Our lives depend on what we eat because food plays an integral part in our very existence. With the evolution of time and modernisation in every sphere of human life, the world of Food too saw some revolutionary changes and adaptations. Do you know what the most meaningful innovations are in humanity’s culinary history? What mattered more to the development of civilization’s cultivation of food: the oven? The fridge? The plough?
We present to you a list of the top 20 culinary inventions of all times based on the four criteria of: Accessibility, productivity, aesthetics and health.
The use of ice to lower the temperature of and thus preserve food dates back to prehistoric times. Machine-based refrigeration, however, was developed as a process starting in the mid-18th century and moving into the 19th. Domestic mechanical refrigerators first became available in the early 20th century. Throughout its long history, refrigeration has allowed humans to preserve food and with it, nutrition.
- Pasteurization / sterilization
Useful for the prevention of bacterial contamination in food, particularly milk.
Developed in the early 19th century, canning is a method of processing food and sealing it in an airtight container. Canning provides a typical shelf life ranging from one to five years. It also provides a fun weekend activity for humans who live in Brooklyn.
- The oven
The earliest ovens, found in Central Europe, date from 29000 BC and were used, at times, to cook mammoth. Their more contemporary counterparts, gas ovens were first developed in the early 19th century and were used, at times to cook buns.
Irrigation is the artificial application of water to land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops and in the re vegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas. This is particularly useful during periods of inadequate rainfall.
- Threshing machine/combine harvester
Invented in the late 18th century, the thresher brought more industrialization to farming, allowing for the mechanized separation of grain from stalks from husks. The device was originally called the “thrasher.” Prior to its invention, farmers had separated grain by hand with flails.
This is a food cooking method that employs prolonged dry heat to cook food. Baking acts by convection, rather than by thermal radiation and is typically undertaken in ovens, in hot ashes or on hot stones. Its results can also be facilitated by invention.
- Selective breeding / strains
Selective breeding is the process of breeding plants and animals for particular traits. It allows humans to manipulate natural selection among the plants and animals they consume in order to produce food products that are genetically stable. It is also the reason that a buffalo bull named “Yuvraj” has sired thousands of dairy cattle in India.
- Grinding / milling
Grinding is the process of grinding grain or other materials in a mill. It produces among other things, flour, which is the main ingredient of all breads — a staple food for many cultures. The milling of grain has been a practice since 6000 BC, enacted by millstones and similar implements and replicated pretty much the same way until the late 19th century brought the advent of the steam mill.
- The plough
A plough is a tool that cultivates soil in preparation for sowing seeds. It has existed, in some form, pretty much since the dawn of recorded history and represents one of the major advances in agriculture. In that regard, it facilitated the rise of sedentary human civilisation.
Beer. More formally “the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions”, which leads to such products as alcohol, wine, vinegar, yogurt, bread, and cheese. Mostly, though: beer.
- The fishing net
Fishing nets have been used since the Stone Age with the oldest known version made from willow and dating back to 8300 BC. The nets are still in wide use today and currently include casting, drifting, dragging, landing, trawling, and leg-wrapping varieties.
- Crop rotation
The practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same area in sequential seasons.
- The pot
The food container as an invention of revolutionary simplicity — one that allowed for such revolutionary simple acts as boiling water. Which led to innovations like tea and pasta.
- The knife
Undoubtedly one of the most important tools when it comes to cooking, knifes play an important role in day to day cooking.
- Eating utensils
Do we even need to explain this? Eating utensils are essential and important in everyday use.
- The cork
The cork allowed for the production of wine and beer. Cork’s elasticity and near impermeability make it ideal as a material for bottle stoppers.
- The barrel
Same deal: wine and beer. While barrels store other things too water, oil they made this list, ostensibly, because of the booze. As a technology, barrels also led to the advent of one of the least scary form of clowns yet invented.
- The microwave oven
Often colloquially shortened to microwave, this is a kitchen appliance that heats food by a dielectric heating process in which radiation is used to heat the polarized molecules in food. The microwave is notable mostly as a gateway technology, leading to the culinary innovation of the late 20th century: easy mac
The cooking of food in oil or another fat Originated in ancient Egypt around 2500BC , Civilization recently combined frying with all of the above 19 innovations to create the product that will probably, somehow, lead to its end : deep fried beer.
Hence these were the most revolutionary food inventions of all times.