Cooking, what is it? By Dr Hector Perera – London

The proposal I find most congenial both as a cook and as a chemistry teacher is this.  Cooking is the whole series of operations used by humans to turn raw materials, mainly animal carcasses and harvested plants, into food, that is, into something edible, digestible and nutritious. Those operations which I’ll talk about is energy wasted in cooking.

What is cooking?

Cooking is one of those everyday words that everyone knows. But what does it really mean? Is reheating leftovers cooking? How about making an emulsified salad dressing? Scrambling eggs? Baking cookies? Back home in Sri Lanka majority of people didn’t have the present day modern facilities such as gas and electric cookers, microwaves and ovens. They mainly depended on firewood for cooking. Even at our home including our mum used firewood for cooking. Most of the times a kitchen servant helped cooking and we call her “Kussi amma”. Majority of the present day people in Sri Lanka have these facilities just like in Western countries but they waste plenty of energy that is gas and electric during the process of cooking. Most British TV chefs hardly care about energy wastage in cooking. To believe me one should watch these British TV cooking programmes.

At its most basic, cooking means applying heat to food. But cooking is as much about the ways heat changes the food as it is about the heat itself. That’s because heating food does more than just make it hotter. It changes the food in other ways, too.

Read More →