The theme over the past four weeks was food preparation. What the four classes culminated to was a meal consisting of bread, cheese, squash and goat meat. Other than using a stovetop to expedite the cooking process, each food item was prepared without modern technology to mirror the process that civilizations before us practiced every day. We hand pulled cheese and formed it into mozzarella balls; crushed grain with heavy stones for bread; and prepared cuts of meat and squash using shards of obsidian.
The most striking aspect of the whole process was the investment of time it took to prepare a single food item. Nearly every item took at least an hour in a half. Given that it was many of our first times preparing food from scratch, we expectedly took longer than it would’ve taken older civilizations. Yet, we didn’t have to collect our ingredients for the meal. We didn’t have to raise cattle for milk and goats for meat or grow grains and squash. The meal process begins months in advance before the meal itself is actually served. The amount of calories spent to attain a meal is infinitely larger than the ones it takes for us to walk to a refrigerator or dining hall. As I was eating after class one day, it struck me that something as simple as a sandwich would be very difficult to make in the past. I gained a greater appreciation for the bread, cheese, meat and vegetables that made up my sandwich. Countless hours were put into the ingredients of a sandwich that took me minutes to prepare and eat.
I gained an even greater appreciation for my food when I learned how easily it could disappear. A competition was set up between both groups to see who could prepare more food in the class period. Looting food from the other groups was allowed to replicate the realities of food scarcity in the past. What resulted was a frenzy amongst friends, but in a real world situation full out war would have ensued over the theft of limited food supply. We’ve become so accustomed to a modern livelihood that we often forget the difficulties that have now become taken for granted.