Thursday, 14 March 2013
Tree roots, meat and water
So how did hunter gatherers survive the rest of the year when fruits, nuts and vegetables didn't appear? What if they couldn't find enough meat? The answer is, they ate a rich diet of tree roots, insects, fish and eggs, and then meat (the prize), fruit, nuts and vegetables in limited times. I'll give a scenario of what it could've been like alone without hunting skills.
It's okay to eat tree roots as long as it's cooked, especially boiled. Any germs or toxins will be killed off in the heat anyway. Most tree roots, bulbs and tubers are safe to eat when its cooked.
Here are good edible plant roots:
Banana and Plantai trees
Kapok or cotton trees
I've written here a story about a girl on her own in the wilderness, and harsh reality bites. It's set after the Ice Age, but before the spread of farming.
"Lost in the Stone Age"
By Rayna a.k.a. Rana Ulfa
Her name was Sky and she found herself alone again, this time without the help of her brothers and their dog. They were all lost during a terrible disaster with forest fires and cracks opening in the ground. She ran and ran, not thinking if they were with her. It wasn't until she escaped the region, entering a new terrain of rocks and grass that she realised her loss. For days she'd been walking, tired and hungry. It hadn't even rained. Her stomach ached. Most of the time she slept under her fur coat, or she continued walking away from the angry zone. Sky was sure she'd find someone again. As days went by, she couldn't walk anymore. Exhausted, burning, tired and pains in her body, she sat down beside a rock and fell into another of her day sleeps. Then something hit her. It was rainfall, with big heavy drops pelting her. She felt excited and raised out her cupped hands. Tiny pools of water formed in her hands which she drank She needed a bowl and a cup but didn't have any. She started drinking from the stony surface of the rocks. She made a little semi circle of stones in the hope that this would contain enough rain water to drink more. She tried again and again but water seeped out through the gaps. So she dug a small hole in the dirty ground. Then she pushed in a lot of stones to cover the dirt, until a tiny pool of rain water collected in there. This was how she managed to keep water for a while, but soon the rain stopped.
Sky left the place to move on. She planned to build little water pools in future until she could make her own wooden bowl. So far, she hadn't come across any trees. Filled by the water, this kept her going a while. Then one day the stomach pains returned, so did the tiredness. She slept beneath her fur coat on open grass under a cold starlit sky. She woke shivering in the frosty morning, despite her fur blanket. She put on her fur coat, laced up her boots and set off. She was so cold that the only thing to do was exercise, and she ran. This made her build some sweat but after a while it made her feel unwell. Then she noticed a thing move near some brambles. It was a calf. Her heart pounded and she got closer. She could smell the creature's warmth but it noticed her and was frightened of Sky. It ran away and she was too weak to catch up. So Sky kept low and the calf returned through the bushes, but not close enough for her to grab. She waited calmly, but the calf didn't get near. It didn't see her. Sky followed it wherever it went. She'd followed the calf for hours going across hillocks, mud, grassy terrain and through a new place with trees. She didn't care about the that for now. She wanted to eat this calf. Sky ended up stalking the calf until nightfall. The calf entered a clearing through the woods and this was full of large horned beasts. They were mostly adults and these were ferocious aurochs. Sky panicked. She couldn't get anywhere near the calf anymore, and so she retreated into the woods. She didn't want to be cold, and she covered herself over with the fur coat and plenty of leaves.
The following morning wasn't so cold. Sky listened to some birds, and she climbed a small tree with low branches. She wanted to reach the birds nest and steal the eggs for food. Then a fierce mother eagle swooped down and attacked her. Sky screamed and fell off the tree. She managed to get away but she'd broken her ankle. Sky knew she was close to death.
She found herself by a stream and couldn't see any fish. She cried herself to sleep. When she woke up, she followed her instincts now. She went over to a small bushy plant and pulled it up. The roots came out of the earth. She thanked the earth mother. She picked off the brambles, twigs and leaves, keeping only the roots, biting some of the thin stalks off. Then she kept the roots and decided to cook it as this was the only way she was able to eat it. Her brothers cooked the tree roots into mash. She needed to make a small fire first. She'd seen her brothers do this. She found two sticks, then made a hollow, rimming it with some stones and she rubbed the sticks together, blowing. When little flames caught, she added the pieces of the shrub she'd picked off earlier to make the fire grow bigger. Then she made herself warm. For days, Sky lived in the woods, making fires and cooking roots of trees and shrubs. She'd found fallen pieces of wood and from those she carved out bowls. She used sharp stones and obsidian to help her make things. Sky learned a lot from her brothers and while she survived in the woods, she hoped to see them again one day. Sky didn't want to be there anymore so she carried her tools with her and went off to find a cave to keep sheltered from the elements. Sky continued on under the moonlight, following the delicious scent of meat in the hope also she would catch up with that auroch.
So my view is that the most people ate long ago, was simply Tree roots, meat and water They had to if there was nothing else available. If no meat was there, the bark, twigs and roots of a tree were eaten. .