Cooking Facts
Cooking Facts

45 Delicious Cooking Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published August 5, 2018Updated September 5, 2019
  • The ability to tame fire and ice to cook and store food helped humans develop new technology and innovations.[18]
  • Smoke, chiefly from indoor cooking fires, kills about 1.5 million people every year in the developing world.[18]
  • Historically, women were most vulnerable to the dangers of cooking, especially because they often wore billowing skirts and long sleeves around open fires.[18]
  • Cooking food with fire or heat is a uniquely human activity. While archeological evidence for cooking only goes as far back as 1 million years ago, cooking may have started 2 million years ago.[18]
  • The industrial revolution transformed cooking forever. Food could be mass-produced, mass-marketed, and standardized.[18]
  • Cooking Accidents
    The most common kitchen accident is knife injury
  • Historians note that kitchens are a place of violence. People regularly get burned, scarred, frozen, and, especially, cut.[18]
  • Grilling food can increase cancer risks. Charred meat can damage DNA and genetic material and initiate mutations that can lead to cancer.[16]
  • A chef traditionally wears white because the chef of the first prime minister of France (1815) believed that white was the most hygienic of all the colors.[2]
  • According to legend, in 146 BC when the Byzantine Empire invaded Greece, Greek chefs fled to nearby monasteries and wore monks' clothes to fit in, including large stove-top hats.[2]
  • The pleats in a chef's hat not only portray a sense of fashion of professionalism, but traditionally they also represented how many recipes a chef had mastered. So, a chef with a 100 pleats may have known 100 different ways to boil an egg.[2]
  • Historically, the taller the chef's hat, the more important or knowledgable a chef was. Today, most chef hats are about 9–12 inches tall.[2]
  • The fear of vegetables is called "lachanophobia."[10]
  • The rise of fast food and the decline of cooking has undermined family dinners and increased obesity rates.[14]
  • For me, cooking is an extension of love.

    - Hedda Stern

  • Globally, eating bugs (also known as entomophagy) is the norm. They are eaten for their high protein, appealing crunchiness, and taste.[11]
  • Before cookware emerged around 24,000 BC, humans relied on foraged shells or animal parts to store and carry food.[18]
  • A sharp knife does less damage than a dull knife to the cell walls of an onion, which releases less propanethial S-oxide, the chemical that causes eyes to water.[6]
  • A cook actually cuts himself or herself less with a sharp knife because a sharp knife uses less force to cut through food.[18]
  • The oldest type of soup dates from about 6,000 BC. The recipe calls for sparrow and hippopotamus meat.[20]
  • In 17th century Europe, professional chefs in rich households were mainly men. They often worked naked or in undergarments because of the intense heat of the kitchens.[18]
  • Fun Cooking History
    It can get hot in the kitchen

  • The pound cake is so named because the original recipe called for a pound each of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs.[15]
  • United States' fire departments respond to over 156,000 home fires involving cooking equipment each year.[9]
  • If improperly cooked, a puffer fish, or fugu, is lethal. It contains a toxin almost 1,200 times more fatal than cyanide.[12]
  • Cod milt is considered a delicacy around the world. "Milt" is actually fish sperm.[17]
  • Scientific research shows that grilling, barbecuing, and smoking meat and fish can increase the risk of cancer.[18]
  • The largest item ever found on a menu is stuffed camel. A whole camel is stuffed with a couple of lambs, 20 whole chickens, and 60 eggs, just to name a few ingredients.[18]
  • Cooking Statistics
    This is one hump we may not get over

  • In pre-revolutionary France, bread was associated with national identity, and baking bread was considered a public service to keep the people from rioting. Therefore, the police controlled all aspects of bread making.[4]
  • Researchers have found that Food TV has inspired viewers to want to eat more but not to cook more. Food TV may actually discourage people from cooking because it raises expectations so high.[19]
  • French cuisine, or fine dining, emerged after the French Revolution. After the conflict, chefs who had worked for the nobility lost their jobs, so they opened their own restaurants for the masses.[4]
  • Consumers in America spend more money on food in restaurants than they do on food they can cook at home.[19]
  • Writer, cookbook author, and teacher James Beard is considered the "father of American cuisine." He championed distinctly American food in a time when most chefs still followed the example of the French.[7]
  • Chef Hat facts
    The toque is a chef's hat that dates back to the 16th century
  • A chef's hat is officially called a toque, which is Arabic for hat.[2]
  • After the Greeks invented front-loaded bread ovens, the art of baking bread advanced significantly. They were able to bake a wide variety of doughs and loaf shapes, which eventually led to baking as a trade and an economic powerhouse.[14]
  • In ancient Greece, the word for "cook," "butcher," and "priest" was all the same: mageiros, which shares its etymological root with the word "magic."[14]
  • In American households, the amount of time spent cooking has fallen by half since the mid-sixties. Americans spend less time cooking than people in any other nation.[14]
  • Americans spend more time watching other people on television cook than they do cooking themselves.[14]
  • Scientists note that because cooking led to a more energy-dense and easy-to-digest diet, it allowed human brains to grow bigger and our guts to shrink. Cooking also allowed humans more time for education and culture rather than foraging and digesting food.[14]
  • Salted and unsalted butter are not the same. Salted butter is less susceptible to bacteria, so it can be left out of the fridge longer. However, unsalted butter should be kept refrigerated at all times. Generally, because butter is so fatty, it doesn't expire as quickly as other dairy products, such as milk[8]
  • Today, Americans spend about 27 minutes a day on cooking preparation and four minutes cleaning it up. That's less than half the time spent cooking and cleaning in 1965.[14]
  • Mageirocophobia Fact
    Do you have a fear of cooking? You are not alone.
  • The fear of cooking is a recognized phobia and is called "mageirocophobia."[3]
  • Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay lost an onion-cutting competition to a prison cook. Ramsay offered the inmate a job at one of his restaurants when he was released.[13]
  • Typically, vegetables that grow under ground (beets, carrots, potatoes) should begin cooking in cold water. Vegetables that grow above ground (corn, peas, greens) should start the cooking process in boiling water.[14]
  • The difference between herbs and spices is that herbs come from the leaf of a plant. Spcies come from other parts of the plant, such as roots, seeds, and bark.[14]
  • Women devote double the amount of time to food and drink preparation than their male counterparts.[5]
  • Fannie Merritt Farmer was the first person to publish a cook book, titled Farmer's Boston Cooking School Cookbook.[18]
  • Amazing Cooking Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Cooking Infographic
  • A cluster of bananas is called a hand. A single banana is called a finger.[1]

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