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The preparation of comestibles by heating. In meats, overcooking can result in the production of carcinogenic polycyclic amines; undercooking carries the risk of parasitic (e.g., Taenia solium, T saginatus) or bacterial (e.g., Escherichia coli 0157:H7, Salmonella spp) infections.


[L. coquere, to cook]
The process of heating foods to prepare them for eating. Cooking makes most foods more palatable and easier to chew, improves their digestibility (and sometimes their nutrient bioavailability), and destroys or inactivates harmful organisms, or toxins that may be present. Cooking releases the aromatic substances and extractives that contribute odors and taste to foods. These odors help to stimulate the appetite.


Not all toxic substances are inactivated by heat. Most microorganisms and parasites are destroyed in the ordinary process of cooking when the food is heated to internal temperatures of 160°F to 175°F. Pork must be cooked completely throughout to kill the encysted larvae of Trichinella.


Protein: Soluble proteins become coagulated. Soluble substances: These, including heat-labile vitamins, are often inactivated by boiling, and even mineral substances and starches, although insoluble to a certain extent, may be altered in this process. Starch: The starch granules swell and are changed from insoluble (raw) starch to soluble starch capable of being converted into sugar during digestion and of being assimilated in the system.

References in classic literature ?
No the self-taught student of cookery was absorbed in her subject.
As they entered they passed Miss Watson buttoning her gloves for church, and heard the voice of Putnam downstairs still giving a lecture on cookery to the cook.
I should never have asked you if Molly had been here, for I remember you don't like English cookery.
The members of the council were young; their daring digestions contemplated without fear the prospect of eating their own amateur cookery.
While the terrible drama of discovery was in progress on one side of the door, trivial questions about the amusements of Venice, and facetious discussions on the relative merits of French and Italian cookery, were proceeding on the other.
Polly thought it was n't fair; but Maud clamored for her candy, and finding she could do nothing to appease Fan, Polly devoted her mind to her cookery till the nuts were safely in, and a nice panful set in the yard to cool.
but I don't insult your taste by offering you Ariel's cookery.
The cheese came in; and Sir Patrick returned to the Art of Cookery.
And what due or proper thing is given by cookery, and to what?
On household matters, and all the little niceties of cookery, and such things, that every lady ought to be familiar with, whether she be required to make a practical use of her knowledge or not.
But the whole, to continue the same metaphor, consists in the cookery of the author; for, as Mr Pope tells us--
One day, while my husband was busily at work, I sat beside him reading an old cookery book called The Compleat Housewife: or Accomplish'd Gentlewoman's Companion.