Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Basic Books, 2009 - Cooking - 321 pages
10 Reviews

Ever since Darwin and The Descent of Man, the existence of humans has been attributed to our intelligence and adaptability. But in Catching Fire, renowned primatologist Richard Wrangham presents a startling alternative: our evolutionary success is the result of cooking. In a groundbreaking theory of our origins, Wrangham shows that the shift from raw to cooked foods was the key factor in human evolution. When our ancestors adapted to using fire, humanity began. Once our hominid ancestors began cooking their food, the human digestive tract shrank and the brain grew. Time once spent chewing tough raw food could be sued instead to hunt and to tend camp. Cooking became the basis for pair bonding and marriage, created the household, and even led to a sexual division of labor. Tracing the contemporary implications of our ancestors’ diets, Catching Fire sheds new light on how we came to be the social, intelligent, and sexual species we are today. A pathbreaking new theory of human evolution, Catching Fire will provoke controversy and fascinate anyone interested in our ancient origins—or in our modern eating habits.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

User Review  - Andrew K - Goodreads

The argument is that human beings (or what would become them) discovered cooking early enough that the advantages of eating primarily cooked food led to real, physical differences in how humans ... Read full review

Review: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

User Review  - Clint - Goodreads

Great book. Cooking figures predominantly in human evolution, something I never even thought about. A fun read Read full review


The Cooking Hypothesis
Quest for RawFoodists
The Cooks Body
The Energy Theory of Cooking
When Cooking Began
Brain Foods
How Cooking Frees Men
The Married Cook
The Cooks Journey
The WellInformed Cook

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Richard Wrangham is the Ruth Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University and Curator of Primate Behavioral Biology at the Peabody Museum. He is the co-author of Demonic Males and co-editor of Chimpanzee Cultures. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.