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Like most things, food production in many parts of the world took a serious hit following Doomsday. While in some places rationing was enough to avert disaster, in others the food shortage was severe enough to lead to violence and social collapse. Cases of cannibalism were not uncommon. Although the actual figures are unknown, it is estimated that the number of people worldwide killed by starvation exceeds the number who died as a result of exposure to radiation, both directly and by cancer. While the majority of nations have since mostly recovered, food shortages are still all too common while rationing is still present to some degree in a number of countries, with even those countries who’s food production is generally more than adequate having rationing of certain goods.
Additionally, the collapse of world-wide trade networks and the changed climate has lead to other changes in diet around the world. Prior to Doomsday, a sizable percentage of the food consumed in the majority of the Western world was imported; now all that has changed. Today, almost all of the food supply in most nations is home produced, with some food stuffs being traded between immediate neighbors. Many foods, such as cocoa, tea, coffee, tropical fruits, etc, are either extremely rare or altogether unavailable outside the areas where they are cultivated.
After Doomsday rationing of food and other goods was virtually universal amongst targeted countries, although the degree of rationing varied greatly, ranging from WWII-style ration books to the extreme system once employed in Thunder Bay. Even today, over a quarter of a century after Doomsday, rationing is still a fact of life in many places, with the most widely rationed foods being sugar, meat, milk and other dairy produce, fat (vegetable and/or animal), and eggs.
In all times, the major need for maintenance of the human body is calories - a measure of the energy used by the body to burn the fuel to run its systems. Trace nutrients from the soil and proteins from both plant and animal sources are added for optimum health, but the calories from grains, beans, and other fleshy vegetables are essential.
As was the case before Doomsday, the most common staple foods are grains (rice, wheat, barley, oats, rye and maize) and tubers (sweet potatoes, yams, cassava and, especially, potatoes). Pulses, particularly beans and chickpeas, are also important staples. The main changes have been in the ratios of the consumption of the various staples in different countries. For instance, the amount of rice consumed in Europe has greatly decreased since Doomsday due to the loss of imports while the amount of barley consumed has increased, partly because of its adaptability and ability to cope with a wide range of climate conditions. Potatoes are as widely consumed now as they were pre-Doomsday and due to their ease of cultivation, the fact that it is possible to get a sizable crop from a small area of land, and the lack of a need for processing, are widely regarded as being lifesavers in the years immediately following Doomsday. As was the case in Britain during World War II, they also found their way into foods that do not usually involve potatoes, such as bread with mashed potatoes being used to ‘stretch’ the limited supply of flour.
The most common grain on earth after doomsday was rice, the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima. It had been second to maize, Zea mays, which was largely wiped out, or cut off from distribution in targeted areas of the northern hemisphere. However, in the wetlands of southeast Asia rice flourished as it had for ages. As China fell apart and began to rebuild, its rice fields became a chief part of that effort. The ANZC made the distribution of the commodity a prime foreign policy priority.
In North America, as the city-states and small regional nations rose from the chaos, most had little to no access to this grain many had come to prefer in the days before Doomsday. However, the economies of Louisiana and its allies in the former state of Mississippi, as well as those of the Commonwealth of Kentucky (including its ally and dependent city-state Cape Gerardo) were greatly enhanced by trade of surplus rice to neighboring nations in the temperate eastern half of North America. Also, the rice fields of the California Republic produced an abundance once that nation began to trade with its neighbors. Before that, most of these fields had been replanted in other produce to feed the surviving population with more nutritious foods.
In Europe, the moderate rice fields of the Iberian Peninsula had been largely abandoned as Spain broke up into various factions. However, as stability returned to northern Italy the successor nations there, formed into the Italian Peninsula Alliance, used its rice production as leverage in trade with other nations in Europe and around the Mediterranean.
In Asia, the collapse of China greatly lowered its rice production, and in this regard, it was replaced by India and Southeast Asia. Many of these Chinese fields remain contaminated in some regard today.
Having its origin on the slopes of Mount Karaca in the Sultanate of Turkey, wheat (genus triticum) became the most widely grown crop in the world. As such, even the worst hit areas of the northern hemisphere were left with some wheat growing in fields outside the ruins. Unfortunately for the world, though, most the silos of North America were hidden in the midst of the "bread basket of the world." As a result, many nations in the southern hemisphere lost the distribution of this staple grain. Locally, the struggling nation states of America's mid-section coped to re-establish the wheat fields in the years following the devastation. However, the nation of Asinobia flourished after the single destruction of Winnipeg in its southern region. Its plentiful wheat fields more than sufficed for its small population, making wheat a valuable medium of exchange with the neighboring nations as it came out of its isolation.
In Europe, the wheat fields that had once fed millions lay covered in irradiated ash from the bombardment of NATO bases and major capital cities. The "bread basket" of Europe, in the western client states of the Soviet Union, was also lost to the destruction. Meanwhile, the early formation of the Nordic Union was sustained by its ample supply of largely unaffected wheat from Denmark. These fields became essential in the Union's efforts to re-establish order in northern Europe.
In Asia, the "bread basket" of China, known as the North Chinese Plain, was once covered with large wheat fields. Those fields that once fed the enormous population of China were poisoned and irradiated by Doomsday.
Barley, Hordeum vulgare, is almost as old as wheat as a cultivated food grass. However, it is hardier than wheat in adverse climate. Possibly because wheat was more suitable for the changing diets of Europeans, this originally Mid-Eastern grain did not see the world-wide spread that wheat did. Stigmatized, perhaps, as food for animals - and stock for strong drink - barley remained a secondary crop. However, in the days before Doomsday the most prolific producers of the grain were in fact the nations of Europe. After the dust rose, the hardy grass pushed its way back into the diets of Europeans starving for carbohydrates.
In North America, Mexico resorted to a larger use of barley in the production of feedstock for its livestock. Even when imports from the American nations of maize returned, barley maintained this niche. Meanwhile, in Kentucky and Virginia, barley became a popular grain in the production of new varieties of beer and hard liquor.
