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Chapter 3

Anthropology - Chapter 3 - Food and Nutrition.docx

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McMaster University
Karen Slonim

Food Origins Early Food Habits  Early people’s food habits derived from what was available  Survival was driving force that determined what was eaten  Different places ate different things depending on their surroundings (ex. Lakes and oceans had fish) Agricultural Developments  Civilizations in river valleys could grow crops and domesticate animals (who also ate the crops)  People around the world cultivated crops that were available in their region but all eventually had some sort of grain/starch type crop  All had different animals based on area as well Influence Determining Diets Geography  Topography influenced agricultural land use  Mountainous regions were not good for living in (terrain made agriculture impossible and very cold at high elevation)  Lower valleys could be used for grazing animals but only in summer  Gently rolling/flat land was well suited to grow crops  People lived where land was fertile enough to grow crops Environmental Factors  Water o Crops must have enough moisture but not too much o Land that was too dry was not good for agriculture o Rice could be grown in areas with lots of rain o Wheat grown in areas with moderate amounts of rain o Dry areas needed to irrigate crops to keep them from dying in drought o Crops died in really wet areas because they flooded and washed away  Growing Conditions o Temperature was key determinant of crop success o Tropical fruits (oranges and dates) could only survive in warm climates o Length of growing season determined whether a crop could be grown o Corn could not grow in places that did not have 140 warm days for it to mature o Vegetables with short growing season could be grown in colder places Broadening Horizons  People built trade routes across land and sea  Food and other goods were carried to market so people in different places could experience food they could not grow where they live A Capsule of Culture an Conquests Early Cultural Sites  Egypt is first earl culture  Controlled land along eastern end of Mediterranean Sea and northeastern corner of Africa Conquests and Empires  Cultural centers developed around world but usually isolated from each other  Geographical barriers crossed and knowledge of other groups led to desire for conquest and riches  Conquerors moved in and food and arts of both cultures were shared  Early Meditterreanean Cultures o Minoan civilization on Crete flourished because of good environment for farming and safety from attacks of other people o Art was developed and appreciated o Bounty of food supply evident from olive oil and wine found o Ended with a tidal wave and volcano eruption o Myceneans took over Crete and many other places in Greece o Hellenistic Greece (Classical Greece) began after period of strife o Characterized by achievements in philosophy, math and arts o Artistic creations of this era are among leading cultural gifts to world that are still prized today o Dining was important aspect of life for the wealthy of this era o Servants prepared and served food to men who reclined o Women ate separately from men o Meals: bread and cake, local fruits, vegetables, seafood, cheese from goats milk, wine, olives, olive oil o Roman Empire began in Italy but grew much larger o Significant contributions: law, government, roads, aqueducts, baths o Food patterns went with them as extended across Europe into Africa and Asia o Introduced cuisine (heavy spices, thick sauces, wine) o Roads made it possible to transport food great distances  The Mongol Empire o Food habits drastically different from Greeks and Romans o Harsh climate and living conditions of native lands created diet based on meats from wild and domesticated animals o Meat sometimes dried for later but most consumed fresh after boiled or fried o Grain made into noodles, vegetables and fruits were rare o Meals were means of survival rather than entertainment o Mughal Empire: Taj Mahal is architectural Masterpiece  Western Empires o Mayan Empire, Incan Empire, Aztec Empire o Potatoes, tomatoes, corn and chocolate were traditional foods for Aztecs who lived in Mexico-Guatemala Emerging Trade Routes  Wheat was one of earliest items traded cause could be transported long distances without spoiling  Maize introduced around the world through trading as well  Tomato and sweet potato traded from Central America  South America and Central America provided chiles  Europe provided onions, cabbage, tomatoes  Ethiopia provided coffee  Tea originated in northern china  New world provided cocoa and sunflower oil  Palm oil originated in Africa around Niger River  Spices had long shelf life and high market value per volume/weight  Provided flavors that made food taste better especially when it had gone bad  Spice traders became very wealthy  People today can buy almost all kinds of foods if they can afford it  Diet is not that restricted by climate, geography and growing conditions Todays World Food Scene  What and how much food people eat around world still influenced by traditional food patterns Populations at Risk  Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations monitors food situation around world on ongoing basis  Sometimes problem is lack of food availability  Sometimes limited access to food (because of local problems like crop failure
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