A Book Report on Tom Standage's an Edible History of Humanity
1138 WordsMar 10, 20115 Pages
A Book Report on Tom Standage's An Edible History of Humanity
Standage, Tom. An Edible History of Humanity. (Ed) New York: Walker and Company, 2010, Print.
In the text, An Edible History of Humanity, Tom Standage provides his take on how the past was so deeply affected by food throughout the generations. The book approaches history in a different way altogether: as a sequence of changes caused, influenced or enabled by food. Standage explains that throughout history, food has not only provided sustenance but has also acted as the catalyst of societal organization, social change, economic expansion, military conflict, geopolitical competition and industrial development. As Tom Standage explains, since the time of prehistory to present,…show more content…
The production of agricultural food, the rise of the irrigation systems, and the communal food storage fostered political centralization with agricultural fertility rituals developing into state religions and food becoming a medium of taxation and payment; feasts were used in garnering influence and to show status. Food handouts were used in defining and refining power structures. As Tom Standage is thorough in pointing out, before money was invented in the earlier world ,food was the main symbol of wealth. The ability to control food was power.
With the ever emerging civilizations in numerous parts of the world, food aided in linking them together. Food-trade routes acted as inter-boundary communication networks that improved not just commercial exchange but religious and cultural exchange as well. Spice routes that spanned the ancient world resulted in cross cultural fertilization in fields which were very diverse, similar then to the fields of architecture, religion and science. The first geographers began to take interest in people and customs from far away places and put together the first efforts at world maps. But by far the biggest change caused by food trade was as a result of the European need to avoid the Arab spice domination. The result of this was the revelation of a new world, the establishment of first colonial outposts by the European nations and the opening of maritime trade routes