With export of barley cut off for at least a decade, the nations of the southern hemisphere depended upon the production of the grain in the United American Republic of the SAC and the moderate production in both Australia and New Zealand of the ANZC. Fields in northern India also continued to produce, providing food for the poorest among those of that sub-continent.
Oat, Avena sativa, commonly spoken of in the plural, like wheat and barley, saw its beginning near the cradle of civilization, now Kurdistan and the chaos of what remains of former Iran. However, the most cultivated areas for this grain is in more temperate areas in a band around the earth that includes all of Europe and, in North America, Canada. Grown mostly as food stock before Doomsday, the widespread oat fields began to be cultivated as one of many local grains in use for humans as well in the aforementioned areas. Unlike most other grains, though, oats lost popularity in areas outside of the production zone, and still are not widely exported. One notable exception is the production of toasted oats breakfast cereals in Australia. The American diaspora, in fact, demanded that the crunchy o's be produced for their children. Various brands of o-shaped cereals continue to be the most exported food product from the ANZC states in Australia.
Rye, (Secale cereale, is closely related to wheat and barley, having an origin in the same "fertile crescent" of modern day Turkey and Turkestan. However, the grain thrives best in colder climates and was widely cultivated in Central and Eastern Europe. Russia and Germany were by far the top producers of rye before Doomsday. Even then, though, the grass was grown mostly as fodder or alcoholic beverages. After the catastrophe, with much of Europe destroyed, the production of rye fell far down the list of things to grow to sustain the population. However, many of the fields were retained as a source of food stock for cattle, swine, and horses.
Almost unknown outside of ethnic communities, rye is practically unknown even in most civilized nations of the southern hemisphere. Fields that used to produce the grain in the UAR, the only notable producer, are gone, the victim of the climate change that has reduced the cold weather drastically in that South American country.
Maize, Zea mays, commonly called "corn" the English language, began in what is now Mexico. It is still widely used there, now being produced in larger quantities since imports have dried up from the vastly productive "bread basket" of the America Midwest. Once the most widely exported grain, even in 2011 exporting of local grains is rare from the heart of what used to be the USA. As with wheat, corn was a major product of the sparsely populated middle of the United States. What population centers that were there, in fact, were targets for Soviet weapons in 1983.
The same was the case in Europe, where the "corn belt" stretched south of the "wheat belt", and China, where in the North Chinese Plain, wheat and corn grew side by side. As a result, the local maize production around the world became mostly for local use. Since practically no maize was grown in Australia or New Zealand, corn products gradually disappeared from ANZC shelves. Only since 2009 has demand returned for certain products, which are now being imported from either Mexico or the SAC nations that are the major exporters of the grain to this day. The only corn fields that were fairly unscathed were those in South America, making Brazil the top corn producer in the world today.
Whereas grains grasses are harvested for their seeds, tubers are vegetables harvested for their stems and/or roots. Among the most popular of these is the potato (Solanum tuberosum). This plant was original cultivated in Peru, but spread to Europe and back to North America as Spanish explorers returned their ports of departure. Widely cultivated in Europe and China, these affected areas became far more dependent on this starchy stem tuber than on any other source of calories and nutrients. In North America, cultivation of the potato was encouraged in most of the surviving communities as an alternative to grains. In the northwest, the US states of Lincoln, Idaho and Kootenai became more influential than their size would indicate due to their abundance of the fruit. Meanwhile, the SAC became a major exporter of potatoes to the ANZC as the western slopes of the Andes produced the number one food export in the world.
Other tubers, plants whose roots stored ample nutrients underground, are more common in tropical and subtropical lands outside of Europe. The most prolific of these is the so-called "sweet potato" (Ipomoea batatas) which is only remotely related to the common potato. Like the potato, though, the sweet potato originated in the Americas, perhaps a far north as the Yucatan peninsula. Brought to Europe by the Spanish, it had earlier traveled by more primitive mariners across the Pacific to Polynesia (as far north as Hawaii) and the mainland of China. Of the survivors of the destruction of doomsday, the survivor states of the American Southeast appreciated the sweet potato the most. Rivaling the potato in popularity, Ipomoea batatas was easier to cultivate and more nutritious. Programs from Delmarva to Louisiana promoted it from early on. It became so common in these nations that hunger among the poor became extremely rare even in the worst of times.
Commonly called "beans," the pulses are a large group of vegetables cultivated for their seeds. Before Doomsday, the large population of India, and neighboring Pakistan, were the largest consumers of pulses. The nations of Canada and the United States were significant exporters to these countries, and the loss of that trade was sorely felt. Second to Canada in such exports had been neighboring Burma (Myanmar), which used this to its political advantage. The ANZC, its largest member Australia to be exact, used its exports of legumes to counter the Burmese regime.
Meanwhile, back in North America, the successor states took full advantage of lost exports to feed the survivors in the harsh years following Doomsday. Many of the legumes stored extremely well as "dried beans" as long as they could be kept dry. Processing of beans into flour, in fact, proved to be an effective way to extend their shelf life - again, if kept dry. Due to the high nutrition in legumes, and the relative ease in transport, they were first privately and then publicly (government sanctioned) used as a primary barter item between cities and nations. The historical dependence on grains, though, kept local grains (especially maize, but regionally wheat as well) as the primary crops grown on a large scale. No home garden, though, was complete without at least two varieties of "beans" growing amongst the leafy greens and other vegetables.
Meat and Fish
Unfortunately for the carnivores of the world, the amount of meat consumed decreased dramatically after Doomsday. Animals are every bit as vulnerable to radiation as humans and large numbers were killed by radiation poisoning or cancer. Their numbers were further decreased by the widespread food shortages that followed as any food that was produced went to feed humans with little left over for livestock. The shortages also led to potential breeding stock being slaughtered for food, undermining future meat production. Ironically, in many areas the amount of meat consumed in relation to other foods briefly increased, partly because of the slaughter of livestock that there wasn’t food for and partly because of the consumption of foods that would usually be regarded as taboo such horse meat, cat meat and dog meat, practices which generally ceased once other food sources became available. Today, although the worst food shortages are long over in most of the world, the amount of meat available is still limited in many countries due to the loss of breeding stock and a shortage of fodder, and is one of the most commonly rationed foodstuffs. Meals in affected nations are generally based around staples (see above) and vegetables, with a very small amount of meat being added for protein and flavor. Additionally there have been changes in the types of meat consumed. Offal has become more widely eaten, often because it is less tightly rationed than muscle meat.
