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Central and South American food

By | 2017-09-08T17:13:27+00:00 September 8th, 2017|Central America, Food, South America|

Aztec men sharing a meal When people first came to Central and South America, perhaps about 15,000 BC, they hunted and gathered all of their food. They picked wild potatoes, wild teosinte (the ancestor of corn), wild beans and wild tomatoes and avocados. They hunted rabbits and llamas and turkeys, and fished in the rivers and the ocean. For fun, they probably fermented teosinte and other plants into [...]

What is dengue fever? History of disease and medicine

By | 2017-09-16T15:48:26+00:00 September 6th, 2017|Science|

Dengue virus - magnified many times Probably dengue fever didn't exist before the late 1700s AD, so in the ancient and medieval worlds there was no dengue fever. Most people think that the virus that causes dengue evolved from some earlier virus that didn't make people sick. Dengue appeared all over the warmer parts of the [...]

Roman food – rich and poor

By | 2017-10-13T15:30:35+00:00 September 1st, 2017|Food, Romans|

Roti bread made with millet Although the first people who came to the Mediterranean were probably following along the coast, and ate mainly fish, shellfish, seaweed, and wild figs, by the time the Roman Republic got started, there were far too many people in the Mediterranean to be able to live entirely from the ocean, and although people kept [...]

Roman restaurants – going out to eat in ancient Rome

By | 2017-08-31T22:39:33+00:00 August 31st, 2017|Economy, Food, Romans|

A carving of a fast food restaurant in northern Europe Many people in bigger towns in ancient Rome lived in just one room and didn't have kitchens in their apartments. They ate most of their meals in fast food restaurants like this one in the picture. You can see that one guy is sitting at a booth while [...]

Where did Passover come from? Jewish holidays

By | 2017-08-24T14:32:07+00:00 August 24th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Handmade Matzoh In its earliest beginnings, which could go back to the Stone Age, Passover was a Jewish spring festival. It celebrated the first barley harvest after the winter. All winter there had not really been enough to eat. Now in March or so there was finally some fresh new barley bread to eat! People were [...]

What is Mardi Gras? Christian holidays

By | 2017-08-22T14:09:20+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Religion, Romans|

Pieter Brueghel, Carnival on the left and Lent on the right In the later Roman Empire, around 300 AD, people began fasting for Lent, for the forty days before Easter. On the first day of Lent, people went to special church services and smeared ash on their foreheads to show they were mourning - grieving. Lent always begins on a Wednesday, so [...]

History of Easter – Christian holidays

By | 2017-08-21T22:05:36+00:00 August 21st, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Wheat and barley on the Warka Vase (Sumeria, ca. 3200-3000 BC) When people moved out of Africa further north to West Asia and then to Europe, about 60,000 BC, they began to live in a world with changing seasons, where it was hard to find fresh food in the wintertime. People would get pretty hungry in the last part [...]

American food history – tacos to… tacos!

By | 2017-08-11T21:59:14+00:00 August 11th, 2017|Food, North America|

People eating in Virginia, about 1550 AD (from the British Museum) In 1500 AD, most of the people living in North America, like the Pueblo, the Cherokee, the Iroquois, and the Mississippians, ate mainly beans and corn and squash. Sometimes people ate their corn baked into tacos or tortillas; other times people boiled corn into mush or soup. To go with the beans and [...]

Japanese food history

By | 2017-07-27T11:45:32+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Food, Japan|

Japanese sushi The very earliest people who lived in Japan, starting about 40,000 years ago, lived mainly on fish caught from the sea, though they sometimes hunted local deer or other animals for their meat and they collected plenty of nuts and pears, too, and ate lots of seaweed with their fish. They picked sudachi fruit (like limes) and squeezed [...]