Spending all last week at “the cabin,” I figured I’d keep my Rush and Led Zeppelin to my myself, this time. Perhaps I’ll have some food pics, though. But maybe I won’t post them, either. Too peasant.
Since I began Potato Hacking recently, I stumbled from potato hack intermittently, to peasant hack most of the rest of the time. And I haven’t written about it because I was simply too engaged in thinking about it. I’m inexorably drawn to more of what one might call peasant food, though, as exists in the modern world. Of course, it was not always like that—no more than luscious ribeyes, or baby-back ribs, or racks of lamb were “Paleo” fare. Everyone is living various fantasies. I’m only trying to be a bit less fantastical over increasingly shorter periods of time.
Being right since forever is for suckers and their choirs of sycophants.
There’s no reason to be upset about any of this. Everyone has to eat.
- Kings and court got fat
- Peasants fared well often, but it often sucked too; some starved to death, some had lots of kids, and some got all sorts of pathologic disease—some of which spawned epidemics due to dense urbanization
To my curiosity, and perhaps it’s the most chewing on an idea I’ve done recently—what if, not-totally-screwed, peasants made the best they could out of the smallest they had? Could it be that they created the most suitable food concoctions for humans because it integrated with a decent slice of life, along with a general optimism; like, a this-isn’t-bad optimism? It’s a serious question. Give it a fair number of brain cells.
I think optimism is a key element because resignation get’s you nowhere. Resignation, fear, and trepidation get you into default positions where one then focuses on taking from others or supports the promise that others will take from others in exchange for spoils. Optimism makes due, and when you do that, you’re also more motivated to improve your lot.
Think of that in microcosm terms and not modern presidential-election political terms. The steel, aluminum, gunpowder, lead, blood, and death of WWII represent a crazy display of human destruction and the potential for a lot more. And there often wasn’t even adequate levels of peasant food as attentions were turned to real estate, borders, political power, influence, and large choirs cheering hopeful winners. One can view Western civilization as the raw audacity and technological ability to wreak massive destruction, alongside the competence and goodwill to feed millions and billions. It’s a machine with many bits, pieces and levels; a philosophy of reason and logic, and often, a well-maintained lifeboat. It’s a mix of seeming contradictions, fueled by lots of best hopes while planning and executing for the worst.
But biological organisms aren’t machines. The former evolved. They weren’t invented and patented. Their maintenance and sound operation require nutrition inputs, social inputs, autonomy of thought, and freedom to act to gain and keep values. Machines get new parts, are improved at the next iteration of development, or get replaced even as the world’s best buggy whip—supplanted by something entirely different.
None of this would have happened had the peasants, or working class, not had adequate nutrition. But in settling for bread and circuses in the words of Roman poet Juvenal, did humanity sow the seeds of its health destruction? Factory machines don’t care. They didn’t evolve. Slavery is their raison d’etre.
Humans evolved, but did they evolve to require increasing levels of highly palatable food, in abundance, made increasingly palatable not only by industrial food engineers but by home chefs, including moi meme? Or did they evolve to get by pretty damn well on a paucity of omnivory, and did they fare better with brief interludes of autophagic cleansing that we call intermittent fasting?
These and other questions of nutrition and diet are what I’ll be exploring as we march forward on enough nutrition to get us where we want to go while freeing us to get out of the kitchen, supermarket, and restaurant. It promises to make our wallets heavier, too.