What is cooking in simple words 2023?

What is cooking in simple words?

What is cooking in simple words 2023?


Planche 17 du Tacuinum Sanitatis, XIV e  siècle.

Cooking is the set of techniques for preparing food for consumption by human beings (see cookery) The cuisine is diverse throughout the world , the fruit of local natural resources, but also of culture and beliefs, the improvement of techniques, exchanges between peoples and cultures.

Cooking has thus gone beyond its simple biological imperative of food to become a body of more or less advanced techniques, a cultural fact, an element of national or family heritage and identity, an element of value systems, but also a subject of study for the social sciences and sociology, or even an issue of politics and public health .

Typology of kitchens

Each people , nation or civilization has developed, from local natural resources but also from the character of each society, social evolution, traditions, interactions, different cuisines. The movements of people throughout history have caused mixtures and evolutions in cuisine. For example, European cuisine was enriched by the contributions of Crusaders returning from the Crusades and, disrupted by the products brought back from America in the 15th and 16th centuries  , which entered the European tradition (tomato, turkey, potato land , etc). With the quasi-global European colonization of the end of the 19th century century, the standard of European cuisine seemed to impose itself. At the end of the 20th century  , cuisines were mixed from contributions from all over the world ( world food ) while the great non-European cuisines in turn penetrated Western countries (Moroccan cuisine, West Indian cuisine, Mexican cuisine, Chinese, Indian cuisine, Japanese cuisine, etc.).

Historic kitchen

From texts preserved or copied since Antiquity, from objects found during archaeological excavations and, more recently thanks to carpology, we can learn about the cuisine of the peoples of prehistory, protohistory, Antiquity — notably in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and ancient Rome — and of Europeans in the Middle Ages.

Reconstructions of food recipes as they existed at the time are part of what was called, in the 20th century  , “historical cuisine”.

Traditional cuisine

Traditional cuisine is the preparation of dishes in line with agricultural production, therefore of the culinary tradition, of a valley , of a region, of a country.

It consists, in one place, of preparing local and seasonal food products corresponding to this said place in more or less complex so-called classic recipes (eg: veal marengo, Auvergne hotpot, ratatouille in summer, delicatessen in winter …). This cuisine is practiced in households, in commercial places of restoration wanting to be traditional , but also by certain restaurant chains.

In terms of professional catering, traditional cuisine indicates that all operations (from receipt of raw materials to table service) are carried out in a unity of time , place and action. On-site cooking is the synonymous term.

Gastronomic cooking

If this kitchen is often expensive, it is because it is the symbol of quality catering. It is supposed to use exclusively fresh raw products, and often so-called noble products (eg truffles, caviar, foie gras, etc.). It is often served in the form of a “tasting” menu which offers guests many dishes served in limited quantities to allow them to taste a large sampling without reaching satiety before the end of the service.

New kitchen

The term “new cuisine”, already used in the 18th century  to translate the rejection of old traditions, reappeared in 1973 in the article Vive la nouvelle cuisine française in the Nouveau Guide Gault et Millau .

Nouvelle cuisine favors short cooking, light sauces; it rejects spices and marinades which can hide the taste of the products; likewise, it contests the now stereotypical association of products (meat and red wine , fish and white wine , etc.); it advocates inventiveness in the use of new products, cooking methods and presentation.

She knows critics in the general public who often judge the portions too small, but influence the evolution of gastronomy in the world.

Molecular gastronomy

Heston Blumenthal on demonstration

Molecular cuisine studies the elementary matter making up the ingredients, to optimize the chemical reactions that take place through mixing, cooking, cutting, maceration, etc. It aims to use what cooking does chemically to better control it.


  • cooking an egg at the exact temperature for denaturing a protein to cook only the white;
  • instant production of sorbet by immersing fruit juice in liquid nitrogen .

Once the chemical principle has been written and the aromatic bases identified, the recipe can be reproduced identically without any study or particular know-how. In theory , the industry should be able to extract the elemental textures and flavors to compete with the great chefs and deliver perfect compositions of synthetic products in cocktails better than the original fresh products. The problem of preserving perishable foodstuffs will be solved by aromatic extraction at source.

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