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 Anthropology in the News

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Anthropology of Food

to Sweet Treats around the World

What FoodAnthro is Reading Now . . .
. Tuesday, 27 February 2024, 02:01 (02:01 AM) CST, day 058 of 2024 .
BBC Food
The Gardian News / The Gardian Animals Farmed /

Wikipedia: Food | Food and drink | Food culture | Food history | Food Portal

Wikipedia Categories: Food and Drink | History of Food and Drink | Historical Foods

World Food and Water Clock

OWL logo, Online Writing Lab, Purdue University.    
Sicilian ice-cream in a bread bun. A good solution to a local problem: the Mediterranean heat quickly melts the ice-cream, which is absorbed by the bread.
"Palermo, Sicily
A Fistful of Rice.
A Fistfull of Rice
Claire Kathleen Roufs eating first food at 5 months.
Claire Kathleen Roufs

Eating rat.
"Eating Rat At The New Year"
National Geographic
Desert People, boy eating "grub worm"
Desert People

Search the troufs Site
(all TR courses and web pages)
Anthroplogy of Food


Several fine food timelines are available on the web:

  • Anderson, Jean. The American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century. NY: Potter, 1997. ["Beyond this collection is Jean's exploration of the diversity of our nation's cuisine and our adoption of . . . 'foreign' dishes . . .  and a timeline of major 20th-century food firsts."]

  • Trager, James. The Food Chronology: A Food Lover's Compendium of Events and Anecdotes, from Prehistory to the Present. NY: Owl, 1997.

  • Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne. A History of Food. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons/Blackwell 2009.


Neolithic Revolution / Green Revolution
Muslim Agricultural Revolution
British Agricultural Revolution
Scottish Agricultural Revolution

Calendar of Nutrition and Health Events

other timelines

bottom of chart

search "food history" and "food timeline" and "Neolithic Revolution" on JSTOR

From The Scout Report, 9 January 2009 (Volume 15, Number 1)

The food timeline


Whether visitors to the Food Timeline are foodies, or just plain curious, they will definitely find more information than can be taken in at one sitting. The Food Timeline was developed by a "reference librarian with a passion for food history," and her dedication is evident in the link near the top of the page entitled "About Culinary Research". Clicking on this link is extremely helpful for those researching food, and just plain interesting for those who are simply curious. In a nutshell, the author tells the visitor that research on food history is quite difficult and complex, and gives a bounty of hints on how to approach a particular food puzzler. She also notes that very few foods have been invented, rather they have just evolved. The timeline is smack dab in the middle of the homepage, and has links galore. It has links to individual ingredients, as well as to complete dishes and historically important cookbooks. Near the bottom of the homepage, below the timeline, is a menu of choices that includes: "Teacher Resources", "Historic Menu Collections", "Digitized Cookbooks", and "Historic Food Prices". There is so much on this website visitors might want to grab a snack and a beverage, and let the learning begin. [KMG]


Major Events / Items
"The forst microwave ovens were developed, but did not become practical until the late 1960s and early 1970s." -- Popkin, 2010, p. 73.  
First refrigerators for household use were developed by the General Electric Company. "However, without Freon gas, which was developed in the 1930s, the earlier refrigerators (pre-1930) were dangerous." -- Popkin, 2010, p. 73.  
Banana split invented in Wilmington, Ohio (Banana, Koeppel 2008, p. 249)  
Banana split invented in Davanport, Iowa (Banana, Koeppel 2008, p. 249)  
Banana split invented in Columbus, Ohio (Banana, Koeppel 2008, p. 249)  
Banana split invented in Latrobe, Pennsylvania (Banana, Koeppel 2008, p. 249)  
"Agricultural depression" in Europe; U.S.A. begins to become food power -- Jean Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari, Albert Sonnenfeld, 1999, p. 489  
Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard complete first pasteurization test  
A.D. 1859
End of the "Prescientific Period"  
The dictionary of the Académie Française recognizes the word restaurant in reference to the establishment of a restauranteur -- Jean Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari, Albert Sonnenfeld, 1999, p. 475  
Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin publishes Physiologie du goût  
Nicolas Appert, publishes L'Art de conserver les substances animales et végétales (or The Art of Preserving Animal and Vegetable Substancess), the first cookbook of its kind on modern food preservation methods  
Nicolas Appert, the "father of canning," begins industrial scale food production, setting up a food-preserving factor at Massy, Essone, France -- Jean Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari, Albert Sonnenfeld, 1999, p. 486  
". . . Cooking was removed from the 'medicine' category [in Perrot's catalog], separated from books on 'hygiene' and 'dietetics' and from treatises on wine, tea, coffee, and chocolate, and lumped together with such other aristocratic arts as horsemanship, fencing, dance, and hunting," -- Jean Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari, Albert Sonnenfeld, 1999, p. 431  
Cooking first classified as an art, in Traité des livres rares -- Jean Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari, Albert Sonnenfeld, 1999, p. 431  
Menon introduced the expression nouvelle cuisine in Vol. 3 of Nouveau Traité de cuisine -- Jean Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari, Albert Sonnenfeld, 1999, p. 398  
". . . Neapolitan Francesco Capelli, known as 'Procope,' opened the first cafe in Paris on the rue de Tournon" -- Jean Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari, Albert Sonnenfeld, 1999, p. 472  
28 October 1533 A.D.

