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!