Consider the Fork
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"…chockfull of revelations that any cooking enthusiast will eat up with a spoon.”

New York Journal of Books


“Focusing on culinary tools, the author hopscotches through human history around the globe, recording both strides and stumbles.”


Washington Times


 


“Consider the Fork promises to make readers see their kitchens in a new light…. [A] highly worthwhile read for a concise, but accessible history with fascinating sidebars on how we cook and eat.”


Rebecca Aguilar, Book Kvetch Blog


“Wilson, an English historian and food writer, has put together fascinating history of domestic kitchen tools, revealing the stories behind where pots and pans, stoves, knives, forks, and other implements come from…. I encourage you to check out Wilson’s book, “Consider the Fork.” It’s a great read.”


John Donohue, Stay at Stove Dad Blog (and editor for The New Yorker)


 


“Wilson’s sprightly, knowledgeable voice skips nimbly through the narratives of pots and pans, knives, grinding implements and eating utensils, working up to the theme of the kitchen as a whole.... Don’t be surprised if you find yourself sitting up at night with Consider the Fork, unable to turn out the light until you find out how storing and shipping ice became viable. You will never again walk into your kitchen without thinking of the rich history represented by even the humble fork.”


Jaclyn Fullwood, Shelf Awareness


 


“At every turn, Wilson’s history of the technology of cooking and eating upends another unexamined tradition, revealing that utensils and practices now taken for granted in kitchen and at table have long and remarkable histories.... Wilson’s book teems with… delightful insights.”


Booklist, Starred Review



“[A] delightfully informative history of cooking and eating from the prehistoric discovery of fire to twenty-first-century high-tech, low-temp soud-vide-style cookery.”


ELLE Magazine


 


“[A]n unusual sort of food book.... Wilson mixes history with personal narrative to show how utensils are as a vital part of human culture.”


—Deidre Woollard, Examiner.com



“In this culinary history, food journalist Bee Wilson shifts the focus from the foods people ate to the technology behind their preparation, tracing how humble kitchen implements such as forks, whisks, pots, and stoves shaped our diets, our societies, and our bodies. In Wilson’s hands, even hot water becomes interesting.”


—Discover Magazine


“In the lively prose of a seasoned journalist, Wilson blends personal reminiscences with well-researched history to illustrate how the changing nature of our equipment affects what we eat and how we cook…. Rarely has a book with so much information been such an entertaining read.”


Kirkus Reviews


 


“Consider the Fork is brilliant.”


Cozy Little Book Journal (online blog)



“Some of humanity’s least sung but most vital gadgets are celebrated in this delicious history of cooking technology.... 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, Starred Review


“This scholarly and witty book, packed full of fascinating information and thrilling insights, is as enlightening as it is a joy to read.”


Claudia Roden


“[Wilson’s] new book on kitchen tools and gadgets is full of treasures to savour. There is Hitler’s use of the one-pot meal as an ideological tool, to put alongside roast beef’s historic role as a totem of British exceptionalism.”


London Evening Standard 


“Bee Wilson’s Consider the Fork, though a work of considerable scholarship, is also a cracking good read, as enjoyable as it is enlightening. I also learnt a lot.”


Raymond Blanc, Chef-Patron, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons


“Mind meets kitchen: Bee Wilson sizes up every kitchen implement from the wooden spoon to the ergonomic Microplane, and gives us its history, including versions that led up to each object but did not survive for lack of fitness.  Her climax is the kitchen, the room itself, the affluent modern version of which has never been ‘so highly designed; so well equipped; so stylish; or so empty.’ She conducts us on a sobering, entertaining, and instructive tour.”


Margaret Visser, author of Much Depends on Dinner




Consider the Fork is a terrific delve into the history and modern use of kitchen tools so familiar that we take them for granted and never give them a thought.  Bee Wilson places kitchen gadgets in their rich cultural context.  I, for one, will never think about spoons, measuring cups, eggbeaters, or chopsticks in the same way again.”


Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University, and author of What to Eat




“A fast-paced and mind-opening investigation into the quirky stories behind our daily interactions with food.”


Richard Wrangham, author of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human




“Bee Wilson’s surprising history of common kitchen tools makes for a roiling read that’s certain to be enjoyed by anyone with any interest in cooking or eating.”


John Donohue, editor of Man with a Pan: Culinary Adventures of Fathers who Cook for their Families


“I was so enthralled by Bee Wilson’s new book that I found it hard to put down. As always she is a completely reliable guide to her subject, and this history of how we cook and eat is full of surprises—how human table manners have changed our bodies, and how technological changes can affect our personal tastes in food. Her authority is complete, her scholarship lightly worn, and her writing terrific.”


Paul Levy, editor of The Penguin Book of Food and Drink




“This is mouthwatering history: broad in scope, rich in detail, stuffed with savory food for thought…. 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.”


