Wondering about wild grapes

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wondering Why We Cook Food

Why do we cook our food? There is more than one answer to this question and there are old and new alternatives. I believe the main reason we cook food is to kill off the bacteria to make it safe to eat. Another would be to tenderize it. Some foods are just so tough that you would have a very hard time chewing them. Some other reasons would be taste, appearance, to make some more palatable. Can you think of any other reasons?

What are the old alternatives? Smoking meat comes to mind. Remember the old smoke houses that every farm used to have? Oh that’s right, I am probably al lot older than you are. Another was canning. My grandparents canned almost everything. How about salting? Salting was used mostly for fish and meats, whereas pickling was used more for vegetables, although meat was also pickled.

What are some of the modern methods of preserving food? Freeze dried comes to mind. Radiation of food works, but is not too popular with the general public. Additives to the foods give them a long shelf life. Not sure if it does the same thing to us. . . But the one most used, I believe, is freezing.

So, what will be the future methods? Anyone have any good ideas? I read about a new idea that some scientists are working with. The process is nothing out of a sci-fi movie but just plain old pressure. This fellow subjects food to 100,000 pounds per square inch of pressure. This scientist is putting an old pressure chamber to use that was originally made to make industrial diamonds. This system he uses has two chambers. The lower one has hydraulic fluid and the upper one, separated from the lower one by a piston, contains water. He puts his test subject (food) into a plastic bag and drops it into the water in the upper chamber. The hydraulic pumps are turned on and it tries to compress the water, which in turn puts the pressure on the food. As the article in Discover magazine says, “Something really surprising happens to many foods when subjected to this sort of megapressure: nothing.” The foods stay perfectly intact as do the bacteria, except the bacteria are all dead. This process doesn’t work too well for every thing, like strawberries end up squashed to oblivion.

If you enjoy very rare or raw meat, this is a blessing. You need to get one for your kitchen. The only problem is it would cut way deep into your food budget since a machine to do this process costs in the neighborhood of three million dollars. So, only large food processing companies use this system for a couple of brands of deli meat and packaged guacamole.

I think it is a great way to protect foods without destroying them or changing their taste, except for strawberries and the like. What do you think?

You all have a good day now and be careful what you eat, you hear?


  1. I wonder if they could use it to force spices/mushrooms etc INTO meat? make injections more even and the meat when grilled/etc more tasty.....hmmm

  2. I think some day they will be printing food. There is a printer now where objects can be scanned and the data sent to the printer. The object is then printed on the special printer and is identical to the scanned object except for being a very tough plastic. Moving parts still work and say a crescent wrench works just like the original.

    Now if the ink in a special printer consisted of all the different molecules the food was made of then the printer should be able to print what ever it was that was sent to it.

    That's my story (or theory) and I'm sticking to it.

    Imagine shopping from home on your computer and printing the food you pick out on your printer. No cans or bottles just the raw foods ready to be prepared. Maybe even already cooked and ready to eat after zapping them in a microwave to warm them up. ;)

  3. At my age I'm not likely to see things change much in the way of preparing food, and that's fine with me. Foods today appeal to the eye, the sense of smell, and to taste, and they are all important, so any weird system will alter one of those beyond our recognition. I'm just old fashioned, I guess.

  4. You ever tied Sushi? BS that ain't food, That's bait!!
    I do prefer raw cauliflower to cooked, same with brussel sprouts. And raw spinach leaves in a salad are great!!!
    On the other hand, can't stand cooked tomato slices!!

    Is Dark Chocolate a food? will eat it raw or cooked, don't care.

  5. So many changes every day, makes it hard to decide which way to go!

    Drying or dehydration is good and works for nearly anything! Think jerky!

  6. Please for Christ sake help this poor boy from Haiti

  7. Kellie, no doubt they could do that. With no danger of bacteria, you could enjoy food rare or raw.

    David, I like your idea of ordering food and printing it out on your printer. Makes sense to me. BTW, I am familiar with the machine you describe.

    Gypsy, You may have already eaten some foods that went through this process. That is the beauty of it, in most cases, it does not alter the food in any way, especially meats.

    Ben, No, I never tried Sushi. I like raw broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Almost all vegetables, I like raw, even peas and asparagus.

    Dark Chocolate is the base to the food pyramid. (grin)

    HJ, I love dried fruit. Mix dates, pineapple, bananas, nuts, Rice Checks, etc. and enjoy it as breakfast or for an evening snack.

    MA, I checked out your blog and did as directed. Good luck.