6 oz. beef filet, diced very small 1 egg 2 tbsp mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 1 tbsp. sesame seeds 1 tbsp. walnuts 1/2 bunch scallion whites or wild onions sprig of sage 2 tbsp. water
Imagine you are someone else. Someone entirely different. It’s the mid Pleistocene era, almost two million years ago, which means you are not even a homo sapien. You are homo erectus, an upright, fairly intelligent human ancestor. You are not the first in the hominid line to eat meat. Homo Habilis, Homo Ergaster, and even earlier hominids before you were picking already dead carcasses something else had hunted clean and smashing bones to suck out the delicious marrow.
But you, homo erectus, are what we call the first persistent carnivore. You have stepped up your hunting game, and no longer need to scavenge off of bigger predators, meaning you can obtain enough meat to call it a regular part of your diet.
It’s possible you knew how to cook this meat. Anthropologists don’t agree if homo erectus were the first cooks or not. Either way, you my friend, have been born too early to know the secrets of fire. You are stuck with raw meat.
All your family and friends are good with just smashing and scarfing, but you feel unsatisfied. There is something stirring inside you, a desire for flavor, and something novel to eat. You don’t know this, but you have the inner being of the first chef!
We’re also missing a lot of ingredients to make a “classic”, modern version of steak tartare, namely pickles. But you are an ancient chef. You are going to make something delicious out of this. Let’s see what you can gather.
What makes us human? Humans are just animals who know how to cook. This first episode attempts to explain what humans and our hominid ancestors have been eating for the 6 million years since we first came down from the trees, how taming fire and cooking gave us our big brains and human culture, up through the foraging days of homo sapiens hunting and gathering in the Paleolithic.
Pleased to finally post the first episode of the AnthroChef Podcast, the History of Food!
Theme music by the incredible Michael Levy of Ancient Lyre. This rendition of the Hurian Hymn, the oldest known piece of sheet music, and the whole album “An Ancient Lyre” and much more is available from all major digital music stores and streaming sites.
AVAILABLE ON SOUDNCLOUD AND ITUNES.
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1/4 cup seeds (pictured sesame seeds)
2 tbsp. nuts (pictures pine and walnuts)
2 tbsp. water
1 bunch wild onions (spring onions or scallions work fine)
1 bunch herbs leafy herbs (pictured carrot tops)
5 oz. greens (pictured Arugula)
1/4 cup ripe berries (pictured raspberries)
Before fire, before homo sapiens even, there was a primitive form of cooking that required no heat or fuel but that of the human body.
The oldest known mortar and pestle goes back almost 40,000 years ago, but we know mashing food goes back to some of our earliest human ancestors, who likely smashed bones to access their delicious marrow. They turned what whole meat they could scavenge into something like steak tartare. This high calorie, high in protein meat played a big role in growing our brains closer to their modern size.
Human foragers of the past had a vast knowledge of plants, animals, and ecology that would put most of us “civilized” people to shame. Modern foraging people studied by anthropologists are like nature encyclopedias for their territory.
“Wild” greens, onions, and berries from my territory