It is true that food has been used to satisfy the many and complex needs of human beings. The nutritional needs of humans have been met through the nutrients that humans extract from the meals that they have. It is true that needs such as temperature regulation, sleep and arousal, sickness, reproductive needs and control needs related to food ways are well explained. Sexual needs, on the other hand, depend much more on other things as compared to their relation to food. This is because sexual needs are more dependent on environment and culture than the diet of individuals.
It is, however, true that food is a means to many ends. Food is used as a means of communication, for example, throwing a tomato or egg to a politician. It is also used to reassure hence preparation of meals when we receive visitors or when we are celebrating something. Food is also used to affirm religious faith. Followers of a religion consume or do not consume certain foods in accordance with their religious beliefs. Social construction is also an idea that I agree with to some extent; this is because people have different beliefs concerning foods and they eat what they eat for reasons best known to them.
When it comes to human senses, the senses that are related to food are those of taste and smell. In the study of food, E.N Anderson is of the opinion that taste and smell is one and the same thing. This does not apply in all scientific studies because the smell of rose flowers does not correspond to its taste. Though rose flowers have a sweet scent, their taste is unpleasant. However, when it comes to food, the two have no difference because food vapors ascend through the nasopharynx from the nose to the mouth to be analyzed. To understand the taste of a dish, we have to smell that dish.
The taste preferences of individuals, I do agree, are a bio-cultural phenomenon to some extent. This is for instance true in the case of Indians who find certain scents to be pleasant to them because of their culture and the way they are used by them. These scents, however, are not acceptable or rather perceived to be pleasant to people of a different culture. The above theory can be challenged in the cases of scents that are perceived to be universally pleasant and accepted by all irrespective of their culture. For example, spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, sage and myrrh.
Spices and herbs can be explained to be accepted by most as pleasant because of the wide uses they have found. When these are perceived to be of medicinal and culinary value, they are accepted by the mind because we perceive them to be more helpful than harmful. We put spices in dishes, especially meat dishes because we believe them to have almost total destructive qualities to food-poisoning bacteria. This I agree with because spices are essential ingredients of antiseptic, insecticides and medicines. However, apart from spices being food medicines, they are strong and can be harmful in fragile stages of human development such as the embryo. This has been found to be the reason why pregnant women dislike spiced foods because of the perceived harm to their babies.
In my opinion, the development of flavors is disadvantageous for the food industry; this is because it has corrupted the natural nutrient value of the spice or food or herb from which the flavor has been extracted. The presence of chemicals in food has not only corrupted succulent taste but also exposed the human being consuming it to diseases and harmful bacteria. The use of chemicals signals some of the vices of evolution. In the effort to have a constant supply, the use of genetic modification has also done harm.
The three theories explaining agricultural development (evolution) explain how human beings came to start farming. Sauer’s theory is debatable since agricultural developments are mostly done in order to increase what we have. It is also true that efforts are made to acquire what we have. MacNash and Childe bring in an important aspect of the revolution- trade. This trade came about due to location advantages that were associated with production of certain foods. This brought about the aspect of economics where the focus shifted from maximum nutrients from minimum input to maximum income from minimum expenditure. It is, therefore, true that shifts in food ways often come from ecological or economic changes.
It is also true that technology has not developed enough; further technological advances would be useful in enabling us to retain more of the natural benefits of the engineered food. Further research and development in agriculture will enable us to minimize on the vices and maximize the benefits.