Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human
In this stunningly original book, Richard Wrangham argues that it was cooking that caused the extraordinary transformation of our ancestors from apelike beings to Homo erectus. At the heart of "Catching Fire" lies an explosive new idea: the habit of eating cooked rather than raw food permitted the digestive tract to shrink and the human brain to grow, helped structure human society, and created the male-female division of labour. As our ancestors adapted to using fire, humans emerged as 'the cooking apes'. Covering everything from food-labelling and overweight pets to raw-food faddists, "Catching Fire" offers a startlingly original argument about how we came to be the social, intelligent, and sexual species we are today.
Shortlisted for BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2010.
"'Toothsome, skillfully prepared brain food.' Dwight Garner, New York Times 'How exciting to see a distinguished scholar proving unequivocally that cookery is at the centre of our humanity' Sam Clark, Moro 'As easily digested as the cooked food it champions... This book packs the punch of a Tournedo Rossini with the lightness of a foam infusion' Allegra McEvedy, Guardian chef-in-residence "This notion is surprising, fresh and, in the hands of Richard Wrangham, utterly persuasive... Big, new ideas do not come along often in evolution these days, but this is one." -Matt Ridley, author of Genome"
Richard Wrangham is the Ruth Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University, Curator of Primate Behavioural Biology at the Peabody Museum, and Director of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project in Uganda. He has been featured on NPR and in the Boston Globe, New Scientist, Scientific American, and more. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.