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What did Europeans eat 10,000 years ago?

Around 10,000 years ago, Europe was transitioning from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to an agricultural one. This period, known as the Neolithic period, witnessed the introduction of farming practices and the domestication of plants and animals. As a result, the diet of Europeans during this time underwent significant changes. Here are some key elements of the diet during that period:

  1. Cereal Grains: With the advent of agriculture, Europeans began cultivating cereal grains such as wheat, barley, oats, and rye. These grains were ground into flour and used to make bread, porridge, and other grain-based foods.
  2. Legumes: Legumes, including lentils, peas, and beans, were cultivated and consumed as a source of protein and nutrients.
  3. Domesticated Animals: Europeans started domesticating animals for various purposes, including meat, milk, and other dairy products. Cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs were among the commonly domesticated animals during this period.
  4. Fruits and Vegetables: Cultivation of fruits and vegetables increased, providing a wider variety of options. Apples, pears, plums, cherries, peas, onions, cabbage, and various herbs were grown and incorporated into the diet.
  5. Wild Game and Fish: Although the reliance on hunting decreased with the rise of agriculture, Europeans still consumed wild game, such as deer, boar, and birds, as well as fish sourced from rivers, lakes, and coastal areas.
  6. Honey and Foraged Foods: Europeans continued to gather and consume wild foods such as berries, nuts, mushrooms, and wild herbs. Honey was also collected from wild beehives and used as a natural sweetener.
  7. Fish and Seafood: Coastal communities relied on fish and other seafood as an important protein source.
  8. Wild Berries: Wild berries such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries were gathered for their nutritional value.
  9. Nuts: Hazelnuts, walnuts, and other nuts were collected and consumed, providing a source of healthy fats and proteins.
  10. Roots and Tubers: Wild roots and tubers, such as wild carrots, parsnips, and tuberous plants like water chestnuts, were gathered and eaten.
  11. Wild Greens: Various wild greens, such as nettles, dandelion leaves, and wild spinach, were foraged and added to meals.
  12. Cereal Grains: The cultivation of cereal grains, including wheat, barley, and millet, began during this time, and they became staple foods in some regions.
  13. Legumes: The cultivation of legumes, such as peas, lentils, and broad beans, also became more prevalent, providing a source of protein.
  14. Dairy Products: As early farming communities started to domesticate animals, they began to consume dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.
  15. Honey: Honey was gathered from wild beehives and used as a sweetener and food source.

The transition to an agricultural society brought about significant changes in the European diet, with an increasing emphasis on cultivated crops, domesticated animals, and settled farming communities. This period laid the foundation for the development of the diverse cuisines that are seen in Europe today.

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