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Although the accidental discovery of roasting would have been perfectly feasible in the primitive world, boiling was a more sophisticated proposition." ---Food in History, Reay Tannahill [Three Rivers: New York] 1988 (p.
13-14) [NOTE: This book contains much more information on early cooking techniques than can be paraphrased here.
Before the domestication of animals, it is unlikely that potential vegetable food would have been given to any other animal species first, to see what effect these would have (perhaps one of the earliest functions of the dog, besides scavenging, was an 'experimental' animal to test 'new' foods--a procedure known to have been practiced in some recent African communities).
Thus, even with the exercise of considerable caution, it is likely that many degrees of food poisoning, from mild stomach disorders to death, occurred before man became fully aware of the limits of his food resources-- both plant and animal.
Although a simple knowledge of edible plant resources could be transmitted easily enough in Pleistocene times, it seems unlikely that special methods of food preparation were devised before the Neolithic cultural level.
In the case of manioc tubers, for example, which are rich in starch, fat and protein, it is necessary to eliminate...hydrogen cyanide.
Berries, nuts, fungus, and water sources were especially complicated and concernful.
as for meat, would be slower cooking in the embers or on a flat stone by the side of the fire.
Bones and walnut or hazelnut shells have been found on excavated sites, but there is no means of knowing whether they are the remains of cooked meals, the debris of fires lit for heat, or even the remnants of incincerated raw waste matter...[researchers] are inclined to think the meat was roasted, from the evidence of Mousterain sites in Spain and the Dordogne..." ---History of Food, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat [Barnes & Noble: New York] 1992 (p.
90) "Food has long been baked in coals or under heated rocks, steamed inside animal stomachs and leaves, boiled in rockpots by heated stones, and so forth.
The use of fire, extended to food preparation, resulted in a great increas of plant food supply.
All of the major domesticated plant foods, such as wheat, barley, rice, millet, rye, and potatoes, require cooking before they are suitable for human consumption.