Evolution of Food Culture Through Timeline

Monica Gautam


Eating is an indispensable human activity; the drive to obtain food has been a major catalyst across all of history, from prehistoric times to the present.

 Culinary evolution and eating habits from prehistoric times to the present, provides insights into the social and agricultural practices, religious beliefs, and food eating habits through ages.  Types of food eaten and food practices  not  only reveal  human eating habits, but also reveals who they are and their social standing besides  reflecting light on their political, religious, and philosophical bend. By exploring humans eating habits and food choices through the millennium and the pages of history one can experience human history in a way that the stories of great kings and epic battles sometimes cannot. Civilization itself began with the quest for food. Humanity's transition to agriculture was one of the greatest social revolutions in history. In every era, the unfolding of history has been intimately tied to the need for food, the production of food, and the culture of food.  The quest for spices and exotic foodstuffs led to the European discovery of the New World. Most food historians refer to 18th and 19th century as the second major revolution in human eating habits in the history. The first eating revolution occurred about 10,000 years ago with the Neolithic Revolution, a time when humans migrated from being hunters and gatherers to farmers. The second revolution marked a shift from people growing food for a living for most people working in factories and food being provided by a small number of industrially organized food producers. This era also saw the evolution of the modern health-food movement, a food movement that encourages vegetarianism, along with scientific evidences of restricting one’s diet to improve one's health and cure all sorts of new and fashionable lifestyle diseases that are caused by, ironically, eating too much. In the 20th century, new forms of energy foods and advances in food science have completely transformed the food we eat. The study of food, thus provides critical insight into the role of intercultural exchange in shaping world cultures and this review paper is an attempt to trace the evolution of food culture, and eating habits of the population through the folds of time. 

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