Have you ever thought about how we come to have such a wide choice of food available? We take it for granted that carrots, lettuce, eggs, sheep’s livers, blackberries, oranges and everything else is edible, yet somebody must have been the first to try them.
Who first decided they’d try eating a blackberry? Didn’t they know that others had gotten sick through eating berries? Blackberries could have been as poisonous as raw elderberries for all they knew. And that’s another point. After seeing somebody throwing up after eating elderberries direct from the tree, what made them try cooking them and eating them instead? Did they just fall from the tree into a hot pan of water and somebody accidentally ate one?
Then there’s carrots, turnips and stuff. Why would anybody pull up a plant and decide to cook the roots? Did they just bite into anything ‘back in the day’? And potatoes. Why cook knobbly things growing amongst the roots of a plant?
When did the first person decide to pulverise a bit of bark and sprinkle it over their apple pie? Or grate a rock hard nut over their rice pudding?
We mustn’t forget the humble mushroom, either. We all know how nasty some of those can be yet somebody must’ve curled up in agony, gotten high (maybe he or she didn’t mind too much?) or dropped down dead before the safe ones were found? What possessed them to keep trying? “Oh, the bloke next door just popped his clogs after eating those mushrooms over there but never mind, I’ll try some of these instead”. I think I’d have given them the no-no myself.
The ones that gets me most though are eggs. Milk I can understand - it comes out of our udders so why not try the similar looking stuff that comes from other mammals - but eggs? Who decided to take the hard thing that comes out of a bird’s bum and boil it? That surely must’ve been because one accidentally fell into hot water? I reckon I’d have still been a bit dubious, but I suppose whoever it was must’ve been starving. A fried egg probably came about by being accidentally cracked open on a hot rock or something.
And what about pastry and pasta? Who first made them and why? The same goes for bread and cakes.
Food’s all around us and for us here in the West, in abundance. But we do take it pretty much for granted, don’t we? Imagine if we were the ones having to try all this stuff for the first time.