The New Kitchen Science

Howard Hillman

Houghton Mifflin Company

t he n e w KI TC HE N SC I E NC E

a guide to knowing the


and success in the kitchen

and whys for fun



kitchen science

houg hton mifflin company
boston new yor k 2003

Copyright © 1981, 1989, 2003 by Howard Hillman All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003. Visit our Web site: Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data is available. ISBN 0-618-24963-X Book design by Melissa Lotfy Typefaces: Minion and FuturaT Printed in the United States of America QUM 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

To creative, intellectually curious cooks because they make cooking and dining more fun, exciting, and delicious


contents Preface ix Mistakes Good Cooks Make — and How to Avoid Them xi 1 • Cooking Equipment 1 2 • Cooking Methods 27 3 • Meats 44 4 • Seafood 78 5 • Dairy Products 102 6 • Eggs 123 7 • Fruits and Vegetables 134 8 • Sauces and Thickeners 153 9 • Seasonings 177 10 • Oils and Fats 188 11 • Baking 200 12 • Beverages 218 13 • Food Storage 234 14 • Health and Nutrition 249 15 • Diets 265 16 • Potpourri 275 Further Reading 293 Index 297 About the Author 318 .


the book is written for cooks. why some people can eat more hot chili than other people. why new potatoes are best for making potato salad. and you’ll be less dependent on recipes because you’ll know what can and cannot be done — and why. Like me and my many readers. It explains scientific principles in nonacademic language. ix . And the Q&A format makes it quick and easy for you to absorb the many tips and insights. You’ll learn why baking powder leavens. You’ll have more fun cooking after reading The New Kitchen Science because you’ll be a more creative cook. The New Kitchen Science updates and enlarges the earlier volume. and offers many new tips and insights.preface much has happened in the culinary world since Kitchen Science was published two decades ago. and hundreds of gutsy answers to other practical questions. why sauces thicken. not scientists. . why a soufflé rises. As a quick thumbing through its pages will show you. The New Kitchen Science takes the mystery out of cooking. why a “bloody rare” steak is not really bloody. why freezing ruins the texture of meat. you’ll love becoming a mad scientist in the kitchen. why some pots are superior to others. You’ll be able to improvise with greater flair.

I hope you enjoy reading The New Kitchen Science as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it. and you can cook one dish. Supplementing that information is my knowledge. and you can cook creatively forever. . preface The “whys” have been well researched. I interviewed food scientists and devoured weighty tomes and academic articles that explore the world of food science. “Give a man a fish. Teach yourself the science of cooking. . which comes from having written other food books and from having a lifelong interest in discovering the “whys” of cooking. Teach a man to fish. and you feed him for a lifetime. An ancient Chinese philosopher once advised his assembled followers.” There is a parallel in cooking: Find yourself a recipe. and you feed him for a day.x . With help from my staff. I conducted countless experiments in the kitchen in order to separate food facts from myths.

xi . “Cooking Equipment” — p. 33 Crowding food in a deep fryer Chapter 2. 15 Buying a budget-priced food processor Chapter 1. 13 Frying foods in a skillet instead of a sauté pan Chapter 1.mistakes good cooks make — and how to avoid them d o you know the consequences of committing the culinary errors listed here? The New Kitchen Science gives you clear explanations that will help you avoid making these and hundreds of other cooking mistakes. “Cooking Methods” — p. “Cooking Methods” — p. 59 • • • • • . 22 Roasting meat in a covered pan Chapter 2. • Cooking tomato sauce in an aluminum pan Chapter 1. “Meat” — p. “Cooking Equipment” — p. “Cooking Equipment” — p. 38 Carving a roast with the grain Chapter 3.

67 Unnecessarily shrinking a roasting meat Chapter 3. 121 Storing eggs with their thin ends pointing upward Chapter 6. • . “Seafood” — p. “Meat” — p. “Meat” — p. 98 Wrapping refrigerated butter loosely Chapter 5. “Dairy Products” — p. 96 Not discarding a clam whose shell won’t close Chapter 4. “Eggs” — p. 70 Frying bacon over high heat Chapter 3. “Seafood” — p. mistakes good cooks make — and how to avoid them Overly relying on minutes-per-pound charts Chapter 3. 76 Turning over a broiling fish Chapter 4. “Seafood” — p. “Meat” — p. “Dairy Products” — p. 73 Believing yellow skin indicates a good chicken Chapter 3. “Meat” — p. 114 Causing ice crystals to form in ice cream Chapter 5. 92 Cooking a dead lobster Chapter 4. 95 Killing a lobster in an inhumane way Chapter 4.xii . 65 Cooking refrigerator-temperature meat Chapter 3. “Eggs” — p. 126 Boiling eggs with begin-in-cold-water method Chapter 6. “Meat” — p. “Meat” — p. “Seafood” — p. 68 Buying thin steaks for broiling or grilling Chapter 3. 131 • • • • • • • • • • • • • .

190 Allowing a cooking oil to reach its smoke point Chapter 10. 149 Serving tomatoes cold Chapter 7. 139 Buying potatoes with green-tinged surface areas Chapter 7. 131 Letting fried egg whites become rubbery Chapter 6. “Eggs” — p. “Fruits and Vegetables” — p. 150 Dressing wet salad greens Chapter 8. 177 Prematurely putting herbs into the stew pot Chapter 9. “Eggs” — p. “Oils and Fats” — p. “Seasonings” — p. “Seasonings” — p. 157 Spicing food as it sautés Chapter 9. “Fruits and Vegetables” — p. 131 Slicing whole boiled eggs before letting them cool Chapter 6. 196 • • • • • • • • • • • • • . “Eggs” — p. xiii Ending up with green-tinged boiled egg yolks Chapter 6. 177 Handling chilies without knowing their hottest areas Chapter 9. • . 145 Buying the largest zucchinis in a vegetable bin Chapter 7. “Fruits and Vegetables” — p. 182 Thinking that cholesterol per se is unhealthy Chapter 10. “Oils and Fats” — p. 132 Steaming green peas in a covered pot Chapter 7. 144 Baking potatoes without first piercing them Chapter 7. “Fruits and Vegetables” — p. “Sauces and Thickeners” — p. “Fruits and Vegetables” — p.mistakes good cooks make — and how to avoid them . “Seasonings” — p.

