ANTH Critical Essay

ANTH Critical Essay - Knezevic 1 John Knezevic Dr...

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Knezevic 1 John Knezevic Dr. Smith-Morris ANTH/CF 3350 8 May 2007 The Forging of Cultures through Food A commonality that can be found everywhere on Earth is that all humans consume food to survive. We are taught to eat by our parents, and they were taught to eat by their parents. It can be considered a basic instinct. Upon realizing this some people have chosen to place food at different levels of value. To some it is considered a vital trade entity, a fine delicacy, or to some a canned product located in a super market. The idea is that not only have humans changed and evolved since the Neolithic age, but so has the image and interpretation of food itself through biological, cultural, and environmental factors. The different variations of food vary from culture to culture, thus providing an opportunity to analyze the way these cultures vary, and how it defines them. Through the viewpoint of an anthropologist, we will gather information to truly decipher why food has such importance and meaning in many cultures. To get on the right foot one must not be ethnocentric. This means you cannot put your culture above everyone else’s and presume there is no other way to do things. That is the first step to understanding any culture from an anthropologist’s perspective. If one maintains that their culture is superior or the only right one to everyone else’s, they will be completely biased and never gauge the culture with a proper open mind. The first groups of people we will look at are the humans that were here before the modern home sapien. Before 10,000 BC it was estimated that nineteen out of twenty Neanderthals were dead by the time they were and ten of them by the age of 20 (Tannahill 1973:
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Knezevic 2 6). Compared to today, it shows that humans have adapted over time to properly nourish themselves. We have realized if we eat the right nutrients and maintain a steady diet our chances of living longer lives are greatly increased. On the contrary even though as a whole man has evolved, modern cultures today do indeed differ in the average life expectancy. This is due to environmental, cultural, and biological factors such as famine, poverty, or in some cases born with genetic diseases experienced by the pima people (Smith-Morris 2006: 26). When fire was found in Africa in 14,000,000 BC or Asia in 500,000 BC (Tannahill 1973: 12), cooking food laid the foundation for many things to come. It turned out to be extremely beneficial for the Neanderthals because when we cook food the heat helps to release the protein and carbohydrates as well as break down fiber, and it also increases the nutritive value of many foods (Tannahill 1973: 12). This changed our food preparing methods forever in that instead of consuming potentially disease ridden raw food, we eliminated the risk and virtually turned some inedible foods to edible foods. As Carleton Coon put it, cooking was ‘the decisive factor in
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ANTH Critical Essay - Knezevic 1 John Knezevic Dr...

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