Friend of Elsewhat’s Taras Grescoe‘s new book, The Lost Supper, follows the author as he tries to track down foods which have been lost to history, or otherwise forgotten or neglected by humanity. His journey is also a lens through which he looks at our own modern diet and its various impacts.
This has changed my day-to-day relationship with food, in ways I hadn’t anticipated. Before this journey began, I flattered myself that, with my diet heavy on small fish, vegetables, grains, and pulses, I was one of the world’s responsible eaters. My thoughtfulness, though, was limited to my consumer choices the items I picked off the shelves of local stores and markets. Thinking about the past of food has made me think harder about what I eat in the present, and every trip has changed the way I cook and eat.
Among the lost food he looks at are Garum (previously mentioned on this blog). He also looks at the (mostly) lost practice of eating insects, which lead to this little jab at paleo dieters:
“Paleo dieters are one of my favorite groups to pick on,” Lesnik added, with a chuckle. “They don’t have any real knowledge of what the paleo diet actually was. I always ask them, “Oh, so you eat a lot of insects?’ Consistently eating almond milk and bacon is not reflective of any form of the actual paleo diet. Eating bugs is.”
This was a great little book which combined food history with some healthy reflection on our modern diets, combined with some neat detective work and travel writing that is definitely off the beaten path.