Thursday, October 10, 2019

Convenience Food

Most of us think of "convenience foods" as modern inventions.  Food that comes in boxes, jars, or cans to be kept edible for a while, perhaps even quite a while, for future use. 

Those of us who know a bit more about history know that food storage goes back further than, say, the last two hundred years.  Smoking, fermenting, drying foods would make them last much longer than if they were fresh.  Storing starches in the form of grain, which could be stewed or converted into flour.   Those inventions go back a few thousand years at least.

But a recent archaeological discovery in Israel shows that people were storing food for future consumption more than 400,000 years ago.  What kind of food is that?  Animal bones with the marrow intact inside, according to this article from The Independent.

Researchers studying animal remains at Qusem cave near Tel Aviv found the remains of bones--but only limbs and skulls--that had not been stripped of their skin.  They theorize that these bones were deliberately stored for future consumption of the bone marrow inside them.

Unfortunately, the article isn't very detailed, but it's still a useful reminder that human beings have had the same needs for millennia, and human ingenuity has been finding ways to meet those needs as long as humans have been around.

EDIT:  (10/11/2019)  BBC News has a somewhat more fact-filled article about this find here.


  1. That’s quite amazing, especially considering the date. 400,000 to 250,000 years ago is about when Homo Sapiens first evolved, so this food storage dates right back to the beginning of human history.

    1. So it really is true: People *haven't* changed a lot since they became "people." ;-)