Smokeless coals have an anthracite base which is the type of coal formation that has aged longer than almost any other. The very high proportion of carbon (usually over 97%) and absence of volatile materials in smokeless anthracite fuels means that they do not give off thick smoke when burnt.
It has probably crossed your mind that the heat emanating from your wood burning stove could be used for other things, along with heating your home. Cooking on top of your burner is a definite possibility if the appliance is suitable.
There is some evidence that suggests humans were using fire some 1.9 million years ago. Stronger scientific evidence supports that at least 400,000 years ago, early humans had learned to control fire to their advantage.