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LostInParadise's avatar

How do you think cooking was discovered?

Asked by LostInParadise (28705points) June 22nd, 2012

Nobody can know for sure, since the discovery took place before we evolved into homo sapiens. There is an interesting recent theory that cooking was in fact what made the evolution possible.

The general consensus is that cooking was discovered by accident, perhaps from retrieving a singed carcass from a fire. I would like to think that the discovery was deliberate. I picture some member of homo erectus, perhaps a juvenile, standing at the edge of a small fire and, out of sheer curiosity, placing a piece of food at the end of a stick and then moving the stick over the fire. If homo erectus was smart enough to tame fire, surely he must have had a basic curiosity and willingness to explore new possibilities.

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11 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Cool article. We like fire, I’m thinking you may be on to something. We always had fires when we were partying before we were legal, I could see a juvenile trying that.

marinelife's avatar

Meat singing in a fire would have smelled good. I think that man might then try to taste it and voila.

ucme's avatar

Neanderthals randomly tossing meat onto fire, bit like barbecue time in redneck country.

ragingloli's avatar

Us Aliens taught primitive humans how to cook.

bolwerk's avatar

Perhaps it was a discovery made in the process of torturing an animal, or even a person.

thorninmud's avatar

It seems most likely to me that forest and brush fires would have produced a natural supply of cooked animals that made for easy pickins to opportunistic foragers. The idea of reproducing the tasty results in a controlled way wouldn’t have been a huge intellectual stretch.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not sure that vegetarians spend any more time eating and digesting than meat-eaters do. Anyone know about that?

bolwerk's avatar

@wundayatta: with modern food processing – or even relatively pre-modern, like bread – you can maintain a vegetarian diet and get most of the calories you need. How healthy this is may be open for debate, of course.

gondwanalon's avatar

Perhaps one day after a natural fire burned over an area, primitive humans may have stumbled across the carcass of an animal that was caught in the fire. “Smell good, we eat” they may have said.

LostInParadise's avatar

@wundayatta , Cooking also makes vegetables more digestible.

Sunny2's avatar

Think of all the “civilizing” things that may have come from eating cooked meat: the use of flat rocks for plates; the creation of small knives to cut the meat; table manners “No, you go first;” table linens; place settings needed for dining tables that were invented to hold this new ‘cooked’ cuisine; banquets for visitors. Then, of course you’d need clothes for all this socialized dining. Well, just imagine. Cooked meat ultimately was responsible for lace doilies.

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