Chef Ape

Chemistry and cooking two seemingly unrelated topics, cooking makes food easier and quicker to digest releasing more calories and allowing in wider ranges of foods to be cooked and added to our diets. Cooked food particularly, cooked meat requires less chewing and uses less energy to digest.

This has been described as one of the earliest ways that human beings were able to transform themselves from Hunter Gatherers into the more common settled civilized man. Being able to cook granted these people more time to think and therefore more time to devote to the arts, creativity, building and the like.

Richard Wrangham of Harvard University argues that mastery of the chemistry of cooking was the driving force behind human evolution, he goes on to say that being able to cook allowed early humans to evolve energy-hungry large brains while freeing up time to develop culture, society and technology.

It also explains how our ancestor species Homo Erectus came to evolve a smaller jaw, shorter intestines – which in turn lead to smaller bellies and a larger skull in which to house that big brain.

Cooking is what makes the human diet intrinsically human, we are the only creatures that cook our food aside from monkeys that have most recently learned to hunt, scavenge and also shape tools by watching human behavior – such an example can be found in the Orangutan which after witnessing men sharpening sticks into spears has since sharpened its own sticks using its own tools and has taken to hanging from trees at angles favorable to hunting fish and then spearing those fish with those handmade tools and spears.

The most logical explanation for the advances in brain and body size over our ape ancestors is largely due to our advance in cooking.

Indeed it is difficult to even imagine our leap from Homo Erectus to Homo-Sapiens without cooking’s nutritional benefits. In this way we can see how something that we take for granted such as cooking has actually been a driving force within our evolution however factually correct our current history of humanity is, what with all its holes and often lack of information concerning cultures that do not necessarily descend from whites it is safe to say that we know we would not have got far without the benefit of the chemistry of cooking. So to a certain extent, if you eat, you are a chemist.

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