According to The Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, the three most significant inventions in the history of food and drink are the fridge, pasteurised milk and the tin can. The Royal Society’s list is:

1. Refrigeration

2. Pasteurisation / sterilisation

3. Canning

4. The oven

5. Irrigation

6. The threshing machine / combine harvester

7. Baking

8. Selective breeding / strains

9. Grinding / milling

10. The plough


Then comes:

11. Fermentation

12. The fishing net

13. Crop rotation

14. The pot

15. The knife

16. Eating utensils

17. The cork

18. The barrel

19. The microwave oven

20.  Frying


Comment: This puts into context the often-used hype of ‘This is the best invention since sliced bread’ – since ‘sliced bread’ isn’t on the Royal Society’s list!