Photograph of rotis, string hoppers and pittu
Cooking is the art of preparing food for consumption using heat. Every culture has a unique method of cooking food depending on their economic and cultural background. In the Asian countries where there is an abundance of spices, their dishes revolve mainly around the use of spices to flavour their meals. In the majority of cases food is cooked by the use of fire or some form of heating element. In some countries however, chemical reactions are used to cook food typically the use of acid in lemon or lime juice.

Cooking food began about 1.8 million to 2.3 million years ago by cave dwellers. Anthropologists believe cooking fires developed at a later date about 250,000 years ago. The food they cooked was basic with an aim to survival.

Cooking techniques developed with the expansion of trade and commerce when new ingredients and technology became more freely available. Early technologies such as cooking pots made from pottery led to a more diversification of cooking methods and styles.

As agriculture and animal domestication became more prevalent, new arts in flavouring food and methods in preservation became more abundant.

More recently food has been mass-produced for easy consumption. Foods have been dried, canned and frozen. Cereals are easily available in boxes and frozen foods are easily defrosted in a microwave cooker. Virtually any type of food can now be purchased 'off the shelf' in supermarkets. Foods from all parts of the world are processed and made available to the consumer.

Today we have a massive range of varieties of flavoured foods. More than ever, the preparation of food has developed into an art form. Those with the ability to turn a collection of ingredients in mouth-watering dishes of food are given the prestigious title of Chef. Chefs are revered as artists and are in great demand in the hospitality business.

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