This post is written by Salted editor, Taylor McDaniel.
If you’re anything like me, learning to cook can sometimes seem like a daunting task. With so many different techniques to master it can all get a little overwhelming. But this week I read this article over at NPR’s The Salt: Chimps Are No Chumps: Give Them An Oven, They'll Learn To Cook. This gives me hope! If these chimps have an innate, instinctual ability to grasp basic cooking concepts, I’m sure I can figure out how to make a this Classic Cajun Meatloaf that we just added to the site!
The article discusses an experiment carried out by Alexandra Rosati and Felix Warneken at a chimpanzee sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Chimpanzees were given a device that appeared to work like an oven; if raw food went in, cooked food came out. When the chimps put in raw potatoes, the potatoes came out of the device cooked. The chimps quickly grasped the concept and started trying to “cook” all of their food. It’s a fascinating result that implies that the common ancestor to apes and humans also potentially possessed this capability for cooking.
While this study certainly proves that it’s possible to grasp the basic foundations of cooking without any formal education, I’m personally glad to have access to resources beyond my own ancestral understanding. And reading this article has definitely made me hungry for some really tasty potatoes! If you want to channel your inner chimp, check out some of our delicious potato tutorials including Smoked Fingerling Potatoes and, of course, The Perfect French Fries.