Sunday, August 5, 2018

Consider the Fork: A History of Invention in the Kitchen Hardcover – October 25, 2012 by Bee Wilson (Particular Books )(IBRCookBooks)

If you're interesting in cooking, this is the book for you. Didn't know that mortar and pestles have been around for 20,000 years? True, apparently. The overbite that humans have? Only 200-250 years since that developed; before that, top teeth met bottom teeth in the front of the mouth to make tearing meat from the bone directly more efficient. Changes in eating habits made for changes to the jaw. Amazing.

Anyway, great info about food preparation through the ages, development of kitchen gizmos and labor-saving devices (especially once slaves and indentured labor disappeared from homes of the wealthy). Neat info like Americans are the only cooks in the world to use measuring cups and measuring spoons; everyone else measures in their hand or with their fingers (just a pinch) ... who knew? And some measure by weighing each ingredient, apparently much more exact.

Charmingly written, like having a conversation, though a bit more editorial attention would have been helpful. A few words are glitched almost as though the ebook was scanned from a print copy, but howlers like the following show up every once in a while:

"This whirling mechanism was a big improvement on quern still took two the basic quern, but a large rotary women to operate, one to feed in the grain and one to keep turning it." Huh? I swear I read that six times and still can't figure out what it might have been originally, how many sentences are jumbled together, or what. ('Quern' I got because it's explained elsewhere - it's the bottom part of a circular grain mill against which the upper stone is rotated to grind the grain.)

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