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Old 02-24-2020, 07:59 PM
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You Can Choose Three Staples


Something I wonder about

Due to some circumstance (wishes from a Genie, deal with the devil- ? don't fight the hypothetical) you have to select the only three staples for a new earth. Which three do you choose, and why? Do you create a world where there are no animal-based staples?

This was inspired by a conversation about potatoes and how calorie-dense they are, and they seem to grow anywhere.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:17 PM
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I'm not sure there are any three crops you could pick and still have a complete nutritional meal. Some meat would probably be entirely necessary - not optional. And no matter what you pick, a *lot* of people would be, in effect, constantly sickly even if they were technically surviving, because humans don't all have identical digestive systems. To make matters worse, you're looking at some very restrictive food storage options.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:24 PM
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Tribbles, Leola root, and popcorn.
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Old 02-24-2020, 11:51 PM
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Soy, broccoli and barley.
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:30 AM
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Beans beans beans
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:51 AM
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So, "staples" just means the foods eaten in bulk, not the only foods consumed.

I'm going to go with wheat, olives and ... some sort of legume. Currently torn between chickpea and common bean, with the bean edging out the chickpea for breadth of varieties.

Wheat over other grains and potatoes for overall nutrition profile and for versatility of derived products.

Olives because olive oil.
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:56 AM
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  1. Milk - which hopefully can be made into cheese, cream, butter, and other milk products, for variety
  2. Soy beans - likewise, hopefully they can be turned into miso, tofu, soy nuts, etc.
  3. Whatever powerhouse fruit or vegetable wins the nutrient contest: probably something like sweet potato leaves, but maybe sweet potatoes, strawberries, spinach, or carrots. You're going to want good amounts of vitamins A and C, for sure.
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Old 02-25-2020, 01:08 AM
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Avocado seems to be the closest thing to a complete-food vegetable there is. So that.

And beans.

And rice.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:52 AM
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I'm enjoying the replies.

I hadn't considered milk. Animals are quite expensive to maintain, but milk is incredibly versatile and properly prepared can store quite well

To my mind, a good staple shouldn't be too perishable, and should have high yields. So personally, I think things like strawberries and avocados might not be ideal.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
So, "staples" just means the foods eaten in bulk, not the only foods consumed.

I'm going to go with wheat, olives and ... some sort of legume. Currently torn between chickpea and common bean, with the bean edging out the chickpea for breadth of varieties.

Wheat over other grains and potatoes for overall nutrition profile and for versatility of derived products.

Olives because olive oil.
And yes, staples means just that. The bulk, storable, high yield foods that can provide the base nutrition for a society. At least, that's how I'd define a staple off the top of my head.
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:01 AM
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. . . and here I thought this was going to be a thread about office supply vendors.

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Old 02-25-2020, 08:51 AM
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And yes, staples means just that. The bulk, storable, high yield foods that can provide the base nutrition for a society. At least, that's how I'd define a staple off the top of my head.
Agreed.

For the record, I ummed and aahed over olive oil more than the other two. But ultimately it can be stored, it has a higher yield than rapeseed, peanut or sunflower, and from what I can gather, is way less environmentally destructive than the higher-yielding palm and coconut oils.

That and it's a staple of many of my favourite cuisines.

Must admit, it's probably soy I'd miss most. Maybe I should replace common bean with soy. Yeah, lets say my final 3 is:

Wheat, soy and olive.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:02 PM
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Avocado seems to be the closest thing to a complete-food vegetable there is. So that.

And beans.

And rice.
I could probably live out my life on that if only there were tortillas.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:17 PM
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Maize (corn), beans, and squash. Reputedly the three together provide a complete nutrition profile. And grown together in the same field, (bean vines growing up the corn stalks) replenish the soil and do not require rotation.
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:16 PM
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Surprised how many are choosing at least 1 from the FDA list of top 8 major allergens:
Wheat
Soybeans
Milk
Eggs
Peanuts
Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)

which account for 90% of reactions and any of which would shut out a huge percentage of eaters

Last edited by Cadae; 02-25-2020 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:28 PM
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Tato, corn, mutfruit.
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:50 PM
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Maize, rice and beans.
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:57 PM
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Potatoes, spinach, beans

Last edited by Cadae; 02-25-2020 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 02-26-2020, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Cadae View Post
Surprised how many are choosing at least 1 from the FDA list of top 8 major allergens
Because I don't care enough about allergy sufferers? And they don't matter for the hypothetical, since it's not "the only foods that will exist"

And ~1% (for coeliac) and 0.3% (for soy) is in no way "A huge percentage of eaters". They'll just have to make do with all the non-staple foods they can eat...just like IRL.

