The culinary arts represents what people eat and how they prepare their food. It is one of the most basic expressions of human life and civilization.
Food is survival. An abundance of food is essential for population growth. How people prepare foods is an expression of a civilization. Eating and preparing food is an art form like painting, dance or music.
Image: Culinary Arts (Creative Commons: US Army Africa).
History of Culinary Arts
The earliest humans were hunters and gatherers. They ate plants and animals found in their environment. The early preparation of food may have been nothing more than simple cleaning. In time, different foods were mixed. With the invention of fire, the foods were cooked. Early humans also learned how to preserve foods through drying, grinding, or using salt.
Food and food preparation also became part of human rituals and worship. Food was most likely a very important part of early religious beliefs about life, death and nature.
When humans learned to domesticate plants and animals, food became more available. Human populations began to grow and more complex societies were created.
With the Age of Discovery, foods became more global. New foods were brought to Europe from the Americas. What people ate and how they prepared food changed. That process still continues today. Many foods that were once unique to a single country are now spreading all over the world.
Culinary Arts Today
In some ways, the ‘fine’ culinary arts has become a specialty of chefs. These are people who are trained in the profession and art of food preparation. Many people now depend on restaurants or fast food chains to prepare their meals.
It has also become part of entertainment. Cooking and cooking competition programs have become widely popular around the world.
Improving Your Reading and Thinking Skills
Think for a few moments. Try to recall the major ideas in this article. When you are done, click the box below for a list of main ideas.
How did you do? With practice, you should be able to identify many of the major ideas. You may even discover some important ideas that aren’t listed.
Culinary Art History, Memo.