Sheep and Goats
The first of animals to be domesticated for their meat, and later for their milk (see below), sheep and goats have continued there prominence even in the hard-hit British Isles. As food, sheep meat is called different things according to the age of the animal when slaughtered. Lamb is for the youngest animals, hogget for yearlings and mutton for the older sheep. Mutton has outstripped lamb in popularity, particularly in the northern English survivor states, initially because of the greater amount of meat available off a grown animal rather than a juvenile one, but now also because people have acquired a taste for it.
While not as popular as a food source, domesticated goats are popular in many places where the grazing sources are not as favorable. Also, while sheep are often kept alive for their wool, female goats are the number one source of dairy in the world. This is due to the fact that far less food is needed to produce a gallon of goat milk than for cows milk (see "Dairy" below.)
Sheep production was hardest hit in the British Isles and in China, and saw a reduction when organizational oversight was disrupted when Australia's major cities were destroyed. However, survivors in these areas and in other areas less affected, quickly returned to farming these animals as they sought to return to a semblance of order.
With the destruction of population centers all across the Northern Hemisphere, especially in North America and China, large herds of cattle, both for dairy and for beef, was greatly disrupted. In the ensuing months, as it became clear that feed was going to be scarce, animals were being slaughtered in large numbers. This meat was subject to rationing by authorities where they existed and gorging where no restraints were put on the populace. Many of the carcasses, however, were burned to keep wild animals from invading the farms. Many animals, especially in the less populated plains of North America, were released into the wild, to be hunted in the coming years as a continuing source of animal protein. In the North American Union nations, these wild cattle and the native bison were mated to produce a "better burger" with a meat called "beef-a-lo" which is lower in fat (and thus cholesterol) than regular beef. The Buffalo, or bison, though, has remained as a new symbol of for the nations of the NAU, being protected from wide-spread hunting.
Cattle were abundant enough, though, to survive the famines in population centers around the world. Within five or six years the animals became domesticated and used once again for numerous products and by products, be they food or clothing, or even transportation. Dairy cattle began to be cultivated once again in stricken areas as grains and other feed stock began to be restocked. In some countries of the world, like Brazil, cattle production managed to survive almost entirely intact.
Pigs and Hogs
Due to their size and ease of production, hogs were ideal as food for survivors. However, large pig farms, such as those in America and China, had been abandoned and feral pigs roamed bombed out streets in nations throughout the northern hemisphere. Nevertheless, the re-domestication of these animals had proven easier than raising cattle, so pork, bacon, and sausage proved just as popular as ever in the post-Doomsday world.
Chicken, and their eggs, had once been the most popular source of animal protein in the world. However, in the Northern Hemisphere, the thousands of nuclear explosions on that September day in 1983 changed priorities. Commercial chicken farming had made use of methods that were feed intensive to produce meat-bearing chickens in short periods of time. That feed had become the emergency rations of tens of thousands of survivors of Doomsday. The processing plants having lost electricity and personnel (if not having been destroyed), hundreds of millions of birds were either slaughtered and burned or given unprocessed to whoever thought they could use them. Others were released into the wild to fend for themselves. The "Egg farms" had met with the same problems. Free-range and some most barn-yard chickens survived to become the basis for a new smaller scale industry. Of these, egg producers became preferred, and a "chicken in ever pot" became a concept practically unknown north of the equator.
Other poultry, the most popular being turkeys, became the standard meat sources among birds. Others, like ducks and geese, also began to be commercially cultivated for their meat as well. Even then, though, the amount of animal protein consumed has not approached mid twentieth century levels to this day.
One of the newest and most widely accepted addition to North American diets is rabbit. Though a rodent, the animal is easy to raise and produces offspring early and often. Though mostly domesticated for meat, the pelts of market sized bucks (males) are also valuable additions to the economy. Females (does) are kept for breeding for several years before they too are slaughtered. Since this is the case, though, their meat is usually used as the base for dog and cat food. Their pelts, though, have a ready market as well. In times when ammunition is plentiful, some hunters harvest several wild rabbits an outing, protecting the cultivated crops from infestation. However, most hunters are after the "big game" - primarily deer and wild boar - which can be killed easier even with primitive weapons such as the bow, or even spears. Wild cattle are often harvested on the edge of grain fields to this day, though "hunting" them has been seen as not as productive as with deer or even wild sheep and goats.
Fish and Seafood
The lakes and rivers of many nations suffered greatly from the effects of nuclear fallout. In many areas where fish once were abundant, many of them have died out, and in some cases, some kinds have gone extinct, though others have increased in number. The same was the case for some of the shorelines. A particularly notable example comes from the Duchy of Lancaster, where cockles collected from Morecombe Bay were used to supplement the rather limited rations available after Doomsday, despite concerns about contamination from the bomb that detonated at Barrow-in-Furness. These concerns were justified when it was found that the Morecombe area had an unusually high number of cases of oral and gastric cancer. It didn’t take long for the blame to fall on the cockles and a ban on collecting them was imposed and enforced by the authorities.
