My energy saving cooking idea also affects the health
Posted on May 5th, 2015

Dr Hector Perera     London

When I had the chance for my cooking demonstration at Sirasa TV I did not act the same way as some of the British TV chefs and presenters behaving. I explained the reasons to the two presenters why I cook that way. Most of the British TV chefs come and cut this and that, add this and that quickly without any explanation. No scientific explanations in any of the actions. I explained to the presenters that I was not showing adding this and that because the TV appearance time was short and anybody can do that, even our uneducated Kussi amma” can do that kind of work. My aim in the live cooking demonstration was to show the nation how to save energy in cooking and other related things.

Thermal capacity and conductivity

When you put any heat to the cooking pot, the heat get absorbed to the pan or the pot due to the thermal capacity then after that it transfer to the contents in the cooking pan due to conduction and convection but one thing, if the cooking pan or the pot is a poor conducting material then most of the heat get wasted or radiated. Long time ago we also used nothing but clay pots for cooking in firewood kitchens. The helps to dissolve some ingredients gradually. The hot liquid carries the dissolved ingredients to the top due to convection currents created by the heat and the vapour pressures of individual ingredient. If we opened the lid and try to stir the contents, it loses the pressure created by escaping gas molecules.

Guests in British TV cooking shows

In some of the British cooking programmes they invite famous people such as singers and actors then talk to their guests about their life stories but none of them are related to cooking and do not explain anything about cooking. I have seen some famous actors, singers like Lulu, film stars come as guests to some of these cooking programmes and they keep on talking about their past life and what they did or what they are going to do while the presenter just hastily cooks. The cooking pans give out a mixture of oil and ingredients vapours because the fire is turned to full strength but the chef or the presenter do not care about these things. In some cases the pans even catch fire because the volatile cooking aroma is sensitive to catch fire. Would you not think everybody have to inhale such poisonous gas in that kind of situation?

In such programmes they must explain what is going on how it cooks but to my surprise none of them do that kind of explanations. Just rush up and down the studio and do things and at the same time keep on talking to the guest of the show but none related to cooking.

If that is a cooking programme then the work should be relevant to cooking not to the life stories of those famous people. In that case they have chosen the wrong programme to talk about their life stories, am I correct?

Sirasa TV cooking demonstration

In my Sirasa cooking demonstration I explained scientific reasons and reactions in cooking to those two presenters who in turn explained more simplified form to help the listeners. The terms such as intermolecular and intramolecular reactions, thermodynamic equilibrium conditions, convection and thermal capacity couldn’t be explained in simple Sinhalese because I was not aware of the exact terms in Sinhalese so I had to speak in English as well as in Sinhalese during the programme. I did not talk about anything else what I did in Sri Lanka or do in England or any other things, just concentrated all about cooking. The presenters introduced me right at the start then after that I didn’t go back to talk about any more because that kind of explanations were irrelevant to the situation and my purpose was to demonstrate the scientific side of cooking.

The joke helped to relax in front the camera

One of the presenters was Sameera, a well experienced in every respect. At one time he said something really hilarious and he said jokingly To save energy, the best thing is to bring a lady to your home who is very gas”. That means a get married to a very bossy lady. I can remember everybody laughed about his joke. I think that moment a joke helped to relax momentarily when I was appearing to the camera. After that no more jokes just talked, only related to cooking. I tried my best to explain how energy was saved and how energy get lost or radiated. I showed it practically by keeping the fingers very near the burner to show there was no excess heat because most of the heat went to cook the food. Then both presenters as well tried exactly what I did by keeping the hands very near the burner that proved no excess heat was lost as radiation. If I just explained in words only in a chat show no one would understand it properly, glad I could show it practically. I think that kind of work is relevant to cooking.

What does excess fire do?

Excess heat or fire means you are burning too much energy or gas. At high temperature the unreactive nitrogen as well react with oxygen to form oxides of nitrogen that in turn combine with more oxygen to form nitrogen dioxide which might get dissolved in traces of water to form nitric and nitrous acid. That means if anyone was near the cooker would be inhaling those burnt gas and those might react with the traces of water in the breathing system. No wonder doctors say those kitchen pollutants can cause respiratory problems. This subject of kitchen pollution is well experimented and researched in America as well as in England. Now would you see the reason why I do not use excess fire in cooking or not waste energy in cooking? Just not only money but consider your health and do not waste energy. Your comments are welcomed [email protected]


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