I know that is what some would be saying by the title of this post. What is he talking about? Cooking Technology!?! Yes believe it or not, there is a science to how our food is prepared. Science has evolved how we get our daily grub fix on from making it faster and more convenient to more energy efficient. Technology has affected our lives in this regard as well. In this post, I hope to very briefly touch on the basic history of cooking and how technology has evolved to make our lives a bit easier in this matter. I will also show how and why I’m kind of backsliding on technology. I hope that my mistress (technology) don’t find out! Sssshhhhh!!!!!
The cooking history basics
I’m not discussing the technology that we used to kill or gather our food, I’m mainly touching on the actual food prep technology here. That topic might be addressed later on.
Well in the very beginning, there was really no cooking. We gathered or hunted. Once we killed our prey and as primitive and gross as it sounds, it was consumed raw! Definitely not the best way but it did allow the evolution of food preparation technology to start. The first advance was fire! Oh yes the magical thing that kept our ancestors warm and provided light found it’s way to cooking their food. Whether it was on the embers or on a spit above the fire, we evolved up the process to cook on a open fire. Again primitive but it was a step up from eating raw meat!
Moving along a throughout the years, we invented ways to cook with fire but with more controllable results. Inventions like grills, cookware, ovens and stoves that used fire as their heat source made food prep easier still. We were now able to more easily and creatively able to combine what we hunted and gathered together to form recipes! Not only now can we sustain ourselves but we can have a tastier way of doing so. This old school method of cooking with wood fire still exists today. It is a art that I’m seeing revived somewhat but still that mistress tempted us with more advances that can be argued to be cleaner easier to use and has really up the game again.
The technology that I’m describing is electricity and gas such as natural or propane. This technology to cooking has made it easy for the masses and is readily available. These two are the most common way of food prep today! We still use cookware, grills and other inventions from the past however their method and construction has varied throughout the years.
Stove tops, ovens, ranges and grills can and do use these newer technologies to cook food. They can have better and more efficient heat control and again readily accessible. We also invented different types of cookware that helps us prepare food with the new technology and made them lighter and easier to care for. Since electricity became wide spread and safer to use, we invented smaller and more compact ways to prepare our foods. Some of the things that we have used in some form or another are crock pots, electric skillets and woks, deep fry devices, toasters, counter top ovens and microwaves to name a few.
I know that this was a very abbreviated history of food preparation technology but it was used to kind of prove a point. Cooking technology has come a very long way and still evolves today as I’m typing this. Technology is wonderful right?
OK but why are you regressing?
Well before everyone thinks that I’m a hypocrite, let’s lay out a few ground rules OK?
First is that I use modern technology all the time. I use some of the modern day “cooking marvels” that some might argue don’t work but for me, they work amazingly! These items are
- Ninja 3 in 1 cooking system (I LOVE THIS THING!)
- Pizzaz pizza cooker
- Pasta Boat Pasta Cooker
- Microwave Rice cooker
Other modern technology I use everyday is the electric range/oven and microwave.
Are you confused yet on why I might be backtracking? Well hang on folks I’m about to reveal what exactly I’m starting my backtracking on and why. The two things I’m backtracking on is cooking method and cookware. I’m going back to the old ways. Cooking with fire and cast iron cookware.
What the!?! WHY!!!!
Well simply put, I like the flavour that cooking with open flame puts on my foods. Some might disagree with this but we can agree to disagree here. I also live in a area in which rough storms especially in the summer can knock out power. With fire, I can still keep on cooking. The same could be said if you have a gas grill or gas appliances. If you’re using electricity and have a generator you’re set but what if you don’t have a generator? Unless you have a good neighbour that has some form of a more primitive method of cooking (gas or fire), you might be eating cold food.
I’m also getting back into camping and because of the versatility of the cookware, I can still eat good while away from home. Mind you this stuff is heavy as heck but I was thinking about maybe getting some sort of camper to haul said cookware in Since I won’t know what all the camper might have as far as cooking technologies(because we haven’t got one yet), I can have my cookware and some all wood charcoal, all natural lump charcoal or some sort of wood that came from either a fruit or nut tree, I will be set.
Now onto the cookware. I’m chose cast iron for several reasons. It’s proven technology that has worked throughout the years. People have used this cookware to fry, sauté, bake and do just about every kind of cooking method there is. With this cookware, I can use it with any existing technology methods of heating up the cookware. I can also use it with fire and coals. Some modern cookware can do this but I will go with what is tried and true.
There are some disadvantages of cast iron. Unless you upkeep the “seasoning” of the pan, it can rust so maintenance can be a issue. These things are heavier then traditional cookware! Quite a bit heavier. Need some exercise, cook a complete supper with nothing but cast iron cookware. You get to cook and lift weights at the same time. Cast iron does take a little longer to heat up. If you are in a hurry, then cast iron cooking may not be for you.Here are the advantages. Cast iron can be used with any form of heat. From fire/coals to electric stoves and ranges. This cookware will retain heat very well! You will most of the time need pot holders or some other form of heat protection when working with cast iron. Once properly seasoned and with proper cooking techniques, this cookware will be just as non-stick as most of the modern cookware. I’ve personally cooked eggs and cornbread in my cast iron cookware and it was very non-stick and easy to clean. If the seasoning comes off, you can completely re season the cookware! Try that with your Teflon non-stick pan. With proper care, cast iron will last generations!
The cookware that you can get made from cast iron is very diverse. From various sizes of skillets, pots, “indoor” Dutch oven, enamelled pots, grills, griddles and the “campers” Dutch oven (this is the one with the feet and raised lip on the lid). I personally need to only obtain two of the listed pieces and they are a grill/griddle combination and a campers Dutch oven.
I have the others in one form or another and everyday they keep getting better because of use and also my ability to use them. This form of cookware is a bit different so if you do wish to try using cast iron, please be patient and take the time to learn how this cookware works with heat!
I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that I’m a hybrid as far as cooking is concerned. My interest really peaked when I got for my anniversary present a smoke box for my grill so I can smoke up some goodies. This is when it really hit me that I can do most everything with the old school ways especially if I can get the “campers” Dutch oven. I can bake then! If i can’t get it, I can supposedly hack my existing indoor one to use outdoors. I may have to try that and see how it goes. Unless I all of a sudden become a hermit in a cave somewhere, I still will use modern day cooking devices as well.
If my mistress finds out that I’m not using the latest and greatest, I might just get hit over the head with said cast iron skillet. She doesn’t like when I don’t keep up with technology.
Until the next time I post, y’all have a good un!