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Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat | [Bee Wilson]

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

Since prehistory, humans have braved the business ends of knives, scrapers, and mashers, all in the name of creating something delicious - or at least edible. In Consider the Fork, award-winning food writer and historian Bee Wilson traces the ancient lineage of our modern culinary tools, revealing the startling history of objects we often take for granted. Charting the evolution of technologies from the knife and fork to the gas range and the sous-vide cooker, Wilson offers unprecedented insights.
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Publisher's Summary

Since prehistory, humans have braved the business ends of knives, scrapers, and mashers, all in the name of creating something delicious - or at least edible. In Consider the Fork, award-winning food writer and historian Bee Wilson traces the ancient lineage of our modern culinary tools, revealing the startling history of objects we often take for granted. Charting the evolution of technologies from the knife and fork to the gas range and the sous-vide cooker, Wilson offers unprecedented insights into how we've prepared and consumed food over the centuries - and how those basic acts have changed our societies, our diets, and our very selves.

©2012 Bee Wilson (P)2012 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Wilson is erudite and whip-smart, but she always grounds her exploration of technological change in the perspective of the eternal harried cook - she's been one - struggling to put a meal on the table. This is mouthwatering history: broad in scope, rich in detail, stuffed with savory food for thought." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (195 )
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  •  
    steve kearny, NJ, United States 03-15-14
    steve kearny, NJ, United States 03-15-14 Member Since 2009

    Addicted to Audible since 2009

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Consider another book"

    Don't get me wrong this book had some interesting facts and in particular I really enjoyed the second half and listening to the parts about the history of forks and even sporks was great. I also liked the part about the history of ice and the element of science into cooking and how the kitchen has developed over the years. Other than that though, I’m sad to say that this book really bored me, especially the first part. The narrator, a British woman, was also to my disliking as I found her accent adding to the boredom that I got from the material itself.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    missgrundy San Francisco, CA 07-23-13
    missgrundy San Francisco, CA 07-23-13 Member Since 2010

    Fine art photographer, retired English professor, dog mom to an adorable Maltese mix, long-time Californian, genealogist, what else?

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    "Loved this book --"

    If you are a foodie or food history buff, you will enjoy this book. It's fascinating in its detail of kitchen equipment, appliances, and so on. It reminded me, in a way, of Bill Bryson's "At Home," another excellent book about the history of the home. It's a good read.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin H. Souza San Francisco, Calif. 07-20-13
    Kevin H. Souza San Francisco, Calif. 07-20-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Surprising and Delightful History of Cookery"

    I was curious about this book but not expecting to become so engrossed in its culinary history. The story of fire, roasting, knives, spoons, forks, modernist cuisine, and kitchens themselves. All delightful stories that really made me appreciate the craft I practice everyday. Sad thing is that Bee has made me discontent with my American cup measures while sadly so many favorite recipes are not weight friendly. Thanks for an informative and fiery good time Ms. Wilson.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    VoxVolat Dallas, TX, United States 06-09-13
    VoxVolat Dallas, TX, United States 06-09-13 Member Since 2008

    mainly read romances and books for a book club that take me all over the map.

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    "Fascinating!"

    This is a wonderful romp through culinary gadget and cutlery history. Kept me engaged and fascinated by the implications of some revelations the book makes. I would highly recommend this book for cooks and foodies in addition to those who like history.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chris FREDERICKSBURG, VA, United States 02-07-13
    chris FREDERICKSBURG, VA, United States 02-07-13 Member Since 2009
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    "History of Dining ettiquette"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Consider the Fork to be better than the print version?

    na


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There is no central character


    What does Alison Larkin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her sidebars and infelctions to better illustrate passages


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Nothing extreme that required medical treatment. It's a good hisotrical book for gastronomes


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael BRONXVILLE, NEW YORK, United States 01-29-13
    Michael BRONXVILLE, NEW YORK, United States 01-29-13
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    "Alison Larkin creates a powerful interest"
    Would you listen to Consider the Fork again? Why?

    I was surprised by what a powerful interest in this subject the narrator Alison Larkin was able to create. I had never thought I would be so interested in forks or other ways we eat before! Alison Larkin brought a clarity and engaging tone to this information that made me want to hear every word!

    I believe I would like to hear this book again, and will certainly suggest that my friends listen to it. It is a rare example of sharing facts in a way that the talented narrator makes you eager to hear.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I think my favorite part of the story was discussing breakfast, and how all the different ways of preparing coffee had changed over the years. Once again, Alison Larkin delivered this information in a way that gave it wit and life and made me smile as I learned.


    What does Alison Larkin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Alison Larkin brings a tone of excitement to even the smallest facts so that I found myself eagerly listening for more. She also brings a voice that is both melodic and clear, and she is able to strike a variety of notes that keeps one interested in the writing.

    Most of all Alison Larkin seems to be enjoying the book and the information she shares so that I as a listener was also caught up in her enthusiasm for the subject.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    There were several places that I laughed out loud. I never cried, but was almost always smiling at the wit with which the narrator read.


    Any additional comments?

    To me, this information packed book was enhanced by having a narrator in Alison Larkin who could bring it alive in a most enjoyable way.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben BELLINGHAM, WA, United States 11-29-12
    Ben BELLINGHAM, WA, United States 11-29-12 Member Since 2005

    Ben ji

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    "What fun..."

    A charming book that tells the history of what we eat through the tools we use to prepare it. The book is written with great charm and good humor and the narration is just right.

    History is most often told through politics and commerce. This is history of a different sort, told through the kitchen.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Faris Virginia 11-12-12
    Dave Faris Virginia 11-12-12 Listener Since 2005
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    "Fun facts about kitchen technology."
    Would you listen to Consider the Fork again? Why?

    The narrator was engaging, even if the subject was a little dry. I would listen again to pick up details and facts I might have missed.


    What other book might you compare Consider the Fork to and why?

    It reminded me of Bill Bryson's "At Home: A Short History of Private Life." It was full of interesting historical context for everyday items.


    What does Alison Larkin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I thought it was interesting that the narrator subtly adopted an american, french, or austrailian accent when she was quoting people from those various countries.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It's a little too dense for that... too much information to digest all in one sitting.


    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 10-30-12
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 10-30-12 Member Since 2002
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    "from mortor and pestle to nate myhrvold"

    Entertaining survey of devices used for eating and food prep from ancient times to the more recent activities described as "science as cooking." Alison Larkin's friendly British accent make the book easily digestible.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Minot, ME, United States 10-26-12
    Jason Minot, ME, United States 10-26-12 Member Since 2010
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    "ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz . . ."
    What disappointed you about Consider the Fork?

    I buy audiobooks for my wife to listen to on her daily commute to work. Typically I get praise for my selections. She is a foodie and has read academic works in different culinary areas. Despite repeated efforts to get through this book, she found the content too dry to finish thus breaking my streak of great selections. This book caters to a niche that is far too narrow for audiobook enthusiasts. In short, if your looking for something to listen to on a long drive or commute, better get a coffee before you get behind the wheel.


    Has Consider the Fork turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Fatigue


    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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