What have we learned about the Silk Route trading system and food?
1. That people know very little about their own history let alone history in a broader context. This leads to xenophobia and sometimes just outright stupidity. Many people (I won’t mention any names) who read the bible know exactly less than zero about the real history of their faith and the world views that they have inherited. Both have lead to things like killing people over sugar, spices and hot wings.
2. That when people become more connected the world get’s much scarier and harder to navigate. We like to hold up globalization as the pinnacle of modernity, believing that social exchange will lead to a better life. In reality, globalization leads to a lack of diversity, massive changes in social structure and rampant disease. In short, it leads to a lower quality of life for many people over all. But, paradoxically, at the same time it is an important factor in creating or re-creating diversity.
3. That our ‘culture’ is not actually ours and that our ‘cuisine’ is not actually specific to us. And our culture and our cuisine are much more influential than we give them credit for. The entire world has been changed for want of a cup of tea.
4. That those who are most successful in adapting to rapid change are those who were willing to accept other religions, world-views and food stuffs. The ironic situation, which we can see from Buddhism and potatoes, is that when an indigenous aspect of local area is threaten by global change, sometimes those aspects are best “preserved” by exporting it. Take note all you who believe that your traditional social values will be damaged by including foreigners in your economies and families – you are statically and historically incorrect.
5. That our biology is a product of exposure just as much as it is a product of genetics. When we evolve biological taste preferences based on exposure to certain poisons or to get rid of certain bacteria we change our biology, yet as individuals we imagine that our inherited preferences are concrete. What we will find when we voluntarily expose ourselves to other people, places or things, is that we will change, both mentally and physically. It seems to me that our real preference is for survival.
6. Human beings are a lot like weeds and fungus.
Most importantly – what does this tell us about how we are living our lives right now and about our futures? That answer will be different for each of us. Maybe it’s time for you to re-assess your inherited world-view, or your personal-experiential views, or who you associate with (or don’t) or how you eat. Think about it. Here’s something that might help:
Young Lowell Beveridge comes from an extended family of politically conservative, Ivy League educated teachers who summer altogether on the coast of Maine. In 1954, fresh out of Harvard, an athlete and a historian, and now a conscripted private in the US Army, Beveridge takes a bold step: he marries an African American woman from Harlem. It is the height of McCarthyism and he is already on the government’s radar as a suspected Communist.
This book is a revelation, a personal and family saga at the very center of what became a crucial and convulsive stage in the political and cultural development of the United States. Told simply, with clarity and grace, it’s a moving story of a search for love and peace, of a family torn apart, and a country in the throes of change. – http://domesticdiversity.com/