I believe that "I hear someone cook food" is just as correct as "I hear someone cooking food".
In American English at least, I'd say that's correct but sounds a bit "dated". It doesn't sound natural though, and that's the main problem. You'd never hear anyone say it like that here, except perhaps in poetry or the like.
If someone is doing an RPG table-top game, LARP, or other first-person narration, we can expect to encounter this style of speaking. At least, I've encountered it in my region (Oregon, USA) and through fanfiction websites like fanfiction.net and archiveofourown.org.
Edit: Also goodmorning Chaos_Hawk! I just looked up and realized this was replying to one of your comments. You honed right in on poetry and the storytelling aspect of the speaking style. It helped remind me of instances I'd encountered it. :)
Haha, hello! Funny you mention table-top RPGs, as I run those kind of game campaigns with friends. You are right in that someone might speak that way multiple times for such a game session.
"I hear someone cook food" definitely sounds wrong to me. I think if you are saying that you hear something then it is an ongoing action and requires the progressive present tense. In the past tense you could say "I heard a pin drop" etc. for an action which happens in a very short time and makes a single sound, but you would need -ing for an ongoing action, e,g, "I heard someone coming."
Agreed. "I hear someone cook food" is just plain wrong. You hear sounds. Sound is a noun. You hear (nouns). Thus, the gerund is used for this construction. You can say "I heard someone cooks/cooked food," in which the word "that" is omitted. But simply "cook" is grammatically incorrect.
One of English's defining features is the consistency with which it breaks its own rules. It is a quilt of mismatched, assimilated pieces of other languages that are regularly in contradiction. So, if you look to consistency as a determiner for whether something in English is correct or incorrect English, you'll be wrong more often than you're right.
"I hear someone cook food" is most commonly employed in a particular style of first-person story narration, rather than in everyday conversation. It's basically equivalent to "I hear someone cooking food".
Here is an example of the narrative style:
I stealthily approach the small, dilapidated house. The windows are dark, save one. I peek around the corner of the front door, into the dim, cobweb-infested hallway. It is empty. I advance, one silent step after another. I pass the musty living room and then a bathroom. There is a closed door ten paces further. When I arrive, I put my ear to its rough, painted surface and listen. I hear someone move around. Careful not to make a sound, I retreat to the front door. I've left no trace behind me. I melt back into forest just beyond the neglected yard.
I'll give you credit for trying, but I'm not buying it. At least not yet. I get what you are saying, but as of yet, what you are talking about is kind of a slang that gamers use and is restricted to that subculture. I could well gain traction, but as of today, it's still wrong to the vast majority of English speakers, and with good reason.
Steve, I've never thought of a writing style as slang. I think I've only applied slang to individual words. You've just introduced me to a totally new thought. So, while I don't know if I agree with you, I equally don't know if I disagree with you. I'm happy to have read your comment either way. I like thinking about new (to me) things. :)
Usagiboy7 You are right in that it is a writing style, not slang. The difference between the two is important, although not something I'd care to explain fully here, as that would take quite a few paragraphs.
In common (American) English, the phrase "I hear someone cook food" would be incorrect unless a first-person perspective was/is established. If you were walking down the street and spoke to someone in such a manner, they'd think you are a person who speaks of themselves in a theatrical, poetic sense. It wouldn't sound natural.
However, in a story narrated by the focus of the story, (e.i. the main character) one would expect this first-person perspective of speech, since regular talk like Bill saying, "Bill hears someone cook food" would show that they are referring to themselves in third-person, which is of course unnatural although sometimes intentional as a design choice, usually to show that the character is stupid or at least lacking in good speech ability.
All that to say there is a need to use first-person perspective in English writing, like in Usagiboy7's example, as you would otherwise need a second character to do the narrating. (i.e. a narrator) It is simply a writing style, and although you can write in a different style, you couldn't convey the same perspective otherwise.
Disclaimer This is for American English writing. I'm not sure to what extent this applies to other English, but I assume it's used in an identical/similar manner.
EDIT: Whoops, turned out to be kind of a long post anyway...