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Sugarnicha Vidnyan by Bal Phondke

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The practice of cooking of food instead of eating it raw is considered to mark the beginning of cultural evolution of humankind. Not only did it enable him to eat kinds of foods that were inedible before but it also provided him with food security. The peripatetic lifestyle he had to adopt as a hunter gatherer could now be abandoned and humans could now settle down at one place. The leisure time also opened new vistas for creative pursuits. Cooking is also part digestion outside the body. Various processes that constitute cooking involve a number of physical, chemical as well as biochemical reactions. But housewives who routinely carry out these reactions in a perfect manner are unaware of the scientific foundations underlying them. The first and foremost process consists of heating raw food. However, this imparting of heat involves different modes of heat transfer like conduction, convection and radiation. Each has certain advantages and limitations. Better understanding of these would empower the housewife and enable her to choose the optimum one. There are many other physical and chemical principles like solubility of materials, miscibility of liquids, means of retaining natural colour of foods, measuring the sweetness of sugar and pungency of chillies that play a crucial role in making a dish delectable. These facets of cooking are discussed in the book in a story book format that demystifies the underpinning science and helps better understanding.

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