Cooking Essay, Research Paper

The importance of cooking for humanity is essential because we interact withit every day. Cooking styles varies depending the country and culture we talk about. For example Puerto Rico has a very peculiar cooking style that differs it from the rest of the world. Since I was a boy my grandmother show me how to cook and eat. Because of it I became a big eater and food passed to be a very important subject in my life. If we talk about the cooking in Puerto Rico we will need to divided between everyday cooking and holyday cooking. In this country food is a everyday thing that even unite families and strangers together. This quality was even stronger in the past forty years. I remembered when my grandparents told me about how important was food to the people in old days. They told me about how they prepared and preserved meat without refrigeration in the old days. During the years I had been exposed to different kinds of cooking that really affected my judgement about what I called good food. They are the latin, American, and French food. In this journey of finding which is the best food I notice that some people do not accept certain foods because differences in culture and religion.

As we can see in the movie Babette’s Feast the difference in culture between the two religuios sisters and Babette was the result of how people developed and behave in different parts of the world. For the sisters the big dinner that was arranging to them was a huge bad sin not able to be pardoned by God. Even religion can affect cooking behaviors in different parts of the world.

“The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of humanity than the discovery of a new star,” one expert on fine food has remarked. The preparation of nutritious food is so vital to good health that cookery is important both as an art and as a science. In the laboratory scientists constantly make discoveries about the foods the human body needs. In the home kitchen careful shoppers plan meals that are nourishing as well as attractive and appetizing. They select varied foods that contain elements to encourage growth in the children of the household and continued health and vigor in the adults. Modern cooking is big business, too. Professional cooks prepare an increasing amount of the world’s food in hotel and restaurant kitchens, and workers in factories process canned, packaged, and frozen foods for wide distribution.

Cooking changes foods physically or chemically so that they become more palatable and more easily digested. The use of heat kills or inactivates disease-causing organisms and parasites in the food. Heat also retards the action of enzymes and organisms that cause food to spoil. The meaning of the word cooking is not limited to the applying of heat to foods. Foods are changed by preparing them in many different ways. They may be altered by cutting, chopping, chilling, and freezing and by mixing different foodstuffs together. Thus the word cooking defines all ways of preparing food for the table.

People have been cooking food for untold ages probably since prehistoric people first learned to use fire. Archaeologists have found charred animal bones and parched seeds and grains in the remains of the oldest cave campfires. Primitive cooking was crude, tedious, and difficult. The cook had no pots, pans, or grills, and so might hang a piece of meat on a wet branch over the fire. A cook might also dig a pit and line it with animal skins to hold a gruel or stew, then heat rocks in the fire and drop them into the mixture to make it simmer. Centuries passed before people invented pottery vessels for cooking. People kept experimenting to improve the flavor of their foods and make their diet more satisfying.

Modern cooking reflects centuries of experimentation, invention, and scientific discovery. It differs from Stone Age food preparation as much as modern machinery differs from the stone implements of that era. Huge industries cater to today’s cooks. The food distribution industry brings them the foods of the world. The home appliance industry supplies the latest in cooking and preserving equipment. Nutritionists, home economists, and other specialists issue scientifically tested instructions for balanced diets and food preservation. They also supply recipes for wholesome and delicious dishes. Some of their recipes are made available in supermarkets and in special sections of newspapers and magazines.

Ways and means of applying heat have undergone many changes. People still used an open fireplace to cook in colonial and pioneer times in America. The familiar cookstove did not come into general use until the early 19th century. Modern ranges have many features and get their heat from various fuels. Some even have self-cleaning ovens. There are also separate electrical appliances that broil, roast, bake, barbecue, toast, and fry foods. Pressure cookers may be used to increase temperature above the boiling point by confining the steam. High frequency shortwaves are used in a microwave oven. The waves produce heat only when intercepted by the food in the oven. Then they cook it in minutes. Infrared lamps on the meat table in a cafeteria keep food at the desired temperature.

