Monday, August 10, 2015

You Are What You Eat, err, How You Acquire Food

Two things happened that will bear little importance to the topic I'll eventually get to: (1) the car battery died, and (2) the car is due for a smog check. A car with a new car battery will almost certainly fail a smog check, or so I've read. Apparently, removing the old battery "deletes" some important information that is relevant for a smog check, in much the same way removing the battery will reset the car radio's saved stations memory bank. But the radio is not relevant (generally speaking).

In order to let the car acquire some information in its smog check computer (the actual name of the device escapes me), one would have to drive the car around for a bit. This is a great excuse to drive for the heck of it, or to drive to places not normally visited. The car needs some smog check info, after all.

When coming up with a list of local and quasi-local destinations for these short field trips, I realized that lots of destinations involve food. Grocery? Food. Restaurant? Food. Movie theater? Food. Amusement park? Food. Friends and family? Food. Parks, beaches, and other scenic/recreational locations? It would be a good idea to bring some food.

It then dawned on me that how we describe ourselves involves food. Let's travel back in time, to the dawn of humanity:

Original recipe human beings (and some isolated populations today) were foragers who probably wandered around all the time. We call them hunter-gatherers. Hunt what? Food. Gather what? Food.

Some of those tribes of foragers decided to domesticate animals, while wandering around all the time. We call them herders. Herd what? Food.

Some of those tribes of nomadic herders decided to settle down with their domesticated animals and plant some things their ancestors taught them to gather. We call them farmers. Farm what? Food.

Some of those tribes of farmers decided that farming shouldn't be for everyone, and that there should be villages and cities and kingdoms and empires that are supported by farms. Some of the people would be herders, gardeners, and farmers. Some of them would have a different trade. Some of them would do grunt work. Only a few of them would be kings. Everyone was expected to obey their king. Virtually all of them would have some role directly or indirectly related to producing things to be consumed, and all of them would consume many of the things produced.

We should call some of them producers. Produce what? Food (and other stuff). However, we should call all of us consumers. Consume what? Food (and other stuff).

As biological machines, of course we have to eat. I just find it amusing that we chose to describe our ancestors, as well as various populations in the world today, in terms of how they acquired food. It's something to think about, especially the next time you or I post a photo of food on Instagram.

When I'm not posting a photo of my dog Kate, a cutesy scene depicted with LEGO minifigures, or celestial bodies -- I'm definitely guilty of photographing and posting what I eat.

If I am what I eat, then I am most certainly ... delicious.

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