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Cooking (from the Latin coque "cook, boil mature," borrowed) is in the narrow sense heating a liquid to boiling point, in addition, the cooking and preparing food in general, regardless of the preparation method such as roasting, baking or crickets. Is derived from the title Chef.

Cooking is one of the oldest and most important techniques of human culture. The earliest traces of food preparation tools are 1.5 million years ago: Found in Kenya, with stone blades scraped antelope bones and bone marrow between the stones open. The decisive step was taken with the mastery of fire by Homo erectus (see Prehistoric fire use). The earliest known traces, whose age is estimated about 500,000 years, hearths with burnt bones in the cave at Zhoukoudian near Beijing, and the remains of huts, with hearths at the site of Terra Amata, near Nice. Further, hardly younger traces are found all over Europe. The oldest in Africa about 100,000 years old.

The importance of cooking lies in the chemical reactions that occur during development: the tissue is loosened, proteins coagulate, gelatinized connective tissue, fat liquefy, gelatinized starch, minerals and flavors are released formed. Besides the ease of digestibility of meat and fruit, which until then the main body made up of the diet, caused the cooking especially a vast expansion of the food supply: could Until then, hard to digest, inedible or even poisonous animals and plants are made palatable by cooking, including starchy grasses and roots, some of whose descendants eventually became staple foods. Continue cooking and sterilizing preservative effect, which has a direct impact on the health and enhancing the possibilities of such stocks. Following the invention of cooking changed the human anatomy, especially the bit: It is strongly reduced, as evidenced by the development of the speech mechanism and so the language was beneficial.

The early cooking techniques before the invention of pottery and metallurgy can be largely reconstructed only indirectly, from descriptions of traditional methods in historical times, and from observation of still or until recently, existing stone-age societies. The original method is certainly the grilling, is cooking in hot ashes and roasting on the fire heated stones, which is suitable for meat, roots and grain. For cooking in the strict sense, ie the heating in liquid was cooked and served pits natural items such as shells, ostrich eggs, turtle shells etc. or enggeflochtene baskets, whose contents to be put in red-hot cooking stones. Earth ovens are still in use today, where food is wrapped in leaves, covered with hot rocks and isolated grass and earth, simmer slowly. In prehistoric China were food with clay or clay coated and so stewed in fire.

Another method was to cook the meat (with cereals or vegetables) in animal skins, stomachs or intestines of the fire. Herodotus describes it thus: "In Scythia we proceed as follows when cooking. The animal is skinned solved the meat from the bones and thrown into the cauldron, if one is at hand. Boiler is not on hand, so all the meat in the stomach of the animal is placed, add water and poured boiled with the bones. The bones burn very well and comfortably on the stomach increases the dissolved bone from the meat. So the beef is cooking, or what kind of animal it is otherwise, himself, "How old are these procedures which can not be determined because they leave no traces, but they are probably represents the prototype of the sausage, in the courts as haggis or Pfaelzer Saumagen has defeated.