Non-industrial diets from a food reward perspective
In 21st century affluent nations, we have unprecedented control over what food crosses our lips. We can buy nearly any fruit or vegetable in any season, and a massive processed food industry has sprung up to satisfy (or manufacture) our every craving. Most people can afford exotic spices and herbs from around the world-- consider that only a hundred years ago, black pepper was a luxury item. But our degree of control goes even deeper: over the last century, kitchen technology such as electric/gas stoves, refrigerators, microwaves and a variety of other now-indispensable devices have changed the way we prepare food at home (Megan J. Elias. Food in the United States, 1890-1945).
To help calibrate our thinking about the role of food reward (and food palatability) in human evolutionary history, I offer a few brief descriptions of contemporary hunter-gatherer and non-industrial agriculturalist diets. What did they eat, and how did they prepare it?
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