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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 periodicals archive ?
Place leftover rice in a small pot, and mix with drained, canned tomatoes, cooked beans, and/or frozen mixed veggies.
Mix cold rice with leftover chopped cooked greens, such as kale, spinach, or chard.
Don't put cooked food back on the same plate used for raw meat, poultry, or fish.
You can also delete the sausage completely or use cooked chopped ham, crisp, cooked, crumbled bacon or pancetta pieces instead.
Although not everyone would agree, ``Chicken that is properly cooked has clear juices with streaks of dark red in it in the joint area,'' says Peterson, adding that the breast will not be pink or red.
Grill skewers, in batches if necessary, until cooked through and nicely browned, about 2 minutes total on a hinged grill or panini maker, or 2 minutes per side under broiler, in a grill pan, or an outdoor grill.
When we liked something, my mother asked how it was cooked and then cooked it for us the next week.
If you need to change the timing of a recipe (unless the recipe specifies that it can only be cooked on one setting), figure that an hour on the high heat setting is equivalent to about two hours on the low heat setting.
Add shrimp and boil until cooked through, about 3 minutes.
If you're like many a cook, you rely on store-bought cooked whole chickens from time to time.
Turkeys thawed this way should be refrigerated or cooked immediately.
Her fans wanted to know what the busy mother of three children, ranging in ages from 5 to 13 years, cooked for dinner.