225 Brewing coffee with hot tap water Chapter 12. “Baking” — p. 245 Storing raw onions next to raw potatoes Chapter 13. mistakes good cooks make — and how to avoid them Keeping a can of baking powder around too long Chapter 11. “Food Storage” — p. “Health and Nutrition” — p. “Food Storage” — p. 245 Neglecting to clean a recently used can opener Chapter 14. “Food Storage” — p. 201 Baking a dome-top cake Chapter 11. 227 Steeping tea in an uncovered pot or cup Chapter 12. “Beverages” — p. 249 • • • • • • • • • • • • • . “Food Storage” — p. “Health and Nutrition” — p. “Beverages” — p. 232 Freezing foods in aluminum foil Chapter 13. 244 Buying a frost-coated frozen vegetable package Chapter 13. “Baking” — p. “Beverages” — p. “Baking” — p.xiv . “Food Storage” — p. “Beverages” — p. 249 Setting a hot pot on a surface used for cutting Chapter 14. 212 Positioning pots and pans too close to an oven’s wall Chapter 11. 241 Believing that refreezing thawed foods is unsafe Chapter 13. • . 245 Placing raw vegetables into sealed airtight bags Chapter 13. 214 Trying to slake thirst with a non-diet soft drink Chapter 12. 219 Placing unrinsed ice cubes into a glass Chapter 12.

284 • • • . 278 Soaking a flour-coated pan with very hot water Chapter 16. xv Seldom replacing a kitchen sink’s water tap filter Chapter 14. “Health and Nutrition” — p. • . 253 Skipping breakfast when dieting Chapter 15. “Potpourri” — p. “Diets” — p. “Potpourri” — p. 270 Making a fallen soufflé Chapter 16.mistakes good cooks make — and how to avoid them .


t he n e w KI TC HE N SC I E NC E .


the less likely the cook is to cut himself. less likely and a 10-inch nonserrated slicing (carving) knife. an 8-inch chef ’s (chopping) knife. a duller knife is more . That’s why it is more cost-effective in the long run to invest in a few quality knives than to purchase a broader assortment of less expensive and inferior implements. As a bonus. and slicing tasks will be quicker and easier. because quality knives should last you a lifetime. the cook is You also need a 10-inch butcher steel for honing. First. but the point is valid for two pragmatic reasons. Our recommended fiveknife starter set performs a wide variety of tasks. It comprises a 3. people tend to be more careful when using sharper knives because the potential harm is more vivid in their minds. the slicing knife. Inexpensive ones normally need to be replaced every five years or so. your cutting. Second.1 cooking equipment Are quality knives a bargain? Yes. to cut himself Are dull knives more dangerous than sharp ones? Without question. a 6-inch utility knife. 1 .to 4-inch (blade length) paring The sharper knife. chopping. an 8-inch serrated the knife. The sharper the knife. This may sound like dull-witted reasoning.

Yet another variation of the theme is the superstainless knife. . It makes cutting quicker and more efficient and minimizes ripping and tearing of the food. and onions. chromium. Its alloy — at least its plating alloy — is impregnated with relatively large quantities of chromium and nickel. An alloy’s precise makeup determines to a considerable extent a knife’s advantages and disadvantages for a cook. The alloy is also vulnerable to attack by the acid in foods like citrus fruits. How do the four basic knife-blade alloys differ? Virtually all kitchen knives have blades of steel. the new kitchen science apt to slip when cutting because it requires more downward pressure to do the job. and therefore it is preferred by most serious chefs. whereas the other amalgamation contains more chromium. There are more benefits from a sharp knife than just safety. it will rust. What are the pros and cons of each knife-blade alloy? A carbon steel blade is unequaled in its ability to take an extremely sharp edge. The high-carbon stainless knife is betwixt and between the two — its carbon. The major drawback of carbon steel is that unless the blade is promptly wiped dry after each use. and nickel proportions lie somewhere in between those of the standard carbon and stainless steel varieties. tomatoes. the one with the scintillating silvery look. and often nickel. an alloy consisting mainly of iron mixed with carbon and a smaller portion of other elements.2 . blemishing the blade’s surface with blackish stains. that discoloration and its attendant off-odor can be transferred to the foods you are cutting. Superstainless steel is the least efficient of the four basic knife . The critical difference between carbon and stainless steel alloys is that the first has a higher carbon content. the acid will react chemically with the metal. If the knife is not washed soon after contact with these ingredients. Moreover.

.cooking equipment . this is physically impossible. In fact. You should buy only a knife produced by a quality manufacturer because fine knife making requires skilled workmanship involving a myriad of precision tasks. Kitchenware demonstrators speak hokum when they claim that superstainless steel knives never need to be sharpened. high-carbon stainless steel knives of a quality manufacturer. a stainless steel blade will still be annoyingly dull in the hands of a busy cook. What else should I look for when buying a knife? Selecting the right blade alloy is not enough. Though it takes a sharper edge than a superstainless one. 3 alloys. resists rust. It is all but impossible for a cook to restore the sharpness once the knife loses its original well-honed edge (if the manufacturer gave it one in the first place). such as tempering the steel. it is the answer for a cook who lives by the sea or in a humid climate. The tang (the part of the metal enclosed by the handle) should . A high-carbon stainless steel knife — by far the most expensive of the four types — will neither rust nor stain. and corrosion caused by water and acid. like its super cousin. stains. As our kitchen tests verify. Stainless steel. Although a blade made from high-carbon stainless steel can be honed to a fairly sharp edge. we recommend that you purchase the top-ofthe-line. do not believe the food writers and salespeople who tell you that its sharpness will match that of a knife made with carbon steel. because salt can corrode and moisture can oxidize (rust) nonstainless steel. such as Wüsthof (Trident trademark) or Henckels. High-carbon stainless steel is also recommended for cooks who do not want to be bothered with having to wash the knife and wipe it dry promptly after each use — or who do not want the knife blade to become tarnished because the chore was neglected. What they should tell you is that their product can’t be sharpened. unless you can buy superb carbon steel knives (they are becoming difficult to find in America nowadays). Consequently.