Last edited by MrDibble; 02-26-2020 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 02-26-2020, 02:24 AM
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Rice and lentils (dal) are the staple foods of India, and eaten together provide a complete protein profile, and taste good together. Add a vegetable or two like spinach or broccoli and you could live very healthily only on that for a long time.
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Old 02-26-2020, 07:33 AM
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Some kind of grain.
A green vegetable (broccoli)
Chickens (for eggs and meat, and they can eat the grain too).
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Old 02-26-2020, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
Because I don't care enough about allergy sufferers? And they don't matter for the hypothetical, since it's not "the only foods that will exist"

And ~1% (for coeliac) and 0.3% (for soy) is in no way "A huge percentage of eaters". They'll just have to make do with all the non-staple foods they can eat...just like IRL.
Any food will leave someone out. Most grains are a problem for diabetics, but we're building a hypothetical best-fit.
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Old 02-26-2020, 09:58 AM
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Beef, potatoes, and apples.
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Old 02-26-2020, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadae View Post
Surprised how many are choosing at least 1 from the FDA list of top 8 major allergens:
Wheat
Soybeans
Milk
Eggs
Peanuts
Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)

which account for 90% of reactions and any of which would shut out a huge percentage of eaters
I'm not too well versed in immunology, but wouldn't the constant exposure at an early age to the only available staple foods eliminate most allergies to it?

For peanut allergies, for example, most people who were allergic to peanuts were not exposed to them at an early age. Ironically, the fear of peanut allergies keeps people from letting their kids be near peanuts, which then leads to peanut allergies.
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Old 02-26-2020, 05:04 PM
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Milk, potatoes and oatmeal

https://www.straightdope.com/columns...toes-and-milk/
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Old 02-26-2020, 08:02 PM
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The Three Sisters: Corn, beans, and squash. The Indians knew how to grow them together for mutual benefit. The cornstalks provided uprights for the bean vines to climb up and grow a better yield. The bean vines helped stabilize the cornstalks in the soil to keep from getting blown over by wind. The squash leaves covered the ground to hold in moisture and the prickly squash stems helped repel predators.
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Old 02-26-2020, 11:34 PM
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The Three Sisters: Corn, beans, and squash. The Indians knew how to grow them together for mutual benefit. The cornstalks provided uprights for the bean vines to climb up and grow a better yield. The bean vines helped stabilize the cornstalks in the soil to keep from getting blown over by wind. The squash leaves covered the ground to hold in moisture and the prickly squash stems helped repel predators.
Three Sisters agricultural methods are only really possible if you're hand-cultivating and -harvesting. It doesn't really scale up to industrial farming to feed a whole NewEarth. So I don't see the relevance.
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Old 02-27-2020, 03:29 AM
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Who said anything about scaling up industrial farming?
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Old 02-27-2020, 04:30 AM
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Beans, rice, onions. They keep well in storage ,too. But rice requires a lot more growing and processing skill than potatoes, as well as climatic restrictions..
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Old 02-27-2020, 05:06 AM
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Who said anything about scaling up industrial farming?
It's how I read the OP's "a new earth" - that you'd have to feed a whole planet's worth of people with these staples.
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Old 02-27-2020, 12:10 PM
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Quinoa, lentils, and sunflowers.

Sunflower seeds for "nuts" and oil, petals and roots for tea, and leaves can do anything kale can do.

Lentils are high in protein, fiber, and minerals. They can also be eaten as sprouts for more vitamin C.

Quinoa provides a lower (more human friendly) amount of starch than rice or potatoes, but provides the same combinations for total protein with lentils as rice does. Also works as sprouts.

All are currently grown in hotter, dryer areas of the Earth, so without thoroughly researching it, I am thinking they will be a good bet for a wide climate tolerance.

To test this combination I entered them into cronometer.com, which is optimized for a fairly detailed nutrition breakdown. Sunflower leaves were not available, so I substituted 1/2 cup of kale to get an approximation.

The amounts I entered and calories for each (1523 Cal. total):
Lentils, Boiled, 1 cup, whole pieces, 229.68

Kale, Raw, .5 cup, chopped 3.68

Sunflower Oil 2 tbsp, 240.9

Lentil Sprouts, Raw 1 cup, whole pieces 81.61

Quinoa, Cooked 1 cup 222

Sunflower Seeds, Dry Roasted, Unsalted 1 cup, whole pieces 744.98

Serious deficits and the FDA RDA achieved:

Choline 50%
Omega 3 37%
Vitamin C 36%
Vitamin A 24%
Calcium 17%
Sodium 2%
Vitamin D 0%


1523 calories leaves plenty of room to increase portions to fix any level over 50%.

