Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > General History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

General History General History Forum - General history questions and discussions


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old November 20th, 2012, 06:59 AM   #31

USMC's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: Aug 2012
From: Indiana
Posts: 450

Quote:
Originally Posted by RusEvo View Post
I always imagined people of history (be it 200 years ago, or 2,000 years ago, and be they rich or poor) as being of poor health and poor nutrition, and I was always thankful that I live in a land of doctors and hospitals. But I have been wondering if that is actually the case.

For example I read about the Pintupi Nine (the last Aboriginal Tribe to be found by white people in 1984), and they were described by a doctor as being in beautiful physical condition. Also when I see other people of primitive technology on TV they often have beautiful white teeth and look (on the outside at least) to be very healthy.

So this led my thoughts to people throughout history (who likewise lived with lower technology, no doctors, via their own labour etc). Were they unhealthy, or were they like the primitive peoples we see today?

What do you think? I am sure such a question has many answers depending on the variables.
I would bet most people of the past were pretty healthy, that is if they were able to eat properly. I would also think that they would be in trouble if something serious were to get them like an infection from a bad cut or some other kind of disease.
USMC is offline  
Remove Ads
Old November 20th, 2012, 07:25 AM   #32

Black Dog's Avatar
Idiot of the year 2011
 
Joined: Mar 2008
From: Damned England
Posts: 7,824
Blog Entries: 2

A doctor friend of mine told me that increased food hygiene (like, not eating it after it's rotted so much it could walk from the table) played as much role in increasing life expectancy as antibiotics ever did.

Samuel Pepys diary mentions going to a local inn, known for their pasties (pasties are a sort of savoury pie, just in case someone doesn't know). These pasties were so huge that Pepys and his friend said they'd return in a week to finish them.

So, this was probably not fresh meat in the first place.
Black Dog is offline  
Old November 20th, 2012, 07:28 AM   #33

astafjevs's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Oct 2012
From: Bristol, England
Posts: 734

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeGlidden View Post
I appears as though in today's society, we associate length of life with health. Most people associate length of life with quality of life, as well. I'd see both as being incorrect.
I was associating being free from illness as being healthy
astafjevs is online now  
Old November 20th, 2012, 07:30 AM   #34

BRIAN GOWER's Avatar
Glo Caled
 
Joined: Oct 2011
From: Gwendraeth Valley, Carmarthenshire, Wales.
Posts: 2,452

Strange that Samuel Johnson loved rotten meat!
BRIAN GOWER is online now  
Old November 20th, 2012, 10:42 AM   #35

RusEvo's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,390

Really?
RusEvo is offline  
Old November 20th, 2012, 11:55 AM   #36

Ancientgeezer's Avatar
Revisionist
 
Joined: Nov 2011
From: Closer to Calais than to Birmingham
Posts: 4,386

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRIAN GOWER View Post
Strange that Samuel Johnson loved rotten meat!
With our modern hygiene laws, refigeration and, frankly, squeamishness, it is hard to imagine the kind of meat that came to table and how people were accustomed to it. Some of you may have eaten game--hare, pheasant, venison. All game has to be either marinaded or hung. Game is very sinewy and contains more muscle tissue than domestic animals so hanging it before preparation is standard practice--basically, one allows the carcass to rot. A hare maybe hung for two or three days, a deer for as long as eight days and a big stag even longer.
In the tropics where enzyme action is faster (i.e. the meat rots quicker) great attention is paid to removing the digestive tract of a game animal immediately on the kill to prevent rapid rotting and contamination fro the contents of the gut. In Europe though, I have often seen game birds and hare sold ungutted at butcher shops.
As one can guess, game eliminates any question of constipation.
Ancientgeezer is offline  
Old November 20th, 2012, 12:09 PM   #37

Black Dog's Avatar
Idiot of the year 2011
 
Joined: Mar 2008
From: Damned England
Posts: 7,824
Blog Entries: 2

I used to work as a gamekeeper. Assistant to head gamekeeper for a member of the Aristocracy. Pheasants were often hung until their feet fell off. Maggots were commonplace- they weren't stored in a fridge but a cold room.

The thing is about wild game is that you have no real guarantee how old it is. Hence no real idea about its quality. Most chickens we eat are less than a few months old. Most pigs are 6 months or so. Most cattle are young, and sheep rarely more than 1 year.

Older animals have far more flavour but are considerably tougher. French traditional cookery methods knew this, hence the French often casserole or stew their meat slowly. They consider most of our meat to be tasteless but tender.

Rabbits must be gutted immediately, more or less, (although bunnies aren't, technically, game. They're vermin), but most game birds are kept whole until it's time to eat them. Gutting and cleaning a hung pheasant is not for the squeamish.

The old saying, "Pot Luck" usually meant the poorest, cheapest meal a tavern would offer, and it would contain all kinds of things we'd never eat: the parts of animals we're too squeamish to eat these days. Plus anything which came down the chimney and ended up in the pot. The pot was just kept topped up with more unspeakable animal parts and what vegetables were available. It was probably best not to ask.

No wonder the staple diet of the Briton and most others for millennia was bread.
Black Dog is offline  
Old November 20th, 2012, 01:32 PM   #38

Frank81's Avatar
Guanarteme
 
Joined: Feb 2010
From: Canary Islands-Spain
Posts: 2,523

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
With our modern hygiene laws, refigeration and, frankly, squeamishness, it is hard to imagine the kind of meat that came to table and how people were accustomed to it.

Not that bad in many cases, people knew how to get meat in good conditions for long time.

Two basic methods were used:

1. Salty meat. By introducing the meat into massive amounts of salt, if possible, for many days and weeks.

2. Smoked meat. By putting the meat just high over fire, and, depending of the country, leaving the meat to dry even more inside a room.

By both process the meat could be dehidrated and also bacteria were killed and prevented to enter for a long time. Meat could be available for months.

Of course, after such methods you need to cook the meat in some way, specially by the first method. Meat used to become very, very hard and dry.


All of this is true for fish.


However, a true problem in pre-electric societies were the conservation of fruit and the vegetables. Nearly impossible in fact. Some of them could be dried though, like grapes.
Frank81 is offline  
Old November 20th, 2012, 01:34 PM   #39
Supended myself
 
Joined: Sep 2012
From: Valles Marineris, Mars
Posts: 4,829

just asking what did people eat back then(2,000 yrs)??? how did they cook their food?
Gorge123 is offline  
Old November 20th, 2012, 01:44 PM   #40

BRIAN GOWER's Avatar
Glo Caled
 
Joined: Oct 2011
From: Gwendraeth Valley, Carmarthenshire, Wales.
Posts: 2,452

I grew up in an old Victorian house in west Wales where three hooks were suspended from the ceiling: a large main hook near the doorway and by the larder was for a huge side of pork, and opposite above the fire-cum-oven two smaller hooks presumably for game. When visting my grandmother (b. 1880s) it was not unusual to find a large carcass suspended from her 1950s living room, and the food was fresh and delicious and soon eaten up by the time I next returned to see her.
BRIAN GOWER is online now  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > General History

Tags
healthy, historically


Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What does History have to say about a healthy diet? Yōḥānān General History 66 October 24th, 2012 01:23 PM
Media In America (Historically) CT9 American History 12 May 13th, 2012 07:54 AM
Who was Li Naomasa and why is he historically significant? lokariototal Asian History 13 March 6th, 2011 06:01 PM
if henry viii and katherine of aragon had a healthy son.. kbear Speculative History 17 November 6th, 2010 03:49 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.