Food, Place & Identity Exam Notes
3 Basic Human Activities = Hunting, Fishing, Farming (or Agriculture)
- Is spatially extensive, and agriculture is the most important economic activity on the planet.
- There are about 250 million farmers worldwide.
- We consume about 1000 different plants.
- Began 10,000 years ago in a variety of places
- About 1/3 of the planet is engaged in agriculture
- About 2% of the Canadian population is involved with agriculture, compared to the 40-45% of the
global working population.
- Canada is one of very few food processing nations, we export more food than we import
- Agriculture is a relatively new invention, there is no instinct to farm.
What Does Agriculture Do?
- Agriculture increases the security of food, it makes food supplies or resources more predictable. Rather
than stumbling upon something, agriculture improves the likelihood that you will ingest something of
health. It also enables us to extract more food value out of what nature provides. Agriculture increases
the supply of food, increases security of food, and forces society to change (there must be ownership of
land in regards to agriculture). It also requires society to establish laws of property, defense of property,
as well as cooperation. – Aboriginals did not understand the concept of private property.
- Is a castrated bull, the animal is forced to pull heavy farm equipment to grow stronger.
- Except for population, male Ox’s are unnecessary in the animal world
- The word for a male Holstein is veal.
Geography of Food
- Pretty much every country creates cuisine from what it can do best, what nature has given them, and
what yield the greatest output for the least amount of input. It is also effected by what the environment
ex. Colder, damper, wetter areas = oatmeal, can’t grow wheat but can grow oat
ex. In colder temperatures, there is a heavy emphasis on fat
ex. In Asia, the dominant staple is rice
ex. In South America, the dominant starch is corn (maize) Fusion Cuisines
- The search for specific ingredients is the reason the French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, etc. decided
to expand and explore. It was the age of exploration, discovery, excursion of wealth and power. The
need to improve human diet led to exploitation of the environment which in turn transformed natural
“tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are” – Brillat-Savarin
Brief Diet Facts
- A nations diet can be more revealing than a nations art or literature
- “If there is one sure thing about food, it is that it is never just food”
- Semiotics is the study of icons
- Cooking makes food safe, same goes for beverages
- Water is one of the most unsafe things to drink due to it being easily contaminated
Week 3 – Perils of Food
“All I ask of food, is that it doesn’t harm me” – Michael Palin
“Nature is one huge restaurant” – Woody Allen
There is no shortage of food – Nobody with money starves, there is enough food right now to satisfy
the whole world, there is a shortage of money however, the distribution of money.
April Fools Broadcast – Spaghetti crops were flourishing because of the mild summer, also spaghetti is
produced in uniform lengths. (Obviously not true)
of The Global Population …
- 57% are Asian
- 21% are European
- 14% are American
- 8% are African of The Global Population …
- 70% are non-white
- 70% are non-Christian
- 70% are illiterate
- 50% suffer from malnutrition
- 80% live in substandard housing
- 10 years ago, 70% of the planet hadn’t made a phone call
- 6% of the world controls 50% of global wealth – the problem
- 1% of the planet will get a college or university degree
- 70 years ago, the average grocery store in Canada / the US stocked 900 different items,
today = 24,000 items
- Canada has some of the lowest food prices out of anywhere in the world
- Canadian households spend 10% of its income on food
- 1/5 Americans live on a diet of 10 or fewer foods
“Life is more than merely staying alive”
S-Methyl-thiopropionate = the aroma of canonbear cheese, known as “the feet of God”
Food xenophobia = fear of strange things
- The oldest surviving Latin book is a farming book made by Roman Cato
- Apicius wrote De Re Conquinaria – The oldest surviving cookbook, which had the greatest impact in
that time period. Apicius committed suicide because he could no longer feed himself or eat how he
There is a relationship between food and guilt
7 Deadly Sins
Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony & Lust
Diet & Nutrition
- Diet is our choice of food
- Nutrition is the essential substances that are found in our food
- Cornelius Pekelhring discovered vitamins in 1912
- *Joel Shwartz once said that food is the most complex substance that we encounter in our daily lives
- From all of the foods that we ingest, we are looking for 50 essential nutrients that we get from our
food, of those, our bodies require 15 vitamin, 21 minerals, and the remainder being amino acids, fatty
acids etc. Good nutrition is choosing a diet that delivers a reasonable balance / quantity of those 50 nutrients
- There are many experts who believe that diet is the number on factor in chronic disease in North
- Diet is the principal factor in high blood pressure, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, and the
The Age of 30
- Around this age, your body will change, slow down, and will begin to burn less fat and deal with sugar
in a worse way as well. Your body decreases the secretion of growth hormones, which is the reason
many people becoming carbohydrate intolerant around 30. This means that even smaller amounts of
starch or sugar trigger the release of large amounts of insulin, in turn; you start to produce more insulin,
and less growth hormone (GH).
