Author Topic: Why is meat predominantly cooked?  (Read 4707 times)

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Offline cavebiatch

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Why is meat predominantly cooked?
« on: January 03, 2014, 06:40:55 am »
I know this has been asked before but I just don't think it's "addicting" or the opioid or whatever. Nor does cooked meats taste better.
I don't know about the transition and "raw meat tastes bad you have to get used to it" thing people are talking about. Raw meat tastes so good in its own right, maybe it's because I am already a sushi-lover. Cooked or boiled fish tastes utterly disgusting to me. When I tried raw meat it didn't take any effort to get used to it.

Cooked meats taste more gamey (but in a weird way), they're dry, and they taste rusty compared to raw meat. They even feel acidic in the stomach if they're not boiled. Raw meat has less gamey flavors, it tastes savory, and its texture is way better. Cooked meat only tastes better if it's heavily marinated, which may explain why most traditional recipes require marinating the meat. But raw meat can be marinated too.

Cooked meat benefits:
-denatured proteins, might be easier to digest. That's the main thing people say is the benefit of cooked meat but I personally can't tell.
-Tougher cuts of meat that you can't chew through become softer after cooking. This is the biggest benefit I can think of.
-Easier to separate the meat from the bone by boiling/cooking, and boiling brings out the nutrients out of bones
-you eat more (how is it a benefit though?)
-You can extract the fats easily in order to use it for other foods (eating with vegetables and grains, cooking vegetables for extra flavor).
- Marinating and cooking infuses the flavor deep into the meat, while marinating raw meat just covers the surface. Maybe this is why people love cooked meat.
- eliminating dangerous pathogens, parasites, and bacteria such as rabies
- more texture variety? crunchy bacon, fried crunchy tempura, chewy marinated steak
- warmer during cold seasons

Raw meat tastes good too though and has pros too:
-less gamey
-less effort to make & much faster. you have to pay attention to how you cook steak for example, or it's going to be too dry.
-naturally tastes better (cooked liver tastes utterly disgusting while raw liver tastes sweet)
-nice moist texture, not rusty and dry like raw meat
-stuck in your teeth less
-you need less to feel satisfied or get nutrients
-probably has more nutrients that didn't break down thanks to heat
-no burnt carcinogens
-Raw fats always taste better and even feel better, doesnt feel slimy in the stomach like cooked fats do
-beneficial bacteria and parasites
- cooler during hot seasons
- can be easily preserved just as cooked meats (such as curing. I heard that natural quality meat doesn't actually go bad, just ferments or dries out)

It would make sense if cooked and raw meats were eaten in equal amounts side by side, but why is most meat predominantly cooked (especially boiled) in most cultures? There must be a reason?
Little children prefer raw meat and crave raw meat, I never heard of a kid wanting cooked meat. How in the world did we even begin cooking meat in the first place?
Cooked meats don't taste any better IMO, and it's so time and energy intensive to cook meat. I don't get how it became more popular than raw meat.

Offline Iguana

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Re: Why is meat predominantly cooked?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2014, 07:28:08 am »
Great post, thanks for it.

You mentioned “you eat more”: that’s true and it could well be the explanation.  You can always eat cooked – seasoned meat, even when your needs in proteins and fats are already fulfilled, while you can’t eat too much raw unseasoned wild game meat. People on cooked diet are generally repealed by the smell of gamy meat. Why? Probably because they are overloaded in proteins and fat, so they abut directly on the instinctive stop signal. This leads them to think meat must be cooked, salted and seasoned to become palatable, allowing them to push their overload further…. resulting in their repulsion for raw meat growing even more. A vicious circle.   

This explanation holds for all foods and it is probably why cooking became widespread.
Cause and effect are distant in time and space in complex systems, while at the same time there’s a tendency to look for causes near the events sought to be explained. Time delays in feedback in systems result in the condition where the long-run response of a system to an action is often different from its short-run response. — Ronald J. Ziegler

Offline Projectile Vomit

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Re: Why is meat predominantly cooked?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2014, 07:33:33 am »
This is, of course, the big question. If raw meat is so great, then why did it, as an eating pattern, largely die out throughout the human species and around the world?

I personally think it has a lot to do with how people began raising, slaughtering and butchering their animals as human (and domestic animal) population densities increased. More dense livestock populations meant greater risk of parasite infestations, and poor sanitation meant an increased risk of contamination of meat with fecal material, leading to more sickness unless the meat (and eventually dairy) was sterilized with heat. Cooking offered a protective measure as people's gut flora grew too weak due to reduced consumption of nutrient dense foods, probiotics, and poor sanitation more generally as human population densities went through the roof, so cooking was selected for.

We now recognize the value of good sanitation, and slaughterhouses and meat packing facilities are now (by regulation) clean enough that issues of parasite infestations and 'bad' bacteria are less of an issue. With these big issues held in check we can afford to start experimenting with raw meat again.

Offline Iguana

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Re: Why is meat predominantly cooked?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2014, 08:04:39 am »
Eric, your explanation would hold true if cooking began after population densities increased and livestock farming began. But cooking certainly started before agriculture and domestication of animals, when the world human population was less than 1 million.

