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

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Staff Reviews

"This is the only book that every member of my book club has both finished and enjoyed, Consider the Fork is a fascinating look at so many little things that we take for granted on a daily basis.

Do you know why chopsticks took hold in Asia and forks in Europe? Spoiler—it has to do with knives. How much thought have you ever given to the labor-saving devices that fill our kitchens? Would you be surprised to learn that many of them were met with reluctance by professional cooks when they were first introduced? Have you ever wondered about the first person to try a certain food or method of preparation? This book is so much more satisfying than an afternoon spent Googling.

Wilson examines this and so many other aspects of culinary tradition that made me think so differently about almost every meal I prepare. Beautiful prose, lovely illustrations, and fascinating content make this a must-read!"

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books

— From Lucinda Recommends!

November 2012 Indie Next List

“Interest in the evolution of human food culture has always been popular. In Consider the Fork, Wilson invites readers to examine this evolution in a new light. She discusses the transformation of kitchen tools and utensils throughout human existence as well as the implications these transformations have on how humans cook and eat. Wilson's air of curiosity and amusement makes for an enjoyable read; pots and pans have never been more interesting, and the intermingling of anthropology, history, and sociology is certain to spark further thought next time a spork or a blender is encountered.”
— Lucy Beeching, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA


Award-winning food writer Bee Wilson's secret history of kitchens, showing how new technologies - from the fork to the microwave and beyond - have fundamentally shaped how and what we eat.

Since prehistory, humans have braved sharp knives, fire, and grindstones to transform raw ingredients into something delicious -- or at least edible. But these tools have also transformed how we consume, and how we think about, our food. In Consider the Fork, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson takes readers on a wonderful and witty tour of the evolution of cooking around the world, revealing the hidden history of objects we often take for granted. Technology in the kitchen does not just mean the Pacojets and sous-vide machines of the modern kitchen, but also the humbler tools of everyday cooking and eating: a wooden spoon and a skillet, chopsticks and forks. Blending history, science, and personal anecdotes, Wilson reveals how our culinary tools and tricks came to be and how their influence has shaped food culture today. The story of how we have tamed fire and ice and wielded whisks, spoons, and graters, all for the sake of putting food in our mouths, Consider the Fork is truly a book to savor.

About the Author

Bee Wilson is a celebrated food writer, food historian, and author of five books, including First Bite: How We Learn to Eat and Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat. She has been named BBC Radio's food writer of the year and is a three-time Guild of Food Writers food journalist of the year. She writes a monthly column on food in the Wall Street Journal. She lives in Cambridge, England.

Praise For…

"Reading [Consider the Fork] is like having a long dinner table discussion with a fascinating friend.... Leisurely but lively...a pure joy to read."—Los Angeles Times

"Delightful.... [An] ebulliently written and unobtrusively learned survey."—Harper's Magazine

"[A] sparkling...fascinating and entertaining book."—The Sunday Times (London)

"One part science, one part history, and a generous dash of fun."—Good Housekeeping

"Wilson's insouciant scholarship and companionable voice convince you she would be great fun to spend time with in the kitchen.... [She is] a congenial kitchen oracle."—New York Times Book Review

"Fluid yet engaging, just like a good conversation over a pan of sizzling vegetables."—New Republic

"The path from Stone Age flints to sous-vide machines whirs so smoothly
that I found myself re-reading passages just to trace how the author managed to
work in a Victorian copper batterie de cuisine along the way."—Washington Post

"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."—Spectator (London)

"Wilson celebrates
the unsung implements that have helped shape our diets through the centuries.
After devouring this delightful mix of culinary science and history, you'll
never take a whisk for granted again."—Parade
Product Details
ISBN: 9780465056972
ISBN-10: 0465056970
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: October 8th, 2013
Pages: 352
Language: English