Although it’s impossible to say which food is the oldest, honey is certainly a contender. Early man enjoyed this sweet sticky treat as much as we do today, although he wouldn’t have been spreading it over toast or using it to make honey bread.
There is a rock painting in Valencia, Spain, which is 8000 years old and depicts a man taking honey from a wild bee colony. Back then smoke was used to subdue the bees then the rocks or tree opened and the colony was destroyed. People have not only enjoyed eating honey but also used it to fix their wounds and bathed in it since history started being recorded.
Honeycomb was discovered by architects in Egypt. It had been buried with the pharaohs in their tombs and – guess what – the honey was still edible! That’s right. Apart from Jell-O, honey is the only food which keeps forever and never goes bad. The land of Israel was called ‘the land of milk and honey’ in the Bible’s Old Testament. God gave Jacob honey from the rock Honey is also mentioned in the Koran, Talmud and Scrolls of the Orient.
A Key Food from Early Man to Today
Honey is an organic natural sugar which is easy to digest and is additive-free. Go back to the days of the cavemen and you will understand how carbs and fat were vital to survival but unfortunately not always easy to find. Early man loved the sweetness of honey and the fact its sugar levels would keep microorganisms from existing. Also it wouldn’t spoil so it could be kept pretty much indefinitely. Today of course bees have been domesticated so we can produce our own honey.
The Egyptians kept bees in cylindrical unbaked hardened mud pots around 4000 BC. They were stacked in rows to make a bank and some hives were moved down the Nile to follow the blossoms. The Greeks also kept bees but they baked their mud pots and called honey ‘nectar from the gods’. Hollow logs were hung from trees in Africa and actually that hive design is still used today. Skeps, wooden rectangular boxes and woven cylinders were also used for beekeeping. The Langstroth movable bee frame was invented in 1851 in Philadelphia.
Why We Need Bees
Bees can survive all kinds of conditions and thrive from the Arctic Circle to the equator. Most domestic bees are the descendants of a small number of queen bees from Africa and Europe. One sobering thought about bees is that if they disappeared tomorrow we would only have 4 years until experiencing severe food shortages. Bees pollinate various fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes.