1/4 cup seeds (pictured sesame seeds)
2 tbsp. nuts (pictures pine and walnuts)
2 tbsp. water
1 bunch wild onions (spring onions or scallions work fine)
1 bunch herbs leafy herbs (pictured carrot tops)
5 oz. greens (pictured Arugula)
1/4 cup ripe berries (pictured raspberries)
Before fire, before homo sapiens even, there was a primitive form of cooking that required no heat or fuel but that of the human body.
The oldest known mortar and pestle goes back almost 40,000 years ago, but we know mashing food goes back to some of our earliest human ancestors, who likely smashed bones to access their delicious marrow. They turned what whole meat they could scavenge into something like steak tartare. This high calorie, high in protein meat played a big role in growing our brains closer to their modern size.
Human foragers of the past had a vast knowledge of plants, animals, and ecology that would put most of us “civilized” people to shame. Modern foraging people studied by anthropologists are like nature encyclopedias for their territory.
“Wild” greens, onions, and berries from my territory
Just what it sounds like. Today I made bread in the ashes of the fire.
This has become known as kind of an Australian food. But that’s because European colonists copied the Aboriginal peoples who had been doing it for thousands of years.
Many modern people with nomadic traditions, such as the Berbers of North Africa, still cook bread this way, but the roots go deep back into prehistory. Evidence for this practice can be found in ancient cultures all over the world from the Americas, to aboriginal Australia, and most famously in the middle east.
Short of mashing our food or cooking it over an open fire, the Earth Oven is the oldest cooking method known to humankind. Evidence of their use goes back tens of thousands of years, and they can be found all over the world across nearly all cultures.
The exact construction can vary, but the basic design is the same. Dig a pit in the ground, line it with stones, get those stones blazing hot, then put some food in and bury it! This method can bake, smoke, or steam food. It’s not as much work as it seems, and it makes for a exciting cooking experience that’s great for parties and summer barbecues especially.
Not only is it fun, it imparts a unique flavor to the food that’s cooked inside one that can only be described as “earthy” and makes any other food I’ve heard called “earthy” before this seem like a lie. Soil infused? This stuff tastes like it was cooked inside the earth, because it was!
If you’re interested in new and interesting ways to cook your food, you cannot beat an Earth Oven.