Though lakes and rivers suffered from fallout, within a decade formerly dead rivers were once again alive with fish. Game fishermen had become commercial fishermen, demanding stock from unaffected areas to be transferred whenever possible. Meanwhile, salmon returned to spawn as usual in Victoria and Alaska. Trout began once again to thrive in the mountain streams of the USA. The Missouri River, with its headwaters in Montana, continued to feed life-giving waters downstream in Lakota, the Dakotas, and western Kentucky. The Mississippi River, joining the Missouri from its headwaters near Superior, made fishing a major industry in Kentucky and its ally Cape Girardeau. Downstream, in Louisiana and Natchez, met the rising demands for fish as a staple in the diets of their citizens. In southern Louisiana, the bayous produce an abundance of crayfish, for years shunned because of fear of radioactive material having been ingested from fallout. By 1998, though, these animals had proven virtually isotope free. Meanwhile, they had grown to near lobster size! This condition, though, was by natural aging and once these older crayfish had been harvested, none near that size were found in the wild. Among the nations of the American Southeast, catfish became immensely popular after they, too, had been shunned due to radioactive contamination for over a decade. The largest of these fish, though, had been found to be inedible due to a build up of contaminates in their flesh. Game fishermen, though, continue to catch and release these animals as they produce a fight equal to most deep sea fish.
In Europe, freshwater fishing has only just begun to return in the landlocked nations there. The Alpine Federation leads the nations of Europe in take of perch as the member states have co-operated in keeping the lakes and rivers stocked. Fishing for food in these states is a regulated industry to assure that the population has a good supply of protein and omega 3 fats.
Freshwater fishing in the Amazon basin has made the SAC country of Brazil a world leader in fish production. Neighboring United American Republic has also increased its fishing of its rivers in recent years.
For the most part, the amount of fish and seafood being eaten has increased around the world. Since the world’s oceans were a lot less affected by Doomsday than the land, for nations and survivor communities on or near the coast the sea acted as a giant larder, providing fresh, protein-rich food all year round. Given that fish and seafood has become a larger part of many people’s diets since Doomsday, it may come as a surprise to learn that fish stocks have increased. The reason for this are quite simple, for although the fishing industry has become more important, most countries lack the resources to maintain fleets of large scale trawlers (which prior to Doomsday efficiently harvested whole shoals of fish) and instead usually employ smaller vessels which use smaller nets. The drastic decrease in global population also led to less intensive fishing in northern seas and there was a period of several years after Doomsday where deep-sea fishing there stopped altogether due to the lack of fuel for the boats.
Consequently the fish stocks had a chance to recover, with experts saying that they are now at levels that haven’t been seen since the beginning of the twentieth century, and due to the greatly reduced human population, it is doubtful that there will be any danger of overfishing for several decades, despite the booming fishing industry in many countries. The vast coastlines of South America and Australia lent to increased fishing by both the SAC and the ANZC after Doomsday as imports from the more productive north came to an end. ANZC affiliates Hawaii and Alaska picked up their deep-sea operations when war-torn Japan and China had been forced to cut to local fishing only. The international seas of the North Pacific became the theater for heightened tension, though, as Siberian fisherman vied for the same fishing grounds.
In the English successor states, fish and chips are just as widely available as they were before Doomsday and are often the only form of ‘fast food’ on offer. The dish is particularly strongly associated with Cleveland, with the Cleveish port of Whitby triumphantly reclaiming its title of Cod Capital of Britain. In addition to cod, the town is also famed for its kippers which are much in demand both elsewhere in the country and abroad, a fact which keeps a number of smokehouses in business.
Though cow's milk remains the primary source of dairy products in the southern hemisphere and Africa, goat's milk (and in some places sheep's milk) have become more prevalent in the war-torn north. Because cows had been so common in the western world, large numbers fell victim to nuclear radiation, forcing other alternatives. Pound for pound easier to feed, goats produce a surprisingly large amount of milk. In rural settings, in fact, a single goat can provide a family with more than enough milk and cheese while producing young for meat and other products (leather, for instance). In the early days after Doomsday, with chronic power shortages, milk production became reduced to personally milked animals for immediate consumption. All other dairy product would be converted into cheese and yogurt.
Along with eggs, of course, milk would be used in baking - both in bakeries and in homes - as civilization slowly returned to a semblance of order. Milk, as it had become promoted throughout much of the twentieth century, would become instead a condiment, or an ingredient cooked into the food. By the time refrigeration became common again, liquid milk had become a rarity. In new nations around the world cow's milk would return to its former popularity, but the tastes of the new generation generally preferred the alternatives.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit, both botanically and as a culinary term, refers to the end product of a plant's productivity. In most cases, though, a "fruit" that is to be eaten must be sweet, as with an apple or pear. More correctly, a "fruit" is the seed bearing ripe ovary of a plant. Berries, are a significant subset of fruit that includes everything from the grape to the tomato (a fruit often called a "vegetable"). On the whole, "fruit" is appreciated by young and old, though fresh fruit is commonly not as available as fresh "vegetables." In post-doomsday society, as "snack foods" loaded with added sugar practically disappeared, the eating of fruits - either fresh or dried - became much more popular.
The apple (Malus domestica) has spread to all parts of the world, growing in cool climates often in the shadow of the world's mountains. It is a descendant of the alma (Malus sieversii) still found growing in the foothills of the Altai Mountains of Uyghristan. Usually cultivated from cuttings to assure a consistency of flavor and color, many of the myriad of varieties became rare after Doomsday. However, the fruit survived providing local survivors a ready "fast food" as well as a source of a refreshing beverage (often fermented as cider).
The climate of the British successor states and Europe proved almost universally favorable to the growing of apples. In the American Successor states, Victoria, Oregon and the USA inherited apple orchards in the Pacific Northwest. Elsewhere, the foothills of Appalachia provide a continuing supply, locally and for export in recent years, for Blue Ridge, East Tennessee, and Virginia. Elsewhere in America, local growers in many areas supplement the diets of friends and family. The world's leading exporter of apples had been China, and the survivor nations there have since developed a cuisine that uses the abundant fruit far more than ever before. In the southern hemisphere, the ANZC state of New Zealand provides apples for most of the Commonwealth. However, the state of Australia still does not allow imports of unprocessed apples due to a quarantine that protects its own domestic crops. In southern Asia, shortages of the fruit was a problem as the Indian subcontinent suffered upheaval for years. In Africa, New Britain has resumed exports that once came out of the old nation of South Africa. In South America, the orchards in Chile have become the world's most productive, while neighbors Argentina and Brazil round out the top three.
