Iâ€™ve been reading about the idea that cooking sets humans apart from our fellow animals. Many deep dudes (and dudettes) have argued that this is true. Cooking allowed humans to render more foods digestible, preserve nutritional resources, and come together around a fire.
Cooking and communal eating also changed the meaning of social signs, according to Alfred W. Crosby. For example, baring your teeth, for most species, is a sign of aggression. If youâ€™re going to eat together, you have to get over that notion. And we did.
Then again, thereâ€™s the argument in Ishmael, which as I recall blamed our current state of being on agriculture. See, if you think about it, we are the only animals that make food grow and cultivate it. This allows us to stay in one place and gives us extra time to have all manner of mischievous thoughts.
If we were spending six hours a day chewing raw leaves like our primate brethren and sistren, and trying not to show our pearly whites, don’t you think we’d be different?