An average human spends 6 years of his lifetime in eating. Food is the basic necessity of all living organisms. Whether it is as small as a parasite in your stomach or as mighty as a blue whale, they all need food. But have we ever thought; that how something so basic for us i.e. cooking food, came into existence? How our ancestors discovered the art of cooking?
What conditions provoked them to do so? What practices did they follow? I bet we don’t know the answers to these queries; and in order to learn how the birth of cooking took place, read on...
It Was an Accident
In pre-historic era, people were least civilised. That was the time when fire was a new discovery and people worshipped lightning and thunder. At that time humans ate raw meat. They learned by observing the animals and would practice the same techniques. They caught animals and they ate them just like that.
However, it is believed that somebody might have accidentally dropped his/her piece of raw meat in fire and then ate it. It was then, that they discovered that by putting raw meat in fire, the meat becomes a bit tasty and much easier to eat. So, that’s how cooking came into existence – by chance!
A Major Breakthrough
The accidentally dropped chunk of flesh paved way for a method called broiling. An animal or bird was tied and placed at one end of the stick and held over the fire until it was considered sufficiently edible. By this time the humans had also learnt that the animal tastes much better if the skin or fur is removed and the internal organs are replaced with certain grains and herbs before cooking.
Next advancement was a breakthrough. People experimented successfully with metal rods instead of sticks and started cooking food by piercing them with these sharp rods because they learned the fact that they are a good conductor of heat and thus help to cook faster. This innovation led to what we today know as 'barbeque.’
The next move was made in the field of utensils. Proper utensils were designed and made mainly by stone and clay soil so that cooking could be revolutionised further. A heated flat stone was introduced for baking and frying and later it was replaced with an iron or copper sheet. Later, an oven was developed by making a hole in the ground and filling it with fire. This method of cooking is still in practice in some primitive and tribal races.
In order to boil food, a vessel was necessary to hold the boiling liquid. Kettles made of tree bark and animal skins served this purpose long before pottery was discovered. Since these vessels could not be placed over fire, therefore heated stones were dropped in them to attain boiling water.
The earliest records of cooking have been found in Egypt, where ancient Egyptians made wall paintings depicting the process of roasting, boiling, broiling and frying in 4000 B.C. In fact the bible also contains many references to ancient dishes and methods of cooking. Wall carvings of Babylonia period show the use of charcoal pans which is a method still used by Japanese, known as 'hibachis.’
Then came the era of royals and nobles where special utensils were installed in huge kitchens of the palaces. That time also saw the rise of cookbooks; the first one printed in Spain in the 14th century.
Now, modern cooking is a lot different from what our ancestors practised at their time. With latest technological advancements, we have better methods to cook food. Induction plates, electric kettles, electric microwaves and ovens, food processors and others have made cooking a lot easier.
For example. if you want to buy a food processor you can find the best one by just searching in Google for food processor reviews and that's it. The same thing with microwave reviews and etc. So, today we have so much opportunities for buying kitchen appliances and they provide us with comfort.
So, the next time when you savour a dish at a local restaurant, and if you feel like kissing the chef’s hand, then just thank that pre-historic human who dropped his/her piece of meat in fire to give what you cherish today!