Profound, Entertaining Journey into Cooking History

Winnipeg Free Press, October 2, 2012 | Go to article overview

Profound, Entertaining Journey into Cooking History


This is an amazing journey into cooking technology from prehistory to the present that is at once profound and entertaining.

Author Bee Wilson, a veteran British food writer, intrigues throughout by blending anthropology, archeology, history and science with witty personal anecdotes about her own cooking experiences.

Her purpose is to reveal the hidden intelligence in the apparently simple technology in our kitchens, and to explain why it matters -- it is totally enmeshed with what we are biologically and intellectually, and our social, economic and cultural systems, as well as our everyday sustenance and survival.

That the discussion is thoroughly researched and documented in easy to follow format reflects Wilson's impressive background. With a doctorate in history from Cambridge, Wilson is a lauded U.K. food critic, columnist and author.

Her previous books include Sandwich: A Global History (2010), Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud (2008) and The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us (2006).

In Consider the Fork, Wilson traces how humans have always used invention to devise better ways to feed themselves.

There is a technology behind everything we eat. It does not have to be electronic or futuristic. It can be a fork, a pot, a measuring cup, or a particular way of applying heat to the food.

She points out that skeletal evidence from archeology suggests that no one survived into adulthood without teeth before the invention of pottery about 10,000 years ago. Early ancestors who lost all their teeth simply couldn't chew and would starve. The cooking pot saved them by enabling people to make food mushy-liquid, edible without chewing.

A more startling example is Wilson's reference to anthropologist Richard Wrangham on how harnessing fire and the consequent art of cooking enabled us to evolve from apes to Homo erectus.

In making most foods far easier to digest and releasing more of the nutritive value, cooking gave us better food, enhanced our physical development, and helped make our brains uniquely large, providing the body with a brilliant human mind.

Historic developments come alive as Wilson draws on her thorough research and quick wit to weave throughout her text many details of social and economic context, place and time, as well as stories of the people involved.

For example, we easily appreciate why Italy was the first European culture to start using forks, which were considered odd in the rest of Europe until the 17th century.

The lively description seems to seat us right at the table watching Italian diners spiking and twirling noodle-lengths of the specific pastas she names. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Profound, Entertaining Journey into Cooking History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.