Food preparation helps in combining food ingredients in various ways with delicate flavours, textures and colour which apply to the senses. Food has to be pleasing in appearance and taste so that it is consumed. Understanding food behavior in scientific terms helps in choosing best method of cooking. Food preparation is an important step in meeting the nutritional needs of the family.
Foods like fruits, vegetables and nuts are eaten raw but most of the foods are cooked to bring about desirable changes. The process of subjecting foods to the action of heat is termed as cooking. Heat is transferred to food during cooking by conduction, convection, radiation or microwave energy. Cooking takes place by moist and dry heat. Moist heat involves water and steam. Air or fat is used in dry heat.
Cooking can be defined as the transfer of energy from one source to another. This energy alter the foods molecular structure, changing its texture, flavour, aroma and appearance and thus making it safe to consume.
· Improves the taste and food quality
· Destruction of micro-organisms
· Improves digestibility
· Increases variety
· Increases availability of nutrients
· Increases antioxidant value
· Concentrates nutrients
· Removes pesticide residues
· Removes natural toxins
The methods of cooking are classified as given in table 1.1