Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cooking Cavemen

Boy, people sure get messed up as soon as they try to drag science into food debates. I sometimes get a laugh out of people posting comments about cavemen cooking.

Why? Well, if you read accounts of modern hunter-gatherers, they, like many omnivores, were opportunists. They ate a LOT of raw food, snacking as they went, especially in summer. Most of them only cooked game at rare intervals and then pigged out on it. What if modern Americans just ate meat once a week, but ate a couple of pounds or more of it at that sitting? The other thing that hunter-gatherers cook are roots, which are usually tough and hard to eat. So, they ate soup/stew once a day. I don't see any caveman of any kind passing up a patch of berries or a tree full of fruit and not pigging out. Susun Weed in the debate, claims that raw fruit that is ripe has been "cooked" by the sun, by it's own enzymes and it's not raw. ???? Hm.

She also goes into great detail about some idea that cooking gave us a bigger brain. No, not so. Cutting edge archeologists have decided that we got the bigger brain by accident. Our ancestors probably lived in the shallow waters along the coasts of Africa and ate a lot of raw shellfish. Easy to eat, good for you, and gives kids bigger brains.

Most ancient people despised muscle meat. They preferred organ meats. I'm not a vegetarian, and eating raw meat is quite the treat, but very rich. It may be important to cook the bones down into a stew, but I'm sure that our cavemen ancestors ate plenty of raw liver, raw fish, raw shellfish, raw bugs, and raw fruit.

One can certainly join either side in the enzyme debate, but trying to "prove" that cavemen ate all their food cooked and that gave them bigger brains is pretty silly.

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