Foodways is the study of the “cultural, social and economic practices relating to the production and consumption of food.” It includes a historical dimension and is a tool for penetrating back into the past. Dietary patterns change slowly. Invasions bring new food customs. A study of what our ancestors ate can reveal some things not written down, identify connections not otherwise apparent, and sometimes can penetrate much further into the past than written history. Historians learn what people ate through a study of the writings of the oldest cultures. Archaeologists look at buried kitchens, pottery, grind marks on teeth and knives, and garbage dumps—known as middens or bone piles.
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