The pear (Genus: pyrus) is a cousin to the apple, being of the same biological "family." Its cultivation is mostly in the same areas as the apple, and its origin in the same region as well. Known in the ancient Greece, the writers of the Roman empire mention it as well. Though varieties abound, three species amount for most of the world's edible pears: the European Pear (P. communis), the Chinese white pear (bai li) (P. ×bretschneideri) and the Nashi pear (P. pyrifolia).
Suffering much of the same disruption as with the apple, local growers tended to continue producing the fruit for private use and local consumption. Ever since Doomsday, the leading exporters of pears have been Argentina (to the SAC) and New Britain (to the ANZC).
The banana, or plantain (different varieties of the same species) are "seedless" fruit taken from cuttings descended from two wild plants: Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana or hybrids of the two. Originating in Papua New Guinea, the plant was spread first by Islamic traders and then by Portuguese sailors to tropical plantations spanning the globe from the Philippines to Mexico. The largest producer of bananas in the southern hemisphere is the Indian subcontinent, from which the League of Nations has secured public and private contracts to build the region into a regional power base once again. Meanwhile, the ANZC has traded with the Philippines since renewed contact in 1992. In the northern hemisphere, trade in the fruit outside of Texas (with Mexico) and the East Caribbean Federation (with Costa Rica), is still unheard of.
Nuts are the dry fruit which do not separate from the hardened ovary wall (shell) from which they developed. There are many different seeds that are normally considered "nuts" that are widely used for food. For the purpose of this article, the difference need not be stressed. In fact, most food "nuts" do not meet the botanical definition.
Almonds are the seed of the almond (prunus dulcis) fruit, closely related to the peach. Grown almost exclusively in the northern hemisphere, the primary producers of the trees are in the nation states of southern Europe. The most productive nation for this popular "nut" is the Republic of Spain. Other producers include the former world leader just now coming onto the world scene, the California Republic.
Cashews are the seeds of a cashew (anacardium occidentale) tree that are taken from a large heart-shaped fruit. Still grown near its origin in South America, the tree has been cultivated in Africa and southern Asia. Today, the ANZC controls the world market through its contracts with large producers in India, Malaysia and Vietnam. The SAC, however, has made the seed a priority as markets in North America have opened up.
As a food crop, only two of the species, Macadamia integrifolia and Macadamia tetraphylla, are of commercial importance. This fruit is a true nut of these small evergreen trees, grown primarily in ANZC associated states, are lower in protein than any other nut. However, their content of Omega-7 fats make them both tasty and nutritious.
Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) or ground nuts are a legume, or "bean" that originated in Peru in ancient times. By modern times it has become perhaps the best known "nut" in the world. India and Indonesia are the primary producers of peanuts in the world today, though there are reports of attempts to export the product from some of the nations that make up the former nation of China. Argentina attempts to supply its neighboring SAC members with enough of the popular nut as do various nations in Africa for their part of the world. In the northern hemisphere, the nations of Texas, Neonotia and Virginia lead in production.
The peacan (Carya illinoinensis) is a species of hickory that grows widely in the southern nations of the former United States as well as in Mexico. It is the seed of a fruit that forms a hard husk which dries to release a seed which itself contains a fleshy interior. Though known in Europe from colonial times on, this species has never been cultivated there. For this reason, Mexico became the primary producer of the product until trade opened up with the American nations in recent years. Nowadays, though, the Republic of Texas and the Commonwealth of Kentucky vie for prominence to the opening markets of the world.
The pistachio (Pistacia vera), in the Anacardiaceae family, is closely related to the cashew. Originally from Persia (modern Iran), the tree grows in dry climates common in the area. Top producers today remain Iran and Turkey, though the Greek Federation is competitive.
English walnuts (Juglans regia) originated in Persia (Iran) and are the most common form of this seed. Like the pecan, it is produced from a thick husk from which it must be extracted. A related species, the Eastern black walnut (Juglans nigra) is native to North America. Today, the primary producers of English walnuts (or hybrid walnuts) are Turkey and India. In North America, Mexico by far produces more than the former leader in the area, the state of California. The California Republic, however, has begun to reclaim some of the walnut groves south of its present borders in hopes of augmenting its crops of fruits and vegetables.
Berries are a fruit produced out of one ovary. What is best known about berries is their fleshy inside, such as grapes, which are surrounded by a ovary covering known as an edible pericap. Botanical berries contain seeds in the center, while other fruit called "berries" do not. Such so-called berries come in many varieties and provide some of the best known "berries" in the world. Included among the botanical berries are every thing from the tiny blueberry to the giant watermelon.
That which is called a vegetable as a culinary term is edible portions of a plant that does not include the "fruit." As a rule, especially in the latter half of the twentieth century, "vegetables" were the parents' challenge in getting nutrition into children. Children, and as the west became more "modern" even many adults, seemed to dislike almost anything "green" - especially "green leafy" vegetables. This often would include green stems and fruit ("green beans"). However in the days since 1983, vegetables came to make up a major part of most diets. In fact, Doomsday caused major poisoning effects from radiation on animals like cows, pigs, and sheep, forcing many people to temporarily exclude animals from their diets in order to survive.
Cabbage is but one of many cultivars of Brassica oleracea, of what historically is called the cruciferous vegetables, bred for different flavors and appearance. They are all varieties of the "wild cabbage" that grows in southern Europe along the Mediterranean Sea. Known since ancient times as a garden vegetable B. oerecea is known in modern times as not only cabbage, but broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale (collard greens). The base for many dishes in Europe and Britain, local cooks can still get the vegetable locally, but not in abundance.
Historically, the largest producers were also large consumers of the vegetables, so the loss of imports has not caused much of a loss to tables across the northern hemisphere. However, in the southern hemisphere, among the developed nations of the ANZC and the SAC imports from Indonesia and Vietnam are the main source of this vegetable. In the Chinese survivor nations and in India, the continued production of cabbage and its siblings has often been a matter of life and death to hundreds of millions.