Almost as bad are those small pairs of steel rotating disk-cylinders that are supposed to be attached to a kitchen door or cabinet. Nearly all hardwood and many modern plastic-and-wood composite grips fit the bill. the edge of your knife may dull beyond the restorative powers of the honing rod. plastic hilts do not. Sometimes the abrasive material is a thin coating of minuscule diamonds. However. In that case. they tend to scratch the blade too much and throw it out of alignment. two essential qualities that inexpensive knives usually lack. as a butcher is wont to do. bluish-black block made of the exceptionally hard silicon carbide Carborundum (available in most hardware stores). though they are not recommended for high-quality carbon or high-carbon steel knives. A knife’s handle should be easy to grasp and feel comfortable in your hand. the new kitchen science run the full length of the handle and should be well secured with at least three rivets. the handle and the metal part of the knife may separate within a matter of years.4 . What is the best tool for sharpening knives? Honing a knife on one of those extremely coarse grinding wheels or belts that are commonly used by peregrinating peddlers or key makers is one of the most unsatisfactory methods. a rough-surfaced. unless you use the steel frequently to sharpen the knife. Repeated sharpenings on these instruments wear away your blade within a few years. you will need to sharpen the knife periodically with a whetstone. Its material should be durable and nonslippery. a small. The best day-to-day sharpening implement is the butcher’s steel. Electric knife sharpeners perform better. These countertop appliances can permanently alter the angular shape of the knife’s cutting edge given by the knife’s manufacturer. hard metal rod equipped with a handle. Not only do these gadgets devour the metal of the blade faster than need be. abrasive. Otherwise. The full tang also contributes weight and balance. . .

A chef ’s knife is designed to chop. the thinner design allows the carver to cut narrower and more uniform slices because the blade stays reasonably parallel to the face of the cut. As the accompanying illustration shows. We experimented and found that approximately 20° produces the best all-around results. friction and food crushing is minimized as the knife slides through the food. With vertical slots. you drag a knife’s cutting edge along the wood each time you insert and remove the utensil. 5 What is the ideal honing angle? Some say that 15° is the correct honing angle. . knives jostle about. One of the best storage solutions is a wood knife block (which also makes knives very accessible). Because the slicing knife blade is relatively thin. Can I slice food with a chef ’s knife? Not if you want thin. Buy one with horizontal slots. Honing Angles le too litt 10° idea l c h 30 mu 0° too 2 ° Where should sharp knives be stored? Certainly not intermingled in a drawer with other knives and utensils. there is a notable difference — for reasons of function — between the crosssectional blade of the slicing knife and the chef ’s knife. Every time you open and close the drawer. Just as important. attractive slices. not slice. damaging their cutting edges. whereas other estimates place the number at 25° or even 30°. . A good way to know whether you are honing at or near a 20° angle is to refer to the accompanying graphic as you practice with an actual knife and butcher equipment .

Consequently. marble. is wood. Hard cutting surfaces are not the only anathema to a sharp knife blade. the new kitchen science What about doing the opposite. . and therefore the most desirable of the popular cutA knife beting surfaces. crockery. enamel. That extra weight gives the blade extra momentum and therefore more power to help the cook chop through firm foods like garlic and carrots. but they are harder than wood. and most kitchen countertops. A blade that nicks too many bones or scrapes hard . boards than Polyethylene boards are not as hard as.6 . Hard surfaces include metal. a knife becomes duller faster on polyethylene boards than on wood ones. Even though polyethylene is easier to clean. say. most good cooks insist on wood cutting boards because keeping a knife sharp is crucial. the more quickly a knife dulls. Though softwood does comes duller less harm to the knife’s edge. The softest. chopping firm food with a slicing knife? The chef ’s knife does a much better job because its wedge shape is broader on the top of its cross-section than the slicing knife. hardwood is used faster on most often because it absorbs less moisture and polyethylene lasts longer. china. Cross-Sectional Views slicing knife chef’s knife Should I buy a wood or polyethylene cutting board? The harder a cutting surface. glass. on wood ones metal and glass.

. the food will take longer to cook or there will probably be insufficient heat to cook the other portions of the food. Then turn the heat to a low to and cold spots is that you medium setting and wait for the sugar cannot cook the food properly to start to caramelize. or if the configuration of the You can see with your own eyes electric coil is a spiral. if the Experiment gas burner is starfish-shaped./4 cup of sugar with a couple of tablespoons of water. Moisten 1 spots will follow those pat. hot equipment . crack. They absorb less bacteria and cooking flavors because their wood is less porous. if you lower the heat to prevent scorching. The problem of frying or uniformly on the flat cooking surface of a stainless steel pan (preferably thinbraising in a pan that has hot gauged). Are hardwood spoons worth their higher price? Hardwood spoons cost more than softwood spoons because they are made of more expensive material and are more difficult to carve. Spread the mixture terns. The hot spots will be directly over the places where the heat source comes in conTry This Hot-Spot tact with the pan. stain. The food over the hot spots will overcook. 7 kitchenware in a dishwasher or on a drying rack also may not cut the mustard. If it has hot spots. the sugar dioughly stir the contents (and rectly over them will caramelize first. They dry faster. or warp.evenly. and last more than twice as long as softwood spoons. Thus. . If your pan has — unless you do nothing else no hot spots. you could not forming a pattern that maps your pan’s do that even if you so desired). are more attractive. “hot” and “cold” spots will develop. Why is good heat distribution a virtue for a stove-top pan? Unless heat can quickly spread through the entire bottom of a pan. the hot whether a pan has hot spots. They are less likely to scorch. Or. the sugar will caramelize but constantly and thor. when braising.

Even poorer conductors are glass. Providing that such a vessel is covered and its walls are thick enough. the type of sheet metal that is used to fashion traditional woks and crepe pans. Of the popular pan materials. it absorbs and gives up heat so languidly that it should keep your food warm for a long time. When cooking food in a generous quantity of boiling or simmering water. A metal’s finish also affects cooking efficiency. too. which are the fastest heat conductors and which the slowest? The fastest guns in town are silver. However. The speed at which heat can travel through a pan’s bottom is a function of how well it conducts heat (see “How is heat transferred to food?” in chapter 2. though a thicker gauge will help compensate for the mediocre heat-conducting properties of iron. the weight of the extra metal usually makes the pot unwieldy. Aluminum is quick on the draw. By the time the heat reaches the food. 28–29). the more uniformly a pot will distribute heat throughout its interior surface. tin. The thicker its gauge. however. and pottery in general. the new kitchen science If you discover that your pots have hot spots and you do not wish to replace the equipment. Stainless steel ranks even lower in heat-flow efficiency. you can minimize the defect by using a heat diffuser or by using a low heat setting. porcelain. . Conductivity varies mainly according to the type of metal as well as the thickness and finish of the metal. earthenware. The same principle holds true for steaming. Factors other than the type of metal also determine how evenly a pot heats food.8 . and copper. pp. you need not worry so much about the negative effects of hot and cold spots on the bottom of your pan. the cooking medium (water) will have more or less equalized the two temperature extremes. The sluggish attributes of these materials. can be a plus in serving dishes. Middling-speed substances include cast iron and carbon (rolled) steel. .

