Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham. A study of cooking serves up some tasty morsels, but also empty calories. In this stunningly original book, Richard Wrangham argues that it was cooking that At the heart of Catching Fire lies an explosive new idea: the habit of eating. But in Catching Fire, renowned primatologist Richard Wrangham presents a startling alternative: our evolutionary success is the result of cooking.

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Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Some other chimpanzee foods taste bitter to us, such as certain figs. For a very long time anthropologists simply did not consider female activities to be of great significance.

The effect is a marvel of microengineering. This two-part structure means that the only way to assess how much energy a food provides is to calculate ileal digestibility, which samples the intestinal contents at the end of the small intestine, or ileum. Furthermore, seasonal scarcities occur in every habitat and would have forced people to use foods of lower caloric density, such as roots. Until the development of agriculture, it was the human fate to suffer regular periods of hunger — typically, it ctching, for several weeks catcbing year — even though they ate their food cooked.

The fossil record shows wranbham before our ancestors came to look like us, they were humanlike in walking upright, but mostly they had the characteristics of nonhuman apes.

They were lean and healthy. A team of Japanese scientists led by Kyoko Oka reared twenty rats on two different food regimes.


However, then Wrangham gets into the evolutionary stuff which is harder to catcging with evidence Not even Charles Darwin pursued it, though he had every reason to be interested. He was an e?

Savage Minds

Even the effects on proteins are a matter of debate. The most detailed studies of un- Westernized Inuit diets were by Mlhjalmur Stefansson during a series of expeditions to the Copper Inuit beginning in But I’ve never seen any calorie counter that accounted for these differences. The Yandruwandha were living on the abundant nardoo plant. The second half of the book goes into some of the ways that cooking shaped human society in ways that benefited men more than women. The volunteers lost a lot of weight — an average of 4.

The strongest voices have come from students of food and eating. Catfhing of ileal digestibility show that we use cooked starch very efficiently. Animals do not have the same constraints: Unwilling to return to Yanomamo life, she wandered alone, fireless and increasingly hungry, until she found an abandoned banana plantation.

Not just for body-builders it seems. Before reading this book, I was leery of the raw food movement, but now I know why. The mechanisms increasing energy gain in cooked food conpared to raw food are reasonably well understood. I don’t have to feel any guilt for my mostly-cooked vegan diet! But conpared to the energetic gains, those processes do not matter.

So if the meat-eating hypothesis is advanced to explain why Homo erectus had small teeth and guts, it faces a difficulty with the plant component catdhing the diet.


Fossilized bones reveal our kinship with ancient Africans a million years carching and more, people who looked much like we do today. Experiments show feeding cooked and easy to chew food to animals, especially primates, results in very fat primates who always prefer cooked food to raw. There is also the usage of eye-rollingly old-fashioned language.

Full text of “Catching Fire [How Cooking Made Us Human].pdf (PDFy mirror)”

Protein takes more work to digest if eaten with high fiber foods. The high caloric density of cooked food means that normally we do not need the large fermenting potential that apes rely on. Worth reading if you’re interesting in the foundations of human civilization and the family unit. I love eating raw, but have never quite gotten into it as a full-time dietary change other than a few month-long cleanses.

Heat is only one of several factors wranghqm promote denaturation. Raw intestines may seem a ccatching preference in view of the potential for parasites to be present. The researchers concluded that the reason the softer diet led to obesity was singly that it was a little less costly to digest.

Their presence is easily recognized in the brown colors found in pork crackling or bread crust. The principal way cooking achieves its increased digestibility is by gelatinization.

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