By BESSIE BYRD, YIQING LIU & JOE CHANDEJ NAKALERTVEE 

Past

Cooking. As Defined:

  • the practice or skill of preparing food by combining, mixing, and heating ingredients.
  • food that has been prepared in a particular way.

Kitchens back in the 40’s and 50’s weren’t for entertainment. It was for preparing meals, cleaning, and storing food. This room was for cooking. It wasn’t large enough for hosting many guest.

Image Courtesy of Library of Congress
Image Courtesy of Library of Congress

Now the diet was different. Back then they ate more homegrown fruits and vegetables. There wasn’t a high demand for fast foods just yet.

But by the early 1900’s, Americans became accustomed to eating milk, fruits, vegetables, and meat from cans or out of freezers, they also became willing to eat cereal out of boxes, bread from sealed packages, and pies that were made by machines.[1]

The 19th century was one of new trends, invention and growth in the American food culture. Mills and Factories such as Hershey and Wrigley came into being and other icons of American food.  Inventions included Coca-Cola and tootsie rolls.[1]

Americans bought more products in stores rather than produced at home, and simultaneously more gadgets, such as toasters and chafing dishes, became available for preparing food within the household. The first 50 years of the 20th century saw the industrialization of the American diet.

Image Courtesy of Library of Congress

By the time the 1950’s came, it became an era of which American food staples were introduced.  Fast food became common, with chains such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s spreading across the country. Foods of convenience, such as TV dinners and instant drink mixes, became prevalent as products aimed at the American housewife sought to streamline housework.

Image Courtesy of Library of Congress
Image Courtesy of Library of Congress

We became a fast food nation. Pizza, which 40 years earlier was largely unknown outside of some neighborhoods in large cities, was the most widely consumed “American” food by 1986. Restaurants focused on international cuisine. Chefs integrated ingredients and techniques from more than one international region into a single dish creating fusion cuisine. Braising is a combination cooking method that uses both moist and dry heat. Typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid, resulting in a particular flavor. This became a popular technique along with the practice of cooking sous vide, French for “under vacuum”, a machine for poaching many eggs at one time. This was used to slowly cook sweet potatoes in butter to balance out cooking temperature. This method helps to retain the thickness and flavor concentration. As a result of braising and sous vide familiar foods have emerged with new textures and flavors.[1]

Present

Obtaining prepared food has become much more convenient than before. There are food services that bring the customer all their favorite food they enjoy most. Five years ago one had to go to a special bakery to buy their breads, but today these items are conveniently located everywhere.

People normally have to go through the process of going to the grocery store to get what they want to cook. Then they have to prepare it before they can actually enjoy eating it. But now something’s are changing a bit, preparing food is becoming more convenient. Different kinds of tools are designed to help people prepare their food efficiently and fast. For example, a food dehydrator (fig. 1) is the equivalent of an oven for the raw foods. Dehydrators work by warming raw foods at a very low temperature to gently remove the moisture, creating new textures, variety, and color to the raw foods.

Technology has definitely helped in making cooking lot quicker. For instance, GE the appliance company introduced wall ovens, refrigerators, and dishwashers with a mobile app that allowed owners to preheat the oven, set the time, and they’re able to check the status of how their meals are doing while cooking. They can also get alerts and reminders if the refrigerator needs the replacement of the filter or if the dishwasher has finish washing (fig. 2). All of these are from the convenience of the new technology.

fig. 1
fig. 1
fig. 2
fig. 2

Future

Technology is invented every minute around the world, especially digital revolution, which affects every part of our lives, including cooking at home. Many innovations are influencing our behavior in the kitchen.[5] In the future the numbers of innovations will be high but many people will live in smaller living spaces. Food will also be provided in different ways for people to be able to cook. These newly innovative changes will have an impact on the way we live daily. The process of cooking in the future will still incorporate the tradition of grocery shopping, preparing food, and cooking.

Shopping for food in the future! The goal of all food tech companies is to take over the food businesses online and enhance it.[6] Food a person would order will be already prepared and sent directly to them. Currently there are firms that are testing this technique out such as Blue Apron, Plated, and Saffron Fix. They say people should just skip the step of grocery shopping, “No need for a physical presence”.[6] This means people can save time by selecting what they want online and then it’ll be ready for them to prepare once it arrive. Another possibility is people in the future could start growing their own food. This is for them to protect from GMO food. However, there will not be enough space to grow everything themselves. So something the farms and food companies would provide is whenever a person shop online they could put the person’s order in to ship to their place within a few minutes. The customers will also have the option to pick the quality and nutrition they want for their food.
Preparation of food becomes optional because many food companies will provide prepared food as an option. Though some people still want to cook for themselves, there will be an option to have their food pre-made for their convenience. For example, Prep Pad is a smart food scale that connects with the iPad over Bluetooth to show the nutritional value of food.[5] It can suggest a menu and how to prepare items. The machine can do everything for you. It can clean and cut the foods for you. Set the menu manual for it to recognize what it is you want and then it begins.

Cooking will be much easier in the future. Now people try to pay close attention to their health, so in the future the healthy foods could become healthier and lighter.[7] “Steaming and eating raw foods will be the healthier choices for people – and generally more natural, although lab-grown meat will be accepted as normal. “However, there could be different methods as well to provide nutritious ways to eat. There’s baking and sautéing. The beauty about this new found machine is you can set it to function how you would like and it will prepare what you prefer.  

Present
[3] Gisslen, Wayne, PROFESSIONAL COOKING, COLLEGE VERSION, United States, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2011.
[4] Malik, Shahana, Trends in the Food Industry. 2009. Retrieved from http://www.nerac.com
Future


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