National Geographic magazine has been focusing on food this year. Beginning in May, they have published a wealth of stories in print and online that explore our complex relationship with what we eat and where our food comes from.

To coincide with its ‘Story of Food’ series, the magazine has created an interactive website to accompany each episode. Here’s a taster of what you’ll find:

Carnivores

This episode explores how our earliest encounters with cooking, in particular meat, drastically altered human development, enabling us to gain more energy with less effort. We learn about the industrialisation of meat production and how the relationship between meat, wealth and status led to higher levels of meat consumption – something very much felt today with the combination of population growth and rising incomes around the world. Following the creation of the first lab-grown burger in 2013, what does the future of meat production have in store?

Baked and buzzed

Foraging has made a comeback in recent years but before agriculture took root we were all hunter gatherers. Discover how the shift from hunting and gathering to farming came about and how the first tools of the trade led us to cultivate crops. Michael Pollan features in a short video hailing bread as the first convenience food. It is estimated that, at one time, half the calories in the average European’s diet came from bread – they lived on this ‘staff of life’. Unfortunately our modern day version of bread is not half so sustaining.

Hooked on seafood

Seafood sustained explorers both on land and at sea but it wasn’t long before the problems of overfishing rose to the surface, beginning with whales for their blubber in the 1800s. The birth of the Great British classic, fish and chips, did little to dampen our appetites with more than 229 million portions of fish and chips consumed in England every year. But it’s not too late to turn the tide on our overindulgence of this precious resource.

Food revolutionaries

These are the people who have shaped the way we think about food and transform our buying, eating and cooking habits. They include the traders who changed our cuisine through the early spice trade, the cooks who developed the TV dinner and the chefs who revolutionised the way we prepare meals at home.

Guilty pleasures

We discover how processed food conquered our kitchens. Following the end of World War Two, another battle began… for our stomachs. Convenience food took over and with the development of the US national highway system in the 1950s, fast food also arrived on the scene. Learn about the food manufacturers’ tricks and the complex task of balancing nutrition and taste.

Explore the story of food by visiting www.natgeoeat.com

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