The protein profile was even better than I expected. Lysine 71% and Tyrosine 78% were the only two below 80%. Out of 11 protein types only 5 were below 95%. Again, that's with calories to spare in a 2000 cal diet.
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Old 02-27-2020, 02:06 PM
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Since the OP didn't specify anything about the economic or demographic conditions being envisioned, I guess I read my pro-American Indian biases into it and you read your assumptions into it too. Depending on the conditions, my idea could turn out to be more relevant. Neither of us is fighting the hypothetical, but rather stretching it in various directions.
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Old 02-27-2020, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
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Maize (corn), beans, and squash. Reputedly the three together provide a complete nutrition profile. And grown together in the same field, (bean vines growing up the corn stalks) replenish the soil and do not require rotation.
Concur. The American Triad. Staples must be storable in bulk, so squash must be dried. With that caveat, I might replace squash with dried peppers for Vit.C. Consider potatoes mostly because they require little infrastructure to produce and consume.
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Old 02-27-2020, 11:24 PM
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I feel it needs restating that staples are not expected to provide every nutritional need.
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Old 02-27-2020, 11:30 PM
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Sunflower seeds for "nuts" and oil, petals and roots for tea, and leaves can do anything kale can do.
This is very cool info that I did not know. Sunflower leaves are edible? How do they taste? Are their any cuisines that have dishes using them?
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Old 02-28-2020, 04:48 AM
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. . . and here I thought this was going to be a thread about office supply vendors.

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No, you're still thinking much too broadly. I'd go with the classic 26/6 for standard paper binding, a 13/14 for heavier duty applications, and some surgical staples for any medical procedures.
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Old 02-28-2020, 06:08 AM
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What About Climates?


One or two people mentioned this, but if we've only got three staples, should we also consider (I suspect there's a term for this) but the ability for a crop to grow across the widest range of climates, soil types, etc?

It seems to me that rice is a poor choice because it needs such vast amounts of water (I think?) that many places would not be able to grow it.

Corn, as much as we love to hate it, can also produce a sweetener, so that should be something worthwhile once NewEarth gets a certain level of technology

I'm thinking Corn (grains, versatility); Beans (nutrition, fiber); Potatoes (ease of production, calories). Kind of a boring world, maybe.
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Old 02-28-2020, 06:41 AM
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You could make a sweetener out of any starch, though.

Last edited by MrDibble; 02-28-2020 at 06:43 AM.
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Old 02-28-2020, 07:48 AM
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Not sure about the other two, but #1 is peanuts. Because I can't imagine life without peanut butter.
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Old 02-28-2020, 09:59 AM
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Bourbon, single malt, and rye.
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Old 02-28-2020, 10:22 AM
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It seems to me that rice is a poor choice because it needs such vast amounts of water (I think?) that many places would not be able to grow it.
Forgot about this: there are upland varieties of rice.
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Old 02-28-2020, 11:20 PM
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Concur. The American Triad. Staples must be storable in bulk, so squash must be dried. With that caveat, I might replace squash with dried peppers for Vit.C. Consider potatoes mostly because they require little infrastructure to produce and consume.
Do bean sprouts have enough vit. C?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
Not sure about the other two, but #1 is peanuts. Because I can't imagine life without peanut butter.
Good for you, maybe, but not a good bet for a new population. Peanuts are one of those most common allergies, and among the most likely to be fatal.
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Old 02-28-2020, 11:28 PM
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The Three Sisters: Corn, beans, and squash.
. . .
I was always taught this growing up, and also that they should be planted along with the leftovers from cleaning fish. But no one could ever tell me what type of beans were meant. Is it green beans? Garbanzos? Kidney?
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Old 02-29-2020, 11:38 AM
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I was always taught this growing up, and also that they should be planted along with the leftovers from cleaning fish. But no one could ever tell me what type of beans were meant. Is it green beans? Garbanzos? Kidney?
Phaseolus vulgaris—includes green beans and kidney beans, navy, pinto, great northern, snap, black turtle, etc., besides other Phaseolus spp. like lima beans P. lunatus—all native to the Americas. But garbanzo is Cicer, an Old World genus.

Last edited by Johanna; 02-29-2020 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 02-29-2020, 12:55 PM
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We don't have a lot of details on the hypothetical - if it is really and truly a "new earth" with a globe just like ours, then obviously staples will vary from place to place just as they do now, based on different climactic conditions if nothing else.

Anyway, staples for Pacific Islanders should be fish, coconut, and sweet potatoes (eating both tubers and leaves). Which is not far from the actual case on our current earth in some places, though taro is more popular than sweet potatoes and imported Spam, rice, and turkey tails have overtaken much of the locally available food.
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