Authentic copper pots and pans. and its shiny. which chemically hastens the release of the copper and its oxides. and stewing). The results can be noxious. the amount of copper leaching from a few scratches in the tin lining shouldn’t prove to be dangerously toxic — that is. The pan must be relined once the tin starts to wear away appreciably because if too much copper leaches into your cooking foods. an expensive process. the even heat distribution is greatly impaired and hot spots develop. are excellent because the thick copper metal distributes the heat evenly throughout the base and the lower sides of the cooking utensil. Is enamel cookware practical? Enamel cookware resists corrosion. However. often colorful veneer can make it quite attractive. The copper coating that is used to produce this lower-priced equipment is typically less than 1/50 of an inch thick — too thin to distribute heat equipment . Even the stainless steel is deplorably thin. if you minimize or avoid cooking foods that are high in acid or highly pigmented. braising. This is why we never recommend copper cooking equipment to anyone who doesn’t have the time and inclination to keep it clean and polished — and it is a chore. We do not recommend purchasing mass-produced pseudocopper pots and pans — the lightweight. turning a positive into a negative. The buyer gets the headache of the genuine copper equipment (keeping the metal polished) without enjoying the heat distribution advantage. if the copper base becomes mottled with black carbon deposits. stamped stainless steel type with copper-coated bottoms. 9 Are copper pots worth the money? It depends. which are quite dear. fat-based cooking (frying) will release less copper than water-based cooking (boiling. both on the range and on the . Another drawback of authentic copper pots is that they must be periodically relined with tin. . your liver won’t be able to remove the excess from your blood. to be sure. Finally. However.

the new kitchen science dining room table.” Enamelware (a misnomer) is a metal. and its surface will eventually wear . Unfortunately. fry foods with little or no oil or butter. making it more likely that food will stick to the pan. An indisputable positive feature of a nonstick pan is that its smooth surface can be washed free of food quickly and with minimum effort. the nonstick coating is not truly nonstick (“low-stick” would be a better appellation). pan.10 . The commercial “seasoning” method produces a much slicker surface than the home method — so slick that you can. or in time. if you want. Too many of the nonstick coated pans are too thin and thus — because of the resulting uneven heat distribution — are not ideal for most stove-top cooking methods. When one cooks without oil or fat. These substances cover the pores and microscopic jagged peaks of the metal (usually aluminum) and therefore deny food the opportunity to latch on to something. What are the pros and cons of nonstick coatings? The nonstick surface is a blessing to people who must drastically restrict their fat intake. they can easily scratch. . a stovehot enamelware pot can shatter if the cook sets it in cold water. Nonstick coatings in effect season the pan. However. even with proper use. the main selling point of the nonstick lining can turn out to be a drawback. How do nonstick surfaces work? Most nonstick kitchenware is made with chemically inert fluorocarbon plastic that is baked onto the cooking surfaces. The enamel is no more than a thin coating produced by fusing a powdered glass onto the metal (often cast-iron) pan in a kiln. This sheer layer can chip easily if the cook accidentally bangs the pan against the hard sink. However. Thermal shock is another hazard. for others. its beauty is only “skin deep. the taste buds and olfactory receptors are deprived of rich flavors that are essential to superb dining. not an enamel. A nonstick lining also discolors with misuse. Finally. should metal utensils and scouring pads be used.

nor can it color or flavor foods. despite what some kitchenware ads and salespeople profess. And because the pan’s entire metal surface is stainless steel. Unlike the nonstick variety. though the nonstick pan performs that mission demonstrably equipment . because by the time it reaches that stainless steel tier. The aluminum layer cannot become discolored. like a nonstick pan. The upper stainless steel layer does not have the hot spots that are common in 100 percent stainless steel pots. the heat from the burner has been more or less evenly diffused by the aluminum (which is. an excellent conductor of heat). because it is completely enclosed within the stainless steel. the more effective the defense. Still another bonus . The purpose of this design is to give the cook the best of both worlds by eliminating each metal’s disadvantages. The thicker the layer. Both pans help prevent food from sticking. How does an anodized aluminum pan compare with a nonstick aluminum pan? An anodized pan will likely be thicker gauged and better built but. Generally. it has an attractive shiny finish and is easier to clean. unlike stainless steel. there is a correlation between how much you pay for a pan and how long the nonstick surface will last. can be easily scratched and impaired by a careless cook or dishwasher. 11 away. . The anodization process is based on the principle that an oxide layer forms naturally on aluminum and that this oxide helps prevent food from sticking to the metal. an anodized pan usually needs to be seasoned occasionally. Why are pans that are constructed with multi-ply bottoms so highly touted? Their bottoms have three layers: a middle ply (generally aluminum) sandwiched between two stainless steel ones. Manufacturers discovered that they could artificially create a reasonably thick layer by means of electrolysis.

it probably needs to be washed and very likely scoured with soap or detergent. Naturally. . some of the oil that coats the pores and minuscule jagged peaks of the metal bind themselves chemically to some of the cleansing agent’s molecules and flow down the drain with the dishwater. When cleaned in this way. If rust has developed deep inside the pores of the interior surface. Sometimes the cause is indirect: If one lets a pan rust. and the longer the pan is soaked. such as a spatula. If damage done by the cleaning is not too great. water cannot seep in and create rust that would give food an off-flavor. First. Two culinary benefits result. the stronger the cleansing solution. The oil fills the cavities and becomes entrenched in them. heating it for 30 to 60 minutes in a 300°F oven. iron-based metals are rather porous and have microscopic jagged peaks. you will have to start the seasoning process over again from the very beginning. the cooking surface develops a nonstick quality because the formerly jagged and pitted surface becomes smooth. . Why do pans sometimes become deseasoned? One common reason is that the pan has been scratched with a sharp metal tool. the new kitchen science is that multi-tiered construction has much the same effect on the pan’s bottom that it has on plywood: The possibility of warping is decreased. Second.12 . the more fiercely one scrubs. Why must I season a cast-iron or carbon steel pot before using it for the first time? The surfaces of both of these nonstainless. because the pores are permeated with oil. dump the pan into a trash bin — all the king’s cooks couldn’t put it back in serviceable order again. the more the pan becomes deseasoned. as well as rounding off the peaks. the pan will automatically reseason itself the next time you fry in it — so no harm done. and then cooling it to room temperature. You season a pan or pot by rubbing it with oil. If the damage is severe.

