The Omnivorous Mind:
Our Evolving Relationship with Food
John S. Allen
Author John S. Allen is a neuroanthropoligist and research scientist. His work has focused on human structural brain anatomny and the evolution of the human brain and has performed medical and cognitive anthropoligy in Japan, Papua New Guinnea, New Zealand, and Palau. He has published books on biological anthropology, human natural history, and medical anthropology. In The Omnivorous Mind: Our Evolving Relationship with Food, Allen explores human biological and cultural heritage through the lens of our relationship with food. He examines how our food choices led a small precocious ape to humanity and discusses how cooking enhances both flavor and culture. Being an omnivore broadens the senses and also encourages the development of memory to better source a diverse diet. His anthropological background helps trace how many of our attitudes and feelings about food evolved and how our foods changed us in the process. His discussion of our develoment of attitudes on good food and bad food is interesting. He gets into the weeds a little bit on his discussion of the connections between a theory of mind an a theory of food leaves the reader wondering if he is having trouble figuring out how to end the book. Despite this shortcoming it is a fascinating and entertaining book.