Evidence of Early Cooking Utensils
Cooking relics and how they have evolved over the years
Cooking has always been an art, but it has become even more so in recent years with the invention of new technologies that allow chefs to preserve their foods better. Please read up on some of the most critical cooking inventions that have helped shape our cuisine from ancient times to today!
The earliest cooking utensils can be traced back to prehistoric times when human beings were still in their hunter/gatherer stages. Not much is known about these tools, but it was assumed that they included wooden or bone slabs with holes drilled into them for the string to stick out of and that food would be wrapped with twine into a large mass. These tools were most likely used for cooking small rodents or roots.
13000 – 800 BC
The first evidence of early cooking utensils is believed to be from the Jōmon period (approx. 13000 – 800 BC) when people started using shell middens to house their deceased family members, which are essentially piles of seashells. Evidence has shown that the shells were used for being heated over a fire to crack them open and eat the meat inside. The shells themselves have marks on them which could only come from being exposed to high heat.
3rd century – 5th century AD
This period was also when pottery making became widespread, which led to the production of clay cooking utensils. The use of metal became widespread in Japan around the Kofun period (approx. 3rd century – 5th century AD), and pots made from metal were used for cooking and eating food, mainly because they were more efficient than others in maintaining heat over a fire.
6th century AD
Grilling can be traced back to the Yayoi period (approx. 3rd century – 6th century AD) when metal skewers became widespread, which were used for cooking meat and vegetables.
As you can imagine, the metal skewers were quite hot and caused many injuries.
Now, modern-day cooking equipment far exceeds the technology of the Jomon period. The introduction of electricity saw the invention of many household appliances, one being grills. Offset smokers under 500 became an important cooking equipment because of its ability to control the temperature.
Presently, people are also starting to use grill mats for safety when placing food over the fire. That way, they won’t sustain burns from the hot grill. The first gas stove was invented in 1924 by Haruji Nakagawa, which led to the modern electric stove. Chulo (charcoal furnace), a pot with holes for placing charcoals, was used during the Edo period (approx. 17th century – 19th century) to cook broiled eels.
As a result of all the cooking tools available in the modern world, chefs have experimented with their food and created a wide variety of cuisines that were not possible before. From Japanese to Italian, there is no shortage of choices for everyone’s taste buds!
What kind of utensil would you like to use?
Comment down below.
Translated by Teresa Wu – The ancient Japanese used a lot of different things for cooking!