Good Wife; Bad Cook.
by Leslie Morgan Steiner
I am a terrible cook.
No kidding – 99% of the food I make, even when I follow a recipe scrupulously, is not edible.
I once made a brisket that was as tough as my computer keyboard.
Coq au vin that was all vin.
Noodle casserole that after four hours of shopping, chopping and baking and one bite went straight into the trash can.
Fortunately, I can make chocolate chip cookies, which redeems me in my kids’ eyes.
However, a recent article in Harvard Magazine tells me cookies would never have been enough to attract or keep a man. There’s a new book out called Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human that explains how transformational fire was to homo sapiens.
In simple terms, here’s the argument: Raw food does not have enough calories to sustain our bodies and our brains over time. Cooked food is easier to digest and increases the number of nutrients and fats available through the human digestive system. Cooked food may in fact explain why humans’ brains developed to be larger and more complex than other mammals who couldn’t master putting raw meat over fire.
According to the author -- Harvard professor of biological anthropology Richard Wrangham –as paraphrased in Harvard Magazine:
“Cooking shapes social relations between human males and females, from the sexual division of labor to the mating system itself, which is based not on sex but food… These bonds were so critical for the successful feeding of both sexes that they generated a psychology in our ancestors that shaped female-male relationship and continues to affect us today.”
In short: During caveman times, women who were the best cooks attracted the best mates. Or more colloquially today, the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.