Diet Defines Us: Food, Culture & Our Past with Robyn Cutright PhD — WildFed Podcast #130
We finally get to share this episode with you today! Daniel has been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to interview Robyn Cutright, PhD, author of The Story of Food in the Human Past.
If you listen to the show regularly, you’ve probably been hearing him reference this book a lot lately, and you know we like to geek out on big human history! In particular, that stretch of time before the advent of agriculture, but especially, before industrialized food systems.
We're fascinated by what we eat, or more specifically, who we eat, since our foods starts its journey towards our mouths as living creatures. Through time our dietary diversity has diminished precipitously, to levels that are almost hard to conceive. And in that diminishment, global dietary homogeneity has been reducing our food culture towards a bland, uniformity. Not everywhere of course, but the trend is obvious and becoming global.
Not so in the past, when food choices were vast, food cultures developed independently from one another, and people groups and their dietary choices were inextricably linked. In a sense, people were their diet in a way that few of us can really imagine today — with the remoteness the general population has from the origins of what they eat and the species that adorn their plates.
But one thing that remains — though, again we don’t often think much about it — is just how much we have our identities wrapped up in the food we eat. Food choices tell us a lot about who we are, just as archeological traces of food can help us understand who we’ve been.
Take class for instance. Today, there are probably foods you imagine to be beneath you. And, there are likely foods you think of as too pretentious for you too — in other words, above your perceived class status.
That's just one example, but as you’ll hear in this interview, throughout time, food has been about a lot more than just the calories and micronutrients we’ve needed. It’s defined us and our place in our culture's cosmology. Though times have changed, and foods certainly have too, maybe this one thing has stayed the same. Food, though different, still, in a lot of ways — defines us. It’s who we are… But of course, let’s see what Robyn Cutright has to say about it! After all… she wrote the book on the topic!
View full show notes, including links to resources from this episode here: https://www.wild-fed.com/podcast/130
Our guest today is Tama Matsuoka Wong, AKA the Meadow Doctor. She’s a commercial forager, weed eater, lawyer and mother of three, as well as the developer of a commercial wild food-beverage made with staghorn sumac — which we’ll discuss in the episode.
She’s also the author of the backyard field...
You may remember that last September we had the honor and privilege of going out to the Standing Rock Reservation to harvest a buffalo — or bison for those who prefer the scientific name — for the second season of the WildFed TV show.
Our friend Travis hosted us, showed us around, and introduced...