Catherine de' Medici marries Henry II of France

It was that year that Fate and Pope Clement VII changed the table manners of Europe. The Holy Father, probably conscious less of the gastronomic importance than of its political results, married off his [14-year-old] niece Catherine de Medici to France's young [14] Henry."

"And Catherine took her cooks to France with her. They were probably the first great chefs de cuisine in that land, and galling though the fact may be to those Frenchmen who mix patriotism with their love of fine food, they were Italians every one.... Their innovations burst like a bomb over all the noble tables of Paris." – MFK Fisher, Serve It Forth (Harper & Brothers, 1937)

Catherine de' Medici, attributed to François Clouet, c. 1555.

Catherine de' Medici, attributed to François Clouet, c. 1555
Henry VIII of England breaks with Rome
End of the Middle Ages in Britain (Black, The Medieval Cookbook, 1992)
6 September 1522
Juan Sebastián Elcano becomes the first person to circumnavitate the globe  
8 November 1519
Moctezuma meets Cortés  
  23 April 1516
Reinheitsgebot, "Bavarian Purity Law" originated  
12 October 1492
Juan Rodríguez Bermejo aboard the Pinta – looking for a westward (from Europe) alternate route to the Spice Islands – sights Guanahani, later re-named by Christopher Columbus as San Salvador, hence follows the Basques and Vikings and one or more groups of American "Indians" in "discovering" America – "Christopher Clumbus," Wikipedia  
2 January 1492
"...The last Muslim leader, Muhammad XII, known as Boabdil to the Spanish, surrendered control of Granada, to Ferdinand and Isabella, Los Reyes Católicos ('The Catholic Monarchs')...." – "Granada," Wikipedia  
Portuguese navigators round The Cape of Good Hope, "a major milestone in the attempts ... to establish direct trade relations with [the Spice Islands] and the Far East" – Wikipedia  
Crusades in the Middle East

"The Crusaders who descended on [the Middle East] During the Middle Ages brought some of their own traditions with them, and they stayed in some areas for nearly 200 years. As the crusaders returned to Europe, they brought with them the culinary influences they had experienced during their time in the Middle East. Muslim armies occupied Spain and Sicily for hundreds of years before, throughout, and after the Crusades. Following the expulsion of the Arab armies from Spain, the Spanish exported many culinary techniques and ingredients to the Americas (having been influenced themselves by the Middle Eastern peoples). Throughout these periods, the customs and cuisines of the Middle East spread across much of the world." – Jeremy MacVeigh, International Cuisine (Delmar, Cengage Learning, 2009, p. 6)
Siege of Antioch, gravure by Sébastien Mamerot, 1490.

Siege of Antioch, gravure by Sébastien Mamerot, 1490
(1077 ?)
Bayeux "Tapestry" probably completed
Bayeux Tapestry meal.
Bayeux Tapestry feast
(Black, The Medieval Cookbook, 1992, p. 21)
14 October 1066
Battle of Hastings
Saxon lord Harold II of England killed in battle, Duke William II of Normandy assumes English throne
"[The Norman nobles] at once began importing spices, foreign herbs and other food plants, and even animals (for instance, rabbits); and they introduced upper-class Saxons to their own food tastes, along with elements of their own language." (Black, The Medieval Cookbook, 1992, p. 20)
Moors conquer most of Iberian Peninsula
View from a room inside the Alhambra palace complex, Granada, Spain.

View from a room inside the Alhambra palace complex, Granada, Spain
4 September 476
Romulus Agustus abdicates to officially end Western Roman Empire

Beginning of the Middle Ages in Britain (Black, The Medieval Cookbook, 1992)
End of Prehistory
(writing begins)
dates vary regionally

3,300 B.C. "Ötzi" The Iceman  
c. 9,500 B.C....
The "Neolithic Revolution" begins food production in the Middle East
(agriculture and village life begin...)
dates for the "Neolithic" and for food production in general vary regionally

c. 13,000 - 8,000 B.C.
Last glacial period ends  
c. 400,000 - 40,000 B.P....

"Homo sapiens neandertalensis

(Homo neandertalensis)
(Homo sapiens neandertalensis)

  c. 300,000  

fire hearths
(late African H. Erectus)

  c. 400,000   control of fire
  c. 1 mya...   oldest probable use of fire

c. 1.8 mya...
Homo erectus
meat eating becomes an important part of the diet


c. 2.4 mya...
Early Homo
(Homo habilis...)

c. 13.7 bya . . .
creation of the universe  

* c. = circa = about

B.C. = "before Christ," or "before common era"
ybp = "years before present"
mya = million years ago
bya = billion years ago

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