Culinary technique is a set of methods and procedures for preparing and serving food. Good practices also consider the economical use of food and fuel resources for cooking, and food safety.
- What is the difference between cooking techniques and recipes
- The method affects the result
- Cooking techniques depend on the cuisine
- Categories of cooking techniques
- Old and new cooking techniques
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What is the difference between cooking techniques and recipes
Cooking technology differs from recipes in that:
- a recipe is a list of ingredients with step-by-step instructions, while a cooking technique focuses on how to prepare one of the items in the ingredient list for a recipe (such as chopping an onion) or a method of cooking a chosen dish;
- a recipe is an end in itself, while a cooking technique (such as slicing an onion) can be transferred from recipe to recipe and even used without a recipe;
- highly skilled home cooks tend not to use recipes, but instead base their cooking solely on their knowledge of cooking techniques.
Occasionally, the line between “recipe” and “technology” is blurred. It is very difficult, for example, to discuss the technique for Crème Anglaise or Crème Pâtissière without providing a list and number of ingredients.
The method affects the result
The technique used in the preparation of a dish can affect its appearance as much, if not more, than the ingredients themselves. For this reason, many cooks believe that learning a cooking technique is more important than learning how to follow a recipe. Because knowing a certain technique can improve a recipe or save a dish that has gone wrong.
Cooking techniques depend on the cuisine
Although many basic cooking techniques are common to different cuisines around the world (such as boiling), many cuisines, such as Chinese and Japanese, have developed their own methods. Some cooking techniques arose as a result of environmental factors. For example, in China, cooking fuel – firewood was precious. So, the technique was used to cut meat and vegetables into small pieces so that they would cook faster and require less cooking fuel. (It also led to knives not being needed at tables, only in kitchens.)
French cooking techniques are often used in Western cuisines, because they are used to documenting and codify cooking procedures. This allows anyone trained knowing exactly what is required of them, even under variations of cooking procedures.
We are used to calling them “techniques” in English rather than “methods” due to the influence of French cooking, which calls them “techniques”.
The main categories of cooking techniques in Western cooking include: whipping, grinding, creaming, crimping, boning, deseeding, dicing, filleting, glazing, grating, peeling, rolling, chopping, peeling, slicing, tenderizing, and peel.
Categories of cooking techniques
The categories of food preparation in European kitchens are extremely numerous – baking, boiling or boiling, frying, baking, sautéing, steaming, stewing, grilling.
People usually divide these Western cooking techniques into wet (using water or steam) and dry (cooking without water as the primary heat source). In this classification, frying and even deep-frying are considered dry cooking because they are cooking food in oil instead of water. Boiling, stewing, boiling, steaming, and braising are considered wet cooking methods. In wet cooking methods, the maximum heating temperature is 100 °C (212 °F) because this is the maximum temperature of the water. Some people say that microwaving is a third, entirely different class of cooking. But others argue that because microwaves contain water molecules, they fall under the wet cooking category.
It should be noted that “cooking” food does not always mean the use of heat in any form: sometimes the dish is brought to the required condition by cooling or freezing.
In addition to the basic categories of cooking as described above, there are many more advanced techniques that can be learned to strengthen your cooking skills. Including browning, carving, deglazing, chopping, saucing, scalding, slicing, searing, skimming, etc.
Old and new cooking techniques
We no longer need many cooking techniques that were once essential in people’s lives. For example, how to prepare a live chicken (butchering, skinning, etc.) is currently not needed in most Western kitchens and has therefore fallen into the background.
Other new methods, such as the safe handling of meat and the prevention of kitchen-borne illness, were developed from the late 20th century onwards as our knowledge of health developed.
BBC Food. Cooking techniques. Retrieved November 2012 from https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/techniques
Methods of Cooking. Meat Quality and Safety Division. Purdue University Animal Sciences. Retrieved November 2012 from
Purdue University Animal Sciences. Pépin, Jacques. La Technique: Un guide illustré des techniques fondamentales de l’art culinaire. Montréal: Les Éditions Optimum Limitée. 1978.
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