Fire and cookery , Biology

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Fire and Cookery :

Fire and Cookery where and when fiie came to be used  is not known.  Fire, to start with, must have been a frightening thing, giving rise to many myths and legends. However, as man slowly learned to control it, he found it very useful to keep himself wann and to frighten away wild animals. It is easy to imagine that chance eating of  burnt or charred flesh must have led to the idea of cooking, which then made even tough meat edible and tastier.  Thus, it must havetremendously increased the number of  things one could eat.  It was, perhaps, from the use offire for cooking that fired clay pottery and melting of metals for making tools arose.  

Boiling gave rise to certain difficulties. At first, water was heated by dropping hot stones into water in  leather buckets. We find such itones, cracked by heating and chilling,  around prehistoric sites.  The crucial discovery, however, was that by  coating a basket with thick clay it could be put on the fire. Eventually, towards the end of  the Stone Age. it was -discovered  that coated baskets crack while heating, whereas pots made of heat-treated clay do not crack. Fired pottery was,  tlrerel'ore, a very significant discovery. l.'inally, as Lhc problem of storing liquids for long periods in clay pots was tackled, the slower chemical changes of fermentation could be noted and later used for brewing wine.  From the use of dyes, paints and tanning as found in  this epoch, we can  infer that the use of rudimentary chemistry for transforking materials was also in progress in the later part of the Stone Age.  


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