Made to Cook: The Cooking Hypothesis

Made to Cook: The Cooking Hypothesis

22 Oct 2020

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Made to Cook: The Cooking Hypothesis

What makes us human? Some would argue that it’s the act of cooking — whether it’s boiling, broiling, roasting, baking, or barbecuing — that separates us from every other species on Earth. 

 In 1999, Harvard professor of biological anthropology Richard Wrangham published an article in the Current Anthropology journal called “The Raw and the Stolen: Cooking and the Ecology of Human Origins. Known as “the cooking hypothesis,” Wrangham’s groundbreaking new theory of human evolution proposed that taming fire to cook food changed the course of human evolution. 

 In his article and his 2009 book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, Wrangham argued that cooking allowed our human ancestors to process food more efficiently — and this change had a profound impact on evolution. While all other animals eat raw foods, Wrangham theorized that our ancestors began cooking their food some 1.8 million years ago, a change that gave early man the ability to process food more efficiently. It takes a long time, and a very large jaw and teeth, to grind down raw meat and plant matter. Before our ancestors learned how to cook, Wrangham estimated that half of their waking hours were spent simply chewing enough food to subsist, leaving little time for anything else. Cooking alters the chemical structure of food, breaking down the connective tissues in meat, and softening the cells of plants to release their starches and fats. This makes cooked food easier to chew and digest. This also helpthe body to use less energy to convert food into calories. Once the cooking was introduced, he estimated that our ancestors had an extra four hours in their day — time that could be spent huntingforaging, and slowly beginning to organizinto societiesWrangham explained, “The extra energy gave the first cooks biological advantages. They survived and reproduced better than before. Their genes spread. Their bodies responded by biologically adapting to cooked food, shaped by natural selection to take maximum advantage of the new diet. There were changes in anatomy, physiology, ecology, life history, psychology, and society.”  

This higher calorie, higher-quality diet lead to the evolution of bigger brains and bodies, and smaller jaws and teeth—a transformation that gradually resulted in modern man. From the control of fire and the growth in brain size, it’s not such a large leap to the development of dedicated hearths, the introduction of pottery and other tools for cooking, and the domestication of plants and animals.  

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 Wrangham’s theory is, of course, just that: a theory. Archaeological history to support control of fire 1.8 million years ago has not yet been found, but the recent discovery of ash in a South African cave suggests that our ancestors were controlling fire at least 1 million years ago — far earlier than previous evidence suggested. It may be just a matter of time before definitive evidence that proves Wrangham’s theory is found.  

 And If Wrangham’s theory is correct, we truly are what we eat.  

 If cooking is so fundamental to our evolution as people, it is a wonder that we don’t have time to make home-cooked meals with wholesome ingredients. Modern life has created many barriers to our ability to prepare home-cooked meals. What do we do if we don’t have time for home cookingBusinesses like CookinGenie can help you bring cooking where it belongs—in your own kitchen—even when you don’t have time to cook yourself. Check out our menus, and book your Genie today for building healthy eating habits in the family.  


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Prepared Salmon - CookinGenie

16 Sep 2021

These days, lots of us are looking for a better way to get more healthy protein in our diets. We love eating pork, beef, chicken, and other meats, but let’s face it, they’re not always the healthiest. Luckily, there’s one source of protein you already know that’s tasty, widely available, and incredibly healthy. That protein, of course, is salmon. That’s right, flaky, delicious, and beloved by many, salmon is also a true powerhouse health food. And if you’re looking for a healthy protein to include into your diet more regularly, look no further than salmon.

Health Benefits of Salmon

Salmon is full of all sorts of healthy nutrients. It’s one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which are considered essential fat to include in a healthy diet. Omega 3 fatty acids can help promote heart health, lower blood pressure, and even reduce your risk of cancer. Salmon is also high in other important vitamins such as B vitamins and potassium. Plus, a single 4-ounce serving of salmon may have as much as 25 grams of protein. All told, consuming salmon 2-3 times a week can have health benefits ranging from weight loss, reduced inflammation, improved brain health, and more.

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All of these health benefits of salmon come with a relatively low-calorie count and mostly unsaturated fats, making it a healthier choice than many other meats. Plus, salmon is delicious and versatile, as it can be prepared many different ways and still have great taste.

Salmon Prepared the CookinGenie Way

If you’re looking to incorporate more salmon into your diet, look no further than CookinGenie. If you’re not used to cooking with salmon, you may not be sure what to do with it, or if you cook with salmon often, you may just be out of ideas. That’s where CookinGenie comes in. Our talented genies currently offer more than 15 different dishes using the superfood salmon! And these dishes are as unique as the genies themselves, showcasing its delicious versatility with a wide variety of preparations.

