Consider the Fork
A History of How We Cook and Eat
By Bee Wilson
If I told you I just read a fascinating book about forks and spoons, you probably wouldn't believe me. But I assure you it is the truth. This, my friend, is that book. More than forks and spoons, however, it's about the entire history of kitchen utensils, which ones we used once upon a time and how we came up with the ones we use today. If you've ever spent time in a kitchen, even just to stir a pot of spaghetti with a wooden spoon, then this is a book for you.
You'll learn how even a humble wooden spoon is the product of "countless decisions--economic and social as well as those pertaining to design and applied engineering." You'll discover how cooks used to have to put their hands into ovens, conducting a pain test, to see if it was hot enough. And you'll probably not be surprised to learn that in the kitchen technology sometimes follows the taste buds: "Whereas refrigeration was neglected for centuries, the technology of ice cream was extremely advanced." The book is filled with anecdotes like these that will make you smile as you remember your own adventures in front of the stove. If nothing else it will make you happy that we no longer have to grind our own sugar from solid blocks, or have ice shipped from frozen lakes in the North.
Far from academic, the information is relayed in a readable and flowing style, and you're sure to enjoy the experience.
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Review by Danny Hanbery