The evolution of the human diet is a history filled with intrigue and suspense. From learning how to hunt and eat meat to knowing which berries could cause stomach aches, our ancestors most likely experienced some steep learning curves. Fast forward a few millennia to the present day, where humans are now faced with somewhat similar choices... should we try the dodgy-looking, but cheaply priced restaurant that smells nice? Should we risk food poisoning or death if it may yield ecstasy? Given this behavior, it's only natural to wonder just how our ancestors knew what food was safe to eat. Or even why they were curious to try certain questionable foods in the first place.

Redditor The_True_John_Doe posed a question to the internet “What food made you think 'how the frick did our ancestors find out this was edible?'” They received numerous comments highlighting different kinds of foods, all in a great inquiry to marvel at and ponder why we humans could be drawn to some of the most questionable-looking, but tasty morsels in existence.

More info: Reddit

#1

Oysters

Oysters Oysters.

Someone looked at that snotty looking thing from a shell and thought "yeah I'm gonna put that in my mouth"

youdontknowme6 , samantha celera Report

Audacious_1
Community Member
1 month ago

I always figured they just saw the otters and seagulls doing it and copied them

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#2

Coffee

Coffee Coffee. Can’t eat the beans as-is; gotta roast ‘em first. Whoops, not yet; gotta grind ‘em. Hmm, not quite right yet, let’s pour water over them and drink the water. Hmm .. let’s try using *hot* water. Perfect!

OriginallyFromNYC , WordRidden Report

Lorrie Rothstein
Community Member
1 month ago

What about the coffee thats pooped out of an animal? Who thought of that?

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#3

Puffer Fish

Puffer Fish Puffer fish; only a small part of the fish is edible and the rest is deadly poisonous, so how did they find out which bit was edible.

Michael_Stone_UDA , rjp Report

TheQueenZ
Community Member
1 month ago

A lot of ancestors died Russian roulette style here.

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#4

Lobster

Lobster Lobsters. “Well this looks horrifying, i think I’ll taste it. “

aquoad , Adrian Scottow Report

alwaysMispelled
Community Member
1 month ago

People first ate lobster because they were starving.

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#5

Gympie-Gympie Plant

Gympie-Gympie Plant The fruit of the gympie-gympie plant. It is also known as the suicide plant because its sting is so painful that there have been reports of people and animals taking their own life to escape the pain, which can last for days or even years. The sting is delivered by tiny hairs that cover the whole plant, yet someone was able to discover that if you painstakingly remove each hair from the fruit, it is edible.

__hey__its__me__ , Udo Schröter Report

KitFrey
Community Member
1 month ago

Is it worth it though?

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#6

Chili Peppers

Chili Peppers Chili peppers.

Like imagine finding this pepper, taking a bite, and then feeling your entire mouth feel like it is on fire. Then you decide it's actually really good though and start including it into dishes to add spice.

-eDgAR- , amanderson2 Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
1 month ago

Surely the after effects to the bottom hole would put everyone off?

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#7

Bread

Bread Bread! Like how did someone put all the ingredients together to make the bread!! I think about it all the time.

delpheroid , stu_spivack Report

Thea
Community Member
1 month ago

Its water and flour fermented, probably some dough for some flat bread went bad and they were like well lets bake it amyway, and surprise it was a new taste :D

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#8

Honey

Honey Honey. When something is guarded by swarms of easily pissed off insects with poisoned a*s darts, you would think that would be enough of a deterrent that nobody would f**k with it.

coconut-greek-yogurt , Alabama Extension Report

Raven Sheridan
Community Member
1 month ago

Probably from watching bears and other animals, risking a shitload of stings to get some of the good stuff!

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#9

Mushrooms

Mushrooms Some mushrooms that require special preparation. Eat it raw or cook it like most other shrooms and you end up dead. Boil it 3-5 times however, and it’s fine.

Edit: An example of a mushroom requiring this procedure is Gyromitra esculenta.

anon , Marco Verch Report

Paul Pierokowski
Community Member
1 month ago

The best mushrooms are the ones that make you see God.

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#10

Snails

Snails Snails. Our ancestors must have been friggin' starving!

anon , David Short Report

TheQueenZ
Community Member
1 month ago

Absolutely, end-of-life-no-other-choice starving, I agree!

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#11

Cassava

Cassava The cassava...

"However, cassava is poisonous unless it is peeled and thoroughly cooked. If it is eaten raw or prepared incorrectly, one of its chemical constituents will be attacked by digestive enzymes and give off the deadly poison cyanide. As little as two cassava roots can contain a fatal dose."

nuovi , Thomas Quine Report

Bukola Ola
Community Member
1 month ago

I still wonder how garri was discovered

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#12

Castoreum

Castoreum Castoreum. A sweet-tasting exudation that comes from glands near a beaver's a*****e. "Damn this beaver a*s smells great, wonder what it tastes like?"

