At the Linkedin MuseumLink group, there is an interesting discussion going on about food and museums.
One of the discussion members directed the following comment at me: “The ethnographic food included hairless dogs, guinea pigs, lizards, fish, as well as the more usual corn, beans and other vegetables. Where do you draw the line between medicine, herbs and food? They are often added to improve diet, flavour, digestion and prevent illness. Cannibalism may have been practised by other cultures like the Moche at north Peru sites.”
In fact I hardly draw a line between herbs, medicine and food. I have included herbs as a formal culinary specialty and medical application as a perspective (on food and herbs). On the other hand, I did not include “humans” yet into the categorie of edible animals, though cannibalism is completely valid subject, when looking at the human eating habits. Will create a solution for that.
I use the following definition of food (not sure who’s the source, not me) “everything a human can eat without dying”. For eating, you should read “enter into his/her digestive system”, but that makes the definition too long. This eliminates all cultural aspects of not “wanting” to eat something and allows us to have an open view at the eating habits of people in other times and places.