The Secrets to Successful Cooking

Cooking is the process of using heat to prepare foods
for consumption. Many common cooking methods
involve the use of oil. Frying is cooking in hot oil,
sauteing is cooking in a small amount of oil, stir-frying is
a Chinese technique of frying quickly in small amounts
of oil in a wok, deep frying is completely submerging
the food in large amounts of fat, etc.

As people have become more health conscious,
preparing foods in oil has become less desirable. With
the advent of nonstick cookware, sauteing can be done
at lower heats using vegetable broth and fruit juices
instead of oil. Stewing refers to cooking slowly in a
small amount of liquid in a closed container. Slow
stewing tenderizes tough cuts of meat and allows
flavors to mingle.

Another slow-cooking method is braising, in which meat
is first browned, then cooked slowly in a small amount
of liquid in a covered pan. Poaching is cooking food in
liquid below the boiling point, while steaming is cooking
food that has been placed above boiling water.
Roasting means baking in hot dry air, generally in an
oven. Baking refers to cooking in an oven and differs
from roasting mainly in its reference to the type of food
cooked-for example; one bakes a cake, but roasts a
chicken. Another form called broiling means to cook by
direct exposure to heat, while barbecue refers to
cooking marinated food by grilling.

Dining with others is one of the most common and
frequent social activities. It can involve a family dinner,
a meal with friends, or form part of a ceremony or
celebration, such as a wedding or holiday. More and
more people study cooking in schools, watch how-to
programs on television, and read specialty magazines
and cookbooks. In fact, cookbooks as a group outsell
any other kind of book except for religious works.

Cooking is the act of preparing food for consumption. It
encompasses a vast range of methods, tools and
combinations of ingredients to improve the flavor and
digestibility of food. It generally requires the selection,
measurement and combining of ingredients in an
ordered procedure in an effort to achieve the desired
result. Constraints on success include the variability of
ingredients, ambient conditions, tools and the skill of
the person cooking.

The diversity of cooking worldwide is a reflection of the
myriad nutritional, aesthetic, agricultural, economic,
cultural and religious considerations that impact upon it.
Cooking frequently, though not always, involves
applying heat in order to chemically transform a food,
thus changing its flavor, texture, appearance, or
nutritional properties. There is archaeological evidence
of cooked foodstuffs (both animal and vegetable) in
human settlements dating from the earliest known use
of fire.

While cooking if heating is used, this can disinfect and
soften the food depending on temperature, cooking
time, and technique used. 4 to 60°C (41 to 140°F) is the
"danger zone" in which many food spoilage bacteria
thrive, and which must be avoided for safe handling of
meat, poultry and dairy products. Refrigeration and
freezing do not kill bacteria, but slow their growth.

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About The Author, Robin Kumar Khumukcham