BCProgramming , Marie Hale Report

Chucky Cheezburger
Community Member
1 month ago

I wouldn't be surprised if alcohol and/or some kind of drugs were involved.

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#13

Yogurt And Cheese

Yogurt And Cheese Yogurt and cheese. It's like first of all they start drinking cow juice from cow titties. Then they save some for later. It goes off. Voila cheese

Ncscam , Ace Armstrong Report

M O'Connell
Community Member
1 month ago

I imagine yogurt may have come from someone who was off chasing butterflies when they should have been churning butter.

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#14

Blue Cheese

Blue Cheese chayne108 said:

Blue cheese.

Your-Evil-Twin replied:

Yes! This! Like who looked at a piece of mouldy cheese and was like ‘this is some seriously gourmet s**t!’

chayne108 , Stef Smulders Report

Chucky Cheezburger
Community Member
1 month ago

Someone was hungry, went to get some cheese, found it moldy and said eff it, Im gonna eat it anyway.

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#15

Hákarl

Hákarl Hákarl

Usually poisonous, unless prepared thus:

"The traditional method is by gutting and beheading a Greenland or sleeper shark and placing it in a shallow hole dug in gravelly sand, with the now cleaned cavity resting on a small mound of sand. The shark is then covered with sand and gravel, and stones are placed on top of the sand in order to press the shark. In this way the fluids are pressed out of the body. The shark ferments in this fashion for 6–12 weeks depending on the season. Following this curing period, the shark is then cut into strips and hung to dry for several months. During this drying period a brown crust will develop, which is removed prior to cutting the shark into small pieces and serving."

msvivica , Audrey Report

Jihana
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

I tried it 2 weeks ago. It is not as repulsive as it sounds, and the smell is much worse than the taste. That being said: it's still disgusting. It has a rubber like texture, at first it tastes sharp and salty, then you are hit with the ammonia taste. I am proud of myself that I tried it, but once in a lifetime is more than enough.

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#16

Poke Salad

Poke Salad Poke Salad

The Pokeberry/Pokeweed plant that grows in the southern US has edible leaves. Sort of.

If you eat them raw they contain a nerotoxin that will make you extremely sick or more likely kill you. If you cook them the toxin will still kill you. If you boil them, the toxin will still kill you.

So basically someone died after eating this stuff and their friends went "Well maybe if we boil it one more time" died and someone else went "Third times the charm?"
However, if you boil them, discard the water, boil again, discard the water, then boil one last time and discard the water again the left over cooked plant is sort of edible.

Kulladar , jjspirko Report

KitFrey
Community Member
1 month ago

What di you mean "sort of"

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#17

Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup Maple syrup. "Let's poke a hole in this here tree, collect the sap, boil it for three days and see what happens"

lovelyb1ch66 , Pete Jelliffe Report

Paul Pierokowski
Community Member
1 month ago

Canadians had a lot of time for experiments before the introduction of hockey.

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#18

Rice

Rice Rice, who looked at a piece of thicc grass and thought: "yeah, I'll dry it out, bash it about then polish it and boil it just before it turns into a sloppy mess"

snortypuff , JoslynLM Report

Raven Sheridan
Community Member
1 month ago

A billion Chinese people can't be wrong!

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#19

Artichoke

Artichoke Artichoke.
Hmm, that purple thistle looks good...

Sidmesh , 305 Seahill Report

DuchessDegu
Community Member
1 month ago

It looks so pretty, I'd try to eat it!

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#20

Durian

Durian Durian! It's super spiky, it seems like it'd be tough to open (though I'm not 100% sure) and apparently it smells rank.

yirao , Amy Ross Report

Chucky Cheezburger
Community Member
1 month ago

"Hmmmm...this demon looking thing smells like the last fart of someone who's guts literally rotted out. Let's see what it tastes like"...

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#21

Nopales

Nopales Nopales, a kind of cactus, and it's fruit have been a staple in Mexico for millennia. I've always wondered what went through our ancestors' heads. "That plant and it's fruit is covered in thorns...I bet they're delicious".

ThePeasantKingM , Paul Asman and Jill Lenob Report

Stephanie Did It
Community Member
1 month ago

And they are! I love nopales with breakfast eggs, with a good steak,and on hot sandwiches. We make jelly from the "apples."

