- Food and Cooking
Primritive Cooking: Methods and Utensils
Back To Basics
At some point in the collective history of mankind, it was discovered that fire caused food to be taster, heartier, just plan yummy. And so began the art and expertise of cooking, and the use of utensils.
At first, I believe, people used things as simple as sticks to roast and grill food to the point of satisfaction, and ate from the stick. Visualize a family group, around the fire, passing the stick from hand to hand and mouth to mouth, with each member having a bite of juicy meat from the latest kill. I can well imagine myself there savoring the flavor, and filling my empty stomache.
At some point someone invented the clay pot. Now a new utensil was available to the average cavewife for preparing her family meals. The pots could be filled with water, and her choice of raw food. Then hot rocks would be dropped into the pot to heat the water and cook the dinner. Not only was the main ingredient cooked, but stock or broth was invented! Now the family had the solid food, but also a nourishing liquid to feed to babies, the sick, those without teeth. I'm sure frugal cavewives everywhere soon learned to save back the uneaten portions for the next meal, to add flavor and to streach her food "budget". Maybe her mate would kill an animal, and maybe not. Maybe she would uproot some tasty morseles, and maybe they were gone for the winter. So having a byproduct from her cooking, I'm sure was both beneficial to the health of her family, and an economic plus.
The woman of ancient times also used the drying rack as an important utensil. This insured her food pantry would be filled with hearty food. When her mate brought home the bacon, in the form of large game, it was preserved and put back for the cold seasons when hunting was both difficult and dangerous. So no respectable "kitchen" could be without this handy, dependable devise.
Before metal working was a common craft, the stone knief, and the first grinding stones were implemented to speed the preparation of meals. The woman used sharpened rocks to skin, flay, chop, dice, and otherwise make large pieces of meat and vegetales into managable sizes for her pot, or her spit. The grinding stone was used to crush seeds, grain heads, berries, tubers, and many other food items into what was needed for the cooking and preserving proccess. And I'm sure all to the delight of her family's taste buds!
Baking on flat rocks heated by open fires evolved into the first ovens. This timely invention was a breakkthrough in the kitchen utensil world. How nice it must have been to learn the technique of the roasted buffalo, or camel hump, simple breads, and baked fruit and vegetables. Yes, food preparation was becoming easier, and less time consuming for the average woman. And the average family was reaping the rewards of varied flavors, textures, and surprises at mealtime!
There are still many primitive cooking methods, and utensils available to modern society. Things as easy to use as the backyard charcoal grill, solar ovens made on the spot, and haybale ovens. Dutch ovens date back pretty far into cooking history, and are still easy and efficient. And who hasn't, at some point, drank a nice refreshing glass of sun tea?
The ease and wonder of modern cooking is the standard way of filling our plates, and our bellies. We have the gas range, the electric oven, the microwave, the crockpot, stainless steal cutlery, slotted spoons, egg seperators, bread machines, ice makers, food dehydrators, juicers, and the list goes on and on, with new and improved utensils on the market almost daily. So it may be hard for some to realized where it all started. But what we have at our fingertips today all started eons ago, somewhere when someone picked up that stick and put a piece of food on it, then held it over the open fire!