There is a history of humankind, a deep account of the rising and falling of human cultures, to be written around the simple fact that food rots. Goes bad. Sours and spoils.
It’s one of those problems so deep in human history and so intrinsic to human experience that, admittedly, we hardly notice it anymore. But from the days of Cain (who was, you remember, both the first murderer and the first city builder in the Bible) all the way down to our own time, the problem of keeping food fresh has been a ceaseless motor of culture—like the noise of the kitchen refrigerator, humming in the background.