The process of preparing eatables by heating edibles is known as cooking. Preparing food with heat is an activity unique to humans, with cooks using a variety of ingredients to prepare food. There is no clear proof as to when cooking actually started. It is only reasonable to believe that it started with time immemorial, with the start of the human race, when man used fire not only for visibility during the night but also for protection against cold and beasts.
In the process of heating, the taste and appearance of the ingredients change. This effect is used by cooks to their advantage and wish, to cook foods of variety and taste. Cooks prepare food with their respective level of expertise and knowledge. The choice of these ingredients depends on their taste, which in turn is influenced by the cultural and traditional norms of cities. Likewise, the development of commerce between different civilizations offered cooks many new ingredients to cook food with such as the arrival of Indian spices in the West and Italian pizza recipes in the East. Also, scientific know-how, applied to kitchenware, produced new inventions and techniques for cooking food.
Primarily, earth ovens and ancient hearths et cetera were used for cooking. Modern day usage includes gas fired stoves and ovens or even electric stoves for cooking.
All ingredients used in cooking are either in raw form or extracted as a sub-part from living things. Ingredients such as vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts are taken from plantations while others such as meat, eggs and dairy products are taken from animals. These ingredients contain various molecules called proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Cooking involves a manipulation of the chemical properties of these molecules.
Although, traditionally, cooking has been carried out at home, bakeries were an early form of cooking outside the home. In the present day, factory food preparation is becoming the norm at a fast pace with ‘ready to eat’ food packets being made available to customers.
Home cooking may be associated with comfort, and commercial cooking with ease of consumption and ‘immediate availability’.