AskDefine | Define cooker

Dictionary Definition

cooker n : a utensil for cooking

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. In the context of "mostly|British": An appliance or utensil for cooking food


Extensive Definition

A kitchen stove, cooker or cookstove is a kitchen appliance designed for the purpose of cooking food. Kitchen stoves rely on the application of direct heat for the cooking process and may also contain an oven, used for baking.
In the industrialized world, as stoves replaced open fires and braziers as a source of more efficient and reliable heating, models were developed that could also be used for cooking, these came to be known as kitchen stoves. When homes began to be heated with central heating systems there was less need for an appliance that served as both heat source and cooker and stand alone cookers replaced them. Cooker and stove are often used interchangeably,
The fuel-burning stove is the most basic design of kitchen stove. In the developing world, such stoves are still the most common cooking appliances and new, more fuel efficient and environmentally sound biomass cook stoves are being developed for use there. Modern kitchen stoves may use alternative methods for heating food. Gas and electric stoves are the most common today in western countries. Both are equally mature and safe, and the choice between the two is largely a matter of personal preference and preexisting utility outlets: if a house has no gas supply, adding one just to be able to run a gas stove is an expensive endeavour. In particular, professional chefs often prefer gas cooktops, for they allow them to control the heat more finely and more quickly. On the other hand, some chefs often prefer electric ovens because they tend to heat food more evenly. According to EnergyGuide labels on appliances sold in the U.S. and EnerGuide labels in Canada, natural gas fueled appliances are more cost-efficient for the duration of its life. Today's major brands offer both gas and electric stoves, and many also offer dual-fuel stoves combining gas cooktops and electric ovens.
Modern kitchen stoves have both burners on the top (also known as the cooktop or range or, in British English, the hob) and, as noted, an oven. A cooktop just has burners on the top and is usually installed into a countertop. A drop-in range has both burners on the top and an oven and hangs from a cutout in the countertop (that is, it cannot be installed free-standing on its own).

Early kitchen stoves

Chinese, Korean, and Japanese civilizations had discovered the principle of the closed stove much earlier than the West. Already from the Chinese Qin Dynasty (221 BC–206/207 BC), clay stoves that enclosed the fire completely are known, and a similar design known as kamado (かまど) appeared in the Kofun period (3rd–6th century) in Japan. These stoves were fired by wood or charcoal through a hole in the front. In both designs, pots were placed over or hung into holes at the top of the knee-high construction. Raised kamados were developed in Japan during the Edo period (1603–1867).
In Europe, prior to the 18th century people cooked over open fires fueled by wood, which first were on the floor or on low masonry constructions. In the Middle Ages, waist-high brick-and-mortar hearths and the first chimneys appeared, so that cooks no longer had to kneel or sit to tend to foods on the fire. The fire was built on top of the construction; the cooking done mainly in cauldrons hung above the fire or placed on trivets. The heat was regulated by placing the cauldron higher or lower above the fire..


See also

cooker in Danish: komfur

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Dutch oven, alcohol stove, baker, barbecue, boiler, broiler, burner, caliduct, camp stove, chafer, chafing dish, cook stove, cookery, element, furnace, gas jet, grill, griller, heater, heating duct, infrared cooker, jet, pans, percolator, pilot light, roaster, samovar, steam pipe, stove, tewel, toaster, tuyere, warmer
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