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How The Hell Did It All *Begin*?


Pickles
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Not many people still clean their own chickens, but I wonder who first noticed that if you get the gall sac out without breaking it there is no bitterness in the meat.

That was the first thing I was cautioned about (after plucking) when I was given my first chicken to clean.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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The use of the word "Bitter" was just an example of an unpleasant sensation, although not all references to "bitter" will be negative. "Bitter Beers" verses "Bitter Tears". But in general bitter flavours or sour flavours are the manner in which plants and some animals (insects) communicate "Piss off and don't eat me".

But as you know not all bitter flavours indicate toxicity and in many cases it is a desirable characterisitic for people. Having said that it is worth noting that the majority of cultivated bitter tasting plants are far less bitter then their wild forms, in many cases this has gone hand in hand with reducing the levels of toxins.

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Well-stated, Adam, but what I meant to get at was that I wonder how people figured out that some bitter foods weren't harmful.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I think that the underlying motive behind many of these foods was, simply, desperation. When the alternative is starvation, humans can be very creative.

People get sick from eating "x"? Why don't we try cooking it? Still get sick? Hmmm...let's try soaking it first and rinsing it. Not quite as sick? Let's try cooking it two or three times and squeezing the water out reallly well, in between. Hey, look at that! We're still standing!

Funguses in general strike me as being a big one. I mean, aside from their observable tendency to make people twitch and die, they just *look* rather...icky. I mean really, think about it! "Aw, crap, my ears of corn have been overtaken by this black slimy stuff! ....<pause> I wonder what that tastes like?"

The Chinese, I think, are the past-masters of this. My father defines the Chinese approach to food and cooking as, "If it's carbon-based, we can cook it. If it's not carbon-based, well, we'll at least think about it a bit." I mean really...birds' nests? Made of twigs and spit? How hungry do you have to be to play around with that?

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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OK--- Which came first --- the chicken or the egg????? LOL!

I'd read that the Chinese cuisine 'arose out of hunger'. I wish I could remember who said that, but I guess it makes sense for for many cultures.

My interests lie in Chinese food, and I'm always referring to my reference books on it: Chang's "Food in Chinese Culture"; Anderson's "The Food of China"; and Simoonds's "Food in China".

Who decided to boil water? Who first drank cow's milk? (from a cow?)

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How could I forget the ultimate mystery? After noticing those naturally hybridized "improved" versions of maize... How the hell did the native Americans figure out that treating corn kernals with lime vastly improved the nutrition availability? I mean, how do you get to: "Gee. I think I will go burn some sea shells and make this really vile stuff and go soak my corn in it. Yeah, that has to be a good idea." :blink:

That one makes the alien intervention thingy more probable to me. :raz:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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"Gee. I think I will go burn some sea shells and make this really vile stuff and go soak my corn in it. Yeah, that has to be a good idea." :blink:

:laugh: Exactly. And that's what I find so inceredibly exciting and interesting. I mean....Emeril says "it's not rocket science, folks" but when you think about it, it's darn close sometimes! :raz:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Boy, I totally missed this, but I have to fall on the side of "improved accident", although all my elders claim it were the likes of Spider Woman and the Three Sisters who taught us how to eat. But just as an aside, an Ojib legend of creation concerns the "Great Shining Pearls" that floated across the water and laid down the "law" so to speak.

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Then there was the first guy to eat an egg. He's sitting there thinking, "You know, the next thing that comes out of that bird's ass... I'm going to eat it." (apologies to the comedian I stole this from. And I don't remember the name)

Although that does bring me to my own personal theory on this. Maybe early man watched the animals around him, and followed their lead. Possibly to duplicate their abilities. Like the guy in the above paragraph. He probably saw some animal eating birds eggs, and figured it must be good for him too.

Or, eating honey or salmon like a bear would, because the thick fur coat would be darn handy to have in the winter, and those teeth would be a good survival tool. Or trying to drag down a gazelle or something, thinking it would make him as strong as the lion.

My theory anyway... It's how the Cajuns survived when they ended up in the swamps. They watched and learned from the Native Americans who were already there, and observed what the animal population did. Of course, they also brought knowlege of the roux, and certain seasonings, being of French descent. But it was adapted into what was available. It was impossible to get lobsters, but, "Here's these little guy who looks just like them, only smaller. I think I'll eat it. And a couple of pounds of his friends, too."

It's a simple matter of, "We have to eat something or we die. Pass those things I'll call turnips, please." :smile:

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Yep, for all it's crazy romanticized frou-frou, I kinda think that the Jean Auel novels sort of recreate that keyhole into how the non-speakers passed all their knowledge...through generations and passed knowledge...which only came to a halt after WWII, at least to my culture.

