The Food Time Machine


I started to think about food in an anthropological way — through the ages, across the world, in every culture, after all – everybody eats.

From the Eskimo diet of meat, blubber and no vegetables or grains, to Maasai that eat mostly blood and milk, to the European emphasis on intense flavor, presentation, and slow food, it’s amazing to think how the backdrop of the cultural mentality of a people as well as their surroundings influence what is “good.”

I do note though that it seems impossible to imagine any of the cultures and peoples throughout time being as obsessed with food as present day Americans.

Here we are, obsessed with food while surrounded by it, consumed with the idea of the “right” foods that we’re almost afraid to eat, yet see and consume larger and larger portions (can you imagine your grandparents downing a 48 ounce soda?), utterly obsessed with “healthy eating” all while consuming the most processed, convenience, and food substitutes.

While I can offer no credentials as a PhD in “foodology” or the history of food, it does seem to me that the one difference between present day Americans and every other culture and time is the idea of dieting, accompanied by body dissatisfaction.

Here are some quotes about food and eating that I found thought provoking – as well as the diversity of those that have opinions about it.

Good holidays and blessings to one and all – like the instructions say on the Lean Cuisine, “Open and Enjoy!”

It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.  ~Lewis Grizzard

It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician.  ~Meryl Streep

Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.  ~Edward Stanley

Where ever flaxseeds become a regular food item among the people, there will be better health.  ~Mahatma Gandhi

A nickel’s worth of goulash beats a five dollar can of vitamines.  ~Martin H. Fischer

Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well.  ~Marcus Valerius Martial

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.  ~Paul Dudley White, Cardiologist (1886 -1973)

This special feeling towards fruit, its glory and abundance, is I would say universal…. We respond to strawberry fields or cherry orchards with a delight that a cabbage patch or even an elegant vegetable garden cannot provoke.  ~Jane Grigson

Soup and fish explain half the emotions of human life.  ~Sydney Smith

Every man is the builder of a Temple called his body, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead.  ~Henry David Thoreau

After dinner sit a while, and after supper walk a mile.  ~English Saying

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.  ~Voltaire

Positive health requires a knowledge of man’s primary constitution and of the powers of various foods, both those natural to them and those resulting from human skill.  But eating alone is not enough for health.  There must also be exercise, of which the effects must likewise be known.  The combination of these two things makes regimen, when proper attention is given to the season of the year, the changes of the wind, the age of the individual, and the situation of his home.  If there is any deficiency in food or exercise, the body will fall sick.  ~Hippocrates

Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.  ~Plato

A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time – pills or stairs.  ~Joan Welsh

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.  ~Henry David Thoreau

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