January 6th, 2021
Hello and welcome to your turn with English.
The situation is still rather difficult, but we will try to make the best of it. In our first meeting, as with all groups, we will have to get to know each other a bit (which will be a little more difficult under face masks, so I will need longer to match names with faces).
I will provide you with a list of questions we will go through together and talk about. In addition, I would like you to fill the questionnaire out at home at hand it in.
You find the course description under the page Introduction.
At the end of our first meeting we ran out of time a little so I would like to go back to showing you some of the online things you can do and the list of resources you find here on my blog.
Then we will look at some food images and practice food vocabulary with their help. I will show you some food pyramids for you to describe and compare, and I would like you to explain what nutritional concepts seem to underlie each one of them.
In connection with this, I copied a text you will find below. Depending on how things develop and how much time we have, we might just read it together or I will send it to you for homework, because I would like go back to TED talks and show you around that page a little. The list of presentations is vast and it is easy to get lost. This is why you find some playlists where people put together a limited list of talks related to a specific topic. I checked one out on FOOD.
Besides that you find a smaller list of talks I put together under Resources and Recommendations for our classes, all of which I have watched and discussed with one or the other group.
After class: We watched a five minute video by Chinese food activist Mathilda Ho. She has a slight Chinese accent so you probably didn’t understand everything. Watch and listen again with subtitles and check the transcript for unknown words and expressions.
Little extra task: go to TED, find the alphabetical list of topics, go to health and find a talk about digestion.
Pages, material and resources for our first online meeting, January 13:
Food image1 (fruits and vegetables)
Food image2 (meat and dairy)
Food sporcles are just a fun way of reviewing food vocabulary. They don’t take much time so you can always squeeze one in if you like them. (The free version of sporcle is loaded with ads, which is why I bought a subscription for four Euro a month.)
We will review some food vocabulary, then take a closer look at the text below that I sent you as a word file. If time allows, we will start with an overview of the English verb structure system (commonly called tenses).
For those of you who would like to do more than we can manage in class, I strongly recommend that you explore the resources listed on the page above. Many have mentioned as a topic they would like to do dietary consultation. Here I recommend the page Health Literacy. As this is an original source, you might feel it to be too difficult. However, give it a try. I will provide (adapted) material from this page in later sessions.
The Real Caveman Diet
Did people eat fruits and vegetables in prehistoric times?
By BRIAN PALMER
FEB 21, 2012 6:12 PM
Russian scientists claim to have grown a plant from the fruit of an arctic flower that froze 32,000 years ago in the Arctic. That’s about the same time the last Neanderthals roamed the Earth. This particular plant doesn’t produce an edible fruit analogous to an apple or nectarine, but rather a dry capsule that holds its seeds. Did hominids eat fruit and veggies during the Neanderthal era?
They definitely ate fruit. Last year, paleoanthropologists found bits of date stuck in the teeth of a 40,000-year-old Neanderthal. There is evidence that several of the fruits we enjoy eating today have been around for millennia in much the same form. For example, archeologists have uncovered evidence of 780,000-year-old figs at a site in Northern Israel, as well as olives, plums, and pears from the paleolithic era. Researcher have also dug up grapes that appear to be 7 million years old in northeastern Tennessee (although, oddly, the grapes are morphologically more similar to today’s Asian varieties than the modern grapes considered native to North America). Apple trees blanketed Kazakhstan 30,000 years ago, oranges were common in China, and wild berries grew in Europe. None of these fruits were identical to the modern varieties, but they would have been perfectly edible.
Vegetables are a different story. Many of the ones we eat today have undergone profound changes at the hands of human farmers. Consider the brassicas: Between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago, humans took a leafy green plant and, by selecting for different characteristics, began to transform it into several different products. Modern kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi are all members of the same species, derived from a single prehistoric plant variety. Wild carrots may predate human agriculture, but they’re unpalatable and look nothing like the cultivated variety. The earliest domesticated carrots were probably purple, and the orange carrot emerged in the 17th century. While legumes predate the dawn of man, modern green beans are a human invention.
It’s not altogether clear why fruits have changed less than vegetables, but it might have something to do with their evolutionary purpose. Plants developed sugary fruits millions of years ago so that sweet-toothed mammals would gobble them up and disseminate the seeds. By the time hominids descended from the African tree canopy, delicious fruits were widely available with no need for artificial selection. Since vegetables gain nothing from being eaten, they didn’t experience the same pressure to evolve delectable roots, stems, and leaves.
Just because there are some paleolithic fruits in production today doesn’t mean you can easily mimic the paleolithic diet. Modern apples, dates, figs, and pears aren’t necessarily nutritionally equivalent to their late Stone Age ancestors. Selection by humans has made them larger and sweeter, and may have caused other chemical changes. Ancient man also ate plants that you can’t find at a grocery store, like ferns and cattails. His relative dietary proportions of meats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables are in dispute, and probably varied significantly with location. Some paleoanthropologists also believe hunter-gatherers ate a far wider variety of foods than modern man, each in a smaller quantity, to minimize the risk of poisoning.