Folklore on Why We Cook the Foods We Eat

A long time ago, a folklore says, the natives of the land didn’t cook their foods. They ate raw fish, meat, and vegetables. Raw vegetables were okay, raw fish was fine, but it was tough eating raw beef and pork. But then, the folklore says, it was the known style of the time, so people didn’t bother with it much. Nobody tried to find a better way of dealing with food. Until one accident happened.

People of a tribe were chasing a wild boar. The folklore says that the forest was thick with wild shrubbery so the chase took a long while. The wild boar kept running but the people kept hedging it to a corner. Just as they were about to catch it, the folklore says the wild boar managed to squeeze itself to a narrow escape route through an opening in the bushes, and running again, out of reach. The people were losing their patience, seeing that dark clouds were slowly filling up the sky for a down pour. According to the folklore, if the downpour happened while the boar was still at large, it would all come to nothing. The anticipated big supper would be spoiled, except for a few vegetable leftover from lunch.

Then, a miracle finally showed itself. The wild boar, says the folklore, came out of the forest and found itself going to the seashore. It was in the middle of the sea and the forest, from where the hunters were coming out of one by one. The folklore further says that the wild boar now had nowhere else to run. It could not swim in the sea and the people’s sheer number had barred the way back to the forest.

But then, lightning struck and hit the boar. Instantly, the wild boar was burned to a crisp. The people cried desperately and blamed the lightning for messing up their supper and spoiling their effort to catch the boar. The folklore says they went to it and tried to see if anything could be salvaged. There was an arousing aroma, though, and a thick, brown liquid oozed out from the crisped skin. They touched it and got burned from the hot surface, putting the hurt fingers into their mouths as an automatic reaction. That’s when they first tasted cooked food. And, the folklore continues, they have cooked their foods since.

This folklore shows that necessity and serendipity were the parents of the first culinary arts.

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