When writing the editorial for VERSO / number 8, “I Ate” (a lovely little homophone), I searched hungrily through the history of food to find the origins behind today's varied menu.
By far the most interesting period in our quest to tame the appetite was the Neolithic Revolution. It was during this stage in our development that a fairly nomadic population, previously focused on hunting and gathering, was able to settle down in one place. We, as a people, surprisingly and against all precedent in nature, began to cultivate a limited number of plants and grains and began to grow our tribes into a larger society.
Ground stones from Neolithic to grind up grains by swaying
Photograph by José-Manuel Benito Álvarez
What struck me most about this period, beyond the incredible invention, population growth, and progress we saw in such a (relatively) short period, was how humanity’s control of food directly changed the course of history—agriculture led to the construction of our first substantial villages and towns, and the grains and cereal we grew led to the production of delicious and intoxicating alcohol. Food was also responsible for the creation jobs and labor, static architecture and non-portable art and, ultimately, the wealth and subjugation that is often paired with such endeavors.
For the first time in history we we no longer chasing food—we had overpowered it. And yet, paradoxically, that control left us at the mercy of our food.
How little things change.
Get your fill at VERSO / "I Ate", this Sunday, March 29th at 7pm at Mezrab, in Amsterdam. Entrance is free. Join us. Complete details can be found here.