With now a week into our first journey, I’ve had much time to ponder how many ‘first world problems’ our Chesapeake Semester group has discussed in a joking manner. Although lighthearted remarks between us students, we often forget how lucky we really are in this day and age.
Journey one was kicked off by a camping trip at Chino Farms, a 5,000 acre plot of land with many different ecosystems. During this time, Dr. Schindler accompanied us on an evening of gathering food and making a shelter from natural materials found on Chino Farms. Getting down and dirty, our group dug cattail roots out of the mud in the river, gathered various plants such as sassafras roots and prickly pair cactus (which is, in fact, very prickly). We roasted femurs of cows by the fire, cracked them open with rocks, and drank the bone marrow. Our dinner consisted of duck, rabbit, and squirrel meat, squash, and the other plants we gathered. Preparing dinner took a few hours. While sitting around the fire, a few of us began talking about our new found appreciation of today’s ‘easy living.’ Collecting, gathering, and preparing our dinner that day was exhausting, though well worth our efforts. However, diving deeper into questioning early humans diets and lifestyles, what we collected that day would not have sufficed for us to live off. The cattail roots had the most amount of calories out of all the plants we gathered but in order to sustain many people over an extended period of time, there might not be enough cattails in a given area.
When we visited Williamsburg, we discussed how the new colonies were dependent on Britain for imports of food and many materials. Hardly being able to provide for themselves, the colonists, or their slaves, had to cook for hours in order to make dinner for the family.
Today we have food at the ready at any given moment. Easy cook dinners, restaurants to prepare food for us, and supermarkets where we can purchase most, if not all, food desires, are located in superfluous amounts. Although not the healthiest of all options, these convenience options fit within our quickly moving society. Little attention is payed towards the quality of food we eat or by what means it’s acquired. Years ago, early humans ate food based on not just convenience, but by what could sustain survival. They ate the calories needed for them to flourish. Today, humans eat based on convenience and what type of diet is the new trend. Disregarding how healthy the food we eat today is, we do not have to worry about foraging for our own food. We overlook how easy it is for us to obtain food, and after an experience like the one we had with Dr. Schindler, I now question where, when, and how we obtain food.