Food, Science, and the Human Body [TTC Video]
24 September 2017, 23:54
Course No 1940 | MP4, AVC, 1200 kbps, 856x480 | English, AAC, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x29 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 10.6GB
It may be a well-worn saying, but scientific data backs it up: You are what you eat. Not only that: You are what your earliest ancestors ate. In short, the story of humanity is inextricably linked to the story of food.
Throughout history, our evolution as a species has been inextricably linked to the foods we eat. It’s a relationship that goes back nearly 2.8 million years to our roots as hunters and gatherers. And it continues to the present day in the form of debates over good nutrition and the future of food on an overpopulated planet.
Food has led to the rise of epic civilizations. It’s shaped—and been shaped by—watershed moments in human history, from the dawn of animal husbandry to the industrial age of mass production to the 21st-century farm-to-table movement. Most importantly: It’s led to the amazing behavioral and nutritional flexibility of the bodies we have.
Understanding our current—and future—relationship with food warrants a look back in time to the roots of food and food culture, and its intersection with science.
- What foods did the human body evolve to eat, and why?
- Which foods changed the course of history, and how?
- How does the food we eat affect our genes and our minds?
- What foods are (and aren’t) optimal for our everyday health?
- Can we use cutting-edge science to end world hunger?
In Food, Science, and the Human Body, award-winning Professor Alyssa Crittenden of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas offers eye-opening answers to these and other perplexing questions about the evolution of the human diet and its relationship to our bodies. Bringing together insights from a range of fields including anthropology, biology, history, nutrition, health science, economics, and sociology, this exciting partnership between The Great Courses and National Geographic lays bare what science can teach us about food. Cutting through politics and separating myth from reality, these 36 lectures contain everything you need to know about everything you eat – and why you eat it.
A Multidisciplinary Approach
“We all spend countless hours thinking about, buying, preparing, consuming, and digesting food,” says Dr. Crittenden. “Our long evolutionary relationship with food is often hailed by anthropologists as one of the key milestones in human history.”
With its rich multidisciplinary approach, Food, Science, and the Human Body is designed to offer an even-handed, scientifically-based approach to the history and science of the human diet. Taking you far beyond the supermarket and the laboratory, these lectures offer a wider view of food. As you cross cultures, span time, and hop around the world from the most underfed to the most overfed human societies, here are some of the topics to consider along the way:
- The Paleolithic Dinner Plate: A lot of news coverage has been given to the Paleo Diet movement, but the idea is based on the misconception that it mimics the actual diet of the Paleolithic era. Data from bones, stones, and teeth reveal that our ancestors had no single diet and evolved to consume a generalized diet including plant and animal matter.
- Diets and Diseases: There is a deep connection between the evolution of the human diet and the rise of infectious and nutritional disease. For example, the second epidemiological transition in history, coinciding with the rise of industrialization, is characterized by a rise in chronic degenerative diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
- Time to Start Cooking: Roasting, boiling, and baking are invariably “human.” Archaeological evidence of cooking implements reveals much about how our ancestors cooked their food, and stress the idea of cooking as important to the way we eat. Cooking meat, in fact, made it easier to digest and eradicated harmful bacteria.
- More than Just Nutrition: From wine and beer to chocolate and spices, food has numerous social, cultural, and spiritual roots. Bread, for example, helped defined social status. The lightest bread was reserved for elites, while dark and heavy bread was for everyone else. Also, white bread was thought to be distinctly “American” in the early 20th century.
- Bizarre Foods: Not everything human beings eat is universally considered food. Entomophagy, the practice of eating bugs, has been around for most of human history. Placentophagy, the eating of the placenta by a mother, is still practiced. And eating psilocybin mushrooms for their hallucinogenic qualities dates back to the Aztecs.
- A World in Your Gut: Of all the body’s microbiomes, the gut has the greatest number of bacterial species that play a vital role in our health (from metabolizing our food to defending us from pathogens). Scientific data supports the idea that these gut microbes are “fellow travelers” in human evolution.
