Cooking is one of the oldest forms of food preparation. It can be traced back as far as the earliest archeological finds. The early civilizations that existed thousands of years ago used cooking methods that were more like cooking that we know today. Archaeological finds show that their cooking methods included grilling and smoking. This was probably a source of fat and therefore could be what gave us the word calorie.
The cuisine is a specific style of cooking generally characterized by dishes, methods and ingredients, and normally associated with a particular geographic area or cultural group. Regional foods, practices and ingredients generally coincide to form dishes unique to that region. Some examples of regional cooking include French cooking, Italian cooking, Chinese cooking, Greek cooking, Moroccan cooking and Thai cooking.
There are many ways to cook. In most regions of the world, cooking was done outdoors during warmer periods in the summer and under the shade in the winter. In areas where there was no central heating system, fire was used for cooking. The first electric stoves did not exist and so many foods cooked on open fires, sometimes over sticks.
Cooking has two basic types: the convective cooking and the radiant cooking. Convection cooking involves using hot air to cook the food. Radiant cooking involves using hot liquids such as water, oil and fats to cook the food. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.
One way to learn the differences is to research the techniques used by different cultures. For instance, the Egyptians used a combination cooking techniques which involved melting butter or cooking foods in fat. The Japanese use a moist heat cooking technique called Torishima. This technique involves grilling foods at low temperatures and then retaining the juices to provide a delicious flavor.
Cuisine styles differ greatly because the methods of cooking are not based solely on traditional guidelines. Some cuisines use a method called poaching, where ingredients are marinated in a liquid such as soy sauce and allowed to slowly cook. Other cuisines use a more direct cooking technique called boiling. This technique involves creating a hot liquid solution such as broth and allowing the foods to simmer. Some chefs like the slow, gentle simmering method called braising, which allows the juices to gently infuse the ingredients with flavor.
A further difference is affected by the physical properties of the vessel in which the food is cooked. If you boil food in a glass vessel, for example, it will take longer to achieve a set degree of flavour intensity because of the constant introduction of heat into the container. It also tends to leave behind scorch marks, unless you allow the vessel to continuously steam throughout the cooking process. When cooking in a porcelain pot, the colour of the surface can affect the taste. Generally, it’s best to cook foods in their own skins, although this depends on the particular recipe.
Of course, there are many foods that don’t go through any of these stages. Cooked meats, for example, do not go through any of the usual cooking processes. They have been fried, so their chemical changes have been less dramatic, but they have not been broiled, roasted, or sauteed. This makes them even more special, as well as more difficult to eat. It is only through the process of roasting, boiling, and frying that many foods can have the exquisite texture and rich flavour associated with French cooking.
Frying and baking are two cooking methods that can result in the loss of vitamins. When fish is fried in oil, its vitamin E is lost, because it is a highly perishable substance. Similarly, when vegetables are baked, their vitamin A is lost. The chemical bonds in the bonds of these vitamins are broken down during the cooking process, leaving behind rancid and tasteless pieces of mush. Even though we all know this, many of us still bake foods that consist almost entirely of flour, salt and butter.
Pasta, too, is prone to chemical changes and the destruction of vitamins when cooked. The chemical bonds in starch gelatinisation – which is used in cooking most frequently as an emulsifier – tend to break down over time. Because the pasta has to maintain a certain thickness, the surface tends to dry out, and this can lead to the loss of some nutrients. On the other hand, foods containing starch gelatinisation, such as potatoes, are in fact good sources of vitamin E.
One cooking technique that is more likely to result in vitamin loss than any of the others is boiling. Boiling food in a pot of boiling liquid results in the loss of vitamins almost immediately. This is because the proteins and the starch are damaged so greatly by the extreme temperature of the boiling liquid. In general, the less sensitive a food type is to heat, the better it will retain its vitamins when cooked. Most vegetable dishes are some sort of combination of steamed vegetables and boiled vegetables, so cooking techniques that involve boiling should not be counted as losing vitamins.