Cooking : A great skill

Cooking : A great skill

Cooking : A great skill

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Dear readers ! Here in this post, I am going to discuss some interesting talks regarding the art of cooking.

It can’t be exactly dated back in History as when cooking started. Primitive men discovered ‘fire’ at some earlier time, and from then on the art of cooking developed.

May be, the primitive men only knew the process of ‘baking or roasting’ directly over the fire, as the only cooking process. When they baked or roasted the food, may  it be a piece of vegetable, a piece of meat, etc, directly over fire, the food used to become soft and tasty to eat. This practice can be seen even today, among some tribes of primitive nature, who are generally away from modern educated society.

Cooking or Cookery is the art of preparing food (for easy human consumption & digestion) with the use of heat or fire or steam.

However, scientifically speaking, the process of cooking involves fire or heat. The cooking is done basically under four processes : boiling, frying, roasting/baking & steam boiling. Now, let us discuss these processes one by one.

Boiling : This process involves cooking the solid foods in boiling water. Water in some vessel boils at 1000C under application of fire or heat from below, and this boiling water cooks & softens the solid food immersed in the water. This is the easiest and simplest process of cooking suitable for modern educated civilised society. Liquid foods ( like milk, etc) are boiled directly over fire or heat in the similar way.

Frying : This process involves cooking the solid food in hot oil, butter, Indian Ghee, or some other fat, etc. Oil, Ghee, etc are put on pan, Indian Karhaahee, Tavaa, etc, and fire or heat is applied from below. When the oil, Ghee, etc melts and becomes hot, the solid food item is put in this hot oil, Ghee, etc and cooking goes on. The solid food item becomes sometimes softer and sometimes harder & crispy, depending upon the item of food. Pancakes, finger chips of potato, Indian Beguni, Pakourhi, Barhaa, Chop, Aalubhaajaa ( Bengal style), etc are cooked by this process.

Baking, Roasting & Toasting: This process involves cooking the soild food directly over fire or heat, without using any type cooking vessel (like pan, etc). This is the easiest and very primitive method of cooking. The fire or heat directly softens or cooks the solid food. Any liquid food can’t be cooked by this process because liquid food has to be kept in some cooking vessel. Bread, Pav, Biscuits, Cakes, etc are cooked by this process. These solid foods are kept for sufficient time inside a huge oven under tremendous heat. In India, a hand made disc like food is prepared from flour called Roti or Chapati or Phulka. It is also cooked by this process. It has the speciality that it swells or puffs over fire or heat, that is why it received the name Phulka. In India, there is another tradition of making ‘Tandoori Roti’. ‘Tandoor’ is a special type of oven lit by coal or charcoal. The Roti or Chapati is cooked inside this oven by the baking/roasting process. But, this Roti is made thicker than the ordinary Phulka and it never puffs. In many areas all over the world, meat ( mutton, pork, beef, chicken, etc) is very often cooked directly over fire or heat by this process, and eaten hot then and there. Slice of bread baked and browned is called ‘Toast’. In some parts of India, specially Bengal & Assam area, brinjal & potato are roasted directly over fire and eaten after some garnishing.

Steam boiling : This process involves cooking solid or liquid food neither in boiling water, nor in frying oil, nor over direct fire/heat, but directly under water vapour. In modern times, a special type of cooking vessel called ‘Pressure cooker’ has become very popular and can be seen in every household. The food is cooked by this process in pressure cooker. In Bengal region of modern or earlier India (including Bangladesh), there is a very delicious and popular food called ‘Bhanpa Ilish’. It is prepared by this process of steam boiling from a special kind of fish called ‘Ilish or Hilsha’ in Indian Bengali language. In southern India, there is a delicious food item prepared from powdered rice, called ‘Idli’, is cooked by this process. Nowadays, Idli is not confined only to southern India, but spread all over India and even many parts of world. In Assam region of India, there is a food item called ‘Guripitha’, prepared from powdered rice, is cooked by the same process.

The above four are the very basic process of cooking being practiced all over the world since long ago. All the above four processes are very scientific and hygienic.

But, the thing is, when people generally prepare their choicable curry, soup, Indian sabji, tarkari, etc, a combination of some or all of the above processes is adopted. Because, any single one process can not make that particular curry of choice.

Micro-oven : This is a recent modern tradition, a recent invention of  human being by applying scientific knowledge. The food is made hot or even cooked by the application of a kind of electro-magnetic waves inside a chamber.

Whatever be the process, cooking is an essential part of human lifestyle, and without it mankind can not survive. Cooking food with heat or fire is an activity unique to human. Animal can not cook food. They eat raw food or whatever is available, natural or man-made. God has given to human being only the quality of cooking and preparing food of their taste. So, it can be said that the wisdom of cooking belongs only to human being and a ‘God gift’.

Cooking makes food soft, eatable, tasty, delicious, hygienic, easily digestible. Although, due to cooking & due to application of heat, some of the nutrients, vitamins, etc are lost, but even then cooking is essential. Cooking destroys harmul germs present in the food.

There are many people, who love cooking. They are well expert in the various arts of cooking. They love to prepare delicious food items and feed people to show their cooking calibre or skill to them.

Generally, both in India & outside of the world, particularly women or housewives take on their shoulder the responsibility of cooking. Men or husbands generally remain busy outside their house in job, service, business, etc, and can’t take interest in cooking.

But, in India, a section of men adopt cooking professionally. During the time of ancient Kings’ rule, there were expert cooks engaged for Royal purpose. They were called ‘Baawarchi’. Nowadays also, descendents of those ‘Baawarchi’s are engaged in various cooking related professions of their interest. Some are engaged in cooking activities in Hotels. Big hotels, 5-star hotels, etc engage trained professional cooks called ‘Chef’, with high salary. Because, these ‘Chefs’ are the backbone of the main income of hotels. If customers are not satisfied with the quality of food served in the hotel, then they won’t visit that hotel in future, and the business of hotel will collapse. Chefs are recognised by their special white colour uniform and long hat.

In India, some people are engaged in cooking in temples professionally from time immeroial. They cook food in the temple for the Deity as ‘Prasad’ and after Puja or religious activities are over,, the Prasad is distributed among devotees and poor people. In Jagannath temple in Puri in Odisha state of India, this is a special tradition. The cooks in this temple are called ‘Panda’.

Nowadays, in big big party’s or public ceremonies (like marriage ceremony, etc) where many people are to be fed, some company or agency called ‘Catering Agency’ or ‘Caterer’ are engaged, who are expert in cooking in mass scale alongwith serving and feeding people in mass.

Maximum men are reluctant in cooking. They want somebody else should cook food items for them and feed them. Instead of cooking hygienic and clean food with their own efforts at home, they prefer to go out and take readymade food available in some mess or hotel or restaurant or fast food center or cafeteria.

Now, in this age of internet, many books and websites are available regarding cooking. Many many ‘Recipes’, ‘Culinary practices’, ‘Cuisine’, etc are available, varying from culture to culture, place to place.

 

So, my dear readers, isn’t Cooking a great art ? How have you enjoyed reading my this informative post ? Please, comment to me. Share among your friends & knowns.

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