Since prehistory, humans have braved sharp knives, fire, and grindstones to transform raw ingredients into something delicious-or at least edible. Tools shape what we eat, but they have also transformed how we consume, and how we think about, our food. Technology in the kitchen does not just mean the Pacojets and sous-vide of the modernist kitchen. It can also mean the humbler tools of everyday cooking and eating: a wooden spoon and a skillet, chopsticks and forks.
In Consider the Fork, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson provides a wonderful and witty tour of the evolution of cooking around the world, revealing the hidden history of everyday objects we often take for granted. Knives-perhaps our most important gastronomic tool-predate the discovery of fire, whereas the fork endured centuries of ridicule before gaining widespread acceptance; pots and pans have been around for millennia, while plates are a relatively recent invention. Many once-new technologies have become essential elements of any well-stocked kitchen-mortars and pestles, serrated knives, stainless steel pots, refrigerators. Others have proved only passing fancies, or were supplanted by better technologies; one would be hard pressed now to find a water-powered egg whisk, a magnet-operated spit roaster, a cider owl, or a turnspit dog. Although many tools have disappeared from the modern kitchen, they have left us with traditions, tastes, and even physical characteristics that we would never have possessed otherwise.
Blending history, science, and anthropology, Wilson reveals how our culinary tools and tricks came to be, and how their influence has shaped modern food culture. The story of how we have tamed fire and ice and wielded whisks, spoons, and graters, all for the sake of putting food in our mouths, Consider the Fork is truly a book to savor.
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Bee Wilson is a food writer, historian, and author of three previous books, including Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, from Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee. She has been named BBC Radio's Food Writer of the Year and is a three-time Guild of Food Writers' Food Journalist of the Year. Wilson served as the food columnist for the New Statesman for five years, and currently writes a weekly food column for the Sunday Telegraph, Stella magazine. She holds a Ph.D. from Trinity College, Cambridge, and lives in Cambridge, England.
Reading [Consider the Fork] is like having a long dinner table discussion with a fascinating friend.... Leisurely but lively...a pure joy to read.”
Los Angeles Times
Delightful.... [An] ebulliently written and unobtrusively learned survey.”
[A] sparkling...fascinating and entertaining book.”
The Sunday Times (London)
One part science, one part history, and a generous dash of fun.”
Wilson's insouciant scholarship and companionable voice convince you she would be great fun to spend time with in the kitchen.... [She is] a congenial kitchen oracle.”
New York Times Book Review
Fluid yet engaging, just like a good conversation over a pan of sizzling vegetables.”
A delightfully informative history of cooking and eating.”
Wilson is a good tour guide.... [A] dizzying, entertaining ride.”
Wall Street Journal
A book to savour.... You will never look at a kitchen knife in the same way again.”
The Independent (London)
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