Otherwise. say. or cabbage. aluminum doesn’t rust (though it does oxidize slowly). the acid chemically removes some of the stain from the pot and transfers the discoloration to the food. we do not follow that advice. Unless you use these metal utensils daily. aluminum pots will last for decades. . or if the pot is washed with high-alkali cleanser. giving cooked foods an off-flavor. wine. Although the brownish tinge diminishes the aesthetic appeal of the food. Unlike cast iron or carbon steel. . Washing your wok or omelet pan gently with a cleansing agent need not ruin your prized possession. they should be washed briefly with a little soapy water (then rinsed and thoroughly dried) in order to rid them of excess surface oil. the metal’s surface becomes stained. Since that technique can also chemically precipitate rusting. On the plus side. the surplus oil will become rancid within two days or so. or if the cooking medium is hard water. can I wash it with soap? Many cookbooks say “never. 13 Once my carbon steel wok or omelet pan is seasoned. the heat-flow efficiency of a thick-gauge aluminum pot nearly rivals that of a copper pot of similar gauge. Why does an aluminum pot give a red tomato sauce a brownish tinge? If an unlined aluminum vessel is used to cook a high-alkali food such as potatoes. such as onions. which is noticeably heavier and many times more expensive.” but that advice can run counter to sound hygiene and pleasing taste. stainless steel of identical gauge). Another drawback of aluminum pots is their propensity to warp when subjected to abrupt changes in temperature extremes (more so than. If treated with care. lemon equipment . When the pot is subsequently used to cook tomato sauce or any other high-acid ingredient. especially if they are thin-gauged. And aluminum implements dent easily. it poses no threat to your health. Some cookbooks recommend an alternative method: Scour the pan with dry salt.

The thicker a sheet of metal. cheap pots are seldom a bargain. nonetheless. the jar’s bottom will quickly swell. the heat that is transferred from the water to the jar’s bottom travels relatively slowly (by conduction) to the top of the jar. partially because it has a higher heat-flow efficiency. and — what is most critical — without a corresponding expansion in the upper part of the jar. the new kitchen science Why can a quick temperature change shatter glass? The natural brittleness and poor conductivity of glass make it susceptible to cracking when it experiences a rapid change in temperature from hot to cold or vice versa. .14 . Metal does. Standard porcelain. . warp for the same reason that glass cracks: structural stress caused by a sudden and significant change in the relative temperature of two closely situated areas of the cookware. and therefore the less likely it is to warp. for instance. The metal of inexpensive metal pots and pans (except for the cast-iron variety) is typically thin-gauged. Since warped cookware conducts heat unevenly. hot tap water) before placing it in a preheated oven. Since glass (or any other material) expands when heated. when boiling water is poured into a cold glass jar. What makes a pan warp? A metal will not shatter like glass. has its limits. too. earthenware. Even less susceptible is Corningware. Contemplate what happens. however. and that of higherquality utensils is thick-gauged. is much less vulnerable to shattering than is regular glass. This disparity creates a structural stress that cracks the doomed glass. for instance. though it. and other pottery. such as Pyrex.” so it is a good idea to preheat a vessel made with one of these materials (with. the greater its structural strength. do indeed have glass’s “Achilles’ heel. Because glass has a low heat-flow efficiency. Treated glass. but chiefly because it has a sturdier intermolecular structure.

A typical home stove-top gas burner generates fewer than 10. Moreover. elegant flavor. . 15 Are there essential differences between a skillet and a sauté pan? Though many cooks freely substitute one for the other. In contrast. the comparatively high. should not measure more than 2 1/2 inches. incidentally. the cook pan-fries chicken. Higher walls cause excess steam to build up in the pan as gaseous water molecules are released by the frying foods. for instance. each pan is designed with specific functions in mind. needlessly causing extra splatter and lowering the oil’s temperature at the same time. skillet sauté pan Why don’t the wok-cooked dishes that I prepare at home equal those made in a topnotch Chinese restaurant? Even assuming that your cooking talents and ingredients match those of a professional Chinese chef. The sides of a sauté pan. and crisp texture. 60°F water by 1°F . your stir-fried food can’t have the same intense color.000 British thermal units. The rationale behind its construction is different: The design is meant to reduce the amount of oil that splatters beyond the sauté pan’s rim when. some of the imprisoned steam molecules then condense and fall into the oil. (A BTU defines the quantity of heat required to raise 2 cups — 1 pound — of air-free. vertical wall of a sauté pan interferes with these cooking tasks. A skillet’s sloping side allows you to turn and remove food such as scrambled eggs more easily. A difference in the heat power available to you explains the equipment .

the highly functional configuration of an authentic wok is incompatible with the heating surface of an electric stovetop or cook-top. Moreover. the pan sauce better clings to the food. The area of contact between this rounded vessel and a flat surface is small.16 . the combination of the height and slope of the sides facilitates tossing. since fewer of the internal juices in the cooking food emerge. the heating unit itself consists of many concentric burner rings. the heart of the wok. A crisper texture results because the higher heat firms the surface of the food before the interior becomes overcooked. the restaurant burner apparatus is normally several times wider. Many a stir-fry recipe calls for a quick lowering or raising of the temperature in the middle of the cooking period. Just as important. the new kitchen science at normal atmospheric pressure. the higher heat more effectively triggers the chemical reactions that heighten the color of the vegetables as they start to cook. Yet. too) are ill suited for stir-frying for yet another reason. . Stir-frying is best executed with a small amount of cooking oil concentrated in the hottest zone. Can I use a wok on an electric range? Unfortunately. The higher heat more effectively seals in the juices of the ingredients and therefore helps lock in flavor and nutrients. Electric ranges (and electric woks. And because the cooking period is very brief. It has much more gas to burn because the gas line that supplies the fuel to the burner is much larger in diameter. a genuine wok must have a rounded bottom as a matter of practicality. In addition.) The BTU output for a gas range in a first-rate Chinese restaurant is at least twice as high because of the stove’s special design features. Finally. . an essential stir-frying procedure. and a concave pan accomplishes this goal. making the dish more appetizing. the vivid colors developed do not have a chance to fade. Electric heating units generally respond slowly to temperature adjustments. and therefore heat is severely limited. In addition. the normal home gas burner has but one.