The carrot (Daucus carota) is domesticated from its wild ancestors in Iran and Afghanistan, and as with most vegetables is a major crop in both the nations of the former China. As with cabbage, production of carrots seems to have been as much for domestic use as for export, for the top producers were the superpowers largely destroyed on Doomsday: China, Russia, and the United States. As a result, the much of developed world of the southern hemisphere had to rely on crops grown in India, Indonesia, and to a lesser extent Australia. Production in western South America has risen significantly, as exports have gone all over the SAC.
Squash plants (Genus: Cucurbita) include four main species cultivated for the fruit: C. maxima (hubbard, buttercup, some pumpkins), C. mixta (cushaw squash), C. moschata (butternut squash), and C. pepo (most pumpkins, acorn squash, summer squash, zucchini). A native of Mexico and Central America, squash has been cultivated in North America since its earliest days. Unlike many vegetables, though, those of genus Curcurbita have not spread widely around the world. Consequently, the export to markets around the world ceased on Doomsday, and American diaspora gets most of its squash from Mexico to this day. In the American successor states, local production meets the need and trade between the nations assures no shortage.
The Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is of the same genus as, and thus a "cousin" of, the potato. However, it is the fruit of the plant rather than the stem. A native of South America, the plant spread back to Europe with the Spanish. The top producer of the tomato is, as with most other edible plants, the populous nations of former China. However, the plant is grown widely in the Americas and Europe. As a result, there was no shortage of the vegetable after the destruction in 1983. Local producers adapted across the Northern Hemisphere, and cuisine as varied as Mexican and Italian continued to be enjoyed in North America and Europe. Sparse production in the southern hemisphere, though, brought increased production in Indonesia and Australia, as well as in New Britain. Mexico also increased production to augment the production in Cuba and the SAC.
After Doomsday, common practice in some countries was to devote most large scale agriculture to the production of staples, with the cultivation of fruit and vegetables being left to small gardens and allotments. Somewhat surprisingly, places that had adopted such a system rather than having all food production be large scale and communal were later found to have better morale amongst the general population. This was later put down to the way that having something that was 'theirs' which they could take pride in and, most crucially, be in control of, helped take their mind off larger problems that were outside their control and gave many people a reason to keep going. Even today, gardening remains extremely popular, with many people around the world choosing to grow as much fruit and vegetables as possible themselves rather than buy them in shops or trade for them.
Like everything else however, there have been changes. The produce being eaten in any given area is generally only things which can be cultivated there, and many things are seasonal. The harsh winters and late frosts in places like northern Europe, for example, tend to make fruit production somewhat problematic, particularly when there are frosts late enough to kill off blossom. However, human ingenuity should never be underestimated and various solutions have been developed, particularly for larger scale fruit production. One of the most successful of these is simply the good old-fashioned walled garden, an ancient innovation popular in the British Isles, but having spread throughout Europe since Doomsday. Since the shelter of walling can raise the ambient temperature within the garden by several degrees, a micro-climate is created that permits plants to be grown that would not survive in the unmodified local climate. Some walled gardens even have one or more heated wall to provide additional heat when needed. Although most walled gardens were constructed pre-Doomsday, with some requiring a fair bit of restoration, many new ones have been constructed in recent years.
With changing weather patterns all over the world have made the rivers once more the savior of many a city and even some countries. With the loss of electricity in the early years, water systems became useless, and many large farms literally "dried up." Forests and even cities along rivers began to be utilized as farm land. As time went on, aqueducts designed to work on gravity alone were constructed, allowing for larger farms down hill from many rivers. In many places, greenhouses were used from the earliest days after doomsday. These ranged from sun rooms in individual homes to large commercial structures designed for accelerated and year-long production.
Sugar, Honey and other Sweeteners
Sugar production in North America and Europe had provided about 30% of the world's granulated sugar - mostly from sugar beets. With doomsday, export of this sugar obviously came to a halt. When production was restored, sugar production became a local enterprise in most places. The farming and processing of sugar cane in the deep southern former U.S. (especially in South Florida) picked up when imports from the Caribbean islands and Brazil abruptly stopped. As the crisis passed in middle America, the production of corn syrup became a minor industry to augment the rebounding honey industry in North America.
Radioactive fallout across the northern hemisphere had adversely affected the bee population, as it had most animal life, and only slowly did beekeeping become a viable industry. By the turn of the century, though, as communities began to reach out to the world around them, products such as honey became popular to populations long deprived of such luxury.
By the time that sugar producers in Brazil and the Caribbean had begun to trade with North America and Europe, the demand for cane sugar had actually dried up to nothing among many of the survivors. The alternatives had become far more affordable in economies that even in modern times are extremely volatile. The southern hemisphere, however, had become a ready market as the Brazilian economy became one of the most stable in the world.
Cane sugar fields also helped provide a boost to the fledgling economies of the various Texan survivor nations and that of Louisiana. Mexican investors drew from their nation's sugar cane market to help start soft drink and candy companies in Texas and Louisiana. Among the most notable of these industries is the Dublin Dr. Pepper Bottling Company, headquartered in Graham, northern Texas; Dublin Dr. Pepper (commonly referred to as Dr. Pepper, after the pre-Doomsday soft drink) is extremely popular not only in the various Texas republics but in survivor nations from Dinetah to Hattiesburg, and also in Mexico itself.
- See main article: Alcohol
Due to the nature of sweet juices, they will ferment if not consumed soon after being extracted from their source. In the case of the grape (genus: vitis), the balance of natural sugars promotes fermentation without any added sugar. As a result, wine became a beverage of convenience since the earliest of times. Beer, a beverage made from grain mixed with sugar and water, soon followed as mankind sought the pleasure that consumption of alcohol brought. The destruction of Doomsday brought a disruption of production facilities, but not of production, of alcoholic beverages. Exports would plummet, but areas no longer importing would soon improvise to meet what many consider an age old vice.
