What did prehistoric man eat for dinner?
Science may have just found out.
As we all sit down for big family meals this week, new findings reveal what prehistoric families might have also been eating.
Archaeologists from the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Israel Antiquities Authority have discovered the world's oldest cultivated fava seeds. Working at a dig site dating back more than 10,000 years in the Galilee region of northern Israel, the researchers uncovered storage pits containing the preserved seeds of fava, lentils and various types of peas and chickpeas. The discovery sheds light not only on the long-term agriculture planning of those living during the Stone Age, but their nutritional habits as well.
"Despite the importance of cereals in nutrition that continues to this day, it seems that in the region we examined, it was the legumes, full of flavor and protein, which were actually the first species to be domesticated," the researchers said in a joint statement.
This discovery is one of many over the last several years that have helped to shape the menu prehistoric man may have turned to when planning for family gatherings. So what might have been for dinner?
We know there were definitely indoor barbecues as far back as 400,000 years ago and that steak was likely a celebrated, if not rare, main course. Sides included fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Along the way, beer was added in kegs, wine was brought up from the cellar, bread was baked, and yes, chickens were culled from the coop. It's not a stretch to say the paleo meal you eat today would have looked fairly familiar to the one enjoyed thousands of years ago.
"Paleo is the attempt to find a healthy matrix of foods which lead to optimal human wellness," Jason Agnello, a New York-based strength and conditioning specialist, told From The Grapevine earlier this year. "It so happens that the macronutrient profile of many ancestral foods is similar to a diet which avoids refined sugars and processed grains."
If you're interested in incorporating more of the natural foods enjoyed by humanity over the last thousand years, check out our extensive healthy and delicious recipe selection from our resident chefs Miriam Kresh, Jerry James Stone and Sarah F. Berkowitz. And if you're hungry for fava beans after this reading this post, don't worry. We've got you covered there as well.
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