It is easy to take for granted just how rich, diverse, and flavorful our diets can now be. With all the (understandable focus) on new technologies and scientific paradigms, it is easy to forget all the progress achieved in both food production and the culinary arts.
For the overwhelming majority of history, humans were limited to only the relatively small variety of foodstuff they could find or grow in their immediate area. (Although this obviously varied depending on the climate or environment.) Even the greatly connected empires of pre-modern history could only access a fraction of the world’s diverse quantity of food.
Now, thanks to advancements in trade, agriculture, and the culinary arts — all amplified by globalization — we enjoy a tremendous selection of produce, dishes, spices, cooking methods, and more that would otherwise be unavailable to us. Many of the cuisines we know and love are a product of decades or even centuries of cross-cultural intermingling, with creative fusions continuing to emerge.
In short, it has never been a better time to be a gourmet — although who knows what more culinary surprises the future holds?
(Now of course, I am well aware that this applies only to those fortunate enough to have secure, regular access to basic food, much less all these exotic cuisines; needless to say I am grateful for that.)