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Let us not forget in these affluent times that it is not that long ago in historical terms that famine and starvation were fairly widespread rather than the localised disasters they are today. If you are starving then simply put you will try anything that looks vaguely edible, you figure if you don't eat that strange plant or animal then you're going to die anyway, so what if it is poisonous? Now the processed stuff is a total mystery because that's not hunger driven.

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How could I forget the ultimate mystery? After noticing those naturally hybridized "improved" versions of maize... How the hell did the native Americans figure out that treating corn kernals with lime vastly improved the nutrition availability? I mean, how do you get to: "Gee. I think I will go burn some sea shells and make this really vile stuff and go soak my corn in it. Yeah, that has to be a good idea."  :blink:

That one makes the alien intervention thingy more probable to me. :raz:

my two bit theory revolves around destuction by fire and then having to salvage the remains of crops from the ashes.i think i read somewhere that discarded shells were used as fertilizer-guess that would be in areas near the sea. :smile:

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I always have to object on the Virgin American side of the starvation theory. Our ancestors ate well with the seasons, but mainly, when aliens landed on American shores, this was such a plentiful land that 17th and 18th century descriptions sound like fairytales. There was no shortage here. The trees on the shore were 200' tall. Why do you think America built up a Navy?

Edited by Mabelline (log)
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Now the processed stuff is a total mystery because that's not hunger driven.

To me, the processed stuff is less of a mystery than anything else. Think about it.

Highly processed foods are a result of modern technologies being applied to acheive a couple of things

1) Easy to eat and easy to prepare (often preparation only involves opening the package an putting the stuff in your mouth)

2) A desire to accentuate and heighten whatever flavor (or flavors) are most appealing to the average person-i.e. in less prepared foods the flavors are often, almost always, more subtle than in prepared foods. Generally, in my little mind anyway, prepared foods are usually really salty, or really sweet, or really meaty, etc. They go right for the palate on a very directed, limited level and I suppose that is what man wants at this point in our evolution as in every culture where these foods are available and affordable they basically jump off of the shelves and into the gullets (e or otherwise :wink: ) of the eater. These foods give cheap, easily attainable pleasure to the eater.

I have just explained Twinkies and Ring Dings. I deserve a Nobel Prize. :laugh:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Don't shoot me, this is only MY THOUGHTS. But my thoughts are probably 180 degrees from your thoughts, because we have always seen the Earth as our mother, our comfort, and our provider. It can still be that way, without the greed that drives mankind to decimate species for a profit. Laws need to be obeyed, and species need to quit being hunted to extinction. This is not common sense, this is sacred law.

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Don't shoot me, this is only MY THOUGHTS. But my thoughts are probably 180 degrees from your thoughts, because we have always seen the Earth as our mother, our comfort, and our provider. It can still be that way, without the greed that drives mankind to Laws need to be obeyed, and species need to quit being hunted to extinction. This is not common sense, this is sacred law.

It's a pretty big leap from trial consumption to avoid starvation to "decimate species for a profit"!

Anyway, what's the big deal. How do other animals know what to eat or aviod?

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I was simply pointing out that PREhistory, hence PREwriting, it is believed that we remembered things by a sort of brain system, much like the way baby animals 'know' to lie motionless while mom's out eating. Once we acquired the spoken means of communication, these same things were orally passed down...I read once that an oratorical student in early times might be required to recite 5 scrolls of information, verbatim. This makes the fact of the Homeric stories absolutely incredible to have been brought down in the original form for hundreds of years.

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I imagine that the chances of coming across a potentially new food item have been quite rare throughout most of human and pre-human history. I imagine that what happened was a variation on the theme of:

Oooh look at that funny nut/berry/mushroom/root etc, I wonder if you can eat it?

a- will ask if anybody has seen it before or has any information on it.

Although option "a" certainly seems logical, I'm betting that out of obvious necessity, man developed food sources first and communication/language much later.

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I was thinking about the innate memory thing; does anyone remember the drunken monkies in "The Gods Must Be Crazy"? The monkies knew that eating the overripe fruit would get them all drunk, and yet they did it. I don't find it too far of a stretch that humans observed this, and emulated it, and then brought it full circle by processing the fruits into wine.

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Then too, once we evolved the ability to make and fire pottery, among the earliest things we made were storage containers of one sort or another. Perhaps putting a foodstuff away in one state, then finding that it had altered in storage was seen as great magic.

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