Throughout the northern hemisphere vineyards were laid waste in the aftermath of Doomsday. Even in the fertile foothills of Southeastern Australia, production was disrupted when Sidney and Melbourne burned from the nuclear firestorms of Soviet bombs. In all it is estimated that production of wine fell by 70% for the better part of a decade in all of the northern hemisphere. In Europe, the Alpine Confederation maintained vineyards in what had been the second largest wine producing nation - Northern Italy. In North America, the wineries of the famous Napa Valley (whose wines as recently as 1976 beat out French wines in blind taste tastes in Paris) lay destroyed. Survivors in the rest of wine-producing California struggled with other crops for almost 20 years before venturing back into the wine industry.
In 2010 the largest producers of wine are in the United American Republic (Argentina), followed closely by the ANZC which bounced back in the 1990's to become a contender. Chile joins its South American neighbor in providing wine for all of the SAC. International wine exports have begun to come out of the successor states in former France and Spain as those areas begin to expand contact with Asia and Africa. Throughout the American survivor states, local wines have become a valuable commodity in trade as well, though most such wines don't meet the standards set by the industry in the days before Doomsday.
With a history rivaling that of wine, beer is the product of fermented grains and yeast. This fact, has led many to speculate that beer predates bread as a food. In producing beer, the grain is first converted from a mostly starch to a sugar called maltose, or "malt." Malt is generally barley, a very hardy grain grown widely throughout the world, that has been sprouted and dried. These dried sprouts are then mashed and added to water, heated, and processed with yeast, literally becoming "liquid bread." Beginning in the earliest civilizations, the brewing of beer spread across Europe to become as common as water as a drink. The addition of hops in the tenth and eleventh centuries AD, gave it the flavor that it is most known by today.
As with wine, beer production and, especially, export was adversely affected by the destruction on Doomsday. Though locally produced hops allowed European successor nations to continue to produce beers similar to what they had known before, the production of beers in some areas began to take on a different taste based on substitute ingredients to give it the characteristic bitterness preferred by most beer drinkers. "Malt" liquors, known for their sweetness, became more popular among the general populace where beer had become a less alcoholic alternative to wine to ward off pathogens lurking in drinking water in many survivor communities.
In North America, the shortage of hops in the east and south resulted in the decline of favorite beers among the various nations. Meanwhile, across the continent, the citizens of Victoria and the United States enjoyed hops-rich brews as their crops of the hops plant were restored to pre-Doomsday levels. Because of this commodity, in fact, trade has recently been restored among many of the nations to return to the traditional beers that once dominated the shelves in stores everywhere.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the presence of cultivated hops in the ANZC member state of New Zealand assured that English-speaking populations from Alaska to New Britain could enjoy a cold beer along with friends - be they in a restaurant or at home. In the SAC, where the culture was more geared to wine, beer remained on the periphery of society.
Whiskey and "Hard Drinks"
Whiskey (or whisky) is a distilled alcoholic beverage that characteristically is aged in an oak cask or keg. The introduction to storage and aging produced a beverage that had a smoother taste than earlier distilled beverages that had taken on the name "whiskey." The term, drawn from the Latin aqua vitae (literally "water of life"), demonstrates an ancient history, though not as old as either wine or beer. The process of distillation heats the fermented mixture to separate the pure alcohol and water, and then returning the alcohol to the mixture. This process produces an alcohol content far greater than the natural fermentation would give a beer made from the same ingredients.
Historically, Scotland had been a top producer of whiskey, and for part of its history was forbidden by its masters in London from openly producing its prized beverage. Undeterred by the official sanction, the Scots continued to produce and store whiskey out of sight. Production, out of doors and at night to disguise the rising smoke and steam in darkness, gave rise to the name "moonshine" for the product. When finally allowed to produce openly again, the Scots once again produced a quality product which is widely known as Scotch. In North America, especially in the eastern states in the mountains, this clandestine production of illegal whiskey, notably from corn, took the same name. In the days after Doomsday, brought an increase of this potent beverage, and an eventual acceptance of corn whiskey as a standard in Kentucky and Blue Ridge. Famous whiskeys of the area, having lost distilleries to the chaos, eventually contracted with private distillers to make versions of their barley and wheat whiskeys.
While whiskey is from grain, other distilled "spirits" are produced in similar fashion. The most notable of these is Vodka, historically linked with Russia and now the "national drink" of Siberia. The base for this beverage is the potato, and the concentrate of alcohol in this colorless liquid has resulted in its being substituted for grain alcohol as a solvent in production of flavorings and extracts.
The luxury of coffee in North America and tea in Europe became even more so after Doomsday. From colonial times on, tea from China and Southeast Asia had been a major import. Coffee from South and Central America had the same place in the society of North America. The luxury food "chocolate" from South America had become a popular substitute in the sweetened drink known as cocoa in much of the northern hemisphere as well. Coffee beans and tea bags, however, became the first "currency" among the leaders and more wealthy survivors in the American survivor nations. The same was true in most of Europe for loose tea (processed tea leaves).
Though grown in small amounts in Europe and North America, tea (Camellia sinensis) was mostly a valued import in most of the northern hemisphere (especially in "the West"). A product of China and Southern Asia, the plant was processed all over the world. Tea had become the most consumed drink besides water in the world. With the significant exceptions of the Sultanate of Turkey and Georgia, Europe had no easy access to its most demanded drink. In North America, the case was even worse, for no imports were to come from Asia for well over two decades to most of these nations. In the American states, the common man began to cope, finding substitute plants whose leaves produced aromatic and in most cases tasty drinks when soaked in hot water. Leaves, though, were not the only parts of plants used, for a drink made from the sassafras root and bark. Because of a 1976 ban on essential oils used to make "root beer" - extracts from the bark of the sassafras tree (Sassafras albidum) - some people have used only the leaves, for a less satisfying drink. The use of the whole root and/or bark has been shown to be absolutely safe.