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#22

Truffles

Truffles anon said:

Truffles

ElectricErik replied:

If the pigs are eating it, it must be f*****g delicious

anon , Scott Darbey Report

Nimues Child
Community Member
1 month ago

Lobster and truffles as pig food...they had good taste!

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#23

Cranberries

Cranberries cranberries. If I had tasted a cranberry without any knowledge of the berry, I would be certain it was poison.

ctophermh89 , Selena N. B. H. Report

Nimues Child
Community Member
1 month ago

NGL, raw cranberries are nasty. But apply your cooking skills and they are yummy!

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#24

Onions

Onions Onions: "hmm, wonder if I can eat this bulb... OH MY GOD MY EYES! WHAT'S THAT SMELLL???"

dogsolitude_uk , Mike Mozart Report

Jihana
Community Member
1 month ago

Onions as we know them are the result of centuries of selective breeding. While it is not known what kind of wild plant is the ancestor it is pretty mush a given that it was much smaller and mush milder.

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#25

Chocolate

Chocolate Chocolate

Skitzcordova , Alice Seba Report

Raven Sheridan
Community Member
1 month ago

To whomever discovered this, you have my eternal gratitude. ❤

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#26

Lye Fish/Lutefisk

Lye Fish/Lutefisk Lye fish. Or "Lutefisk"... Don't get me wrong, I love the stuff but man..

First you go get a fish. Then you let it hang on a stick for months to dry out. Then you put it in water for a couple days. Then you put it in water with lye for another couple days. Then you put it in pure water again and then you cook it and eat it.

anon , Ole Husby Report

Raven Sheridan
Community Member
1 month ago

I think this was discovered after somebody lost a bet and the winner chose the most disgusting combination of ingredients he could think of for the loser to eat. 🤔

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#27

Noodles

Noodles Noodles. Like who thought of swinging the dough to make em stringy.

buzzbuzzwakeup , Devika Report

TheQueenZ
Community Member
1 month ago

Delicious, tho!

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#28

Sea Urchin

Sea Urchin Sea urchin

Miryaa , tomoko_hori Report

Nimues Child
Community Member
1 month ago

Same with eel. So good, but not appealing to look at.

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#29

Heart Of Palm

Heart Of Palm Heart of palm

"Ugh, i'm bored... I'm gonna eat this tree now"

Cracked_Emerald , David Brossard Report

Benita Valdez
Community Member
1 month ago

Well I'm glad they did. It's delicious

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#30

Acorns

Acorns Acorns. How hungry one must be to figure out to pound them to powder and leach out the tannins. Three times!

Mobiusteph , The Paessel Family Report

Sue From Michigan
Community Member
1 month ago

I didn't know people eat acorns.

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#31

Ackee

Ackee Ackee. It's a fruit, and most of it is poisonous, though part of it is edible. In Africa, where it's most common (as far as I know) it's generally not eaten, but in Jamaica it is. It's eaten a lot. Our **national dish** is ackee and saltfish, and our national fruit is ackee.

xero-theory , Ralf Steinberger Report

Paul Pierokowski
Community Member
1 month ago

Isn't this the fruit that turns you into an actual zombie if you eat it wrong?

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#32

Caviar

Caviar Caviar, I imagine them say yum fish eggs and eating them, and then selling the to rich people.

jack28415 , Dmitry Khvatkov Report

Sally Kerr
Community Member
1 month ago

Caviar used to be paupers food (as did Oysters). Clever marketing.

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#33

Guinness/Coke/Or Any Black Drink

Guinness/Coke/Or Any Black Drink Not even 'ancestors' - how did drinks like guinness or coke become a thing?
"Bro try this" "uh, no. That drink is black." "Yeah good call"
Vegemite is the same principle but in that case it was *literally* created as a prank from brewery waste products but then the prankee went "it's not bad tho".

Actually, I think I just answered the question. They did it on accident or were tricked/goaded into trying it, they did, and when it didn't kill them the consumable caught on.

Zeruvi , dion gillard Report

Shane Clark
Community Member
1 month ago

The caramel coloring was used to hide imperfections in the batches during the early days of soda or pop I believe.

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#34

Olives

Olives Olives seem like they could be poisonous IMO. Don’t @ me

_thatsmeinthecorner_ , Kevin du Plessis Report

Angela Darling
Community Member
1 month ago

olive oil comes from pressing olives - they're not poisonous.

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#35

Fugu

Fugu Fugu; like how did they find out that only a specific part of a blowfish wasn’t poisonous when correctly cut?

SuccessfulFailure9 , Peter Kaminski Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
1 month ago

Technically it is still poisonous, just not enough poison to harm you, enough to give you a light high.

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