Professor says that history boils down to food

Carrie Crotzer , Staff Writer

NKU’s Six@Six lecture series took to food March 5, to show that it is the only thing you need to explain world history.

The third lecture this semester was presented by Dr. Jonathan Reynolds, a history professor at NKU.

Reynolds used his lecture, “Every Bite a Taste of History,” to share his unique historical account.

Reynolds began the lecture with a brief history of the world, saying that humans need history “so that we don’t invade Russia.”

“Dogs live in the moment, so do cats,” Reynolds said. “But human beings live in the continuum of human existence.”

After Reynolds explained world history– in less than 15 minutes– he began explaining how food ties everyone together.

“Food cuts across corners of civilization it cuts across continents, nations and it also cuts across time,” Reynolds said.

Food helps us to break down our historical border and units of analysis, he said.

In addition, Reynolds discussed how technology allows humans to make things easier for themselves.

He related food to this technology by discussing that cooking our food helps us to extract more calories from the world around us.

Reynolds said we also cook food because “humans have sorry teeth,” and the technology of cooking food makes it simpler for us to consume.

Reynolds next explained that we are cultivars; we make stuff easier to eat, and we genetically modify things so that food today does not look like what it did thousands of years ago.

One example Reynolds used was the tomato.

“We changed the tomato over thousands of years by cultivation and genetically engineering them,” Reynolds said. “We took tomatoes and we selectively breed them over millennia to be what we now think of as a natural food. But that ain’t natural!”

Another thing Reynolds talked about humans modifying were animals. He discussed  how we have breed them to be dumber so that we can kill them; we’ve “breed the self-preservation out of them.”

Reynolds concluded with his Pizza Margarita. He explained how the Italian dish isn’t so Italian because tomatoes came from South America, flat bread comes from Eurasia and cheese comes from the water buffalo in Southeast Asia.

Anyway you slice it, Reynolds point was clear, food is the one thing that ties everyone’s history together.