Save energy with low fire cooking.
Posted on October 20th, 2013

Dr Hector Perera‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚  London

We have to realise that foods have a certain quantity of water in them, may be more water in certain foods than the others. I am sure that anybody can understand energy can be saved with low fire cooking. There are many acceptable reasons why one should cook on low fire. Then only juice in foods such as vegetables and meat come out slowly, ooze out then slowly react with the spices, oils or butter etc. Many people just put fire at full blast and cook then very likely to burn the whole thing because the liquid evaporates quickly. According to science, the temperature inside a cooking pan does not rise above the boiling temperature of the liquid until all the liquid evaporates. Again due to solubility products laws, the temperature increases due to solutes in the liquid that is if other ingredients are dissolved in water then the temperature rises above the boiling point of water.

According to physical chemistry, if the heat given off in the process of dissolving is greater than the heat required to break the bonds in the solid, the net dissolving reaction is exothermic (energy given off). The addition of more heat (increases temperature) inhibits the dissolving reaction since excess heat is already being produced by the reaction. This situation is not very common where an increase in temperature produces a decrease in solubility.

Sometimes I leave the food to cook very slowly after a certain stage of cooking then do some other work in the kitchen, like preparing any other thing to cook or else go to the computer or watch the TV for few minutes. These spices have highly volatile chemicals, they are very temperature sensitive. The other thing is if anyone puts high fire, the spices and some oil vapours escape quickly and deposit on the person who cooks. When they walk about they might smell like a mobile kitchen. My method helps to cook food better, slowly, save electricity and gas, have time to do other things and you do not get curry smell or oil smell on your clothes and on the face and hair. I have witnessed how some Sri Lankan ladies open the boiling curries such as chicken, beef and fish then keep on tasting by blowing to the boiling liquid. Then they are likely to get a shower of curry and spicy smell. May be they have a temptation to open these curries when they are boiling. I think they are trying to mix or turn around the food at the bottom to the top. In a way it is correct because food are bad conductors of heat, so sometimes they need to be mixed to get evenly cooked. Mind you, if someone stirs the cooking rice while boiling then they might end up with a messy pot of rice.

Would these people understand that cooking involves lots and lots of chemistry, chemical reactions and science? To me all foods are nothing but chemicals such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen combined to form different chemicals. What chemical elements are in carbohydrates? Mainly it is nothing but carbon, hydrogen and oxygen combination then meat or fish is protein. Proteins are large biological molecules consisting of one or more chains of‚ amino acids. The pungent odour of garlic is due to sulphur in them.

Protein again has carbon, hydrogen, oxygen then nitrogen and some phosphorus plus other chemicals in small proportions. To me cooking means a series of chemical reactions that means during cooking more reactions occur within the foods by chemical interactions. In chemistry laboratory in the synthesis of organic chemicals some chemicals are reacted together then certain bonds break and new bonds are formed in the new compounds. Take a very simple day to day chemical reaction in the kitchen such as making green chillies pickle. You add vinegar, a little sugar, salt and warm with some vegetables such as green chillies, onions and carrots. Remember it-â„¢s warmed but not cooked then they are bottled or put in a large clay pot, sealed and left for few days. One cannot forget about the appetizing smell of pickle after a few days due to the formation of an ester called ethyl ethanoate. It didn-â„¢t happen immediately, it took a day or two.

Rise in energy bills

May be a small amount gas and electricity are used for cooking in cold weather countries, the rest is used for keeping them warmed, that is they use more gas for heating than eating. If they eat nothing but junk food no gas or electricity is used for cooking so they are not worried about energy saving cooking or rise in energy bills. Why these so called energy experts do not come forward either to approve or disprove my method?

I am not alone; many other scientists-â„¢ ideas were turned down by the authorities for no obvious reasons. One time even scientists ridiculed Dmitri Mandeleev saying that he was mad but much later he was showered with rewards. Galileo was house arrested for life for telling the truth according to science but much later it was accepted. He was punished because his discovery was against the belief of the church. May be the authorities and energy giants are not interested in energy saving due to political, economic and other hidden reasons, perhaps you know better reasons so please let the public know. Your comments are welcomed

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