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How many actions can we refer to with verbs other than ‘cook’ that have the same meaning? As we will see when analysing their definitions, there are actions, such as transforming, combining, assembling or producing, which, when we perform them, imply that we are cooking.
Here, we ask ourselves about situations in which we cook in order to create and about the possibility of creating by cooking. We consider the option of creation in the kitchens of both professionals and amateurs in terms of the intention and of the variations in available resources in both cases.
All food resulting from a transformative process, which we refer to as ‘elaborations’, was created at some point in time; cuisine has been creative since its beginnings, but at present this concept has another nuance. We observe that there are chefs who produce a cuisine that can be described as creative. This attribute is associated with the fact that they contribute something new, either to the process or to the elaboration that is plated and tasted. Moreover, a cuisine can be innovative if the person who creates it manages to make a return on the value of what has been created – in other words, to make a profit.
Pre-elaboration is the stage prior to elaboration, which allows the latter to happen. During this step, ingredients are adapted and prepared so that other transformations can be performed on them, applying the ‘pre-elaboration’ techniques that are included in this section.
On the great majority of occasions where cooking is involved, an elaboration is being reproduced, a result that is arrived at after a previous pre-elaboration and a subsequent plating, steps that are part of the culinary process of reproduction.
We devote a section to plating, which can be collective or individual, as the last part of a process by which the elaboration is considered plated and ready to be tasted if no additional transformations are required.
One of the possible uses of cooking is preservation, the specific goal of which is to ensure that elaborations do not perish immediately if they are not consumed once they are cooked. This uses techniques and/or tools that allow the elaborations to keep in the short, medium and long term.
Cooking can be easy or difficult depending on the techniques cooks choose to use and the knowledge they have of them. The complexity of a cuisine, on the other hand, does not depend on the techniques used, but on the intermediate stages required by an elaboration in order for it to be tasted.
Elaborations, as a result of the transformations they undergo when cooking, may be raw, not raw or half-raw, but if they have undergone an elaboration process, they will always be ‘cooked’.