Despite widely-held conventions that food is best when cooked, the raw food revolution is happening in full force. Some foods are far more nutrient-rich in their raw form. Other foods can spare the busy and the lazy from cooking and cleaning dishes. Then there are some foods that just taste better raw, and here they are.
A never-ending debate that should be reserved for the heaviest of intellectual heavyweights (are William Buckley and Gore Vidal available?): are Pop-Tarts more scrumptious toasted or straight out of the silver foil packaging? Seriously, let’s get Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse, Pierre Gagniere, and Anne-Sophie Pic at a roundtable and settle this debate once and for all. Nothing could be more pressing.
Grilled oysters are so tasty that it’s tough to place oysters on the list. That said, when drafting the first class entered into the Raw Food Hall of Fame, oysters are a no-brainer selection. Add a few dollops of your favorite hot sauce and slide the oyster on a saltine, and you’ve got a raw delight straight from Poseidon’s grill-free kitchen.
While most sources indicate that you’re not missing out on many nutrients when you cook your eggs, some people genuinely prefer their eggs raw. Often, they’ll throw raw eggs in a protein shake (something you would probably not do with your scrambled eggs). There is a risk of bacterial infection with raw eggs, but many people’s immune systems have proven capable of processing raw eggs without issue.
Specifically sushi and tartare. Fish are cold-blooded when alive, so isn’t it right that they’re served cold? A fried grouper sandwich is one of life’s most uncomplicated delicacies, but entire illegal industries are dedicated to sourcing raw fish for sushi. The $3.2 billion sushi industry, and its myriad customers worldwide, would argue vehemently that raw fish is superior to cooked fish. We shouldn’t get too “cod” up in the details, though. Fish is excellent, raw or cooked.
“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” has quite the ring to it, but have you ever had raw chestnuts? Or almonds? Or cashews? There are plenty of ways to spice up your nuts that involve some form of cooking, but is all the extra work necessary? A pistachio is more than fine in its uncooked state.
6. Cookie Dough
Cookie dough is one of those foods entirely different when cooked versus when it’s raw. In fact, buying a package of Toll House or Nestle cookie dough is like buying two desserts for the price of one. Bake half, eat half raw (you can even mix it with your vanilla ice cream), and get the most out of the dough for the dough you spend on it. The CDC warns that some raw cookie dough might contain E. coli, but have you tasted raw cookie dough? Talk about a risk worth taking…
Melted cheese is divine, but so is a cold (or even room temp) slice of gouda. Cheese is one of the best raw foods you can consume. Some cheeses even have ways of telling you, “Don’t heat me up. I’m better raw.” Cheese with low water levels, including parmesan and halloumi, have higher melting points, making them extra-conducive to raw consumption. Cut the cheese and eat the cheese. It’s that simple.
Tomatoes (technically a fruit, but still), cauliflower, and cucumbers are among the vegetables that people generally prefer raw rather than cooked. Counterexamples, like asparagus, corn, and potatoes, were made for the pan or pot of boiling water. It’s common knowledge that when you cook your vegetables, you denature them to allow nutrients and enzymes to seep out. For nutritional value alone, consider eating your vegetables raw.
Eating uncooked fruit isn’t as much of a no-brainer as you might think. Bananas Foster, grilled peaches, and pineapple on your pizza present strong evidence in favor of cooked fruit. However, part of fruit’s greatest benefit is pure, raw sweetness. Keep your aspartame and sucralose. When we want a sweet treat, we go straight to the dirt. Watermelon, mango, and pineapple prove that whoever or whatever is responsible for this planet has one heck of a palate.
10. Deli Meats
Salami, ham, and turkey are all tasty in their uncooked forms. Sure, once you bite into a pressed Cuban sandwich, you may immediately begin to question why you don’t heat up all your meat. That said, a cool ham and cheese sandwich or charcuterie board is a surefire crowd-pleaser.
Written by: Sam Mire