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Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal, or fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells to provide energy, maintain life, or stimulate growth. Different species of animals have different feeding behaviours that satisfy the needs of their unique metabolisms, often evolved to fill a specific ecological niche within specific geographical contexts.
Omnivorous humans are highly adaptable and have adapted to obtain food in many different ecosystems. Historically, humans secured food through two main methods: hunting and gathering and agriculture. As agricultural technologies increased, humans settled into agriculture lifestyles with diets shaped by the agriculture opportunities in their geography. Geographic and cultural differences has led to creation of numerous cuisines and culinary arts, including a wide array of ingredients, herbs, spices, techniques, and dishes. As cultures have mixed through forces like international trade and globalization, ingredients have become more widely available beyond their geographic and cultural origins, creating a cosmopolitan exchange of different food traditions and practices. (Full article...)
Cooking, cookery, or culinary arts is the art, science and craft of using heat to prepare food for consumption. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely, from grilling food over an open fire to using electric stoves, to baking in various types of ovens, reflecting local conditions.
Preparing food with heat or fire is an activity unique to humans. Archeological evidence of cooking fires from at least 300,000 years ago exists, but some estimate that humans started cooking up to 2 million years ago.
The expansion of agriculture, commerce, trade, and transportation between civilizations in different regions offered cooks many new ingredients. New inventions and technologies, such as the invention of pottery for holding and boiling of water, expanded cooking techniques. Some modern cooks apply advanced scientific techniques to food preparation to further enhance the flavor of the dish served. (Full article...)