You know, when I first thought of adding this little series of book reviews “Books for Cooks,” I thought it would be much easier than Ruth and I’s normal cooking and recipe posts. Boy was I mistaken – I forgot how hard “book reports” from elementary school actually are!
I recently finished Consider the For: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson. The book, published just over a year ago, is a light enjoyable read that takes a look at the innovations and inventions that have inspired and supported home cooks since the first fire was used to roast mammoth meat. As easy a read as it is, you walk away with a wealth of knowledge that you find yourself inexplicably sharing at dinner parties and brunch with girlfriends (or maybe that’s just me).
I was fascinated by the book’s focus on the humble everyday kitchen and its tools from sporks and chopsticks to refrigerators and toaster. Did you know, for example, that chopsticks as eating utensils are simply part of the evolution of Chinese food that resulted from the death of wood for fueling cooking fires. Chinese stir-fry, which is made of bite-side pieces of meat and vegetable, cooks quickly in the wok, whose concave bottom allows the food to be seared using a rather small fire. It is likely that chopsticks originated as a tool for stirring the food in the wok and eventually evolved into a utensil for eating.
I definitely recommend this book for anyone who is curious about the tools in their kitchen and how they came into being. It is an easy read that remains light and engrossing until you finally close the cover.