The 20 Most Significant Food Inventions in History
Science may not be the first thing you think about when it comes to the development of culinary culture over time, but The Royal Society of the UK has put out a list of the top 20 most significant inventions for food and drink in history. You'd immediately think the plow would be way up there, but to our surprise it barely makes the top 10 -- the top four are all relatively modern inventions (the fifth is irrigation, which we know hearkens back to the first civilizations thanks to a comprehensive sixth grade unit on the Fertile Crescent).
Flickr/archer10 Where did the plow end up on the list?
- New Cookbook Explores California's Culinary Past
- The Food World 30 Years Ago, Old Apples, and New Cheese
- Before the Mission Burrito Came the San Francisco Tamale: An Interview with Gustavo Arellano
The Royal Society, the UK's academy of sciences, started with a list of 100 innovations nominated by their Fellows (including a Pulitzer Prize winner), and then whittled it down to a mere 20:
- Pasteurization / sterilization
- The oven
- Threshing machine/combine harvester
- Selective breeding / strains
- Grinding / milling
- The plough
- The fishing net
- Crop rotation
- The pot
- The knife
- Eating utensils
- The cork
- The barrel
- The microwave oven
For more, the Atlantic has a great breakdown of the reason each item on the list was culinarily significant.
What do you think -- did your favorite invention make the list? Leave a comment, or you can vote on your top innovation on the Royal Society Facebook page.