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Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat

Consider the Fork by Bea Wilson

Hi Ladies, a friend of mine recommended this book as a fascinating read. As usual, please only RSVP is you genuinely can attend and read the book. Looking forward to it.


A wooden spoon - most trusty and loveable of kitchen implements - looks like the opposite of 'technology', as the word is normally understood. But look closer. Is it oval or round? Does it have an extra-long handle to give your hand a place of greater safety from a hot skillet? Or a pointy bit at one side to get the lumpy bits in the corner of the pan? It took countless inventions to get to the well-equipped kitchens we have now, where our old low-tech spoon is joined by mixers, freezers and microwaves, but the story of human invention in the kitchen is largely unseen. Discovering the histories of our knives, ovens and kitchens themselves, Bee Wilson explores, among many other things, why the French and Chinese have such different cultures of the knife; and why Roman kitchens contain so many implements we recognize. Encompassing inventors, scientists, cooks and chefs, this is the previously unsung history of our kitchens.

Bee Wilson's Consider the Fork, though a work of considerable scholarship, is also a cracking good read, as enjoyable as it is enlightening (Raymond Blanc, Chef-Patron 'Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons')

This scholarly and witty book, packed full of fascinating information and thrilling insights, is as enlightening as it is a joy to read (Claudia Roden, author of 'The Food of Spain')

Mind meets kitchen: Bee Wilson sizes up every kitchen implement from the wooden spoon to the ergonomic Microplane, and gives us its history, including versions that led up to each object but did not survive for lack of fitness. Her climax is the kitchen, the room itself, the affluent modern version of which has never been so highly designed; so well equipped; so stylish; or so empty. She conducts us on a sobering, entertaining, and instructive tour (Margaret Visser, leading food historian)

I was so enthralled by Bee Wilson's new book that I found it hard to put down. As always she is a completely reliable guide to her subject, and this history of how we cook and eat is full of surprises - how human table manners have changed our bodies, and how technological changes can affect our personal tastes in food. Her authority is complete, her scholarship lightly worn and her writing terrific (Paul Levy, co-author of 'The Official Foodie Handbook', and editor of 'The Penguin Book of Food and Drink')

A fast-paced and mind-opening investigation into the quirky stories behind our daily interactions with food (Richard Wrangham, author of 'Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human')

[A] delightfully informative history of cooking and eating from the prehistoric discovery of fire to twenty-first-century high-tech, low-temp soud-vide-style cookery (ELLE magazine)

In her wonderful new book, food writer Bee Wilson unpacks the paraphernalia of the average kitchen ... Witty, scholarly, utterly absorbing and fired by infectious curiosity, Consider the Fork wears its impressive research lightly; Wilson has given us a long view on everyday life - the early experiments of our primitive ancestors cast a long and complex shadow over the meals we eat. (Lucy Lethbridge Observer)

Substantial and entertaining ... Bee Wilson belongs to a rare breed: the academic who can write. This book is dense with research, all of it rendered highly palatable ... A keen cook, Wilson has no trouble sorting the culinary fads from the game-changers. (Jemima Lewis Mail on Sunday)

Bee Wilson has a knack for curating fact. Before you can get tired of reading about spitjacks in the Fire chapter, the subject matter hops into a page or two on tandoor ovens, then you find out about thermodynamics, cast-iron ranges and the blaze that set off the Great Fire of London. Throughout the book there are well-judged measures of historical information, alongside anecdotes and a touch of science. Oh, and anthropology ... a fascinating insight. (Gaby Soutar The Scotsman)

A delightful compendium of the tools, techniques and cultures of cooking and eating. Be it a tong or a chopstick, a runcible spoon or a cleaver, Bee Wilson approaches it with loving curiosity and thoroughness.... But as well as providing wry insights into the psychology of cooks down the ages, Consider the Fork is infused with a sense that every omelette, cup of coffee, meringue or tea cake is steeped in tradition and ancient knowledge, and that that is partly what makes cooking one of life's joys. (Molly Guinness Spectator)

Wilson's tour of the kitchen explores all the essential elements of domestic cookery through the ages ... the book is diligently researched and she has a sharp eye for a vivid historical detail ... perceptive. (Jane Shilling Daily Mail)

What new intellectual vistas remain to be conquered by the food obsessive? . . . The erudite and witty food writer Bee Wilson has spotted a gap in the market. . . . [Her] argument is clear and persuasive ... a graceful study. (Steven Poole Guardian)

Wilson is at her sparkling best when unearthing curious histories about the role these inventions played in the evolution of man. She serves up her impressive research in easy-to-digest nuggets, making the chronicle of even the dullest kitchen aid a palatable treat. (Metro)

A sparkling history ... Fascinating and entertaining ... In considering the fork, in short, she forces us to reconsider ourselves. (James McConnachie Sunday Times)

This broad survey makes palatable thousands of years of theory and experience. (Melissa Katsoulis Sunday Telegraph)

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  • Jessie H.

    Meeting young ladies with so much knowledge,insight and good humour keeps me young.Thank you ladies.Consider the Fork :A History of How We Cook and Eat is a book that can be savoured little morsels at a time with one's eye pad next to it,checking pictures and facts.It was not a quick read,but it is full of interesting facts.

    June 16, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was at a family event yesterday in Birmingham and I have missed my train back so I won't be able to make it - I would be an hour late by the time I got there. I'm really sorry about this, and I hope you have a good discussion.

    June 15, 2014

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