Publishers Weekly, Starred Review



“If you are open to being entertained and instructed by the history of food, then Bee Wilson couldn’t be happier to oblige. In Consider the Fork, she explores the ways in which kitchen tools and techniques affect what and how we eat, with the same owlish brio and dry humor that Jane Grigson brought to vegetables and charcuterie…. [A] smart, regaling survey.”


Barnes & Noble, BN Review


“Bee Wilson’s supple, sometimes playful style in “Consider the Fork,” a history of the tools and techniques humans have invented to feed themselves, cleverly disguises her erudition in fields from archaeology and anthropology to food science…. Wilson’s insouciant scholarship and companionable voice convince you she would be great fun to spend time with in the kitchen.”


Dawn Drzal, New York Times Book Review




“Illuminating…. Like putting a meal together, Consider the Fork assembles the various ingredients that might not seem like much as individual components but, when gathered, make for a wonderful ragout.”


ForeWord Reviews 


“Like all the best books on apparently simple everyday commodities, this is of course really a gripping story of millennia of human ingenuity. Over the centuries the need to eat has led us to develop an astonishing plethora of niche skills and equipment, has made of eating itself a highly sophisticated act of pleasure as well as survival. . . . Witty, scholarly, utterly absorbing and fired by infectious curiosity, Consider the Fork wears its impressive research lightly.”


Observer UK 


“Bee Wilson’s spirited history of kitchen implements ranges from the humble wooden spoon to the cutting-edge sous vide machine. A British food writer and historian, Wilson is learned and personal, wise and charming…. There are complex investigations at work in Wilson’s book; it’s nominally about things in our cabinets and on our shelves, but it’s really about family, labor, technology, sensation…. From such ingredients an enchanting book is made.”


Smithsonian Magazine




“Wilson is a British food writer not nearly well enough known in this country, who writes beautifully and has the academic chops to deliver what she promises…. Reading the book is like having a long dinner table discussion with a fascinating friend. At one moment, she’s reflecting on the development of cast-iron cookware, then she’s relating the history of the Le Creuset company and the public’s changing tastes in color and then she’s reminiscing about her mother-in-law’s favorite blue pots…. The pace is leisurely but lively…. It’s hard to imagine even the non-geek being tempted to skim sections. Just because Wilson takes her subject seriously doesn’t mean “Consider the Fork” isn’t a pure joy to read.”


Los Angeles Times




“One part science, one part history, and a generous dash of fun, Wilson’s surprise-filled take on cooking implements makes one marvel at the dining rituals we all take for granted.”


Good Housekeeping



“Wilson celebrates the unsung implements that have helped shape our diets through the centuries. After devouring this delightful mix of culinary science and history, you'll never take a whisk for granted again.”


Parade




“[A] wide-ranging historical road map of the influence of culture on cuisine… it is easy and delightful to get swept up in Wilson’s zeal. And the rejection of a traditional narrative arc does not indicate a lack of structure; rather, the book’s horizontal shape is a choice that suits its material. It is fluid yet engaging, just like a good conversation over a pan of sizzling vegetables…. Cooking is full of paradoxes. It is art and science, ancient and modern, fundamental and trivial, easy and difficult. Wilson presents these dissonances in their entirety, making no show of resolving them. In the end, her tone suggests that she writes about food for the same reason we read about it: sheer pleasure and lighthearted fascination. The big questions are just seasoning for the soup.”


New Republic Online




“In the case of Bee Wilson’s “Consider the Fork,” the author is blessed with an assemblage of entertaining tidbits and particularly lucid prose…. Wilson is a good tour guide.... [A] dizzying, entertaining ride.”


—Christopher Kimball (editor of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country; host of “America’s Test Kitchen” and “Cook’s Country TV), for the Wall Street Journal



“…chockfull of revelations that any cooking enthusiast will eat up with a spoon.”


New York Journal of Books




“Focusing on culinary tools, the author hopscotches through human history around the globe, recording both strides and stumbles.”


Washington Times




“Open[s] windows on the dynamic interplay of science, technology and the culinary arts in history.... Consider the Fork delves into the chewy past of kitchen technology.” 


Nature Magazine


“Like a well-planned meal, “Consider the Fork” provides a variety of fare that will entertain and educate foodies of any variety…. The result of [Wilson’s] combination of sophisticated humor and scholarship is an enjoyable tale about the very essence of existence and civilization.”


Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA)


“[Consider the Fork] is a charming, engrossing investigation of what so many of us take for granted.”


PopMatters


“At the risk of trotting out a cliché, Brit writer Wilson's book truly is food for thought. (And fun to read, too).”


New York Post 


“One of the delights of CONSIDER THE FORK is that [Bee Wilson’s] fascination with the history of food is balanced by the pleasure she takes in preparing dishes herself, watching others do so and, best of all, tasting the results. Ms. Wilson’s design critiques of different utensils, from the humble wooden spoon to a snazzy sous-vide water bath, are all the more convincing for being made by a knowledgeable and passionate cook, who isn’t afraid to admit to her failures, yet longs for delicious successes.”


