We live in an age of plenty where food variety and availability is taken for granted, but it’s been an incredibly long and interesting journey through the centuries to get us here. While all food discoveries were instrumental in shaping our civilisation, there are three foods that stand out on the BC food timeline as particularly significant.
Wheat – 8000 BC
Domesticated wheat evolved from earlier grains like Emmer and Einkorn and it was initially grown in the Middle East millennia ago. Ancient Egyptians were the first to use it to make bread, followed by the Greeks and then later the Romans – in fact the Roman Empire was expanded, because of their need for wheat, causing them to turn Egypt into a wheat-growing breadbasket to satisfy their growing realm. Today, wheat is grown on more farmed areas than any other food source and in 2016, world production of wheat stood at 749 million tonnes.
Cattle Domestication – 6500 BC
Historians agree that the cows we know today are descended from the prehistoric auroch – a large wild Eurasian ox, the last of which is said to have died in Poland in 1627. Cross breeding produced smaller animals which were domesticated after cereal domestication (the animal’s necessary food source) had taken place. They were considered the world’s most important animal, based on their multifaceted functionality: their ploughing power alone helped shaped the course of farming history; their secondary products kept people clothed and warm; and as a food source they provided milk, blood, fat and meat which remains a firm favourite today -as quality meat cape town suppliers N1 can vouch for.
Potatoes – 5000 BC
Potato was first found in South America – it was the principle food source for the Inca Empire. It arrived in Europe in the 16th century when Spanish Conquistadors brought it back from conquered Peru. It eventually grew in popularity and by the 19th century it was considered the most important new food because it had a lower spoilage rate; it was bulky and therefore filled stomachs; and it was cheap. In the 1840s tragedy struck when a strain of potato blight spread to Europe and then Ireland which wiped out potato harvests and led to approximately one million deaths. The Great Famine saw another million Irish lost to immigration which helped shape the future of the Americas and Canada.
Throughout the aeons many other food discoveries have changed our evolutionary path, and modern discoveries will continue to mould and shape that path – just think of the Test-Tube Burger – but these three food sources have stood the test of time. And N1 are wholesale suppliers of all three – their newly launched Europastry range of frozen artisan pastries and breads; their wide range of quality meat Cape Town; and their series of versatile potato products. For the best in quality, service and delivery, call N1 today.