Sunday, October 03, 2010
FH King, a Window into the Past.
Out of curiosity of what constituted a 'normal' diet a century ago, I downloaded and have been dipping into
Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan By F. H. KING, published posthumously in 1911. The free etext is available on Project Gutenberg.
King was a pretty interesting dude, and well ahead of his time. He held the radical notion that nutrients in the soil might be important, for which he was canned from the USDA, and he invented the circular silo. All those round silos you've seen all your life? Invented by F.H. King.
King visited Asia in 1909, a time when people were most likely growing and preparing food in a similar way as their ancestors a millennium before, and wrote about his observations in the aforementioned book.
Now if you are a hardcore paleo type, you won't be interested in what traditional neolithic cultures in Aisa were consuming. But, thanks to people like Stephan, I believe that traditional food preparation and quantities can be enlightening. Evolutionary thinking about diet is crucial but traditional foods and preparation methods haven't been around for thousands of years by accident. It's not a coincidence that soy was processed in specific ways to reduce anti-nutrients in Asia for thousands of years, and nobody used raw soy milk as a "healthy" alternative to ruminant milk or attempted to substitute it for human milk. Or that the traditional bread here in Central Europe is a fermented sourdough rye.
In an upcoming post I will highlight some passages I found interesting.