Despite all the new gadgets, cooks return to old ways to prepare certain dishes. The backyard chef barbecues food over a charcoal fire much as his primitive ancestors did. At a corn roast or clambake, food is steamed in a pit, as in the traditional Hawaiian luau. Some homemakers use the sun’s heat to cook strawberry and peach jams.

Good cooks want to please the diners, whether they are family, guests, or customers. They enjoy the fun of creating new combinations and re-creating old favorites. The way a cook prepares food depends upon such things as the supplies and equipment, the amount of time available, the methods learned from parents or teachers, and personal preferences. The possible food choices have increased in recent years because modern methods of food preservation and distribution have made a greater variety of ingredients available.

Tradition has a strong influence on cookery. In many Old World lands cooks have prepared the same dishes for centuries. National dishes are often based on the meats, fish, cereals, vegetables, fruits, and spices readily raised in a country. Roast mutton is the leading dish in the arid sheep-grazing lands of Asia. Rice and fish recipes are favorites in the warm, rain-swept coastal lands of Southeast Asia. The Scandinavians are famous for their fine fish and cheese dishes. Rye and other dark breads are popular in northern Europe. The French make delicious white breads from their wheat crop. Their rich farmland yields abundant ingredients for the many recipes that have made French cookery world renowned.

In such countries as the United States and Canada, which have been settled by peoples of many nations, the cooking traditions of the various motherlands are frequently carried on. The Canadian province of Quebec clings to French foods as well as to French speech. In the English-speaking provinces favorite dishes include the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding of England and the porridge and scones of Scotland. The custom of afternoon tea is widespread. Cooks in all the American countries are indebted to the Indians, who introduced such fine foods as corn, tomatoes, pumpkins, cacao, turkeys, and potatoes.

The immense variety of dishes in the United States results in part from the many peoples who settled the country and brought their traditional cookery here. Every large city and many smaller ones have Italian, Chinese, Polish, German, Mexican, and other special restaurants.

Various parts of the United States have favorite foods, but regional preferences are blending as people move about the country more and more. New England’s famous baked beans are served in Kentucky and Idaho. The popularity of chili has spread across the country from the Mexican border regions. In every state of the Union, Maine lobsters and other east coast seafood specialties are regularly served, as are salmon from the Northwest, spoon bread and hush puppies from the South, and Philadelphia scrapple from Pennsylvania.

An ever-increasing share of the food eaten in the United States is prepared, at least in part, outside the home. Money that is spent for meals in restaurants and other similar eating places makes up about one fourth of civilian food expenditures. Some two fifths of the food eaten at home is prepared in factories, creameries, or other processing plants. The shift to eating outside the home results largely from the growth of urban population and the increase in the outside employment of homemakers.

Catering has expanded enormously in recent decades. Food is prepared for serving aboard airplanes and in manufacturing plants, hospitals, and other institutions. It is delivered hot or cold, ready for immediate service.

Commercial cooking also includes the manufacture of convenience foods, which has increased since World War II. Pies and fancy pastries, casserole dishes and other entrees, even entire dinners, are cooked and frozen, ready for the homemaker to heat and serve. An ever-increasing list of mixes for cakes, biscuits, and waffles are packaged. Canned foods such as ravioli, spaghetti, potato salad, and beef stew are fully prepared.

Convenience foods save the cook both time and effort. They may be stored for serving when unexpected guests arrive or when storms or other emergencies isolate the cook from the store or even from sources of heat and water. Lists of emergency supplies, including recommended foods, are available in a Federal Emergency Management Agency handbook.

Cooking can be learned by anyone who will read, watch, and practice. Many pupils acquire the art at school in home-economics courses. Good cooks usually like to share their knowledge, discoveries, and skills. Cookbooks offer detailed directions. Many add sufficient scientific information on the properties of food to provide an understanding of cooking processes. Recipes are offered in food advertisements, on can labels, or in booklets inserted in packages. A file of useful recipes can be collected from these and personal sources.


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