The Omnivorous Mind: Our Evolving Relationship with Food by John S. Allen

By John S. Allen

During this gustatory travel of human historical past, John S. Allen demonstrates that the typical job of consuming deals deep insights into human beings’ organic and cultural history.

We people devour a big selection of vegetation and animals, yet in contrast to different omnivores we devour with our minds up to our stomachs. This considerate courting with nutrients is a part of what makes us a different species, and makes culinary cultures various. now not even our closest primate family take into consideration meals within the means Homo sapiens does. we're superomnivores whose palates mirror the common historical past of our species.

Drawing at the paintings of foodstuff historians and cooks, anthropologists and neuroscientists, Allen starts off out with the diets of our earliest ancestors, explores cooking’s function in our evolving mind, and strikes directly to the preoccupations of up to date foodies. The Omnivorous Mind can provide insights into foodstuff aversions and cravings, our compulsive have to label meals nearly as good or undesirable, nutritional deviation from “healthy” nutrition pyramids, and cross-cultural attitudes towards consuming (with the French, bien sûr, exemplifying the pursuit of gastronomic pleasure).

to give an explanation for, for instance, the global approval for crispy meals, Allen considers first the nutrients conduct of our insect-eating family members. He additionally means that the sound of crunch could stave off nutritional boredom through including sort to sensory event. or even fried meals, which we expect of as undesirable for us, interject a frisson of illicit excitement. by way of consuming, Allen indicates, there’s not anyone method to account for taste.

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Additional resources for The Omnivorous Mind: Our Evolving Relationship with Food

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These structures are especially important in the control of movement in general, and in motivated behaviors such as those involving feeding. 21 The brain is an integrated structure, not a collection of more or less evolved regions nested one within another like a series of Russian dolls. This vertical integration is important to keep in mind when we consider how we think food and eating. You can pop an unleavened cracker into your mouth, chew, swallow, and digest it without thought or feeling. But if you are a Catholic in a church or cathedral during globus pallidus corpus callosum nucleus accumbens caudate putamen The basal ganglia are nuclei that include the globus pallidus, nucleus accumbens, caudate, and putamen.

Although primates may depend on some animal foods for some nutrients, they are generally better off devoting their time to plant foods that are more accessible and take less energy to obtain. On the grasslands of the savanna, the situation is different. Animal food is readily available and comes in potentially very large packages, if a predator can figure out how to get it. 21 Meat contributed to the high-quality diet necessary to support a large brain, in part by allowing our ancestors to focus on higher-quality plant foods at the same time.

There are other possible reasons why crispy may be so appealing, of course. In the modern food environment, commercially produced crispy foods are ubiquitous and strongly promoted— and, at the same time, demonized as leading to obesity. ” But as many of us are aware, some more so than others, doing something bad, as long as it is not too bad, can be pleasurable in and of itself. Eating a bag of potato chips may be enjoyable not just because it delivers ample salt, fat, and carbohydrate in a nice crispy package, but also because of the frisson of illicit pleasure it confers in a hectoring, contradictory nutritional culture.

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