By Bee Wilson
For the reason that prehistory, people have striven to tame hearth and ice, and feature braved the enterprise ends of mashers, scrapers, and razor-sharp knives—all within the identify of making anything scrumptious (or, a minimum of, edible). The expertise of nutrients concerns even if we slightly discover it truly is there, yet lately kitchen expertise has turn into more and more complex and crowd pleasing, reworking the old fashioned domestic kitchen right into a bristling stainless-steel laboratory. faraway from a brand new improvement, although, the fashionable kitchen is barely the latest generation of an historic lineage of meals know-how, as acclaimed nutrients historian Bee Wilson unearths in ponder the Fork.
Many of our applied sciences for getting ready nutrition have remained strikingly constant for hundreds of thousands of years. The Greeks and Romans already had pestles and mortars. Knives—perhaps mankind’s most vital gastronomic tool—predate the invention of that different simple expertise, hearth. different instruments emerged relatively without notice (like the microwave, whose secrets and techniques have been unlocked in the course of radar assessments carried out in the course of global conflict II) or in matches and begins (like the fork, which needed to suffer centuries of ridicule earlier than eventually gaining common acceptance). for each know-how that has persevered, others have fallen through the wayside. We now not think the necessity for andirons and bastables, cider owls and cling spits, even supposing of their day those could have appeared not more superfluous than our oil drizzlers and electrical herb choppers.
The evolution of meals expertise deals a distinct window into human historical past, and Wilson blends heritage, technology, and private anecdotes as she strains different applied sciences that experience shaped—or slashed, pounded, whisked, or heated (and reheated)—our nutrition over the centuries. alongside the best way she finds a few attention-grabbing facts—showing, for example, how China’s delicacies, its knives, and its consuming utensils are the entire manufactured from the country’s traditionally scarce gasoline provide. To preserve power, cooks rendered their materials quick-cooking through the use of huge, multi-purpose cutting knives to lessen nutrition to small, bite-sized morsels. this system, in flip, gave upward push to the chopstick, which can't lower. What’s extra, the invention of the knife—in Asia and elsewhere—was most likely what gave people our designated overbite. ahead of people realized to model knives out of sharpened rocks, many folks minimize our nutrition through clamping it in our entrance the teeth, which gave us completely aligned rows of teeth.
But Wilson indicates that, faraway from being adventurous innovators, chefs are a notoriously conservative bunch, and in simple terms undertake new applied sciences with nice reluctance. The fuel diversity revolutionized cooking while it was once first brought within the nineteenth century through promising to finish “hearth deaths,” a relentless threat for girls donning billowing, flammable garments. yet indoor fuel cooking—safer and extra efficient—was however greeted with frequent suspicion whilst it was once first brought. Many cooks feared it'll taint their nutrients or poison their site visitors. an analogous carry real for the fridge, which used to be first and foremost condemned as an unnatural expertise that risked altering the elemental “essence” of nutrients. might be the only exception to this technophobia, says Wilson, used to be the egg beater, new patents for which proliferated so astonishingly in past due 19th-century America.
In this interesting historical past, Wilson unearths the myriad strategies that experience formed our diets this day. An insightful examine how we’ve replaced nutrition and the way nutrition has replaced us, give some thought to the Fork unearths the dazzling ways that the implements we...
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Extra info for Consider the Fork: How Technology Transforms the Way We Cook and Eat
The solution to many of these drawbacks was enameled cast iron: cast iron coated in a vitreous enamel glaze, the most famous example of which is Le Creuset. The principle of enameling is very ancient: the Egyptians and the Greeks made enameled jewelry, fusing powdered glass onto pottery beads by firing it at very high temperatures (1382°F to 1560°F). Enameling began to be applied to iron and steel around 1850. Then in 1925, two Belgian industrialists working in northern France thought of applying it to cast-iron cookware, the bedrock of every French grandmother’s kitchen.
Cauldrons started to be used by the Egyptians, the Mesopotamians, and the Chinese, by at least 2000 BC. The expense of manufacturing them meant that their use was limited at first to special feasts or the food of the afterlife. Metal cauldrons have a number of highly practical advantages over pottery. A cauldron can be scrubbed clean with sand or ash, unlike unglazed earthenware, which tends to hold the residue of the previous meal in its pores. Metal conducts heat better than clay, and therefore food cooks more efficiently.
As the story goes, Marc Gregoire’s wife first suggested he try to use the PTFE he had been using on fishing tackle to solve the problem of her sticky cooking pans. He found a way of melding PTFE to an aluminum pan. How does it work? Stickiness happens when food bonds with the surface of the pan; but PTFE molecules do not bond with any other molecules. At a microscopic level, PTFE is made up of four fluorine atoms and two carbon atoms, repeated many times in a much larger molecule. Once fluorine has bonded with carbon, it does not want to 32 0465021765-text3_Layout 1 7/24/12 1:14 PM Page 33 Pots and Pans bond with anything else, not even with the usual culprits such as scrambled egg or steak.