It consumes space inside the oven unit. .000°F. but few have a carbon monoxide detector to sound an alarm when it reaches a precarious level. and carbon monoxide (capable of producing headaches. Bear in mind that this feature comes at a price besides dollars. This reduces an oven’s interior dimensions and — consequently — the maximum size of a pot. The other — a less efficient device — simply filters and recycles the adulterated air in your kitchen. minimizing the need for elbow grease and redecoration. vinyl chloride (a cancer-causing agent). One sucks the polluted air out of the kitchen into the great equipment . nausea. How does a self-cleaning oven work? When the oven is heated to nearly 1. as a fireplace chimney does. carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless. any clinging grease on the walls disintegrates into fine particles that either free themselves or can be easily wiped away with a damp cloth. Both reduce grime buildup in your kitchen. The rounded bottom is required for true Chinese stir-frying. there seems to be an even stronger reason for having a smoke hood. pan. . and death). Are smoke hoods a good investment? Two basic types of smoke hoods exist. According to the results of a study conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. at least in restaurants where a clutch of ovens bake or roast continually. Unlike smoke. 17 Do not buy one of those “woks” that has been designed with a flat bottom specifically for use on an electric unit. You cannot properly stir-fry in one of these vessels. Most homes have a smoke alarm in or near the kitchen. The researchers found that oven exhaust can contain excess levels of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide (both can create respiratory disorders). which are essentially highwalled skillets. both equipped with exhaust fans. at the “self-clean” setting. or sheet you can place inside the oven.

If you live in a country home that is not connected to a natural gas pipeline — and you do not like the alternative of cooking on an electric range — then propane is the answer. Avoid electriccoil ranges. The electric coil variety uses a spiral heating element that sits exposed on top of the range. smooth-surfaced range. This means. that propane will take longer to boil a pot of water. even though they are the least expensive range. and boil foods. Propane generates 10 to 20 percent fewer BTUs than natural gas. It fuels nearly all outdoor gas grills. a gas or electric range? A range (also called a stove-top) is the open cooking surface where you fry.18 . halogen. the new kitchen science Which is better. And it more readily blackens the bottoms of pots and pans because it does not burn as cleanly as natural gas. What are the electric range options? The two basic electric range categories are coil and cook-top. This device heats and responds to temperature adjustments very slowly. something starts to boil that shouldn’t. That is crucial when. . It is difficult to clean. There are several electric cook-top subcategories: radiant. for instance. The range must also heat food reasonably fast. sauté. and induction. propane or natural gas? Natural gas is superior. Which gas is better for range cooking. The heating units lie hidden under the glass-ceramic panel. An electric cook-top is a flat. You will need an outside propane tank and a range that can be converted to use propane. . for instance. It is more likely to malfunction than other range types. What are the pros and cons of the three cook-top types? You need a range that can be adjusted in small increments and can respond quickly to any heat adjustment. Most good cooks prefer a gas over an electric range for reasons described later. Propane has its place.

A major drawback is that you can use only pots and pans that contain a metal (like iron or steel) that is responsive to magnetic fields. and/or induction heating units. Magnetic induction cook-tops heat and respond to temperature adjustments as fast as halogen and gas ranges. It is built with a combination of radiant. they heat the cook-top. for many reasons. which help you estimate without uncovering a pot the intensity of the heat that is being applied to the food. halogen. a pan has to be perfectly flat for optimum cooking on the smooth cook-top. Overall. Although ribbon-style radiant cook-tops do better. most good cooks cast their vote for a gas range. all cook-tops are easier to clean than gas and electric-coil cook-tops. . Electricity is by far the best energy source for the oven-broiler unit. they are even more hazardous. they still do not perform those jobs as well as the halogen and induction cook-tops. the cook-top’s cooking area is not hot. You can purchase a mixed-unit cook-top. Like radiant cook-tops. 19 The original radiant cook-tops disappointingly botched the above duties. And their cooking area remains hot long after the pan is removed — a hazard. Halogen cook-tops produce the cooking heat with a halogen bulb. which heats the food. Gas burners — because they cook with flames — are more forgiving if the pan’s bottom is dented or warped. They do not heat the glass-ceramic panel that lies between the pan and the magnetic induction device. What warmth it has comes from the heat conducted from the hot pan. Induction cook-tops heat a pan directly by means of a magnetic field. it is expensive to replace a glass-ceramic cook-top that has been broken by an accidentally dropped pan. a gas or electric oven broiler? The electric oven wins hands down. When you remove a equipment . An elec- . Because they become a great deal hotter than a radiant cook-top. Because of their flat surfaces. which heats the pan. Which is better. Those who prefer electric ranges are partial to magnetic induction cooktops. Moreover. However. Another advantage of gas is that you can see the flames.

not so when it is cold). Can I have the best of both worlds — a gas range and an electric oven broiler? Although virtually all single-unit range-oven-broiler systems made for home use are either the all-gas or all-electric variety. The first snugly fits into a hole cut into your counter. and if the oven has cooled because the cook opened the door. Is a convection oven better than a traditional one? Both the convection and traditional ovens depend on convection heating. it regains the programmed temperature in less time. Go for the dual system the next time you remodel your kitchen. This increase in air circulation is a boon when you roast meat or bake breads and pastry (but has no effect on covered foods). It has a built-in electric fan that increases the circulation of hot air molecules within the oven. the food’s surface will be more evenly cooked and browned (though the outside of a meat does not develop as appealing a crusty texture). (Many gas ovens. an electric oven is more accurate (particularly at low temperature settings) and maintains a relatively steady temperature. Another advantage of the convection oven is that it reduces the required temperature and cooking time . Since the oven temperature is uniform throughout. an electric oven heats the kitchen less (a boon when the room is hot. the new kitchen science tric oven reaches the desired temperature more quickly. The second is installed in a wall cabinet or under a counter (but not directly under the separately installed range because of space limitations). unless turned on full blast. The salient difference between the two is that the convection oven uses the principle of convection more effectively. Generally. Finally. it is easier to reach and can accommodate thicker foods.) Many electric ovens are self-cleaning because they can reach a very high temperature. you can buy a gas range and electric oven-broiler unit separately.20 . Since the broiler is built into an electric oven. . fluctuate by 25°F or more around the programmed temperature in a roller-coaster fashion.

