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Made to Cook: The Cooking Hypothesis

22 Oct 2020

What makes us human? Some would argue that it’s the act of cooking — whether it’s boiling, broiling, roasting, baking, or barbecuing — that separates us from every other species on Earth. 

 In 1999, Harvard professor of biological anthropology Richard Wrangham published an article in the Current Anthropology journal called “The Raw and the Stolen: Cooking and the Ecology of Human Origins. Known as “the cooking hypothesis,” Wrangham’s groundbreaking new theory of human evolution proposed that taming fire to cook food changed the course of human evolution. 

 In his article and his 2009 book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, Wrangham argued that cooking allowed our human ancestors to process food more efficiently — and this change had a profound impact on evolution. While all other animals eat raw foods, Wrangham theorized that our ancestors began cooking their food some 1.8 million years ago, a change that gave early man the ability to process food more efficiently. It takes a long time, and a very large jaw and teeth, to grind down raw meat and plant matter. Before our ancestors learned how to cook, Wrangham estimated that half of their waking hours were spent simply chewing enough food to subsist, leaving little time for anything else. Cooking alters the chemical structure of food, breaking down the connective tissues in meat, and softening the cells of plants to release their starches and fats. This makes cooked food easier to chew and digest. This also helpthe body to use less energy to convert food into calories. Once the cooking was introduced, he estimated that our ancestors had an extra four hours in their day — time that could be spent huntingforaging, and slowly beginning to organizinto societiesWrangham explained, “The extra energy gave the first cooks biological advantages. They survived and reproduced better than before. Their genes spread. Their bodies responded by biologically adapting to cooked food, shaped by natural selection to take maximum advantage of the new diet. There were changes in anatomy, physiology, ecology, life history, psychology, and society.”  

This higher calorie, higher-quality diet lead to the evolution of bigger brains and bodies, and smaller jaws and teeth—a transformation that gradually resulted in modern man. From the control of fire and the growth in brain size, it’s not such a large leap to the development of dedicated hearths, the introduction of pottery and other tools for cooking, and the domestication of plants and animals.  

(Also ReadWhat eating healthy looks like)

 Wrangham’s theory is, of course, just that: a theory. Archaeological history to support control of fire 1.8 million years ago has not yet been found, but the recent discovery of ash in a South African cave suggests that our ancestors were controlling fire at least 1 million years ago — far earlier than previous evidence suggested. It may be just a matter of time before definitive evidence that proves Wrangham’s theory is found.  

 And If Wrangham’s theory is correct, we truly are what we eat.  

 If cooking is so fundamental to our evolution as people, it is a wonder that we don’t have time to make home-cooked meals with wholesome ingredients. Modern life has created many barriers to our ability to prepare home-cooked meals. What do we do if we don’t have time for home cookingBusinesses like CookinGenie can help you bring cooking where it belongs—in your own kitchen—even when you don’t have time to cook yourself. Check out our menus, and book your Genie today for building healthy eating habits in the family.  

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Gift an experience of Personal Chef - CookinGenie

10 Dec 2021

The holidays are upon us, and for some, it means it’s time to go out and buy the same old, same old gift cards and items for friends and family. Or does it? Rather than gifting the exact same thing every year or what everyone else is giving, why not give your family and friends a new gift experience that they can enjoy right in the comfort of their own home. You may find that you have started a new trend of gift-giving in your circle.  

CookinGenie Gift Card for Any Occasion

This year, it could be a great idea to consider giving a CookinGenie gift card to your friends and family for any special occasion. As much as we’ve moved back to more normal events in life, such as finally being able to gather to celebrate the holidays and important life milestones, there are still things in life that aren’t back to how it was before the pandemic. For example, family members with severe health conditions often don’t get to go out like they used to previously. In addition, many businesses are struggling with keeping up with demand due to supply chain issues and finding help. 

Reasons to Gift a CookinGenie Experience 

  1. It’s something that’s fun and unique. You can almost guarantee that your gift will be memorable and one-of-a-kind (unless there’s another CookinGenie lover in your circle of friends and family). 
  2. You’ll provide the gift recipient with a relaxing dining experience that they can enjoy whenever they need a night off. You’ll gift them a night of no cooking, dishes, or shopping. 
  3. A CookinGenie experience lets your gift recipient get a restaurant-quality meal at home without the hassle of visiting a restaurant. No looking for a parking spot or waiting on a table. 
  4. Not to mention that gifting a CookinGenie gift card may even result in the recipient giving you one in the future or inviting you to a gathering where they use a CookinGenie personal chef. 

CookinGenie Experience 

A CookinGenie gift card is the perfect gift this year as it offers a new experience while still being practical. Who doesn’t want to have a personal chef experience? You’ll be gifting them an evening of relaxation and great food. A CookinGenie experience starts by selecting a chef and a menu that the chef will prepare at the recipient’s home. Once they’ve decided on the details and checked out with their gift card code, the fun begins. The chef will shop for the fresh ingredients to cook that evening. Once they arrive at the house, they’ll start preparing the meal using the home’s pots, pans, and other necessary kitchen tools. The food will be served right away to get the freshest experience possible. After the chef is finished cooking the selected dishes, they’ll handle the kitchen clean-up leaving the gift card recipient the opportunity to relax and enjoy their meal without worrying about handling the clean-up at all.  

