Cavemen, Monks, and Slow Food: A History of Eating Well

Cavemen, Monks, and Slow Food: A History of Eating Well - Devra Gartenstein I received a copy of this book through Goodreads. Aside from presenting a history of human eating habits, Gartenstein opens the reader's eyes to the substandard conditions that surround all aspects of what we eat today and compares it to the simple, organic foods our ancestors enjoyed. She also provides knowledge and information the reader may find useful in altering their own diet to benefit themselves, the people working hard to produce their food, and the environment. While it doesn't seem to be a deliberate jab at today's food industries, the author doesn't spare any feelings and admirably lays out all of the cold, hard facts for anyone willing to listen- whether it's what we want to hear or not.


I was impressed by the author's expansive history of not only the common, dominant civilizations of each era, but also of lesser known groups, such as the Akkadians and Harrappans. Not much about these cultures is common knowledge, but Gartenstein did not overlook the effects even these people had on the cuisine of their time. She also references lesser-known documents and laws that shaped the landscape of human appetites.


The author left no topic unexplored. From hunting to farming, food processing, advertising, and legislation. The author weaves a wonderfully intricate web that shows the steady flow of how mankind went from starving hunter-gatherers to comfortably overfed and taking food for granted.


The only flaws I could find in this book were typographical. Every topic is well-researched and connections from one age to another show the natural progression of human diets all over the world. I highly recommend it to anyone at least a little interested in knowing exactly what we eat today and how it compares to the foods of times long past. I give this book five stars.