There can be little question that one of the earliest uses to which man put fire was to cook his food. Cookery was doubtless in the first instance practised in a desultory fashion, and not until it was employed systematically can the genuine period of cookery be said to have begun. The most primitive peoples now living cook their food, and that they have for ages done so is shown by the fact that, though now widely separated both ethnologically and geographically, they employ identical methods of cookery : thus the aboriginal Australians and Californians, the Bushmen, the Andamanese, and the Ainus all know how to extract noxious principles from their vegetable foods, and all employ underground ovens. These ovens, as well as the methods employed for extracting noxious ingredients, are so remarkably alike amongst present-day pre-cibiculturists as to make it practically certain that they had a common origin, and the circumstance that some of these peoples, e.g. the Australian natives and the American Indians, were for long ages cut off from the rest of the world, points to their having taken their methods of cookery with them at that remote time when they first migrated from a common centre; nor can there be much doubt that those methods had been in use long before that migration took place.