in San Diego. say. The predicament of having a relatively low boiling point for water can be solved with a pressure cooker. Energy cost savings are often realized because of the unit’s efficiency and generally more compact equipment . And thanks to the increased pressure within the pot. and so the cleanup chore is less bothersome because there is less splatter. Consequently. Water inside a pressure cooker boils at a high temperature because the atmospheric pressure within the pot is increased. The ingredients also cook faster because the steam — most of which does not escape the pot — is a better heat conductor than air. that steam more aggressively penetrates the food. . In Denver. compared with the nonpressurized boiling method. however. . any given ingredient takes longer to cook in Denver. since it allows water to reach a temperature of up to about 250°F. This capacity is particularly critical when canning low-acid ingredients. Bear in mind that when a manufacturer builds a convection oven system into a traditional oven. for instance. a pressure cooker can shorten the cooking process and thereby reduce fuel expenditure. From a gourmet’s viewpoint. water boils at 203°F instead of 212°F. The higher temperatures of pressure-cooking also benefit the home canner because the heat can more effectively destroy the pathogenic microorganisms that contaminate the food. the texture of pressure-cooked foods like meat still resembles that of ordinary boiled food. as it would. Is a pressure cooker worthwhile? For someone who lives at a high altitude or who cans and preserves foods. a pressure cooker is an asset. 21 and therefore meat shrinks less. the oven’s interior dimensions shrink. most meats do not require basting. For other cooks. Should I buy an oven that combines the convection and traditional ovens? The combined oven makes sense if you are short on kitchen space. Furthermore.

it is apt to balk momentarily. and therefore inferior. that you also want your machine to perform more arduous chores. you sometimes have to adjust the temperature quickly. for example. Deep-frying with a pan on an electric range causes almost as much trouble as the electric pan method. As good cooks know. the rest of the meat is too lumpy (underchopped) or too pasty (overchopped). then a budget-priced model may serve your purposes. Motor-balking and belt slippage are major mechanical deficiencies because they make it impossible to chop a batch of food uniformly. Another reason for poor performance is that nearly all budgetpriced models are belt-driven.22 . in which case a budget model is no bargain. like chopping meat. the motor turns a belt. If the motor is not powerful enough. the new kitchen science Why are budget-priced food processors seldom a good value? If you are planning to use your food processor only for tasks that require relatively little power (such as slicing a cucumber or other soft vegetable). Chances are. This problem doesn’t occur when the motor’s drive shaft directly rotates the cutting blade. when you process a heavy load. however. . . The conventional pan-on-a-flame method gives you reasonable flexibility. is that when some of the meat is properly chopped. as is the case with most of the better processors. a pasty grind guarantees a heavy and compact. but with an electric deep-fat fryer there is too long a lag between the time you reset the thermostat and the time the oil reaches the desired temperature. (In other words. What inevitably happens in the case of beef. Why is an electric deep-fat fryer unsuitable? When deep-frying. meat loaf or hamburger patty. which turns the cutting-blade unit.) The belts in inexpensive models tend to slip when you process a heavy load. or even permanently. A key reason that a budget-priced food processor is ill suited for chopping foods like meat is that it does not have enough horsepower.

which means it won’t develop the desirably flavorful crust caused by the Maillard (browning) reaction (see equipment . Neither does meat. The microwave’s heating element does not heat the circulating air. These collisions create friction and. . Most foods cook in one-quarter to one-half the time that other basic cooking methods require because the food cooks from within. Cooks face other problems as well. This oscillation causes the molecules to vibrate and bounce against each other. Some microwave producers deal with this problem by adding convection fans and electrical heating elements. as a byproduct.” emits high-frequency electromagnetic waves (similar to radio waves). microwaved food is more likely to come out of the oven undercooked or overcooked. 33). Microwave cooking costs less because it requires about one-quarter the power that a traditional oven uses. billions of times a second. On the other hand. rolls. called a “magnetron. It’s also harder to predict the proper cooking time. What are the pros and cons of microwave cooking? Speed is the name of the game in microwave cookery. . These devices do work. Baked goods rise higher in a microwave oven. they reverse the polarity of the water and other liquid molecules. bread. 23 How does a microwave oven work? A tube within the oven. the oven walls. either it absorbed the heat from the cooking food or the surface of the vessel not touching the food was wet before the oven was turned on. A microwave oven also causes less splatter and hardly heats up the kitchen. and other baked goods do not brown as well as they do in a traditional oven. Consequently. but their results pale compared to those of dedicated conventional and convection ovens. especially for a large cut of meat. When a bowl or plate becomes warm in a microwave oven. or the vessel holding the food. Microwave cooking tends to give meats a dry. mushy texture. This radiation is scattered in the oven by a fanlike reflector (called the “stirrer”). the heat that cooks or warms the food. When the waves penetrate the food.

Your cleanup is quicker and less messy. . as most serious barbecuers do. unless the unit is old or damaged. Finally. smoky flavor. Another inconvenience is that of not being able to use your metal pots and pans or aluminum foil containers in a microwave oven. sweet. the cooking process proceeds at glacial speed. or mesquite. Oven manufacturers warn against the use of metal because of the possibility of arcing — an electric spark jumping between the metal pot and microwave oven wall when the pot is placed too close to the wall. faintly sweet. Briquette charcoal is manufactured in a process that compresses minute pieces of wood charcoal (normally not the best) into the briquette shape. not briquette charcoal. . Arcing can damage the unit’s magnetron tube. You wait 10 to 15 minutes instead of 25 to 40 minutes for the grill to reach its readyto-cook temperature. Should I buy a charcoal or gas outdoor grill? If you relish grilled foods imbued with rich. there is another strong reason not to cook in metal: It reflects electromagnetic waves and therefore causes uneven cooking. though. They produce clean. You have greater control over the grilling temperature. But remember that serious barbecuers use hardwood charcoal. Since the water molecules are frozen solid. such as hickory. Until enough water molecules liquefy and then become hot enough to thaw the adjacent frozen water molecules. then a charcoal grill is for you. It produces a decently pleasant smoke from the drippings. woodsy. apple. the electromagnetic waves cannot agitate them. there is always a chance of radiation leakage. richly flavored smoke. A gas grill may be your best bet if you are a casual weekend barbecuer and you do not require a grill that’s portable.24 . the possibility of a radiation leak with today’s equipment is remote. You do not need to make as many fuel-restocking trips to the store. Hardwood charcoal normally consists of whole chunks of seasoned wood. the new kitchen science Frozen foods can take a long time to cook in a microwave oven. Although the chance of arcing is relatively low in quality oven models.

