Food for Thought: Odds and Ends

Hi everyone!

This week I was at the annual Midwest Archaeological Conference held at Notre Dame. It was great – I met a lot of new people, saw a lot of old friends, and, of course, ate some good food. There was also a great session organized by my friends Sean Dunham and Kate Frederick on prehistoric food storage technologies (I may have them do guest blogs in the future). All of this networking and learning, however, meant that I didn’t have the time I’d like to invest in a quality blog post for this week.

Venezuelan food

DELICIOUS Venezuelan food from the Mango Cafe in South Bend, IN–I highly recommend.

But I still have some new blog material for you, just on a different blog. I am a fellow in the MSU Campus Archaeology Program, and last week I blogged about a fun project we did in collaboration with the MSU Student Organic Farm. We found that a root vegetable called salsify (aka “oyster plant”) was grown on campus and served in the student dining halls in the 1870s, and we were curious to try this mysterious food out. The Student Organic Farm kindly grew some for us, and me and the other CAP fellows had a fun time trying out some old-timey recipes using the plant, so check it out!

On a very different note, I just found this intriguing article in Smithsonian Magazine about the use of protein analysis of pottery residues. As I’ve mentioned before, I use lipid residue, stable isotope, and microbotanical analysis of pottery residues, but protein analysis is new to me! I’m excited to learn more about it and see if I can incorporate it into future research.

This Saturday (Oct. 13) I will have a display about “Ancient Michigan Meals” at Michigan Archaeology Day, held at the Michigan History Center. It runs from 10am-4pm and is a lot of fun, so if you’re in the area, stop by and say hi!

I’ll be back next week with a new blog and fresh food for thought.


2 thoughts on “Food for Thought: Odds and Ends

  1. When you eat older foods… There’s some real surprises there. Some, like salsify, you can see why it fell out of fashion. Others, especially some of the spices (such as grains of paradise) you can’t fathom why it’s not still in use. Economics? Politics? Just simple happenstance?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is incredibly interesting. I think sometimes availability can affect food choice, such as with oysters, which were incredibly popular and common in the US during the late 19th century, but were over-exploited and that popularity died out for a while, only for the food to re-emerge later as a luxury food item. But sometimes I think that new food trends simply overshadow old ones, sometimes for no good reason at all!

      Liked by 1 person

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