The kitchen of 2020 looks mostly the same as that of 1960. But what we do in it has changed dramatically, almost entirely for the better—due to a culture of culinary innovation.
The change has come in the form of things we cannot touch or feel, but nevertheless matter: new ideas, recipes, and techniques. And that tells an equally important story: of how intangible capital has grown in importance in our lives and the wider economy — a less visible, but just as valuable, form of technological advancement as the advancements in tangible capital we made in the half-century before.
Ooh I like this framework. It’s not just the physical technology that matters, but how people use it and what they use it for.
The central thesis of Anton Howes’s Arts and Minds, a history of the Royal Society of Arts, is that the Industrial Revolution was driven by a new “ideology of innovation.” This ideology held that everything could be improved by careful tinkering and experimentation. And this ideology spread from person to person. People become more inclined to experiment when they see others doing it and succeeding.
It’s interesting to contrast the movement of advancement in cooking with the recent reports of stagnation in scientific progress and the boringization of culture. How can this mindset from the realm of the home cook expand to other disciples?