Pressing Questions and Concerns
Bringing a broad range of disciplines to these lectures, Dr. Crittenden makes Food, Science, and the Human Body an intriguing and illuminating catalog of some of the most pressing questions and concerns we have about what we eat, how we eat it, why we eat it, and how we’ll continue to eat it in the coming decades. Throughout the lectures, you will:
- Compare and contrast food-related crises in different parts of the world, from mass starvation to the obesity epidemic.
- Explore food trends and ideas, from the Mediterranean and MIND diets to the farm-to-table movement and the controversy surrounding GMOs.
- Examine how watershed moments in history, like agriculture and mass production, were both advantageous and disadvantageous to human diet and health.
- Bust common myths about how food acts on the body and mind, and come away with insights you can apply to your own everyday dinner plate.
Insights for When You’re Hungry
Dr. Crittenden has spent her entire career absorbed by the questions and issues examined throughout Food, Science, and the Human Body. “My fascination with the relationship between people and their food is one of the reasons that I’m teaching this course,” she says.
An anthropologist whose focus is on behavioral ecology and nutritional anthropology, Dr. Crittenden brings insights from her own research (among the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania) to these lectures. Her research has won multiple awards and has been published in top-tier journals and highlighted in magazines, including National Geographic and Smithsonian.
Plus, our partnership with National Geographic gives you access to a treasure trove of vibrant field photography, illustrations, timelines, maps, charts, portion diagrams, and other visual elements that add a wealth of understanding to a topic that stretches back millions of years.
This topic will continue to be of importance as long as human beings exist. And the information in Food, Science, and the Human Body will continue to resonate in your mind, every time you get hungry.
Food: A Cultural Culinary History [TTC Video]
15 February 2017, 04:20
Course No 9180 | MP4, AVC, 720x404 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 10.94GB
Eating is an indispensable human activity. As a result, whether we realize it or not, the drive to obtain food has been a major catalyst across all of history, from prehistoric times to the present. Epicure Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said it best: "Gastronomy governs the whole life of man."
In fact, civilization itself began in the quest for food. Humanity's transition to agriculture was not only the greatest social revolution in history, but it directly produced the structures and institutions we call "civilization."
In every era, the unfolding of history has been intimately tied to the need for food, the production of food, and the culture of food. In all major religions, food choice has been an integral part of religious identity. The quest for spices and exotic foodstuffs led to the European discovery of the New World, as well as to the connecting of the entire globe through trade. In 1840s Ireland a single food—the potato—changed the course of history. Modern warfare, from Napoleon's conquests to World War II, was made possible by advances in food technology.
In our own times, more people worldwide now recognize the McDonald's "golden arches" than the Christian cross. Beyond feeding our bodies, food choices and ideologies express social distinctions, as well as our values, concerns, and aspirations. For all of these reasons, food offers a deeply insightful lens on human history, shedding new light on the evolution of social and political systems, on cultural interactions, economic empires, human migrations, and more. Through food culture, we see how primary biological needs have shaped all human lives through the ages. The history of food is the history of human life at its most elemental, its most intimate, its most essential. It's also a story of ingenuity, creativity, and remarkable human behavior to rival any other aspect of culture.
In Food: A Cultural Culinary History, award-winning Professor Ken Albala of the University of the Pacific puts this extraordinary subject on the table, taking you on an enthralling journey into the human relationship to food. With this innovative course, you'll travel the world discovering fascinating food lore and culture of all regions and eras—as an eye-opening lesson in history as well as a unique window on what we eat today.
Incorporating extensive study of historical recipes, food preparation techniques from around the world, and activities you can try at home, these 36 colorful lectures take you through the entire spectrum of food history, from the cuisine of ancient Egypt to the great flowering of European cookery in the Middle Ages, and from the celebrity chefs of 18th-century France to our own Zagat- and Michelin-rated restaurant culture. Along the way, you learn in depth about food production and technology in each era; the social, economic, and political factors surrounding food culture; and thinking on diet and eating through the centuries. The result is a compelling inquiry that will change the way you look at both history and food itself.
Food as a Driver of Human History
As context for exploring humanity's remarkable food cultures, you observe the integral role of food in the unfolding of civilization. From prehistory to our own era, your study includes these seminal subjects:
- The revolutions of agriculture: Learn how agriculture arose in the prehistoric world and how it spurred the development of urban organization, political systems, social classes, militaries, and trade.
