Cooking Allowed the Toothless to Live

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(p. C12) . . . the narrative, ragtag though it may be, is a good one and it starts with the single greatest achievement in cookware–the cooking pot. Originally made of clay, this simple invention allowed previously inedible foods to be cooked in water, a process that removed toxins, made them digestible and reduced the need for serious chewing, a deadly problem for the toothless. (Archaeologists find adult skeletons without teeth only at sites dating from after the invention of the cooking pot.)
. . .
When “Consider the Fork” turns to cultural history, Ms. Wilson’s points sometimes contradict one another. On one hand, she slyly condemns the rich throughout history and their use of cheap cooking labor. Yet she also relates how the Lebanese writer Anissa Helou remembers kibbé being made in Beirut by her mother and grandmother: They pounded the lamb in a mortar and pestle for an hour, a process described in loving terms. So is cooking labor a bedrock of family values or class exploitation?

For the full review, see:
CHRISTOPHER KIMBALL. “The World on a Plate.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., October 6, 2012): C12.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the review has the date October 5, 2012.)

The book under review, is:
Wilson, Bee. Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat. New York: Basic Books, 2012.

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