- People normally see weight gain (insulin promotes fat, growth hormone lowers body fat)
- Contains significant amounts of phallic acid which can play a big role in battling diseases of the arterial
system (flow of blood), the heart. It can also combat spinabifida (deformities), as well as reduces pre
cancer polyps in the colon.
Not getting enough variety of nutrients can lead to diseases such as…
- Beriberi – common for people whose diet consists mostly of white rice, which doesn’t have much
- Rickets – the result of a deficiency of vitamin D
- Pellagra – a disease that is symptomatic of populations which are heavily reliant on corn (maize), due
to the lack of vitamin B in corn. Symptoms = D’s = Dermatitis (pattern across the nose in the shape of a
butterfly), Diarrhea, Dementia, & Death. No native North Americans ever had a pellagra problem despite
eating much corn or maize, there are two possible explanations for this: they ate other things (with
vitamin B), or because they processed corn in a way that was very important. Corn contains vitamin B in
a way that is not accessible, Native Americans understood how to convert corn in a way to make it more
healthy, they soaked the corn in line (start a fire with wood, take the ashes and mix them with water).
That in turn expressed the vitamin B in the corn.
- The natives also did the same with the coca plant
- Corn is one of the least expensive of all foods. It has become an extremely attractive component of the
diets of the poor because of this. There is no agriculture commodity that produces more food value /
calories per square meter than corn. ______________________________________________________________
Week 4 – Disgust discussed; Aversions and perversions
- Disease ridden bodies of sailors travelling around the glove, the problem really started during ?
Vasgo Degamma – a Portuguese explorer / navigator whose contribution was the trip he took around
Africa. He was the first European to reach India by sea in 1497, he came from Portugal. The trip was
about 1 year, this was the first major outbreak of the disease caused scurvy.
- a disease that would appear after going long periods of time, usually 3 months or so without having
any vitamin C. Scurvy was first associated with the voyage above. Scurth was a problem for 250 years,
the victims would get spongy gums. The issue was resolved in the 18 century when a man by the name
of James Lind found a solution. He supplemented the diet of sailors in the British navy with limes,
though didn’t know why it worked. The explanation didn’t appear until 100 years later in 1930 by a
Hungarian scientist. This is why the English are sometimes called limeys.
- a great explorer who found himself in Guam in 1520
- when he arrived, his men were in very bad condition, they were reduced to eating biscuits infested
with insects covered in rat piss, their teeth also fell out. Sailors tried to eat the leather off of their ships.
Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts = Crustification
West German Women …
- Had the highest concentration of breast cancer that was connected to diet
- When the Berlin wall came down, within a generation the breast cancer concentration had increased
dramatically, and the only major change that occurred was the diet.
- East Germany was more poor than the West, though it was equalized, along with the East.
- They would eat much cruciferous (broccoli, cauliflower etc.) vegetables because they are cheap
Polish Women …
- Breast cancer among Polish women was found to be much less than Women in the US
Claire Chua Chai - SOY
- Found benefits of eating soy
- it would reduce tumors in breast cancer survivors, and lower the reoccurrence of breast cancer among
survivors who ate lots of soy. (a 32% reduction) Pistachios
- Contain high levels of vitamin B compound
- Ladia Fernandez - a daily intake of 117 pistachios is enough to lower the risk of developing lung cancer
The Freshness of Food Matters
- Fresh food has more vitamins and vitamins deteriorate over time. Fresh foods are also more digestible
and has fewer toxins, the older the food the more free radicals (cancer causing agents).
- Fresh foods are pumped with things like nitrogen to keep them fresh and maintain that appearance,
meaning they are far more susceptible to damage.
- Salad bars often have sulphates
- Have less toxins, and generally tastes better, but not always
- Organic tomatoes like other organics develop higher brix levels ( a technical term applied to any plant,
to describe its sugar content
- They also tend to contain less water, water dilutes the taste.
- They also have higher levels of exorbic acid
- They also have compounds (antioxidants) that fight cancer
Free Radicals – cancer causing agents
20 Century UK
- The Government created an interdepartmental committee on physical deterioration, its most crazy
conclusion was that great Britain was unfit to defend itself. In the boar war (sp) 38% of British men could
not fight. The explanation was a debilitation (gradual sinking of the mind) in the British population that
was caused by a century of industrialization and poor nutrition, thus they were poorly fed.
Contamination – Food Poisoning
- All food spoils except for honey
- 25-30% of all Americans experience food poisoning over any given year. 76,000 Americans, about 5000
die, 3.4% of Brits get food poisoning over a year, 1.2% of French people get food poisoning over a year
CDC (Centre of Disease Control)
- Assumes that the figures above under reflect the actual amount, they believe 200,000 Americans, or
20,000 Canadians on a daily basis get food poisoning
The Secret Life of Germs (Book)
- The author believes that 800,000 Americans get food poisoning on a daily basis
Why do we get food poisoning?