Genie Rashidah Shabazz serves salmon 3 different ways on her menu, including a citrus-ginger salmon and  lemon-balsamic salmon, so you could take your salmon to the far east or to Italy.

Our genie Lashondre’a Lenor offers a creative twist, quite literally, on salmon by serving a stunning entrée of braided salmon, which a whole side of salmon, expertly braided and roasted just like a loaf of challah bread. But if you’re in the mood for something more classic, like a simple, wholesome entrée of seared salmon with rice pilaf and green beans, she has you covered there too.

But it’s not all whole salmon either, genie Vanessa Calhoun serves a delicious Salmon Croquette, which is tender shreds of roasted salmon, rolled up into balls, breaded, and fried into a crispy, addicting snack.

Finally, if you’d like salmon on a salad, look no further than genie Courtney White, who serves a flaky filet of salmon on top of a classic Caesar salad with homemade dressing and croutons.

These are just a few of the delectable salmon dishes CookinGenie has to offer. They’re just as healthy as they are delicious, to see all of the amazing ways you can enjoy salmon with CookinGenie, check out our menu and book a genie today!

Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-salmon#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

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Bibimbap-CookinGenie

07 Apr 2021

CookinGenie lets you travel with food all around the world. Next stop: Korea. 

Sometimes, the humblest foods are the best foods. That’s certainly the case with bibimbapKorea’s answer to fried rice, and—if you ask us—one of the top must-try foods around the world. 

The word “bibimbap” means “mixed rice with meat and vegetables,” and variations of the dish abound. It’s a dish that is endlessly customizable based on whatever the cook has on hand: some versions are made with raw beef and eggs, while others incorporate cooked seafood or pork and fried egg. What all these versions have in common is a base of rice topped with ingredients that are individually prepared and carefully seasoned, then stirred together just before serving. The result is a colorful dish with flavors and textures that are hearty, bold and harmonize beautifully with one another.   

In its article about bibimbap, the Korean Culture Blog cites different origin stories for this famed food, which is centuries old. “One story is that ancestral rituals were performed in the countryside away from home and after the rituals, instead of bringing all the foods back home which was cumbersome, the people mixed together all the foods in one big bowl and ate them all. Another story is that bibimbap came from the ancient custom of mixing leftover cooked rice with all the remaining side dishes and eating it as a midnight snack on the eve of Lunar New Year.  Another story is that while working out in the fields, the farmers mixed together all the nutritious ingredients in one big bowl to have a quick and healthy meal.”1  

Over time, regional variations developed with the most famous version coming from Jeonju, a small city in South Korea. Jeonju bibimbap is made with bean sprouts, gingko nut, pine nut, chestnut, spinach, lettuce, bracken, mushroom, turnip, carrot, seaweed, and beef. It beautifully represents the philosophy of Hansik (traditional Korean food), by combining the five colors that represent the elements that make up the universe—green/water, red/fire, yellow/wood, white/metal and black/earth—and the five flavors: sweet, hot, sour, salty and bitter.2 

There are also variations based on the type of dish bibimbap is made and served in. Traditional yangpun bibimbap is served in a yangpun, a large brass bowl, although these days many Korean cooks reach for a stainless steel bowl to make yangpun bibimbap instead3. One of the most beloved varieties is dolsot bibimbap, which is made in a dolsot—a heavy stone or earthenware bowl that’s heated to a high temperature before ingredients are added. The rice goes in first so it cooks in the hot bowl and forms a crispy, crackling bottom crust that adds a satisfying crunch when everything is stirred together.  

Bibimbap took flight outside Korea—literally—and gained notice as one of the best foods in the world in the late twentieth century when South Korean Airlines began serving it for inflight meals. Its popularity quickly spread: Wikipedia calls the dish a global symbol that symbolizes the harmony and balance in Korean culture4 and CNN Travel listed it at number 40 on its 2011 list of the World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods.5  

CookinGenie’s Jared Kent makes his bibimbap by topping seasoned white rice with spicy ground pork and garlicky carrots, soy-glazed spinach, quick-pickled cucumbers, green onions and kimchiand crowning it all with a crispy fried egg. (He makes a just-veggies version for you vegetarians out there too). Just before serving, he drizzles the bowl with a sweet-and-spicy gochujang-soy sauce that ties it all together.  

And just a quick note: we added bibimbap to our menu at the request of one of our customers. Are you craving a dish and don’t see it on our menu? Just ask! Our team of Genies are inventive cooks with a deep repertoire of recipes—so chances are one of our chefs can help you satisfy your cravings for famous food from around the world. Send us an email with your special request to support@cookingenie.com 

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A lady with groceries for cooking - CookinGenie blog for personal chef

20 Oct 2021

In our hectic, fast-paced world, we all need a little help getting through our daily lives. As the work, chores, and tasks pile up, it can be helpful to hire someone to take something off your plate for you.

