People Share Their "How Did Our Ancestors Discover This Was Edible" Moments

Do you a side of bread for this?

It's one thing to be a foodie. It's another thing to put your life at risk because you're a little hungry and you want to be adventurous. How did our people learn what we could and could not consume? Who exactly discovered what seasonings paired perfectly with things? Who was the brave who learned for us that ketchup should always be on a fry? Deep thoughts friends. Deep thoughts.

Redditor u/maniacz2 had a really good life question we never really think about by asking.... What food has made you wonder, "How did our ancestors discover that this was edible?"

WTF?! Is correct! 


Kiviak - 500 Whole Auks (small bird) stuffed into a seal skin made air tight with the seals fat then left outside under rocks for 3 months.. mostly eaten on birthdays or at weddings.

Who the hell did this and thought "This will be a tasty snack in a few months?"

It's polite to eat it outside and it's considered good when it makes your eyes sting. It's never cooked and you just pull a bird out and start chowing down. WTF vj4

Don't be bitter....

Wild "bitter" Almonds have a significant amount of Cyanide in them. Whatever tribe in the Middle East that decided to keep breeding them and eating them anyway until they cultivated a non-poisonous cultivar was brave as hell. Or desperate. TofuDeliveryBoy

No, NO, Nonya...

This underground nut that is used in Nonya cooking. It's poisonous but you can eat it after it has been stored underground covered in ash for God knows how long. Buah kaluk I think it's called. BadUnker

Feel like I'm gonna ask what Nunya is and get a response like "nunya business kiddo." Amadeus420

I'm Flushed....


It's made from sharks which usually are not edible. IIRC that's because they lack bladders, so all the nasty stuff accumulates instead of getting flushed out. Do your own research though, if you want to know for sure.

As a matter of fact, however, it can't be eaten unless you:

  • gut and decapitate it
  • bury it
  • place stones on top to squish the shark and press the nasty stuff out
  • leave it alone for 1-3 months
  • dig out the corpse and cut it into stripes
  • air the stripes for another 3-4 months
  • remove the brown crust

Sounds delicious, huh? TheBoldMove

You're too Puffy....


A bunch of people must have died from eating pufferfish and instead of stopping they just thought "Nah we just have to figure out exactly how to eat this thing." jonathanspicoli

In one prefecture they figured out that you can pickle fugu ovaries in rice bran for 3 years and it will remove the toxicity. I wonder if they just pickled the ovaries and had people periodically taste test it and when people stopped dying they were like, "Aight it's ok to eat." OMothmanWhereArtThou

Very Saffy....

Saffron, who the hell figured out that the stamen from a specific crocus flower, when picked and dried then steeped in warm liquids was going to be delicious? zowlingball

Easy. At first they wanted to extract the color and use it to dye stuff. Then they discovered that it also tastes good. Freevoulous

I'll take them scrambled....

Century eggs. Take duck eggs. Wrap them in hay and mud and ashes (legend has it horse urine used to be used too, because it's alkaline). Wait a few weeks / months. Break them open whereupon they are grey and jellylike and pungent smelling slightly of ammonia. Boil and eat.

I love them, but I really have to wonder who thought that eating them was a good idea in the first place. Or perhaps, how hungry they were that eating them seemed like a good idea. nogardleirie

Don't Swallow....

Cashew nuts. The shell is poisonous, the oil from the shell is poisonous, the nut is ok. If you pick one, shell it and eat it you will get a poison ivy type reaction everywhere it touched you.

Potatoes, the leaves are poisonous, the weird bubbly crap on the roots is fine, but only if you cook them. Wild potatoes can make you quite sick eaten raw. HoodsInSuits

Baking in the Woods....

The answer is always grains. I can't figure out how our ancestors discovered that prehistoric varieties of wheat or barley were edible. klod42

People probably saw an animal baking bread and figured it was safe to eat. OftheGates

Why poop?


Civet coffee. Although more of a recent discovery (18th century). But who in their right mind decided, "I'm going to make coffee with this animal's poop!"?!! pommomwow

Arabian herders saw their goats eating coffee berries and acting energized afterwards. People began eating the berries. It took a long time before they learned to just boil the bean. DavidPT40

Pass the pepper.... 

Regular salt. You are eating a mineral. I get it that it was very critical to conserve meats back then but still I don't get how people can enjoy eating it or how the hell they figured it was edible and meat preserving. rodrigo_sth

Strawberries forever! 


Not so much edibility, but...lemme back up a little here.

When you see "natural flavors" in an ingredients list, it doesn't mean that the flavor represented actually came from the supposed source, just that the source is natural and not a man-made chemical (which would be artificial flavoring). Some natural grape flavor isn't from grapes, for instance, it's from mold.

With me so far? It gets even better.

One fairly common natural flavoring is strawberry flavor which is derived from the anal glands of beavers. So who was the first guy to eat a beaver's ass and say, "Hey, this tastes like strawberries!" 626c6f775f6d65

Starbucks thanks you....


Pick it, dry it. Roast it. Grind it. Boil water. Mix it. Filter it. Add milk. Add milk froth. Add sugar. Add hazelnut syrup. Drink before it gets cold. TheNewHobbes

Can you add butter? 

Popcorn. I can only imagine there was a fire where corn was being stored... So basically by accident. Macaht

This was a kids book I read in like Kindergarten, and it stuck with me for way too long. All I had to do was google "kids book about native americans popping corn." I distinctly remember the page where they said that early natives thought that the kernels held a little demon that would get so angry that he blew up when heated. SammyMhmm

To the core.....


As a french, cheese and wine. Two of our most renowned food items are basically rotten products. rakoo

You eat first.... 

Almonds. Originally poisonous... how does that even start? Carl died but before the afterlife he said they had a nice aftertaste. katkatkatkatkatkatt

I don't know why this is so low. People are saying cashews but almonds make the top nut list for me. Bgtex

That all sounds.... ummm....

Don't get me wrong, a bowl of moules mariniere with chips and a pint of good lager on the Mersea seafront is one of life's great pleasures.

But who the hell thought those black rock-dwelling weirdos would be edible? Creeeem

Shrooming all the way....

Every time I'm in the forest and picking mushrooms I wonder "how the hell did they figure out which one that was edible and which one was poisonous!?"

They must've learned it the hard way.. osktox

Every family has a least favorite child. PerilousAll

Chopped or Sauteed?

Onions! How can someone cut into something and with tears streaming down their face and eyes stinging, think "yep I bet this is safe to eat!" LeahMakesClothes

Probably didn't cut it in the First Place, they Would just bite in it. morre-jr

We're Doomed! 



"Hey guys, I covered some cabbage in salt and buried it for 5 days"

"Barry, why the hell would you DO that?!"

"Wanna eat some with me?"

"God! It smells like pickled **holes!"

"......wanna eat some with me?"

"Hell yeah I do!"

How the hell is our species still alive? Penguin154


How many times have we all said... "I'll just eat it and see?"

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