A Gift That Fits All Occasions 

Some ideas include: 

  • Special days: a CookinGenie gift card is the perfect gift to celebrate special days in your loved one’s life. They can get a special meal prepared specially for them in their home. 
  • Newlyweds: Couples that are newly married can enjoy a romantic dinner at home with their personal chef from CookinGenie. 
  • New Parents: Bringing home a newborn can be a busy time for first-time parents or even more experienced parents. A gift card from CookinGenie can give them a meal where they can indulge in some self-care while also balancing the new task of caring for a baby.  
  • Anniversaries: Celebrate any anniversary with a fresh meal prepared for you in your own home. Spark that romantic feeling for wedding anniversaries or have a congratulatory dinner for work or other anniversaries.  
  • Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve: Family get-togethers can be a lot of work. Why not make it a little easier on your family and friends by providing them a CookinGenie gift card that they can use for a special holiday meal.  
  • Birthday celebration: Everyone knows that one person that ends up cooking their own meal for their birthday. Or they choose to go out to a restaurant usually because they don’t have someone to cook for them or their loved one isn’t gifted in the kitchen. Why not change it up and give them a CookinGenie gift card? 
  • Newly moved: Moving to a new place can be a task that most people don’t relish. Why not give them the opportunity to relax with a personal chef for an evening?  
  • Buy a new house: Celebrating the purchase of a new home is always fun. Make your housewarming gift one that will delight their tastebuds. 
  • Bright light in the darkness: Some events in life are hard to go through. The loss of a loved one, medical diagnosis, or other adverse events may not need to be celebrated, but you can do something to help. Sometimes, a meal can be precisely what’s required to give comfort and hope for the future. 
  • Sometimes it’s just fun to give a gift. 

How to Gift a Personal Chef Experience from CookinGenie 

Giving a gift card for CookinGenie couldn’t be easier. Visit the CookinGenie gift card page. Once there, you’ll see a variety of gift card categories to find the perfect design to fit your gifting needs. You can have the gift card emailed or texted to the recipient with your personalized information. You can also print up the gift card to hand over in person. We offer a feature where you can add a message. Then, they’ll be able to use the gift card online to select a personal chef and dishes they’d like to enjoy. During checkout, they’ll need to apply the gift card code. That’s it.  

Questions or concerns about gifting a personal chef experience from CookinGenie? We’re happy to go over anything you’re not sure about or help you with purchasing a CookinGenie gift card for your gifts. Let us help you gift an experience rather than a boring gift card this year and for years to come. 

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26 Apr 2021

“All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” 

—Abraham Lincoln 

The second Monday of every May is dedicated to the women (Mother’s day) who take care of us the other 364 days of the year: Moms.  

 And don’t they deserve a day just for them? In many homes, moms are the ones who get it all done: making home cooked meals, buying groceries, packing lunches, folding laundry, organizing schedules, running the carpool, and so much more. Even in today’s more enlightened times, with a generation of dads who take on more than any group before them, a Gallup poll showed that women still shoulder the primary responsibility for doing the laundry, cleaning the house, and making meals.1  

 So this Mother’s Day, how can you show that special mom—your own mother, the mother of your children, a mom-to-be, or a special mom in your life—that you care? Sure, flowers and handmade cards are great. But this Mother’s Daywe’ve got a better idea: get her a Genie, and leave the meal shopping, prepping, cooking, and cleaning up to us.  

Whether you want to treat her to brunch, lunch, dinner, or a week’s worth of meals prepped and ready to go for the days ahead, CookinGenie can arrange for a chef to show up at the door with all the ingredients needed to make a fresh, home-cooked meal from scratch. Our Genie will prepare and plate the food and leave the kitchen as clean (or maybe even cleaner!) as it was before they arrived. 

 Not sure what to order? Check out this sample Mother’s Day menu 

How about starting your meal with Genie Michael Booth’s decadent Baked Brie, a show-stopping starter of creamy brie wrapped in crisp, flaky puff pastry and topped with a nutty bourbon glaze.  

 

Or maybe begin with a springy Arugula Salad studded with marinated red onions, shaved Parmesan and toasted walnuts, and tossed with a refreshing lemon vinaigrette. 

 

For the main course, try a light and refreshing Cioppinoa delicate seafood stew in an aromatic tomato-fennel broth— 

 

or, if you want something more hearty, Filet Mignon with Fingerlings, Broccolini and Chimichurri. 

 

And end on a sweet note with a Fruit Crostata topped with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.  

Don’t see mom’s favorites on our menu – message us and we are going to put a custom home cooked meal together for the special mom.  

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