Innovative food in the history of man
History of Man is marked by turning points that shake up the World and the lives of people. Also the History of food is marked by some steps which have radically modified the way people cook and eat, changing habits and therefore ways of life.
Our immersion in the History of food starts 10.000 years ago. In the Neolithic man moved from a nomadic economy based on hunting and gathering to a sedentary economy based on farming and agriculture. In that moment we can put the start of a true culinary practice by man that started to consume cereals and milk derivatives, in addition to a sort of rudimental cereal mush (an initial attempt to make bread).
From the first attempt of bread-making to the next step, fundamental in the innovation of gastronomy of Man, is around 1.000 a.C. when ancient Egyptians started to sift the flour of wheat to produce white bread. Bread, the most traditional food in the European kitchens, was an innovative food…3.000 years ago!
From what we now consider to be a simple food we jump to the Imperial Rome, era characterized by ostentation and pomp without precedents in the antiquity. In that time so extravagant we can say that innovation was the search for astonishing things and showiness: on the tables of the banquets started to appear peacocks, parrots, flamingos, cranes, dormice, ostriches.
We come to the Middle Ages, considered to be a dark period but, at least from a culinary point of view, characterized by important changes. Two kind of food started to be commonly used in that time: eggs, used both for make food tastier and to be cooked with other ingredients, and to be eaten alone; and pork meat, which become more used than beef for its possibility to be better and longer preserved.
At the end of the Middle Ages, the Discovery of America, which have brought to the Old Continent new foods: potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, corn, and much more. But it would be too easy to speak about these ingredients that come from America for our tour inside the culinary innovation… and since good nutrition comes with a good glass of wine, we arrive to 1688, year when Dom Perignon invented the “Méthode Champenoise” method to produce what will become the most famous wine in the World: champagne.
We stay in France where in the Age of Enlightnenment corresponds to a great change also in gastronomy. In that period were born foie gras, Camembert, meringue, mayonnaise and, even more importantly, new techniques of cooking food were invented.
The nineteenth century was the century of chocolate, of coffee, of tea, that had a total boom in this period thanks to the beginning of specialized shops. But it was also the century of the potato, that become the main food of many poor people in Europe. On the other hand, if the many people were just eating potatoes, in this century the first cookbooks were written. They were essays on gourmet food, the most famous of which is for sure “L’art de la cuisine française aux XIX siècle” written by Marie-Antoine Careme.
The twentieth century was an era of huge historical changes and big technological and scientific developments, that transformed enormously the way people eat. Exactly in the 1900, thanks to the first cars, started to be printed the first Michelin Guide that illustrated the quality of restaurants, that were more and more spread around France. A few years before, in 1889, the cook Raffaele Esposito, had prepared the first Pizza Margherita, in honour of the Queen of Italy, who had the characteristics of the pizza we know, with tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil as tribute to the colours of the Italian flag.
We can totally skip the dark ages of the two World Wars, and around the Seventies we can identify three paths of the Italian cuisine: the rediscovery of regional traditions, the adoption of healthy and quick cuisine, and the Nouvelle Cousine.
But the twentieth century is mainly characterized by food products, that, in the following years and thanks to their enormous success, have been considered cult products. Probably the first of this kind of products is Coca Cola (even if its creation was made back in 1886) and its famous magic formula; Simmenthal (1932), famous for putting meat inside a can thanks to the technical revolution for food preservation (gelatine); the well-known McDonald’s (1940), icon of consumism and globalization; the Italian “dado Star” (1948), useful for Italian women of that time.
Then there are brands that have even gave a name to the new types of products they invented, preempting new needs of the consumers. It is the case of RedBull (1987), which bringing an idea of an Asian product to Europe has developed a new market for this kind of beverage, that is used as a stimulant by students, drivers, athletes ad so on.
In the twenty-first century the product that by now has created quite a stir is Soylent (2013). Soylent takes its name from a kind of food, made by (Spoiler alert!) human beings, from a science fiction movie and, in a few words, is fuel for human body to eat in all those occasions when there is no possibility to eat qualitative food: it is the first Complete Food.
A few years after Bivo was launched (2017), the first Made in Italy complete food, which has the nutritional proportions of the Mediterranean Diet… Of course we are joking, we are not so presumptuous 😉 we did nothing for the History of food, we have just tried to give our small contribution.
In our blog we will try in the next months to speak about other start-ups, which in the food sector are trying to make small revolutions with their products, with the aim of improving the future of our Planet.
Follow us in this blog to know more! 🙂