Tuesday, April 17, 2007

TV dinners 'are today's campfire'
The television is a "virtual campfire" for today's generation, according to an academic at Cambridge University. It is a place where people gather to discover relevant information as they eat, echoing the behaviour of our ancestors who met around the campfire to share food and tell stories.

Martin Jones, a professor of archaeology, claims that eating in front of the television is "a natural consequence of human evolution".

The findings are based on archaeological evidence from 12 different ages of human existence, spanning half a million years. Prof Jones found that, as humans evolved, their lives became more complex and how they ate together reflected this.

Primitive Neanderthals ate alone in their caves while "hunter-gatherers", who relied on co-operation to catch food, ate in groups.

That seems a bit weird, especially the bit about poor Neanderthals eating alone in caves. That and the "12 different ages of human existence". Still, an interesting venture into gastronomic archaeology.

Got that link from Junkfood Science. It also reminded me of another article wherein a guy decided to eat like a Victorian for a week. Read the link for the vast quantities and types of food. There was also an episode of the History Channel's Our Generation that looked at what the "typical American family" ate in something like 1776, 1876, and 1950 or thereabouts. Those things are always a little iffy because there's really no such thing as a "typical American family" from whatever period. In this case, they used more or less upper middle class urban dwellers as their typical, which left out probably the vast majority of the country (though in fairness, they were probably more interested in what today's middle to upper middle class would compare to then).