- Everything we buy has some form of shelf life
- 3 most common riskiest place to eat is restaurants -2 most common riskiest place to ear is on a cruise ship
- the USDA – Department of Agriculture – Declared a long time ago that many of the pathogens that are
associated with meats and poultry are in their words, normally occurring, and part of the food chain. We
should have no expectations that the food we buy shall be pathogen free
- 80% of supermarkets contain bacteria that are antibiotic resistant
- Heat protects us, it destroys the bacteria
- You need more heroin or cocaine to kill someone over nicotine
The first law of mycology (the science of fungus)
- If you eat a mushroom and die, it was poisonous
St. Anthony’s Fire – The common name given to a particular fungus called ergot (a fungus that tends to
affect grain, more specifically in rye). It generally appears when rye is stored in unfavourable conditions
(a dark/damp place). Symptoms – Lysergic acid (LSD – The principal hallucinogen in ergot) – muscle
cramps, miscarriages and death.
Creutsfeldt-Jakob (CJD) (Mad Cow Disease)
- Comes from animals who have BSE (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy), caused by animals eating
animals. Always fatal, doesn’t present itself immediately, humans eating humans can cause this as well.
WEEK 5 – Rudiments of flavor
Hypothalamus – section of the brain responsible for hunger and aggression
-The sensation that your tongue detects.
- We can’t taste anything without moisture which is one of the principal functions of saliva. We produce
2 gallons of saliva per day, and the tongue is covered by little bumps called papillae.
- We have about 10,000 taste buds that detect different tastes, they live for about 1-2 weeks and then
- Babies taste buds are on their tongues, but also in their mouths, like their cheeks.
- Agusia – Taste Blindness
The 4 Primary Tastes – Sweet, salty, bitter and sour
Umami – Discovered in 1908, Recognized in Japan, Ikeda was doing research on kelp and discovered
this, it means delicious. Kelp has been used for 200 years, the salt form of umami is MSG – high levels in
meat, milk, cheese, seafood, green tea, potatoes, mushrooms, and soy sauce.
Masseter – the strongest muscle in your body, the jaw muscle Appreciation of food involves: Circumstance
*Brillat-Savarin – Wrote a book in 1825, which was the best known book on the subject of the subject of
taste, entitled “The Physiology of taste”
Pumpkin Pie, Donuts, and Popcorn = Penile Blood flow Stimulant
Color, structure, appearance, shape and texture all have an impact on our perception of taste
Olfactory = your sense of smell
Epithelium = your sense of sight
The Evolution of the Human Diet
- Homo erectus first appeared 500,000 years ago
- Our only early impulse was to find food
- They were limited to what they could eat (elusive animals / ones that could fly)
- Animals that they could kill with their bare hands, before tools (shellfish, snakes, insects) all would be
eaten raw, because cooking had not existed that early.
- They then started to capture rabbits and birds with new found technology (snares)
- As few as 10,000 people were involved in the first migration out of Africa
- * A substantial part of the modern diet is a reflection on our ability to take what nature has given us in
its natural state, and make it appropriate for humans
- Cooked food is safer, heat makes food digestible
- They use to heat up rocks and put them in the water to get it to boil
- Domestication of animals and agriculture has changed the human diet
- Milk and honey are the only 2 things we eat from nature whose sole function is food (cows and bears)
- Milk is only available to us through domestication
- As we get older, we lose the ability to break down lactose, about 35% of the human population has the
enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down lactose.
Why Agriculture Began
Where – A Russian by the name of Nikolia Vavilov aimed to discover where agriculture began
Vavalov Centers = Agricultural Hearths that he discovered (Where something originates) (Center of your
- One of the centers is in the middle east, but also began in North China 9000 years ago, and in South
China 8000 years ago.
- Wheat and barely first appeared in the middle east, first grown deliberately there
-Cultivation of fruit trees happened 2-3000 years later due to domestication
- Agriculture was invented by women
- Gilgamatch – 4000 years ago, the story of a wild man who was delivered to a higher plateau when a
women revealed bread to him.
- by 2000 BC, virtually every major crop that is grown in the world today had been domesticated, in the last 4000 years, we haven’t found anything new to grow, the human diet has been set.
- Irrigation was introduced
- Legumes – beans, lentils, clover, all have the unique ability to fix nitrogen
- Agriculture came with a cost – if you lie with dogs you will get up with fleas – agriculture made cities
possible, and created a surplus of food, however cities are also a bonanza of germs
-Until the beginning of the 20 century, no European city had a self sustaining population (producing
more children than what die), when they came to the city, the germs followed – infectious diseases
originated with animals, therefore we caught them from animals.
- Smallpox originated in 1600 BC
- Mumps 400 BC
- Leprosy - 200 BC
- Polio – 1840
- Aids – 1959
Week 8 (?) Last Suppers
In Texas, you can access the official website that lists the last meal of executed criminals
Meals to die for (Book) – A book with recipes of what executed criminals last meals were
Patrick – A French Italian journalist wrote an article called th