Ever sat down to have dinner and started wondering where the idea of making such kinds of well-cooked meals came from? It’s fascinating how far human beings have come and what we can do with food today. However, before today’s way of dining, there was something different.
Historians and researchers estimate that man begun using fire to cook around 250,000 BC. This was the time when man roasted meat for food, which was the common feed in the Paleolithic era. At the same time, hearths started appearing in different homes, making the fire to be attributed to the motivator of the current communal setting. Since then, human beings have been gathering together for meals, which unites us in ways we cannot explain.
Boiled Water and the Paris Connection
It was not until 29,000 BC that humans realized they could boil water and add it to their food mix. Way after this, at around 8,000 BC, human beings started to domesticate animals. Before this, people ate game food and sometimes herbs. Domestication brought an end to the age of hunting and gathering, and human beings started getting their foods closer to home through the planting of crops and keeping livestock.
This opened the door for better forms of civilizations, and soon cities and towns started to emerge. The first winery evidently known, is dated back to 4100BC. Fast forward, and we see public eateries in ancient Rome. However, the history of restaurants is mostly attributed to Paris in the 18th century officially. It is important to note that this should not discredit the evidence of communal dining with restaurant-like settings in China and Japan way before the 18th century.
Food Refrigeration Origins
Mentioning restaurants cannot be quite comprehensive without noting the significant role played by food refrigeration. At first, chefs dictated what their customers ate, depending on what ingredients were currently available. However, when Carl von Linde invented the refrigerator in 1876, the industry changed significantly. This served a vast need leading to at least 99% of American households owning a refrigerator by 2005.
In 1940, Richard and Maurice McDonald opened the first fast food joint in San Bernardino, CA. This began the rise in fast foods. Today, McDonald’s owns over 36,000 restaurants across the globe. 1950 was a significant year for food-inspired content publishing, with Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book selling over 65 million copies ever since.
With population increasing drastically, food innovators started looking into genetically modified foods, with the first in the market being tomatoes in 1996. However, the glory of GMOs didn’t last long as scientists quickly came in to question the integrity and health repercussions of taking GMOs. Many restaurants had already started adapting to them, but they had to shift back to organic foods. Food integrity is now a central conversation as people are getting more aware and cautious with what they take into their bodies.