19 February 2009

Indispensable Cooking

The Economist, that bastion of so many insensibly sensible people, had an interesting recent article about someone whose work think I rather like: Harvard Professor, Dr. Richard Wragham. I'm not totally convinced by his arguments but I do find them interesting, rigorous, and plausible. Among other things, Dr Wragham helped develop the idea that non-human animals often use non-foods to self-medicate: (in the technical literature this is called Zoopharmacognosy.) This latest article is concerned with the evolutionary role of cooking in human animals (erectus & sapian) and is based off the work published in his 2003 paper, "Cooking as a Biological Trait" and a 2006 book on the same subject (The Cooking Enigma). The paper is not unreadable and "suggest that cooking may be obligatory for humans" because of calorie needs which are satisfied by the increased efficiency of digestion from cooked food. I'm not really sure if this explains my need for a good curry or a home-cooked Pizza, but at least I now have good reason to not be a Raw Foods person.