September 5: Introduction to the History of Global Food-Ways
Themes and Goals of the Course
Eating is a human activity necessary for survival and essential to our health
Look at the relationship between food and medicine
Food as a biologically phenomena and cultural phenomena that changes over time -
nourishment is physically and psychological ex) Mac and Cheese - this taste can be a comfort
food for a lot of Canadian university students (brings back child food memories - eating it with
my cousins) / fill your stomach up
This means that food as a cultural phenomenon is a marker for ones identity and belonging. It
also marks cultural difference
See how social hierarchy and class is linked to food ex) High class - lobster/steak/
Food deals with politics ex) obesity world-wide
Food ways: Is a noun that is used to denote general food habits of a familial, regional, cultural or either
group. Food ways refers to overall patterns of food use, including methods of procurement, preparation,
presentation and consumption (how someone can eat food ex) donut vs fish and chips in car).
Part 2) The term refers to tangible and intangible and often taken for granted forces that shape how
people prepare and serve food, including especially attitudes, customs, traditions and ritualistic protocol
Part 3) connotes actual foodstuffs as well as, perhaps more important, the various historical, symbolic,
political, social, religious, economic, and cultural factors that influence food choice and use
Define food: substance to get into the body that can satisfy human hungry and nourish us -religion,
culture and medicine is linked as well
The three Cs of global history
1) compare Chinese/medieval European medical understanding of food
2) look at connections -
3) look at changes- Exchanges and identities (key themes)
Exchanges - routes and exchanges
For example: Columbian Exchange: refers to what happened when Christopher Columbus when he
found the new world (The Americas). When he arrived, there was a sustain connection between
America, Africa, Europe. This trigged a world wide of exchange of plants, animals, diseases and food.
Before - Eastern Europe had no potatoes. No corn in Europe, Asia and Africa. There were no cows or pigs
in the Americas. This improved some lives but at the same time this exchanged caused consequences.
Italians did not eat potatoes for years - think about tradition cuisine, a result of forces in history ex)
tomato sauce on pasta
For example: Sushi - trigged by globalization, industrialization of food, easy to make and be supplied for
Globalization: is not a modern phenomenon according to some scholars,
Global: Example - you can find the same California rolls in London, Japan - an example of certain
uniformity of a
Local: Example- tomato (U.S) travels and has an affect when food moves (Italy)
When people move:
They reshape local foodways in the GTA- they interact over foods all over the world -
-consider that people and food move together.
Identity: You are what you eat
- we are going to link at the making
Nuts and Bolts of the Course September 12: The edible foundations of civilizations
1) Hunter Gatherer Societies
Changes that made us human
a) Domestication of Fire: from 240,000: first use of fire 1.5 million years ago. The domesticated of
fire happened 240,000 years ago. The chronology between the two is blurry. The advantage of
cooking your food, means you can release the calories faster and more efficiently ex) potatoes,
the starch is broken down and the sugar in the starch is released. This means that chewing and
degusting takes less energy and now can be used differently so like thinking. Smaller teeth,
smaller stomach, bigger brain. Some consequences of cooking, increase in quantity of quality of
calories and social organization and collective living - warm up the caves for refuge. It gave
humans the notion of individuality, meaning that with cooking food that early humans thought
that having taste, meant they can choose how they like there meat (rare) .
Homo sapiens: 75,000 years ago lived in the fringe of the ice age. They lived in groups of 30-50 people in
temperate camps. All tools, needed to be portable because they moved around seasonally. They killed
large animals by communicating/advancement in technology (bows and arrows) and organization.
Gatherers: seeds, fruits, roots, plants, mean that the diet varied and mostly depended on the
environment they lived in.
- Sexual division of labour - most of the gatherers were woman. This demonstrates sexual division of
labour as men hunted.
Important Primary Sources
- Rock Art, Archaeology (Tools/Human Remains- evolution of human teeth), Study of Pollens (Palynolgiy)
b) Invention of Agriculture: 10,000 BCE - is sometimes referred to as a revolution. It fundamental
changed the lives of humans in the world. This pushed people to domestic animals too. Meaning
that they did not need to go tent and wait to hunt an animal. Harvesting crops and grow wild
crops. Having a reliable harvest.
The domestication of crops led to the domestication of animals. Goats, cattle, pigs, sheep and
were all domesticated near east 7000 bce years ago. Both combined demonstrates a new
-10,000 years ago farming was a new technology
Key Terms: Maize vs. Teosinte
Theory 1) The Cave of Chauvet; 32,0000 BC-> its a cave of art, full of images 420 of animals such as lions,
mammals, horses, bears. This meant that people, who drew these animals, meant they observed them
for a long period.
Question: could they have killed lions without getting themselves?
- were humans the hunter or the hunted?
Theory 2) The Cave of Lascaux - 14,0000 BC -> in this period humans were already hunting
What do we know about the homo erectus: 2millions years ago diet?
Diversified diets and evolutionary changes:
Humans becoming biopillar -> change in human teeth, having smaller teeth that is linked to another
evolution that hands were able to do much more practical things like make stone tones and work with
wood. Ex) Oldowan Tools. Having small teeth, meant they could communicate and organize ones route
better. Larger brains, they spend less energy on chewing and think more.
*(Biological changes are linked to social change)
2) Farming and Eating in Mesopotamia
- The method of irrigation is the artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to
assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of
disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall.
- it solved several problems that early farmers had. Ex) farmers used to rely on rainwater.
- Issues: empty mud, must coordinate to protect the system if not the whole system will be
ruined. Keeping the whole system working requires organization and cooperation. This led to
a strong central authority who controlled who uses it, maintains it in that region of farmers.
Center of political and military authority. Cities now had a surplus of food that can be sent to
other regions and now were economic/cultural center ex) trading, selling, and writing - took
keep track of who owes you what.
- Social hierarchy emerged. The elite captured the wealth that the farmers were producing vs.
peasants. There were inequalities of wealth, status and power. Division of labour - women
disappeared from the field because farming required physical labour to move the ploaw and
women got booted to domestic duties/raising children.
- Now men controlled the lives and body of women - patriarchal society
- People became shorter, the diet changed. Farmers would stick to whatever they grew
whereas prior they use to eat everything. They lost nutrients (decline in health) for the majority of the farmers vs. the elite who did not experience this because they had access to
lots of different foods.
3) Food in the Mediterranean antiquity
- Dierty was based on ones social position
- State in regards to food distribution
- Eating enriched food as a display of power
Diets and Social Differences
- the pumentarium of the poorest - type of soup and meat was special
- The rich - who ate variety types of meat and certain parts of an animal that rich Romans liked
ex) like flamingo tongue - the higher you were the more exotic parts of an animal you can eat
- As rome continued to expand,
Famines and subsistence crisis
Famine: food crisis of catastrophic and devastating proportions, bring a shape rise in the death rate as
well as social, political and moral dislocation
Subsistence crises: food shortage due to bad harvest or distribution issues, causes endemic, lon