There’s a meme which has been circling around the social media circuits for quite some time now, featuring an image of the different types of ways steak is prepared. Clearly the person who created the meme is somewhat of a blood-thirsty vampire because they go on about how those who like their steak around the well-done preparation method are sub-human. Each to their own, but this firmly brings to light the topic of discussion today, which is the rather obscure art of cooking without cooking.
There are quite a few types of foods which are consumed all the way raw or are prepared a little differently to the convention of cooking with heat and I guess it makes for some interesting reading to explore.
I’ve already touched on the different ways steak is prepared and steak is indeed one of the foods with which this practice of cooking without cooking is applied. Believe it or not, but the official term for this is the “doneness” of your steak – how done your steak is. When you elect to have your steak prepared blue rare, rare, medium rare and perhaps even medium, you’re really just electing to have it partially cooked to the corresponding degree of doneness. These degrees of doneness are basically just guidelines as to how much your meat should be cooked, but partial cooking is applied to many other food types.
Vegetables for example are recommended to be partially cooked, so too many varieties of fish and even mutton. With fresh veggies it’s a matter of maintaining as much of the freshness as possible, which subsequently means you maintain as much of the nutritional value as possible.
Fish comes into focus again as a food variety which is earmarked for this practice of cooking without cooking. Chemical cooking is basically just “cooking” without heat, usually achieved with the use of a very acidic liquid like lemon or vinegar. Oysters are often enjoyed fresh (which means raw) and so that’s why many connoisseurs of this seafood delicacy like to douse theirs with vinegar before slurping them up.
Salmon is a prime candidate for chemical cooking as well, often cooked by just pouring a layer of fresh lemon juice over it. In all fairness, you can actually see that it gets “cooked” as the color of the tissue changes in the same way it changes when you pan-fry it or cook it with any other form of heat.
Salmon once again comes in as a prime candidate for this form of cooking food without actually cooking it, with smoked salmon making for a rather popular delicacy. I don’t know though – it’s still raw to me and well, it tastes like the ocean!
Sushi – the raw fish interpretation of what sushi is that is; this is nothing but raw fish which is dressed in either a paste or other food types. Perhaps a very similar concept to that of chemical cooking is applied here, but really you’re eating the fish raw and not cooking it at all!