When/Where/Why did humans start eating not fully cooked meat? I am aware that certain cultures were eating raw meat and still do but I am interested specifically in how it became popular in the Western world. Any sources that discuss this are welcome.

  • 1
    @TFD The correct question is: When did man grill his first mammoth burger?
    – TonyArra
    Feb 17, 2014 at 5:24
  • Not sure there is a coherent “Western” attitude towards raw meat or a general movement in one direction or another (beyond specific dishes or fads in particular countries).
    – Relaxed
    Feb 18, 2014 at 2:46

1 Answer 1


Obviously, humans have eaten raw meat since we first showed up on the planet. But even after we learned how to grill our mammoth burgers, some people preferred the taste of uncooked flesh. This is especially true in Asian countries (not just fish, but beef, horse, and pork as well; collectively known as Hoe in Korea). A common practice has always been "cooking" the meat in citric acid first, to reduce the risk of infection. Of course we didn't always know that eating raw meat was bad for you. In fact, many cultures believe that raw meat is beneficial to the body.

Around the late 19th century, some doctors began prescribing "raw food" as a medical treatment. Carpaccio (Italian dish of raw fish or veal pounded thin) was invented in 1950 by Giuseppe Cipriani, after learning that the doctors of countess Amalia Nani Mocenigo recommended that she avoid cooked meat (for reasons I'm unsure of)

Of course the science doesn't really support this theory, but raw meat can be relatively safe in small amounts if prepared carefully. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure the entire Japanese archipelago would keel over from food poisoning. Personally, I prefer my parasites cooked.

  • 2
    Actually, there's a compelling case for cooked foods being the reasons that we evolved into humans in the first place. We have larger brains (requires more energy) and smaller jaws (slower food intake) than our ancestors. So something happened before we evolved into homo erectus to allow us to spend less time eating while getting more calories ... such as knives to cut up the meat, and cooking it so less chewing is required.
    – Joe
    Mar 29, 2018 at 5:21
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    @Joe ...and the effect of cooking on protein and other nutrients, making the nutrition more available, so less quantity required for the same food value or more food value for the same quantity consumed.
    – Anthony X
    Mar 29, 2018 at 13:00

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