Alice Rawsthorn, design commentator for the International Herald Tribune, NewYorkTimes.com


“This is a perfect book to read for long stretches or to dip into, here and there, when you can…. And the author’s voice is an important part of it, too…. Not to be over-dramatic, but I might find it hard to go into my kitchen after reading this book without thinking differently, and with a new sense of respect, about my wooden spoons, or my oven, or what it means to eat something with my fingers.”


Books As Food Blogspot


“[A] splendid volume, serious but by no means solemn, and full of the most surprising information.”


Geoff Nicholson, Psycho-Gourmet Blogspot


“[S]ubstantial and entertaining…. Bee Wilson belongs to a rare breed: the academic who can write. This book is dense with research, all of it rendered highly palatable…. The history comes in delicious nuggets of the kind that one immediately wants to pass around in conversation.”


Mail on Sunday


“[L]ike all the best books on apparently simple everyday commodities, this is of course really a gripping story of millennia of human ingenuity. Over the centuries the need to eat has led us to develop an astonishing plethora of niche skills and equipment, has made of eating itself a highly sophisticated act of pleasure as well as survival. . . . Witty, scholarly, utterly absorbing and fired by infectious curiosity, Consider the Fork wears its impressive research lightly.”


Observer UK 


“This [is a] sparkling… fascinating and entertaining book…. In considering the fork, in short, [Wilson] forces us to reconsider ourselves.”


The Sunday Times UK



“[Consider the Fork] is the perfect book and gift for lovers of kitchenalia, kitchen technology, gadgets, social history and cooking. Through the creation and refinement of kitchen utensils the course of human progression is defined: how we eat, what we use to prepare and cook our food and how we design our hearths, larders and kitchens can tell a great deal more about a civilisation than looking at any other room in the house.… It is a work of ambitious research.”


The Kitchen Bugle



“Consider the Fork is a delightful compendium of the tools, techniques and cultures of cooking and eating. Be it a tong or a chopstick, a runcible spoon or a cleaver, Bee Wilson approaches it with loving curiosity and thoroughness…. But as well as providing wry insights into the psychology of cooks down the ages, Consider the Fork is infused with a sense that every omelette, cup of coffee, meringue or tea cake is steeped in tradition and ancient knowledge, and that that is partly what makes cooking one of life’s joys.”


Spectator UK 
 


“What new intellectual vistas remain to be conquered by the food obsessive? … The erudite and witty food writer Bee Wilson has spotted a gap in the market…. [Her] argument is clear and persuasive. Changes in food technology change what can be prepared as a meal, thus changing what is habitually eaten, and often spurring wider social changes. The first clay cooking pots, Wilson says, allowed the invention of soups, which meant that more humans could survive into adulthood even if they had lost all their teeth. Other developments analysed here, with a consistent scholarly grace, include the blunt table knife, the gas hob, and the refrigerator.”


Steve Poole, Guardian UK


“[Wilson]’s at her sparkling best when unearthing curious histories about the role these inventions played in the evolution of man. She serves up her impressive research in easy-to-digest nuggets, making the chronicle of even the dullest kitchen aid a palatable treat.”


Metro UK



“[T]his broad survey makes palatable thousands of years of theory and experience.”


Telegraph UK 


 


“[An] amazing journey into cooking technology from prehistory to the present that is at once profound and entertaining…. Historic developments come alive as Wilson draws on her thorough research and quick wit to weave throughout her text many details of social and economic context, place and time, as well as stories of the people involved…. Consider the Fork offers an enlightening read that will expand the knowledge foundation of any food-related subject.”


Winnipeg Free Press


“Wilson is a British food writer not nearly well enough known in this country, who writes beautifully and has the academic chops to deliver what she promises…. Reading the book is like having a long dinner table discussion with a fascinating friend. At one moment, she’s reflecting on the development of cast-iron cookware, then she’s relating the history of the Le Creuset company and the public’s changing tastes in color and then she’s reminiscing about her mother-in-law’s favorite blue pots…. The pace is leisurely but lively…. It’s hard to imagine even the non-geek being tempted to skim sections. Just because Wilson takes her subject seriously doesn’t mean “Consider the Fork” isn’t a pure joy to read.”


Los Angeles Times


“One part science, one part history, and a generous dash of fun, Wilson’s surprise-filled take on cooking implements makes one marvel at the dining rituals we all take for granted.”


Good Housekeeping

 

“You know that corner cupboard full of kitchen gadgets that promised to transform our lives? … [I]n that corner cupboard lies a rich history of technological promise and dashed hopes. One that, until Bee Wilson’s recent release, Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, nobody has thought to tell…. Clearly-written and methodically researched, Consider the Fork fills a real void in culinary literature.”


Toronto Star (Canada)


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