How does the cooking method impact so much on the actual taste of the food?

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Obviously I’m not talking about what you add during the different preparations, but just about the way you cook something.

Like boiling VS roasting broccoli. Boiled broccoli smells and tastes like death and despair, but the second you roast them they’re absolutely delicious.

Or eggs, hard boiled eggs taste completely different from when they are cooked in a pan.

Or again meat, roasted meat is completely different from boiled meat even if you add little to no other ingredients during the cooking process.

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There’s something called a Maillard reaction involving browning food, browning happens when you roast in the oven or sear in a pan on the stove, that intensifies the flavor of food. You can’t get that when you oil or steam something.

Because you are cooking different parts of the food at a different pace. That way you have different textures, and texture affects taste as much as composition itself.

If you boil, water gets everywhere and the food is cooked homogeneously.

If you roast, you only toast the surface, while the insides cook less, thus creating a crunchy coating.

If you grill, you roast while the food looses part of its fat/liquid.

If you fry, you boil and also add fat to the food.

Cooking is basically chemistry. Every piece of food is filled with complex molecules that interact differently at different temperatures.

Boiling is a fast way to cook food because water is very good at transferring heat to something else, and you’re cooking the food on all sides. However, boiling water doesn’t actually attain a high temperature relative to what your oven or pan is capable of, just 100 degrees C. Food will only brown at higher temperatures, and that browning produces lots of new flavors that we tend to enjoy.

However, the temperature at which water boils is still enough to cause many chemical reactions in the food. If boiled for only a minute or so (a chef would call this “blanching”), broccoli takes on a bright green color and is deliciously crisp and fresh. Boiled for longer, and it begins to release additional chemicals that dull the color, make it mushy, and give it a sour taste/smell. Something similar happens to eggs that are boiled too long.

The sear is everything! I can’t comment much on the science behind it, but direct contact with metal or open fire will cause the outer surface to caramelize and sear, result in different flavors. If you wanna get a good sear, you need less liquid on the surface of the food, so always pat down your meats!

Not exactly what you are talking about…but when I first started cooking/eating meat, I didn’t understand the difference between dry heat and moist heat (on meat and proteins).

With dry heat: the longer you cook it, the tougher it gets.

With moist heat: the longer you cook it, the softer it gets.

Also in regard to boiling vs roasting/frying: Different cooking methods will result in foods either being more or less hydrated. Boiling something will cause it to soak up water, while roasting it will dry it out.

Different methods of cooking will also affect things like how much fat remains in the food. If you grill burgers, for example, they’ll drip a lot of fat as grease out into the grill. If you smoke them, they’ll maintain most of that fat (I’ve learned to use different %fat meats when I’m smoking burgers vs. grilling them).

To add to the comments here, you should try watching some episodes of Alton Brown’s Good Eats (both the original show and and new reboot) because he doesn’t just give you simple recipes, he also explains the science behind why you can skip certain steps or why you absolutely must perform certain techniques to get the flavor result you want.