Wood and the World of Food

Now initially, I was going to replace the “Food” in the title of the post with “Cooking”, but after thinking about it more and more, wood has its place in food even outside of cooking.

With that tangent out of the way, food! Now I might have a little more over my belt than others, but food kinda rocks. Outside of giving us essential nutrients we need to survive and grow, food in its diverse methods (baking, grilling, etc) can create interesting and unique-looking pieces that looks like a work of art. All of that without even talking about how food tastes; the fact that every human being has different taste buds and different preferences for different flavors is, again, similar to everyone having different views on art.

With this in mind, although wood isn’t exactly the most edible or nutritious treat to us humans, it is somewhat vital to how we prepare and cook food. Wood being quite flammable while having an impressive burn time gave it the use of cooking back to when cooking as a concept was first being developed and expanded upon. Although later being replaced by other fuels such as coal, gas, and electric, wood still served as the ancient foundation for cooking as a whole. Now that’s cool and all, but what about wood’s use in the current day in relation to food and cooking? Well, let’s take a tour through your kitchen and see what we can find. The wooden cooking boards that your parents have had since before you could remember? Thin yet sturdy, they have knife marks on them from over a decade of use. It concerns you a bit that the juices from raw meats could soak into the wood, but your parents assure you that it all gets washed off and none of it absorbs into the cutting board itself. Right next to the cutting board is the knife set, the knives your household uses on the cutting boards. There you have half a dozen different knives, each having their own uses, suspended in a precisely carved block of wood so that you may take them out and put them back in with ease. Turning to your refrigerator, we see the leftover kabobs from the other night. You usually don’t have leftovers, but you went with friends to dinner and your parents didn’t account for that when preparing dinner. They kept the kabobs on the wooden skewer that it was grilled on, knowing that you prefer to eat the kabob off of the skewer instead of taking it off and putting the meats and vegetables on a plate. Good for cooking and serving, you think. Take a look in your freezer and you know your parents see that you’re stressed out right now. Suspended in the cold are your favorite ice pops, frozen around a popsicle stick so that the consumption of said favorite ice pop doesn’t get your hands all dirty (although being a slow eater, the ice pop always ends up dripping on whatever white article of clothing you happen to be wearing). Now that the tour is over, I ask you this: how would the absence of wood in your eating routine change your experiences? Of course, the wood could be substituted with materials like plastics or metals, but wood will always have its place in food, whether that be in the form of history and the earliest cookers, or the use in traditional dishes passed down through generations, to the little individually-wrapped toothpicks you get at some restaurants.

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