The History of Food

We live in a day when obesity, sickness and disease are considered normal and yet most diseases were hardly in existence one hundred years ago. The reason for this is that we are consuming foods that didn’t exist one hundred years ago and certainly not in the first century during the time of Jesus and the Apostles.

What has happened during the last century or two? Throughout history and particularly since the flood people have eaten pretty much the same thing and for obvious reasons. Food options depended on what could be hunted, gathered or grown. God created us to eat plants and after the flood He allowed animal food in order for us to survive the world situation. For most of the people on the earth today eating plants that are gathered or grown, and animals that can be caught, is still their way of life. The majority of the people on earth live on a starch-based diet consisting of rice, potatoes, beans and legumes with the addition of fruits and vegetables based on local growing capabilities. Meat is the occasional flavoring or “condiment”. These people are typically trim, healthy and hardworking.

About 4,000 years ago man began making pastas and noodles. These are good foods (depending upon their ingredients) but this is an example of man’s alteration of the food God created for us. Up to that time the additions of food to our diet were foods that remained essentially unchanged from the way they were created. This would include foods such as dates, broccoli, olives, milk and yogurt, watermelons, onions and garlic. Over the centuries more of the foods added to the human diet were altered by man. Around 500 B.C. Italian sausage was introduced, pretzels in the 5th century, coffee in the 9th century; baklava and filo in the 11th century. The introduction of man’s ideas did not come quickly and these special foods were not readily available to everyone. However, in the 17th century we see the addition of doughnuts, cream puffs, éclairs and the introduction of new foods from man’s imagination increases rapidly. During the 1700s and 1800s more processed foods are brought to the market such as lollipops (1784), ice cream cones (1811), taffy, toffee, butterscotch (1817), soft drinks in America (1830), Necco wafers (1847), modern marshmallows (1850), synthetic baby food (1867), Campbell’s Soup (1869), Heinz Ketchup (1876), Coca Cola (1886) and the list of processed, adulterated foods continues to grow at an escalating rate to this day.

The Industrial Revolution changed the way many things were done including the preparation of food. It was now possible to manufacture food and many new products came on the market. It was necessary to use additional ingredients that would allow manufacturers to bottle or can the foods so that they would stay fresh longer. In 1859 the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company established the first grocery chain. Butchers and green grocers were separate stores but they could usually be found together with the grocery store. This is quite different from hunting, gathering and growing. How has the industrial revolution and food store chains affected our food supply? With new technology it was possible to generate more income for the food companies while making less work for the homemaker.

Transportation increased, improved and made it possible for food to be moved around the world. Manufactured foods with the added ingredients to keep the food’s color, texture, flavor and odor have a longer shelf life making these foods available to everyone. The processed foods that were once inconvenient for most people in the world were now obtainable with little effort. The industrial revolution and improved transportation provided an ideal situation except for the resulting health issues.



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