QUINN MINUTE: Really ancient food

todayNovember 4, 2023

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Sometimes I wonder how our ancient ancestors survived without foods like breakfast cereal and ice cream. But maybe they didn’t realize what they were missing, because pre-historic television commercials got such poor reception.

Seriously, consider the paleolithic period, which covers about 2.5 million years. Up until 12,000 years ago, these folks were hunters and gatherers. They just kind of wandered around, searching for fruit, vegetables, and slow animals that looked tasty.

Their housing was basic. They lived in huts, teepees, or caves. However, without pest exterminators, you can guess the size of cave bugs that crawled over them. Yuck!

Anyway, about this time some genius found a way to start a fire. He – or she – heated some meat over it. Wow, that tasted lots better than raw gristle, and didn’t make them quite as sick.

Nobody knows who first invented fire, or how. There’s speculation that some cave dude rubbed two sticks together, or created sparks with flint stones.

Today, I can simply rub two sticks together. I call them “matches.”

Soon, people realized that flames could keep them warm, improve food flavor, and illuminate the evening hours. They sat around those fires, and invented chants they later called “songs for summer camp.”

These people were possibly humankind’s first artists. They created paints from things like animal fats, tree sap, and bone meal. Then, they drew humans, animals, and strange designs on cave walls.

Some of this cave art is still around. Because it’s on the walls, it can’t be displayed in museums.

But back then, it probably improved a cave’s resale value.

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Rix Quinn is a former magazine publisher who works as an independent biographer and broadcaster.

Written by: Rix Quinn

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