- Food and faith: Grasp how food practices became core expressions of religious faith in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, as well as in the Eastern traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism.
- 1492 and food globalization: Track the great trading empires of the Venetians, Portuguese, and Spanish, and the "Columbian exchange," where plants and animals from five continents were transplanted across the world.
- Coffee, tea, sugar, and slaves: Discover how the trade in a group of superfluous luxury items in the era of European colonialism altered the focus of the global economy.
- Eating in the Industrial Revolution: Learn how capital-intensive, mass food production in the Industrial Revolution forever changed human diet and nutrition.
- Big business and food imperialism: Observe the vast industrialization of food production in the late 19th and 20th centuries; its economic and human consequences; and the ideologies, movements, and practices that arose to oppose it.
A Global Richness of Culinary Cultures
At the heart of the course, you delve deeply into classic food traditions around the world. Among civilizations of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, your inquiry highlights these traditions:
- Status and ritual in ancient Rome: Learn how Roman food reflected social rank, wealth, and sophistication, and investigate the dining habits of the upwardly mobile as well as the gastronomic eccentricities of the emperor Heliogabalus.
- The exquisite flavors of medieval Islamic cuisine: In a culture with no injunction against pleasure, learn how the medieval Muslims' sensual dishes—richly spiced, colored, or perfumed—reflected visions of a paradise on earth.
- Aztec food culture: In this unique New World tradition, discover the Aztec way of life—the indigenous foodstuffs, eating rituals, and "signature" foods, from chilies to chocolate.
- Sumptuous dining in the Renaissance: Study the sophistication and complexity of Renaissance-era food culture in the writings of Platina, Ficino, and Messisbugo, and witness the extravagance of banquets at the court of Ferrara.
- The genesis of French haute cuisine: Grasp the aesthetics of French 17th-century cookery, based in refinement and pureness of flavors and study four Gallic cookbooks that revolutionized culinary history.
- "Scientific" cooking in the 21st century: In our own diverse era, encounter the phenomenon of "molecular gastronomy"—technology-enhanced food creations designed to titillate and amaze the palate.
A Colorful and Diverse Learning Experience
Expanding on the lectures and in-studio demonstrations of food preparation techniques, the course guidebook presents a series of 39 hands-on activities—where you can learn how to make everything from Egyptian beer to Elizabethan "Chickin Pye"—that give you direct experience of how people cooked, ate, and thought about food in past eras. You also practice medieval eating rituals, track the rich evocation of food in art, and immerse yourself in the poetic ambiance of classic Japanese dining.
Across the span of the centuries you sample important food writing from many cultures, from the world’s first surviving recipes written in cuneiform to the lavish dishes of Apicius of Rome, and from the classic medieval cookbooks of Taillevent and Chiquart to the 19th-century Guide Culinaire by Escoffier.
And, throughout the series, the lectures pulsate with surprising and intriguing details of the human adventure with food:
- Dinner knives with rounded tips were developed to reduce the threat of violence at the table.
- The English word "dinner," from the Latin disjejunare, literally means "break-fast."
- The banana, which we know as a single fruit, actually exists in hundreds of diverse varieties.
- The world's first restaurant-based food culture was Edo-era Japan.
- The separation of sweet and savory flavors that we know today is relatively recent historically. Before the 16th century, meat and fish were often cooked with sugar, fruit, and syrups.
- The Middle Ages produced some of history's most outlandish and theatrical presentations of food, such as gilded boars' heads; "invented" creatures, mixing parts of different animals; and cooked peacocks spewing flames.
Food: A Cultural Culinary History offers you an insightful and startlingly different view of our civilization that you won't find anywhere else, revealing the development of societies and cultures through the single factor that has driven human life more than any other. In the process, you discover the stunning richness of world cultures as seen in their distinctive food traditions, and greatly broaden your own enjoyment of fine food.
How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone [TTC Video]
15 February 2017, 03:41
Course No. 9721 | M4V, AVC, 640x360 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 5.41GB
Can you imagine walking out your back door to snip a few fresh chives for your baked potato? Or the satisfaction from growing that potato in the first place? Or how about plucking blueberries for your morning cereal from a container on your balcony or deck?
