cooking / preparing food

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, let's say you asked your colleague "What's your favorite thing to do at home?" and she answered "Cooking".
If she loved mainly cooking but also preparing salads and sushi, is "Cooking" alone an appropriate answer?
If she loved mainly preparing salads and sushi but also cooking, would "Preparing food" or "Food preparation" be a more appropriate answer?
 
  • meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Food preparation, 'prepping', means getting the food ingredients ready.
    Do you mean "preparing food" and "food preparation" aren't the same thing?

    The following statement by the Collins English Dictionary seems to be saying that "preparing food" isn't the same as getting the food ingredients ready.

    prepare
    3. verb
    When you prepare food, you get it ready to be eaten, for example by cooking it.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I think Hermione means that even if you don't apply heat, you can still talk about "cooking" (in the specific context of your original question) - the preparation of food by any means so it can be eaten. Both "cooking" and "preparation" are more broadly used in such conversations. I prepare food so it can be eaten - sushi, sashimi, ceviche, salad etc. I prepare food so it can be cooked and then eaten. Rinsing rice, seasoning meat, peeling potatoes, chopping vegetables. etc.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I prepare food so it can be eaten - sushi, sashimi, ceviche, salad etc. I prepare food so it can be cooked and then eaten.
    So, if I understand correctly, "to prepare food" has two meanings: getting the food ready to be eaten and getting the ingredients ready to be cooked.

    I think Hermione means that even if you don't apply heat, you can still talk about "cooking" (in the specific context of your original question)
    What about this context? If a native English speaker prepared some delicious sushi for me that involved no heating at all (except for cooking rice), would it not be appropriate to say "You're a good cook" or "You're really good at cooking"?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Yes. "Prepare food" can have either meaning according to the context. "Food preparation" is more often the "getting ready" meaning.
    Yes, if someone has just made delicious ice cream, you can say "You're a good cook."
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I don't think you could say that if they made you a sandwich. It just wouldn't be right. If it was a sandwich, you'd have to use the word "make" somehow.

    "You make a mighty fine sandwich.":thumbsup:
    "You're a good sandwich maker.":thumbsdown:
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Yes, if someone has just made delicious ice cream, you can say "You're a good cook."
    I'm not really sure what "make ice cream" means. At what point does the process of "making" start when making ice cream? Here's an interesting comment by an Irish person in What is the difference between “to cook something” and “to make something”?

    "My fiancée is American and I am Irish. I would say “I am going to cook an egg” (or, more likely, something more specific like “boil”, “fry” or “scramble”) whereas she tends to say “I am going to make eggs”, which sounds to me like she is going to squat down on the kitchen floor and lay an egg like a hen (I sometimes make clucking sounds when she says this :). To me “make”, as it relates to food, involves some kind of assembly of ingredients, whereas to her it really doesn't."

    I don't think you could say that if they made you a sandwich. It just wouldn't be right. If it was a sandwich, you'd have to use the word "make" somehow.

    "You make a mighty fine sandwich.":thumbsup:
    "You're a good sandwich maker.":thumbsdown:
    So, if I understand correctly, it's natural to say "You're a good cook" when someone cooked something delicious for you but not natural to say "You're a good X maker" when someone made something delicious for you.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    So, if I understand correctly, it's natural to say "You're a good cook" when someone cooked something delicious for you but not natural to say "You're a good X maker" when someone made something delicious for you.
    Way too broad. :D
    "You're a good soufflé maker" would be quite natural.
    I'm going to to make a soufflé. I'm going to make an omelette. Those are also quite natural. This rests on the very broad use of the word "make".
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    "You're a good soufflé maker" would be quite natural.
    I'm going to to make a soufflé. I'm going to make an omelette. Those are also quite natural. This rests on the very broad use of the word "make".
    Interesting. I wonder why "a good sandwich maker" doesn't work.

    Coming back to my question in post #5, you wouldn't say "You're a good/great cook" if someone prepared or made delicious sushi for you because almost all of the ingredients (except for the rice already cooked) are served raw, would you?
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Coming back to my question in post #5, you wouldn't say "You're a good/great cook" if someone prepared or made delicious sushi for you because almost all of the ingredients (except for the rice already cooked) are served raw, would you?
    You might, but more likely is "You make great sushi" or "You'd make a good sushi chef" etc. :D There's a certain amount of skill in preparing good sushi rice, selecting a preparing the ingredients and mechanical skill making the maki stick together just right. Various components of sushi can be cooked before use in making sushi (and there's gomokuzushi). You will just need to accept that cook can mean a range of things - the broader meaning is NOT restricted to using heat. We would probably not say "I cooked sushi" but sushi might be included in the answer to "What do you cook?" :)
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    You will just need to accept that cook can mean a range of things - the broader meaning is NOT restricted to using heat. We would probably not say "I cooked sushi" but sushi might be included in the answer to "What do you cook?" :)
    This is what I wanted to find out in this thread, so thank you very much, Julian. I suppose "Salads" wouldn't be a valid answer to "What do you cook?", unless they contain some cooked ingredients.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Yes, you make salads. You make sandwiches. You make ice cream. You make toast in a toaster. You make lunch if you put it in a bag to eat later.

    You can cook (or hard boil or scramble or, etc.) eggs or you can make eggs (=make a dish where eggs are the focus, like scrambled eggs)

    You can cook lunch or make lunch if you're eating at home and using your stove. If you're having sandwiches, you make lunch. You can also fix lunch, or fix a sandwich. You can fix someone something to eat (hot or cold).
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks kentix. It seems "make" can be used for almost all kinds of food. On the other hand, "cook" can sound odd depending on the context. If I said "I'll cook some sushi for you", I suppose those who aren't familiar with gomokuzushi or chirashizushi (both contain some cooked ingredients) would advise that I should say "prepare", not "cook".
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I would never think of cooking sushi or using the word cooking with sushi, or ice cream, or anything that didn't require heat. Someone who makes desserts is a pastry chef, not a cook (even though that does involve heat). A cook won't use heat for every last thing they do but that's the center of their activities.

    I would say sushi is prepared or made.

    "You make a mighty fine sandwich.":thumbsup:
    "You're a good sandwich maker.":thumbsdown:
    I was being a little facetious here. You could say the second one and the first is a bit humorous and over the top. But I think it's more likely that someone in the second case would say, "You make good sandwiches." than "You're a good sandwich maker." The former sounds like it's a talent they have that they use when they need to. The latter sounds like it's their job.
     
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