of Eurasia along with rice in East, South, and Southeast Asia and maize in the Americas.

    The pap given to infants in place of breast milk along with the meatless gruels fed to children would invariably have led to protein-energy malnutrition and, thus, much infant and child mortality. Another reason for the deteriorating health of sedentary agriculturalists was that, unlike their hunter-gatherer forebears, they had numerous pathogens to contend with. Nor did they linger long enough in one place for their wastes to pile up to attract rodents and insects and to foul their water supply.

    It is easy enough to imagine them passing incubating pathogens back and forth amidst prospering disease vectors. With increasingly dense human populations, it was only a matter of time until some of those pathogens managed to jump the species barrier. With blossoming disease acting synergistically with bad diets, it is no wonder that people developed conditions such as anemia.

    They also shrank. Hunter-gatherers 25, years ago had thicker bones and were 2 to 6 inches taller than Bronze Age farmers of 4, to 5, years ago, and evidence from a variety of sources indicates that the majority of Our Kind continued to grow shorter until the twentieth century when some, at least, began to achieve the stature of our early ancestors. Their lifestyle, which permitted a rich and varied diet, had made them the tallest people in the world by the middle of the nineteenth century, reminding us again of one of our themes — the devastation that technological progress can dump on human health.

    Cereals had been consumed as gruels since the caryopses of wild grasses were harvested during the late Paleolithic. And it is the Egyptians — beer brewers by at least BCE — who are credited with making the next culinary lunge forward by uniting these wheat ancestors with yeast around BCE so as to produce yeast-risen wheat bread. This is a speculation not at all contradicted by the staggering no pun intended 40 percent of the grain production of ancient Sumer that went into brewing at least nineteen kinds of beer.

    The earliest archeological evidence indicates that wine was made at a Neolithic site in the northern Zagros Mountains some 7, years ago. Research has yet to pin the area down as the cradle of winemaking, but assuming that it was in those mountains, then it would appear that wine subsequently diffused in two different directions.

    One of these would have been into Assyria, then to the other Mesopotamian states, and from there to Egypt where people were making wine around 5, years ago a bag press, used to press grapes is shown on the walls of Egyptian tombs dating from this time. By 3, years ago wine drinking had become widespread throughout Southwest Asia.

    These natives of the Mediterranean region and the Middle East were making honey for millions of years before human hunter-gatherers were Consequences of the Neolithic 67 around to steal it from them. The Chinese, however, excluded themselves from a dairying tradition. There is some evidence that milk products were a part of the northern aristocratic diet prior to Mongolian Rule.

    But because the Mongol invaders were milk users, the Chinese decided it was a barbarian practice and have not utilized milk products since. At least this is the Chinese explanation for such teetotalism. Another theory with a ring of truth is that because planting went on year round in much of China, with heavy applications of human labor, there were relatively few draft animals to provide milk. But in South Asia, for example, where the planting season was shortened by a monsoon climate, an abundance of draft animals was absolutely essential. At this time on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean olive trees were becoming gnarled with domestication and less bushy — their fruits laden with oil.

    Probably our ancestors, who learned to sun-dry fruits and wild beans such as lentils and chickpeas, also experimented with smoke and its preserving chemicals. Benjamin Franklin Vicissitudes of fortune, which spares neither man, nor the proudest of his achievements, which buries empires and cities in a common grave. In the midst of this cultural confusion was Phoenicia now modern Syria and Lebanon , the land of Canaan and a site of early olive-tree cultivation. It was also home to the Phoenicians, who had grown sophisticated under multiple conquerors and had become wide-ranging Mediterranean traders 70 and colonizers.

    They were also the developers of Mesopotamian writing into an alphabet. They had earlier cut their business teeth trading grain, honey, oil, and wine with Damascus, Judah in southern Palestine , and Israel, and by BCE had expanded operations by establishing trading colonies as far away as Carthage in North Africa and Cadiz in the Iberian peninsula. They scattered Middle Eastern products such as wine, olive oil, wheat, and chickpeas across the Mediterranean, and then grew rich on the trade in oils, grains, and legumes that followed. Date wine from Mesopotamia was also traded.

    But in southern Mesopotamia, irrigation had leached soils to such an extent that grain had grown scarce, whereas date palms grew nicely along the irrigation canals. Beer was out and date wine was in. All three were legendarily wealthy and given to gastronomic excellence.