For many, this can include hiring a personal chef to handle their cooking for them. But what is a personal chef? How does a personal chef differ from a private chef? And what are the things you need to know before hiring a chef for a great dining experience? Where can you hire a personal chef, anyways? Find out all that and more in our complete guide to hiring a personal chef.

What is a Personal Chef?

A personal chef is hired by a family, household, or company and is always on the go to prepare meals according to their clients’ dietary needs or preferences. They work on a freelance type of basis and travel around to cook for different customers. This arrangement proves to be valuable for clients who want to save their time and energy, especially during extremely busy days. For many people, hiring a personal chef on a semi-regular basis is an affordable way to help prepare food.

What Does a Personal Chef Do?

Planning for a meal, shopping for ingredients, adapting to client’s dietary needs or preferences, cooking delicious meals, and keeping a clean, organized kitchen are the basic responsibilities of a personal chef. Typically, a personal chef will service multiple clients and they may have an arrangement where they cook once a week at a given clients house and may cook for other clients throughout the rest of the week. Oftentimes, a personal chef will be hired for a one-off event such as a dinner party or holiday get together.

For larger events, a personal chef may also play the role of a caterer as they manage a team of cooks and/or servers, particularly during a special occasion or dinner party. These events can be anything from a formal sit-down dinner with multiple courses to a casual backyard barbecue or buffet.

To serve their clients better, personal chefs have to collaborate closely with their clients to tailor a menus that works for them, both in terms of taste and dietary needs. A personal chef needs to have a solid understanding of nutrition and how to cook delicious foods while also adhering to the dietary guidelines set forward by their clients. Some clients may follow very specific diets or have particular allergies that a chef must navigate. Because of this, there are many personal chefs that specialize in specific diets such as vegetarian or raw food diets.

Personal & Private Chefs – Key Differences

Duties- 

While they are similar, there are some key differences between a personal and private chef. Both a personal chef and a private chef are highly talented professionals that can cook delicious, dietary-tailored meals in a client’s home or business.

But unlike a personal chef, a private chef has full-time employment for one client or family in a private residence, hotel, or yacht. A private chef is much more exclusive, and often reserved wealthier clients who can afford to pay someone full-time to cook for them. Corporate titans, professional athletes, and high-ranking government officials are some of the people who typically employ full-time private chefs.

Private chefs are required to be on call, which is why the common setup is that they live in the residence of their employers or even travel with them on holidays or business trips. This arrangement makes private chefs almost part of the family, and as such, they have to hold confidentiality, win trust, and be able to respond to all food requests of the family.

Private chefs that cook exclusively for one client are fully responsible for almost everything their client eats and are required to manage the kitchen at all times, including doing all the shopping for the week and monitoring the inventory of the fridge and pantry. Live-in private chefs may be tasked with packing school lunches for the family’s children, manning the grill at a backyard cookout, or cooking a chic multi-course meal for a fancy dinner party.

In most cases, a private chef has to collaborate with other professionals like butlers and maids employed in large homes. This environment requires a private chef to have specific skills to function well with other professional support staff.

Is Hiring a Personal Chef Worth it? 

For most ordinary people, employing a full-time private chef may not be affordable or practical. However, hiring a personal chef to help you with meal prep or just to cook for you for special occasions can be a great way to take away some of the stress and time commitment of cooking. A personal chef can save you time, help you eat healthier, and even teach you tips and tricks to improve your own cooking. The cost of hiring a personal chef can vary in different cities and even vary between different chefs, but many are reasonable enough for most middle to upper middle-class families to afford on a regular or semi-regular basis.

How do I Hire a Personal Chef? CookinGenie is How.

When looking for a personal chef, you may know a friend who’s had a particular chef cook for them or you can browse the internet for chefs in your area. Some personal chefs work through agencies, and others are solo operations, often with their own website and business cards. But if you don’t know of any chefs by word of mouth, it can be hard to know where to look. In short, hiring a personal chef can be a pain.

But with CookinGenie, the whole process is a breeze. CookinGenie is a digital platform that displays a network of pre-vetted personal chefs available for you to hire. There is a wide variety of different foods that cater to different diets and tastebuds. After hiring, a genie will arrive at your home with everything they need to cook you a delicious meal and clean your kitchen afterward.

Their services can be used for everything from meal prep to dinner parties. The healthy, from scratch food, can be great for leftovers and can allow you to explore exciting international cuisines, even in this age of travel restrictions. The best part? It all happens in your kitchen. There’s no driving, no shopping, no cooking, and no cleaning. All that adds up to more you time, and these days, we could all use that.

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