Describes any foodstuff
that has not been chemical
ly transformed with heat
. This may mean that it is intended to be serve
d in this state, or that the chef
simply hasn't gotten to it yet.
Some foods are indigestible when uncooked; unless they are cooked their nutrition is chemically bound up in a way that humans cannot use it. Many starchy foods, such as grains and tubers, are like this.
Some foods are toxic when uncooked; they contain chemicals that cause unpleasant reactions, but which are converted to safe compounds in cooking. I am told that rhubarb falls into this category; so does bitter cassava.
Some foods are biohazardous when uncooked; they contain infectious organisms which are killed in cooking. Many meats contain bacteria which can make you sick or even dead; these can persist unless the meat in question is cooked thoroughly. Chicken and chicken eggs often contain salmonella due to the unsanitary conditions in which they are raised. Pork often contains trichinae, parasites which cause trichinosis.
Many foods, however, are completely edible when uncooked. Fresh fruits and many vegetables, for example, are delicious raw. Fish can be safe to eat raw if it is not infested with parasites; sushi chefs know what to look for.
Synonyms: raw; fresh.