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Aside, from the obvious meaning of the word "cooking" (food), can "cooking" also be used to describe something that is "still in the process of being developed" or something along the lines of that meaning? For example: The company is cooking new products for the next quarter, or Their new product is still cooking in the factory. I believe I've seen this usage somewhere before, but googling it doesn't give me an answer.

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    Informally, yes.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 3:58
  • You can also use various synonyms for cooking —a pregnant woman has a bun in the oven, an idea that hasn't been well thought-out is half-baked, projects in development that have been moved down the list of priorities are on the back burner, etc. These are all pretty idiomatic, though, so you want to have a good handle on them before you use one. You wouldn't want to say that a pregnant woman was simmering a baby, for example, but you could say that a would-be author has a book simmering. I'd understand both of your examples, but neither of them sounds quite natural to me.
    – 1006a
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 4:13
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    Yes, and similarly for related expressions: That version of the product is only half-baked.
    – Drew
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 14:27
  • Usually used in the idiom "cook up" or "cooking up", and often with "a scheme" as the object of "up".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 11:57

2 Answers 2

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Your memory is correct. One can certainly use cooking "to describe something that is 'still in the process of being developed" or something along the lines of that meaning."

Dictionary.com:

cook: to be in preparation; develop

"Plans for the new factory have been cooking for several years."

Oxford Dictionaries:

be cooking: be happening or planned

"What's cooking on the alternative fuels front?"

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It's slang - see cooking (definition 7c) - and often used with the preposition 'up'

to be in preparation; develop: "Plans for the new factory have been cooking for several years." (dictionary.com)

I wouldn't say "the new product is still cooking in the factory", but you could write:

The company is cooking up several new products this quarter.

I have a new novel cooking.

They are cooking up a scheme to fool their neighbor.
(Merriam-Webster, "cook up", slightly modified example)

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