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Different Cooking Variations And Cultures

Apr 22, 2008
Cooking is the act of fixing food for consumption by the application of some form of heat. There are a wide range of methods for preparing food and many tools and a myriad of ingredients to flavor the food and make it more digestible in some cases. It is the process of putting together a palatable set of ingredients in such a way as to achieve a delectable and delicious culinary delight. Many factors that affect the final outcome include the types of ingredients, cooking utensils, and the skill of the person doing the actual cooking.

The styles of cooking vary greatly worldwide and they all reflect the nutritional, agricultural, cultural, socio-economic, and religious considerations that have a direct impact upon those styles of cooking.

When one uses heat to cook a food, the heat usually, though not always, changes it; which changes the flavor, texture, appearance, and nutritional value of the food. There is archaeological evidence of food items that had been roasted, both meat and vegetable matter, in the human campsites dating from some 700,000 to 800,000 years ago. Other methods of cooking such as boiling foodstuffs with water in a container made of skins or clay have been practiced at least since the 10th millennium BCE.

There are many ways, or methods, of cooking food. Baking is the technique of cooking the food in a oven with dry heat. You can also bake small loaves or cakes in hot ashes, or on hot stones. Many old-timers used to bake bread in a 'dutch oven'. It consisted of a cast iron skillet with a lid or a cast iron 'dutch oven' pot and lid.

You sat the 'dutch oven' on amongst the hot coals of a fireplace and covered the top with hot coals as well. Baking is primarily used for the preparation of baked goods like bread, cakes, pies, etc. Such items are sometimes referred to as "baked goods," and are sold at the bakeries which made them. A baker is a person who makes baked goods as a profession. You can also use an oven to bake a turkey or ham for holiday dinners, or to make baked beans or scalloped potatoes.

Most ovens have two heating elements: one for baking, and one for grilling or broiling. Meat is sometimes baked, but is quite often broiled or roasted in an oven using higher temperatures and shorter cooking times than baking.

The baking process does not add any fat calories to the food, and many people who are careful to watch their fat intake use the baking option instead of frying their meats, potatoes, etc.

Steaming is a type of cooking that uses hot steam for cooking. This form of cooking makes sure you never overcook or burn food; both of these common occurrences are easily avoided when steaming your food. This is especially true with vegetables and rice dishes. Health conscious folks usually prefer steaming to other methods of cooking which sometimes require cooking with oil, butter, or some form of fat.

Steaming uses no oil or other fats resulting in lower fat content in the final preparation. Steam cooking also gives more nutritious foods than boiling because much fewer nutrients are leeched out into the water, which is usually thrown away, or destroyed by overcooking.

There are many other forms of cooking. Take a culinary adventure and experience a whole new world!
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