Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human — Richard Wrangham

Wrangham is an biological anthropologist from Harvard, who argues that cooking is the basis for humanity’s social/biological evolution. He looks at archaeological evidence that shows finding cooked food at similar dates to when we developed larger brains and more complex social structures according to the fossil record.

Essentially it boils down to the fact that it takes less time for us to process more calories if the food has been cooked–giving us the evolutionary opportunity to more than worry about getting enough nutrition and develop exciting innovations like cave painting.

Overall it was really interesting, though I felt like he approached the same point multiple ways over and over before abruptly tumbling into a conclusion. The underlying treatise was really interesting though, and I found myself saying, “In this book I’m reading about the development of cooking in human society…” more than once in various foodie related conversations over the last few weeks–which says something positive I think.