Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat
In twelve delightfully detailed chapters, science journalist Marta Zaraska reveals how we have become so fixated on meat in our diets. From the onset of life as microbes engulfed other microbes, the body’s demand for sustenance evolved into devouring both plants and animals. Religions, customs, rulers, topography, and geography frequently dictated the diet. Wealthier and more powerful countries tended to consume more meat—be it pork, cow, sheep, dog, horse, rat, fowl, or fish. The more carnivorous selection by the early hunter-gatherer is credited for enabling the increase in brain size. The umami component of meat seduced the consumer with its appealing protein flavor. However, plants also possess this umami essence especially in soy products, therefore vegetarians can also harvest this special quality in foods. Now with our increasing concern regarding meat consumption and its possible association with the incidence of diabetes, heart problems, cancer, and possibly obesity, dietary changes towards a plant diet seem indicated. Such a change would reduce cattle raising and reduce water demands, pollution, and global warming. Read the fascinating stories of cultural influences on eating habits, novel recipes shaping soy veggies into pseudo-steaks and burgers, and lab grown meat on petri dishes, along with the horror stories of how animals are treated. The contents are engrossing.