But will it include recipes?

I’ve ordered a copy of Richard Wrangham’s new book, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. I was weighing it, and a reader tipped me over the edge. I’ll give a full report on it after it comes.

Wrangham’s idea has the virtue of simplicity, but in its 10-year history it has often swerved into the territory of “umbrella hypothesis,” attempting to explain most everything about human evolution by reference to a single event. The New York Times profiled Wrangham last month; this month it gives us an author’s review of the book, with lots of spicy flavor:

Put simply, Mr. Wrangham writes that eating cooked food whether meat or plants or both made digestion easier, and thus our guts could grow smaller. The energy that we formerly spent on digestion (and digestion requires far more energy than you might imagine) was freed up, enabling our brains, which also consume enormous amounts of energy, to grow larger. The warmth provided by fire enabled us to shed our body hair, so we could run farther and hunt more without overheating. Because we stopped eating on the spot as we foraged and instead gathered around a fire, we had to learn to socialize, and our temperaments grew calmer.

…and…

He seems pleased to be able to report that raw diets make you urinate too often, and cause back and hip problems.

…and…

Cooking takes time, so lone cooks cannot easily guard their wares from determined thieves such as hungry males without their own food. Women needed male protection.

…and…

Cooking, he writes, created and perpetuated a novel system of male cultural superiority. It is not a pretty picture."

I’m licking my chops waiting for this book to arrive…