Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Brain Catching Fire

 I don't really get much time to read these days.... but, having said that,  I am happily popping in and out of an amazing book about social development and growth - "Catching Fire, How Cooking Made Us Human" by Richard Wrangham. 
The thrust of this book is to show us how cooking our food helped our brains to grow. All that  time we once spent chewing for hours  on  rawness, freed up our minds  to develop a  more socially sophisticated way of living with each other. We began to have structures for making and raising families, and gender divisions of labour became apparent, amongst many other crucial developments. Children were nurtured, in more secure places, due to the need to keep 'the home fires burning',  by bonded pairs and many  of the social mores we take for granted today came into being... 
Now,  a lot to argue with there, you might say, as it seems to me that we have spent many years trying to break down the sexual divisions of labour alone , for example! But it's not all bad, and I for one am much happier creating occasion out of preparing  food and enjoying the social ceremony of sharing a meal with my family and friends, than going it alone.
There are also, after all, many arguments  pointing out that in some ways the break down of the family today is due to so many of NOT sitting together as families and sharing meals... Who  knows? It's a  good, thought provoking  book though.... Even Nigella comments on the cover, so it must be ok!

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