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To cook by exposure to an open fire or in an oven.
One of the earliest forms of cooking, would have been cooking meat over an open fire; and spit-roasting was probably discovered by hungry, spear-carrying hunters, far from home, who knew that cut-up meat cooked faster than the same piece of meat in one piece.
It"s possible that ovens of a kind existed as early as 25,000BC. Evidence of these have been found at Dolni Vestonice in Moravia and in the Ukraine, where sunken cylindrical beanpots are believed to have been used for oven-type food.
Throughout the middle ages, boiling was the preferred proposition in Britain, certainly for the masses which wouldn"t have had fire places suitable for a spit.
Indeed, in Britain, roasting only became universally popular, with the introduction of simple domestic ovens, in the 19th century. Before that roasted meat was generally eaten cold, having been cooked in the local bakers oven, for a small charge.