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Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat

de Bee Wilson, Bee Wilson

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8774218,139 (3.96)63
This book offers a novel approach to food writing, presenting a history of eating habits and mores through the lens of the technologies we use to prepare, serve, and consume food. It tells the history of food through its tools across different eras and continents to present a fully rounded account of humans' evolving relationship to kitchen technology. From the birth of the fork in Italy as it discovered pasta, to culture wars over spoons in Restoration England, and tests for how to choose the perfect pan, this book examines the incredible creations that have shaped how and what we cook. Encompassing inventors, scientists, cooks and chefs, this is the previously unsung history of our kitchens.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 42 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Fascinating. She points out in the introduction that of the many, many histories of food, very few look at the tools we've used - most focus on the development of agriculture, without mentioning the metates/mortar and pestles necessary to turn grain into something edible, for instance. She points out some things that are obvious once she's mentioned them - like that knives predated fire by many many years (thousands? Millions? Not sure). There's also things that are important factors that I'd never thought of - for instance, that the English "Roast Beef" food culture requires both pasturage for cattle (I knew that) and lots of woodland to supply firewood (I'd never thought of that). European food culture in the same period used much less fuel, because they didn't have as much - and Chinese food culture was and is designed to use very little fuel (food cut into small pieces, so that they can cook very quickly, for instance). And then the implications of those factors for table manners - the use of knives at the table, in particular. Later she discusses mechanical kitchen tools - stand mixers, food processors and the like, and how they again changed the food we ate and even our physical structure. Modern man has an overbite - your upper teeth overlap your lower ones. As recently as the 1800s, our teeth met edge to edge - because we had to bite off relatively tough food, and the scissors bite was more efficient for that. Nowadays, food is a lot softer (more thoroughly processed), and our teeth and jaws have altered to suit. The development of food preservation techniques, from canning to refrigeration, is the last subject - and again, as the tools changed, so did our food and our attitudes towards it. I quoted bits from the book to my family over and over as I was reading - fascinating stuff! I'll be rereading this, and I'll look for more by this author. ( )
1 vote jjmcgaffey | May 8, 2021 |
Here's one I just finished, Sept. 2020. It's a look at the ways we've developed our cooking and eating habits.

This covers the gamut, from the first time people tried something other than roasting food (boiling, they think), and the ways we did it - starting from pits to pots.

This history also looks at cookware, the development of ovens and stoves, cookbooks, measuring and even how we started manufacturing ice (a very American obsession).

And of course, a look at spoons, knives and forks.

It's better than I was expecting, right up there with anything Mark Kurlansky would write, like Salt and Cod.

Totally worthy, and a recommended one from me.

Check out more of my reviews at Ralphsbooks. ( )
  ralphz | Sep 4, 2020 |
Kind of superficial but enjoyable for all that, and full of fun little details. ( )
  RJ_Stevenson | Aug 19, 2020 |
There were parts I found really interesting, like the chapters on refrigeration, or the discussion on what makes a perfect pot. But, there was also a lot of information that just felt too trivial or too obvious. ( )
  James_Maxey | Jun 29, 2020 |
I enjoyed this examination of how we cook and eat. I thought it provided an excellent mix of history, science, technology and -- most interesting -- culture and norms over the past 150-odd years. The author examines pots and pans, knives, stoves, refrigeration and more. Often, the book is funny and I learned a lot. A bit repetitive at times, but not too much. If you like to cook, you will enjoy this for sure. ( )
  LynnB | Apr 21, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 42 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
What new intellectual vistas remain to be conquered by the food obsessive? Now that "consumer ethics", philosophy, spiritualism and history may be studied exclusively through the steamed-up spectacles of the orally fixated, and there are studies of individual foodstuffs as well as monographs on historic-moments-in-food (what Churchill gobbled at state dinners; what you could have scarfed on the Titanic before drowning), where else can swollen-stomached literary foodism waddle off to? The erudite and witty food writer Bee Wilson has spotted a gap in the market. "There have been books on potatoes, cod and chocolate and histories of cookbooks, restaurants and cooks," she reminds us, but not yet a general history of food technology. So her survey takes in everything from the long-ago invention of pots and pans, through changing habits of cutlery use and different ways to harness combustion, right up to the absurdist laboratory furniture of today's kitchen "modernists" such as Heston Blumenthal.......
adicionado por marq | editarThe Guardian, Steven Poole (Oct 24, 2012)
 

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A wooden spoon - most trusty and lovable of kitchen implements - looks like the opposite of "technology," as the word is normally understood.
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This book offers a novel approach to food writing, presenting a history of eating habits and mores through the lens of the technologies we use to prepare, serve, and consume food. It tells the history of food through its tools across different eras and continents to present a fully rounded account of humans' evolving relationship to kitchen technology. From the birth of the fork in Italy as it discovered pasta, to culture wars over spoons in Restoration England, and tests for how to choose the perfect pan, this book examines the incredible creations that have shaped how and what we cook. Encompassing inventors, scientists, cooks and chefs, this is the previously unsung history of our kitchens.

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