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Preparing food with heat or fire is an activity unique to humans, and some scientists believe the advent of cooking played an important role in human evolution. Most anthropologists believe that cooking fires first developed around 250,000 years ago. The development of agriculture, commerce and transportation between civilizations in different regions offered cooks many new ingredients. New inventions and technologies, such as pottery for holding and boiling water, expanded cooking techniques. Some modern cooks apply advanced scientific techniques to food preparation.
Methods of cooking: There are very many methods of cooking, most of which have been known since antiquity. These include baking, roasting, frying, grilling, barbecuing, smoking, boiling, steaming and braising. A more recent innovation is microwaving. Various methods use differing levels of heat and moisture and vary in cooking time. The method chosen greatly affects the end result. Some foods are more appropriate to some methods than others. Some major hot cooking techniques include:
- Roasting: Roasting - Barbecuing - Grilling - Rotisserie - Searing
- Baking: Baking - Baking Blind - Broiling - Flashbaking
- Frying: Frying - Deep frying - Hot salt frying - Hot sand frying - Pan frying - Pressure frying - Sautéing - Stir frying
- Smoking: Food smoking
- Boiling: Boiling - Blanching - Braising - Coddling - Double steaming - Infusion - Poaching - Pressure cooking - - Simmering - Steaming - Steeping - Stewing - Vacuum flask cooking
Cookbooks are an excellent and intriguing resource for anyone who wants to experiment with cooking, even if you don't consider yourself a geek.
- Initialize your kitchen and calibrate your tools
- Learn about the important reactions in cooking, such as protein denaturation, Maillard reactions, and caramelization, and how they impact the foods we cook
- Play with your food using hydrocolloids and sous vide cooking
- Gain firsthand insights from interviews with researchers, food scientists, knife experts, chefs and writers.