Why do anthropologists believe either Bread or Beer kickstarted farming?


Beer I can understand: humans will go to great lengths for drugs/alcohol, and with a growing tolerance I could see how moving from place to place looking for fermented fruit wouldn’t suffice.

Bread I don’t know why bread in particular would start the work investment needed just to create food. It’s not mindblowingly delicious but does require some devoted time/chemistry. Why wouldn’t ancestors simply move from place to place in search of other food, compared to the timely and difficult process of farming?


EDIT: thank you for the thoughtful responses! The longevity of it/hard tack makes absolute sense. I felt there was something obvious about bread in particular that I was missing. Easy grain to farm + longevity of the food = invest in farming for food. Thanks!

In: 2

Farming kickstarted the idea of what we think of as society specifically because it allowed us to stop moving to get our food. A stable food source leads to population growth which leads to everything to put it as simply as possible

I’ve never heard this theory

Everything I’ve been taught about early farming was because communities developed and it was a way to guarantee a large stock food throughout the seasons hunting (including fishing) and gathering became difficult due to migrational habits and season changes altering the available food supply. Some tribes of people were more eager to settle down sooner than others as it was a strategy to increase birth and mortality rates. Numbers count and if you were pushed out of your territory by other groups of humans it’s only natural to think of ways to repopulate in such a way it was less likely to happen again (loss of homeland)

Bread is easy to transport and doesnt go bad as fast as say fruit or fresh meat.

Bread also can be cooked into something like Hard Tack which is basically bread jerky and that stuff never goes bad.

So its two very easy things to make out of a pretty simple thing to farm.

Because bread lasts longer than uncooked grain.

You now have a food source that can last for a couple of days instead of needing to basically be eaten the same day that it’s picked.

Since humans like to know that we have food having one food source that can last a couple of days after being cooked is going to lead humans to try cooking everything.

Experimenting with things that you can only acquire if you foraging is tedious and time-consuming so the humans will almost certainly start to try to farm these other plants they’re trying to figure out how to cook.

Keep going in that thread but fast forward a few thousand years and boom McDonald’s.