It is very probable that it’s the cooking habit which led to agriculture and livestock farming, not the other way around.

Moreover, how could those ancient people realize that cooking would prevent illnesses due to meat contamination with fecal material? Even our medical scientists didn’t recognize such kind of threats before Ignaz Semmelweis, in the 19th century.
Cause and effect are distant in time and space in complex systems, while at the same time there’s a tendency to look for causes near the events sought to be explained. Time delays in feedback in systems result in the condition where the long-run response of a system to an action is often different from its short-run response. — Ronald J. Ziegler

Offline cavebiatch

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Re: Why is meat predominantly cooked?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2014, 10:01:15 am »
I heard that even cavemen cooked their meats, but what would they marinate with anyway? Cooked meat without any marination or seasoning tastes disgusting IMO.
I feel like I am asking how birds developed wings in the first place, as small wings or pseudo-wings are virtually useless so they wouldn't really develop into full fledged wings unless even tiny wings gave advantage. There seems to be a huge jump between raw meat and marinated/seasoned cooked meat, just like there's a gap between land animals and winged animals.

I don't think animal feces during the paleolithic era were that "dirty" enough to infect people. After all, isn't soil pretty much just broken down feces and dead animal/vegetation thanks to the scavengers and fungi?

Offline goodsamaritan

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Re: Why is meat predominantly cooked?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2014, 10:05:47 am »
My personal observation:

Farmed fish tastes bad raw.
Wild ocean fish tastes great raw.

Factory farmed beef tastes bad raw.
Grass fed beef tastes great raw.

People see how unhygienic farmed animals are.
And that is their idea of "meat".

My own grandma at 83 said she didn't eat raw fish, but when she tasted my raw freshly caught fish she ate a big amount of it.

Part of cooked meat eating is social conditioning.

Now that I eat raw meat, if I had to live alone, I would never bother cooking meat for myself, too much bother with nothing to gain. ( I live in a big house hold and feed them all... besides... we have servants / maids who cook and clean for us... I'm betting if my kids had to cook and clean the dishes and the cookware, they'd just eat raw meat. ) 

Overdosing on cooked protein is too easy to do with cooked meat, cooked beans and cooked legumes.  Too many dialysis centers in Metro Manila... kidney failures and kidney related problems like high blood and gout are obscene.

This Christmas and New Year I ate quite a good amount of cooked meat for socials and now I'm just so relieved to go back to raw meat. 

There are things you can get from cooking meat... like bone broths... other things may come to mind like trying to finish off every bit of the animal.

We've discussed before that raw meat eating is for good times in times of plenty.

Cooking is for hard times, times of scarcity and war and famine.

Let the good times roll!

« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 10:13:11 am by goodsamaritan »
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Offline Iguana

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Re: Why is meat predominantly cooked?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2014, 05:08:42 pm »
Quote from: cavebiatch
I heard that even cavemen cooked their meats, but what would they marinate with anyway? Cooked meat without any marination or seasoning tastes disgusting IMO.

They could only grill it as pottery is a neolithic invention. Grilled food can be very tasty, even without seasoning / spicing. Animals relish on roasted meat after a forest fire. 

But once you get used to spicing, non spiced food tastes bland. I takes a littles while and you need to be somewhat hungry to feel and appreciate the savor of unprocessed, unseasoned raw food.    ;)
Cause and effect are distant in time and space in complex systems, while at the same time there’s a tendency to look for causes near the events sought to be explained. Time delays in feedback in systems result in the condition where the long-run response of a system to an action is often different from its short-run response. — Ronald J. Ziegler

Offline cherimoya_kid

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Re: Why is meat predominantly cooked?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2014, 11:49:26 am »
The protein in cooked meat is less available, not more.

As for the more general question, I'm not really sure, except that cooking may make people feel smarter/better than animals.  Certainly that's the only motivation I can imagine for hunter/gatherers in tropical places to ever cook meat.

Offline AshSimmonds

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Re: Why is meat predominantly cooked?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2014, 01:40:36 pm »
I hedge my bets - lightly cooked on the outside, the rest raw.




Offline Chris

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Re: Why is meat predominantly cooked?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2014, 10:59:26 am »
Cooked meat benefits:
-Tougher cuts of meat that you can't chew through become softer after cooking. This is the biggest benefit I can think of.

I use scissors to cut up all of my meat into little bitty pieces. Tough or not. I try to take off as much of the meat/fat/ect. as I can. The one good thing about eating RAW meat is you don't have to chew it up that much at all. Just down the hatch.  :P

Offline Iguana

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Re: Why is meat predominantly cooked?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2014, 03:48:51 pm »
I hedge my bets - lightly cooked on the outside, the rest raw.

Nice pic, but do you think a 100 wagons' train with 1 wagon derailed can reach 99% of it’s cruising speed?
Cause and effect are distant in time and space in complex systems, while at the same time there’s a tendency to look for causes near the events sought to be explained. Time delays in feedback in systems result in the condition where the long-run response of a system to an action is often different from its short-run response. — Ronald J. Ziegler

 

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