Here are some of the foods that looked totally different before humans first started selective breeding them for food for millennia..
This 17th-century painting by Giovanni Stanchi depicts a watermelon that looks strikingly different from modern melons, as Vox points out. A cross-section of the one in the painting, which was made between 1645 and 1672, appears to have swirly shapes embedded in six triangular pie-shaped pieces.
Over time, humans have bred watermelons to have a red, fleshy interior — which is actually the placenta — like the ones seen here. Some people think the watermelon in Stanchi’s painting may just be unripe or unwatered, but the black seeds in the painting suggest that it was, in fact, ripe.
The first bananas may have been cultivated at least 7,000 years ago — and possibly as early as 10,000 years ago — in what is now Papua New Guinea. They were also grown in Southeast Asia. Modern bananas came from two wild varieties, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, which had large, hard seeds, like the ones in this photo.
The hybrid produced the delicious modern banana, with its handy, graspable shape and peelable covering. Compared to its ancestor, the fruit has much smaller seeds, tastes better, and is packed with nutrients.
“…If we do not soon remember ourselves to our sensuous surroundings, if we do not reclaim our solidarity with the other sensibilities that inhabit and constitute those surroundings, then the cost of our human commonality may be our common extinction.
Indeed, many persons and communities, both within and outside of the industrialized nations, are already engaged in such a process of remembering. Individuals with the most varied backgrounds and skills – farmers, physicists, poets, professors, herbalists, engineers, mapmakers – have all been drawn toward the practice that some call “reinhabitation.” They have begun to apprentice themselves to their particular places, to the ecological regions they inhabit. Many, for instance, have become careful students of the plants and trees that grow in their terrain, learning each plant’s nutritive and/or medicinal properties, and its associations with specific insects and animals. Others have taken as teachers the local animals themselves, spending their spare time monitoring migrations, or learning the life cycle and behavior of particular species. They work to restore damaged habitats, and gradually to restore native species that had been locally eradicated by human recklessness. Working together, they shut down the factory that pollutes the estuary, and they woo the salmon back into the streams. In the heart of the city they plant collective gardens with endemic species, and hold equinox feasts with the homeless. At every juncture they strive to discern those modes of human community that are most appropriate to the region, most responsive and responsible to the earthly surroundings.
In North America this spontaneous and quietly growing movement goes by many names. In truth, it is less a movement than a common sensibility shared by persons who have, in Robinson Jeffers’s phrase, “fallen in love outward” with the world around them. As their compassion for the land deepens, they choose to resist the contemporary tendency to move always elsewhere for a better job or more affluent lifestyle, and resolve instead to dedicate themselves to the terrain that has claimed them, to meet the generosity of the land with a kind of wild faithfulness. They rejuvenate their senses by entering into reciprocity with the sensuous surroundings… They know well that if human kind is to flourish without destroying the living world that sustains us, then we must grow out of our adolescent aspiration to encompass and control all that is. Sooner or later, they suspect, our technological ambition must begin to scale itself down, allowing itself to be oriented by the distinct needs of specific bioregions. Sooner or later, that is, technological civilization must accept the invitation of gravity and settle back into the land, its political and economic structures diversifying into the varied contours and rhythms of a more-than-human earth.”
The Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram, pp 270-2
A human body in no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness; it hath no hawk’s bill, no sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, no such strength of stomach or heat of digestion, as can be sufficient to convert or alter such heavy and fleshy fare. But if you will contend that you were born to an inclination to such food as you have now a mind to eat, do you then yourself kill what you would eat. But do it yourself, without the help of a chopping-knife, mallet or axe, as wolves, bears, and lions do, who kill and eat at once. Rend an ox with thy teeth, worry a hog with thy mouth, tear a lamb or a hare in pieces, and fall on and eat it alive as they do. But if thou had rather stay until what thou eat is to become dead, and if thou art loath to force a soul out of its body, why then dost thou against nature eat an animate thing? There is nobody that is willing to eat even a lifeless and a dead thing even as it is; so they boil it, and roast it, and alter it by fire and medicines, as it were, changing and quenching the slaughtered gore with thousands of sweet sauces, that the palate being thereby deceived may admit of such uncouth fare.
by Ria Montana
A prevailing civilization myth is that as we Homo sapiens modernized ourselves to become less animal, or even to the point that we have totally lost, or technologically stepped outside and above our animal selves. Yet some hold firm to the notion that no matter how hard we try to deny, we are and will forever remain animal. Is it not a fact that no amount or form of civilizing enculturation and domestication can remove our biology from our being? Does not our biology fundamentally bind us to our wildness? As example, our hands resemble our early ancestor 4.4-million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus. To this day our hands remain more ‘primitive’ than hands of chimpanzees. Ardi did not use her relatively longer thumb and shorter fingers for tools, but long before the advent of tools for precision grasping in gathering a greater variety of food from her wild home.1 Our brains evolved to direct our still primordially functioning foraging fingers to perform other functions like shape and use tools of stone to grind vegetation, and much later to type on keys of plastic mainly in lonesome efforts to hold on to our less substantial social connections.