Just about any leaf, berry, or bark has been used in making alternatives to tea. In the American nations "teas" are usually sweetened with honey or corn sugar (see below). By the time imports from Turkey, Georgia and the far east began to come into the ports of North America in the late 2000's, only the rich (the very few) even cared for traditional tea. It is thought, though, that older Americans will begin to acquire a taste for it once again.
From its discovery in Ethiopia in the 15th century, coffee (Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora) spread to be cultivated in the tropics around the globe. From Southeast Asia to Central America, coffee trees grow in wet and perpetually warm environments. Second only to tea as a flavored beverage, coffee was more popular in North America than in Britain and Northern Europe. The loss of the import was therefore more keenly felt in the American states. But as with tea, adjustments were made. However, due to the psychological dependence many had for caffeine, coffee became highly valued and rationed in the decades before regular trade began to the scattered American states.
Most coffee in 1983 was in sealed cans or cooked beans waiting to be ground. Much of the coffee in stores awaiting grinding was lost in the chaos, as was that in warehouses. Canned prepared coffee, and jarred "instant coffee" became even more precious as the loss of the beans. As early as 1990, though, boats began running coffee to the Floridas from Puerto Rica and the United States Atlantic Remnant. The most prized coffee was from America-friendly Jamaica, though Cuba had begun trading with Puerto Rica by 2000. The finer coffees from Colombia on the other hand are just beginning to reach North America in early 2011. African and Asian coffees are traded throughout the ANZC, and have reached both Hawaii and Alaska, but it is not known if the USA or other western American nations have received any. Trade with Mexico, though, has brought the prized Costa Rican coffee to Texas and the NAU.
Cocoa, Theobroma cacao, is the rarest of the hot beverages and disappeared almost completely from the stores and homes of North America and Europe. The cocoa tree, originally cultivated by the Olmec, an early civilization in Central America three millennia before the arrival of Europeans, only grows in a thin band of 20 degrees north or south of the equator. Having been introduced by Europeans to plantations along the equator of central Africa, 70% of the cocoa in 1983 came from that area. Consequently, most hot cocoa and much-loved chocolate candy disappeared with the turmoil there.
Minor production in Mexico, however, provided cocoa and chocolate to the Texas nations and the USA as early as 1990. Negotiations with growers in the Dominican Republic by Puerto Rica, though politically uneasy, was able to begin providing the precious import to east coast nations in 1998. The ANZC, with nearby Indonesian plantations providing moderate crops, has been able to keep its member states in pricey, but available cocoa products. In addition, the ANZC has been working through the League of Nations to provide the Alpine Confederation with cocoa to revive the world-renowned "Swiss Chocolate" industry. Meanwhile, the SAC has managed to increase production of its cocoa to replace some of that lost with the instability in Africa. Cocoa, in fact, has begun to rival coffee as the drink of the multitudes in the growing nations of South America.
Soft drinks are also known as "soda pop" or, more accurately "carbonated beverage," is a non-alcoholic alternative to "hard" drinks (see above). The addition of carbonated water to flavorings and sweetener produce a drink with a "kick" that stimulates the mouth and throat while not affecting the persons other senses like alcohol does. Created as a way to administer a drugged syrup (Coca Cola), the strongest ingredient in modern soft drinks is caffeine. Coca Cola gave rise to competing carbonated cola drinks and eventually other flavored drinks as well. However, the production of such drinks became extravagance in post-war America and Europe, leading to the disappearance of professionally prepared carbonated beverages in much of the Northern Hemisphere.
Some large scale production continued in the southern hemisphere as multinational production centers continued producing the products. However, when the ingredient distribution chains broke down, smaller companies such as Bundaberg Brewed Drinks in Australia became larger competition. In the northern hemisphere, however, soft drinks have been replaced by assorted home-made beverages, most of which are fruit-based. In some places however it is possible to find a few street vendors, particularly during the summer months. The drinks sold by such vendors are almost always locally produced, often by the vendors themselves, and tend to be traditionally associated with that area, prime examples being kvass, a low alcohol fermented beverage made from black or regular rye bread and often flavored with fruit or herbs such as strawberries or mint which is sold in many of the USSR's successor states, and dandelion and burdock which is found throughout the British Isles but particularly in Lancaster due to Blackpool's tourist industry.
The original Coca Cola formula was apparently recovered from the ruins of Atlanta in the former US state of Georgia by an expedition from Cuba in 2007. Local residents in Darien, Neonotia, report that Cuban explorers had come through the area that year. In 2008, Cuban marketers introduced a new product known as Kola Grande to local consumers, and all but replaced local competitors. As marketing expanded beyond the borders of the nation, taste tests and finally chemical analysis demonstrated that the new drink was definitely based on the formula thought lost forever.
The multi-national company had closed its last distribution center in Australia in 1986 due to the loss of the formula. It is said that the secretive and exclusive production of the syrup within the old United States had doomed the continued operations of the company oversees. Its chief competitors, however, Pepsi and Royal Crown Cola , had moved in to fill the void in the developed nations of the ANZC and SAC. By 2009, Cuban had worked with the USSR to promote the re-introduction of the product as the preferred drink of committed communists everywhere. Most observers outside of the Socialist bloc, though, doubt if Siberian vodka has lost that spot.
The first soft drink to take off in post-Doomsday America was Dr. Pepper, based on the formula of the Dublin Dr. Pepper soft drink. The formula was discovered amongst the ruins of the Dublin Dr. Pepper Bottling Company in the abandoned town of Dublin by explorers from Graham in 1991. The formula helped jump-start a new Dr. Pepper Bottling Company formed in Graham (with financing from Mexican and West Texan entrepreneurs), and Dr. Pepper quickly became a popular drink throughout the Texas survivor nations. It has since spread into Mexico and into survivor nations from Dinetah to Hattiesburg.
In the South American Confederation, economic trade has resulted in the soft drink industry being dominated by giants such as Inca Kola in Peru, which has installments worldwide and is a favorite both in South America and is quickly spreading into the Mediterranean. Other major South American soft drink companies include Guaraná Antarctica of Brazil and Colombiana La Nuestra of Colombia.