How The Potato Changed the World and Altered the Course of History

Without the discovery of sailing, keeping food edible for multiple months (at sea), X and Y – we would’ve even have gotten to Z.  But we wouldn’t have discovered X without first discovering W…

Of course a lot of things might’ve happened (or not happened) because the potato got introduced to Europe, but the same can be said about months-long travel by ship, or the fact that wood can float if built in the shape of a ship etc. etc.

It’s a cool thing to say, for sure, that the potato has created our current world, but it just seems very weird to me to claim stuff like that.

Here is How Dinner Changed Over the Last 100 Years

At three minutes long, it’s not going to show a lot.  There’s no narration either.

Though it’s only one meal per time period, 1915 suggests the simplicity due to probably both resources (food and kitchen).  The TV dinner makes an appearance, and towards the end – multiculturalism becomes apparent with tacos and sushi after that.  We’ve known for a while about tortillas and salsa are outselling previously popular fast food like burgers

Your DNA Can Teach Us About Ancient History

Earlier this year, researchers from Oxford University published a study showing how the slave trade and colonization shaped the genetics of North and South America.

Analyzing more than 4,000 DNA samples from across both continents, as well as Europe and Africa, they were able to detect patterns in line with what historians knew about migrations across the Atlantic.

Source: What Your DNA Says About Medieval History

I’d like to know who was slumming around with the Neanderthals. Do you think the cave ladies got tired of their uptight cavemen? Maybe the cavemen partied with Neanderthal hotties!

It’s research like this that has allowed us to determine when Y-chromosomal Adam existed, and that a handful of Bronze age men could have fathered 2/3rds of the European population.

How Learning to Swim Changed Over the Course of American History

Now that the dog days of July have arrived, you’ve probably given some thought to taking a dip. But first, you might consider some beach tips from a pair of books—both from the historical medical collection here at the New York Academy of Medicine, published in 1818 and 1918—once used to teach swimming. Of course, some advice has aged better than others.

Source: How Learning to Swim Changed Over the Course of American History

It’s an interesting read, to see how complete the instruction books were for the time period.  I do think swimming is one of the life skills you need to learn.  It was highlighted for our local community recently because there were a few drownings in the past year by tourists.  The local lakes and parks haven’t had lifeguards for as long as I’ve been a kid, but then drowning is silent (contrary to TV/movie/media).

Lots of people I’ve met have used swimming training for triathlon to address & conquer their fear of the water.  To my knowledge, they are largely successful.  One found out they loved open water swimming – they just waited for everyone to leave before starting off.  This person was finding that swimming in a pool was triggering her anxiety now, but she still doesn’t quite understand what the trigger is.  Lots I know do not like swimming through weeds, which can happen in open water.  Meh – it’s unnerving for a moment when you touch one but it’s not likely to get tangled & cause problems.

How the Tudors Invented Breakfast

In the Middle Ages, the nation that was to give the world the full English widely skipped breakfast. Yet, by 1600, a culinary non-entity had become a key part of our daily routine. Why the change? Ian Mortimer investigates.

Source: How the Tudors invented breakfast

You’ll find out the different between “dinner” and “supper”, at least as they originally were.  The article doesn’t mention the Continental breakfast, but you can see the evolution from the “travellers breakfast”.

Nonsensical Restaurant Terms Explained

Ever heard a restaurant employee shouting about weeds or fire or all day and wondered just what the hell they were talking about? Turns out, they’re not actually hallucinating,* and the random phrases actually have specific, important meanings.

Source: Here’s What All Those Nonsensical Restaurant Terms Mean

When in doubt, urban dictionary has definitions for words, terms and acronyms.  But no history/etymology like the article.