Growing your own food is one of the most rewarding things you can do. While starting a garden may sound intimidating to some, nearly everyone can grow a few herbs, fruits, or vegetables. And as gardening pros know, nothing beats the freshness of a crisp vegetable right off the vine, a sweet fruit plucked from the tree, or a savory herb from your window box. When you grow your own food, not only do you get the freshest food and most delicious flavor, you also get a lower grocery bill and the satisfaction of a job well done.
Best of all, gardening is something you can get started on right away:
- Grow micro-greens and sprouts year-round in a matter of weeks.
- Start growing oyster mushrooms—in your basement!
- Jump-start your local growing season by planting seeds indoors.
Whether you live on rural acreage or a city lot, virtually anyone can grow a simple garden—regardless of your skill level and busy schedule. How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone is a practical guide for cultivating fresh produce from seed to harvest. Taught by renowned horticulturalist Melinda Myers, these 12 hands-on lessons are chock full of tips and tricks for novice gardeners and green thumbs alike. Here, you’ll discover everything from materials and preparation to maintenance and harvesting, giving you all the practical knowledge you need to:
- Enjoy windowsill herbs such as chives, basil, rosemary, dill, and thyme.
- Harvest garden staples such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, pumpkins, and potatoes.
- Learn to grow nutritious and beautiful vegetables, including kale, Swiss chard, and rhubarb.
- Cultivate fruits from strawberries and raspberries to pears and plum trees.
Ms. Myers shows you the ins and outs of designing a beautiful garden to fit your space, and shares a wealth of examples to give you an idea of just what’s possible. For example, if you just want a few plants on your patio, consider the “thriller, filler, spiller” method of container gardening. Or if you live somewhere with a shorter growing season, consider planting seeds indoors and transplanting them outside when the weather warms.
Prepare Any Space for a Lush Garden
Whether you’re growing indoors or outside, preparation is the key. Ms. Myers walks you through every step of the process, including:
- Soil preparation
- Sunlight requirements
- Proper watering
You’ll discover how to repair damaged soil, convert grass to a garden, build raised beds, or simply boost the nutritional value of your growing space. She shows you eco-friendly methods for fighting pests such as hornworms, beetles, aphids, and other bugs that might munch on your fruits and veggies. Also, see how to prevent plant diseases through good watering habits and proper airflow.
Once you have your space prepared, it’s time to decide which plants to cultivate! Whether you’re interested in growing from seeds or selecting young plants from your local garden center, you’ll find out all the do’s and don’ts to maximize your garden’s productivity. You’ll get a comprehensive guide to:
- Topsoil and mulch
- Fertilizers and pest management
- Composting and other sustainable gardening practices
- Water wise gardening strategies
- Row covers, cold frames, and greenhouses to extend the season
Throughout the course, you’ll unpack key terms you need to know, including “indeterminate” versus “determinate,” “heirloom,” and more. Ms. Myers also provides a dazzling array of creative solutions to build the ideal garden for your space—including ways to tap into a neighborhood co-op or community garden.
Practical Tips and Hands-on Tricks
As she guides you through the process, Ms. Myers offers enthusiastic, can’t-go-wrong advice to get novice gardeners started—as well as professional tips and tricks that will surprise and inspire experienced gardeners. For instance, everyone will appreciate her time-saving tips, like a five-minute plan for weeding, to keep gardening fun rather than a chore.
Along the way, she gives you the case study of her own garden, filmed on location in Wisconsin. As an added bonus, she brings some of her projects right into the studio. You’ll see demonstrations of planting micro-greens, learn to build a worm composter, and more. In keeping with the practical, workshop nature of these lessons, the course guidebook is a handy resource you can take into the field to help with your own gardening efforts.
In no time at all, you’ll experience the myriad benefits of gardening, which feed your body and soul. Whether you simply want to grow herbs for your homemade spaghetti sauce or you dream of cultivating a dazzling orchard, How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone offers everything you need to grow fresh food right outside—or inside—your home.