One must apply some science in cooking because all the food we eat and drink are chemicals
Posted on June 19th, 2017

Dr Hector Perera      London

Since I was doing my Advanced Level science in Colombo, I tried my best to home cook something and eat than depending on takeaway food. The boarding house where I lived in Colombo was just room only basis, no kitchen to cook. I started by cooking in the room then moved to the end of the passage where there was the bathroom due to unbearable smell given out while cooking. The smell sometimes deposited on me then on the clothes. Two other friends as well joined with me so cooking was fun and easy and shared the work. We never tried to save any energy used for cooking and didn’t know how to stop any cooking aroma getting on us while cooking. We had kerosene cookers and kerosene was home delivered by a bullock cart just for less than one rupee a gallon.

My friends became doctors

When Advanced level results came, my friends had excellent results then later got selected to medicine but I didn’t get enough subjects to be selected to do any University course. The private college where we studied offered me a teaching post to teach Physics and Chemistry. I still remember that I did my chemistry practical at Colombo University that was next door to Royal College. I knew the short cuts to do my chemistry practical as I was quite experienced. Later on I gave my skills to other students as well.

I discovered the science of cooking

 I discovered my energy saving and smell avoiding cooking only when I came to do further studies in England. After few years I contacted the energy authority in Sri Lanka about my kind of energy saving cooking. I knew that I was applying science in my energy saving cooking. Nearly all British TV chefs are really good chefs but I wonder if they apply any science in cooking.

By the time I approached the energy authority in Sri Lanka, I had my studies completed. I managed to do BSc MSc PhD in synthetic organic chemistry then became a science and a chemistry teacher for secondary school students.

 I demonstrated in four different TVs in Sri Lanka

Some of the gas laws I used for energy saving cooking were more than 200 years old and I apply them for my kind of energy saving cooking. If those laws are valid up until now and if my work was based on them then I cannot be wrong. That is why I confidently contacted the energy authority and the invention commission about my scientific energy saving cooking. I had the chance to demonstrate my kind of scientific energy saving and smell avoiding cooking at four different TVs in Sri Lanka. They were all live cooking programmes that means all foods were cooked then and there rather than they were cooked before the show.

How do you like British TV chefs cooking?

Sometimes I watch some of the cooking programmes in British TV and noticed that quite often the chefs fry and cook carelessly. Fumes all over the studio and even the guests start coughing and sneezing because of those smelly gases. It is possible they are in a hurry to show the audience the method of cooking and frying so they fry rush rush giving out fumes all over. Frequently they just toss the food in the air for a couple of times then say, Cooked”. When the so called cooked beef is cut, you would notice nice red colour. That means beef is not evenly cooked.

British TV chefs must set an example

I think those British TV chefs must cook and fry carefully so that the children who watch the show might follow their type of cooking. They might think that must be the correct way to cook and fry otherwise why did those type of cooking are allowed to be shown to the public in TV? I have my doubt if they have any scientific ideas in cooking and frying. I regard the kitchen is the chemistry laboratory of the home. We always deal with nothing but chemicals in the kitchen.

High temperature cooking and frying

Deep frying cause hydrogenation of the unsaturated vegetable oil, turns it into trans-fats. Trans-fat increases the risk of having heart diseases, cancers, and many other chronic diseases. This term cis and trans refers to the position of other groups attached to the C=C double bond of the fats. If the groups are on the same side of the C=C bond then they are considered as cis then if the groups are on the opposite side of the C=C double then they are called in trans position.

Most people are careless in handling the fire in cooking and frying, they just turn the gas knob to the maximum so the temperature it gives out is very high. Scientists have found that high temperature cooking and frying are unhealthy because the high temperature decomposes the oil and other chemicals. In the case of oils, you may start with cis type of oils but due to high temperature, it becomes trans type which is totally unhealthy. As mentioned above the trans-fat causes so many diseases such as heart diseases, cancer and many more chronic diseases.

 Have you noticed in take away joints the slices of fish (fillets), coated with batter are fried in large containers filled with boiling oil. I have already mentioned that high temperature decomposes the oil. Frying in such oil destroys all nutritious values of the fish except the unique taste.

Then frying potato chips in the same oil will certainly destroy the nutritious values including the vitamins in the chips. It is also a known that the brownish colour produced in frying starchy foods emanates a cancer producing chemical called ‘Acrylamide”. People in Canada and England frequently eat fried food and also BBQ or barbecued food. I know it for fact they taste nice but the doctors say they are unhealthy. I am sure an occasional treat in moderation would not do any harm but some people eat frequently on daily basis or even as their weekend treats. When the sun is out in the summer in Canada and England, some people cannot wait until they eat BBQ. They invite some friends and relative for the BBQ treat that means they share the illness with them as well. Is it reasonable? I think you should think twice before you eat too much yes too much fried and BBQ food because frying and barbecuing meat and fish containing proteins creates polycyclic hydrocarbons, such as benzopyrenes, which are also one of the main constituents in cigarette smoke that cause lung cancer. It does not stop there, some people have a fag or two after the meal. That does not mean one should not eat fried food at all but one must take care of themselves by eating in moderation and not so frequently. Your comments are welcomed

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