A cheeseburger cannot exist outside of a highly developed,
post-agrarian society. It requires a complex interaction between a
handful of vendors — in all likelihood, a couple of dozen — and
the ability to ship ingredients vast distances while keeping them
fresh. The cheeseburger couldn’t have existed until nearly a
century ago as, indeed, it did not.
Love the Sagan quote at the end.
[While an interesting thought experiment it doesn’t ring entirely true. Sure there can be problems with the seasonality of vegetables, but cheese making would have been a continual pursuit for those who did it. And while animal rennet is certainly most common, there are vegetable used rennets as well. etc. etc. The truth seems closer to “it takes a village” than do it all yourself. Maybe you hot house something, trade for some cheese, and no doubt, pre-freezer slaughtering a cow or a sheep would require multiple families because a single (unless very large) family couldn’t eat the animal fast enough… I try and enjoy each season for what it brings in all senses. The weather, the food, the holidays. So I think the effort to completely raise the entire meal from the ground is cool, much as planting trees to turn into furniture later is cool. But that path is long, and life is fleeting.]
Source: Daring Fireball