because the main section is notorious for dehydrating foods. The enclosed vertical pathway speeds the airflow. Is a fire-starter chimney helpful? This device is a metal cylinder used to reduce the time that charcoal takes to reach its ready-to-cook temperature. You can construct your own fire-starter chimney out of a large can. It works like a chimney. hence its name. It prevents the assertive odors of some fruits and vegetables from scenting lightly wrapped foods stored in the refrigerator’s main section. . it gradually becomes less effi- . insert and seal a fruit or vegetable in a plastic bag before placing it in the crisper. What is the most underrated section of a refrigerator? Many cooks look upon the crisper as a feature. you would have to store fruits and vegetables that need refrigeration in the appliance’s main section. 27) for grilling tips and insights. Be sure to pierce the bag in a number of areas to allow air to circulate between the bag and the crisper. the charcoal pieces heat more uniformly. Without one. As it equipment . hastening bacterial activity. The resulting cellular water loss shrinks the produce and severely shortens its storage life. Otherwise. You do not need to use a liquid fire starter. excess surface moisture could form on the produce. 25 See chapter 2 (p. A crisper serves another important function. which sometimes imparts a chemical taste to grilled foods. To extend the storage life even more. but the manufactured ones will likely hold more charcoal and do a better job — and they do not cost that much. particularly fruits and vegetables with high water content. Is it wise to keep a refrigerator as long as it keeps working? A refrigerator — even a new one — is one of the biggest users of electricity in your home. not as a basic function like the appliance’s freezer and main section. which increases the charcoal’s heat. That would be unfortunate. The crisper is designed to retain moisture. such as how to handle flare-ups or how to cook large roasts. Moreover.

26 . If you cook and live in a brownout-prone city. caution is in order. to struggle and overheat. They will generate a little less heat than they do normally. Should I operate my kitchen appliances during a brownout? A 5 percent or so voltage reduction may cause your television or computer tube to flicker. when most offices let out en masse. Your worst setback will probably involve heating appliances like toaster ovens. could cause some motor-driven appliances. The electricity-hungry elevators tax the local utility’s capacity. When you see the lights dim. which mean more electric consumption. . don’t use your motordriven kitchen appliances unless absolutely necessary..m. but it shouldn’t cause a serious problem for your kitchen equipment. It usually pays to replace a refrigerator when it’s 12 to 15 years old. like an electric mixer. A 10 percent or greater reduction. . and you probably have no way to measure accurately the drop in voltage. Since overheating harms the equipment. the new kitchen science cient and has to work harder. The money you invest in a new refrigerator will be repaid in about 5 years by the money you save on electricity (not to mention the cost of repair bills to fix an aging appliance). keep in mind that the peak brownout period is typically just after 5:00 p. however.

which produces heat. What generates heat? The three most commonly used heat-generating modes in the kitchen are: • Combustion • Electrical resistance • Microwaves Combustion — the most popular of the three — occurs when rapid oxidation of a fuel like gas or wood produces heat and light. Electric ranges and toasters warm up and glow as electricity flows through and encounters the resistance of their metal coils. . improving a food’s psychological appeal by increasing its temperature. creating heat and light. and color.2 cooking methods Why does heat cook? Heat triggers chemical reactions in foods. aroma. Microwaves agitate molecules in a food. and destroying pathogenic microorganisms. 27 . including improving a food’s flavor. making food more chewable or digestible by softening it. creating friction. This molecular process performs many functions.

to food. What is radiation cooking? Radiant heat is transferred in the form of electromagnetic waves or particles from a hot object. emits radiant energy. The food is heated when it absorbs this radiant energy. These gas or liquid molecules are set in motion by a heat source. Food cooked in an oven or pot of liquid. What is convection cooking? You are cooking by convection when circulating molecules of a gas or liquid transfer their heat directly to your food. displacing the top molecules. the new kitchen science How is heat transferred to food? The three principal means of transferring heat from a hotter object to a colder one are: • Radiation • Convection • Conduction Most cooking simultaneously involves two. This ongoing process creates air or water currents. The cooler molecules. which have cooled slightly. too. are heated and begin their journey upward. As the assemblage of molecules closest to the heat source is warmed. cooler batch of molecules. . which travels at the speed of light (186. or all three. On a subzero January day. it becomes lighter and rises above the heavier. upon reaching the bottom of the oven or pot.000 miles per second). which is simultaneously sinking. incidentally.28 . such as the heating element of your broiler or toaster. The sun. This transmission does not need the help of a medium like water or air. an essential for convection cooking. is also . it is possible to heat a glass hothouse filled with growing spring vegetables by means of solar rays that have journeyed through a frigid void of 93 million miles. which is usually at the bottom of your oven or pot. of these processes.

creating new molecules and changing the color. conduction is part of the process. and tex- . Why does a higher temperature cook foods faster than a lower one? When you increase the heat. but since heat is simultaneously transferred directly from one water (or fat) molecule to another. the surface molecules of the potato pass along their acquired heat to the next layer of molecules in the potato. 29 heated by radiation (emitted by the heated interior surfaces of the oven or pot) and by conduction. Another illustration is a metal spoon in a hot cup of coffee. . which helps explain why wood is a popular material for pot handles and cooking spoons. flavor. The greater the speed. The speed of conduction is relatively slow. and eventually hot. Boiling (or deep-frying) is chiefly a process of convection. too. or air molecules touch the subsurface molecules of the food. and so on. or in a hot oven. and it varies by substance. fat. Conduction heating takes place inside the food as well. These microscopic crashes can alter the molecular structures. you increase the velocity of the molecules in a food. the more the molecules methods . none of the circulating water. At first the utensil’s handle is cool. the type of heat transference called conduction occurs. Metal conducts heat more quickly than does wood. What is conduction cooking? When hot molecules transmit some of their heat to cool ones in direct contact with them. It then grows warm. conduction heating must take over where convection heating leaves off. and finally through the fish. So if the potato’s interior is to be cooked. Pan-frying a fish fillet exemplifies this principle. In other words. The heat of the flame is transferred — on a molecule-to-molecule basis — first through the pan. then through the thin oil layer. When cooking a potato or other solid food in a pot of boiling water or hot fat.

and practically any other substance elevate the boiling point and therefore shorten cooking time. The originators of this popular dish added wine and kirsch for more than just their flavors. If you dilute water with alcohol. The alcohol lowers the boiling point of the melting cheese.30 . Does alcohol lower the boiling point of water? Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water (about 175°F as compared with 212°F). Does hard water boil at a higher temperature? “Hard water” defines water with a high level of dissolved mineral salts. preventing it from curdling. a difference that is critical only in cooking situations that demand exactness. sugar. the mixture will have a lower boiling point up until the alcohol completely evaporates. Should you decide to alter an existing recipe by substituting a fair portion of wine for some of the water. Therefore the answer is yes. Chemical reactivity more or less doubles for each rise in temperature of 20°F within the normal cooking range. it is easier for water molecules to escape into the air. Thus. depending on the alcohol’s strength and the heaviness of your touch. With less atmospheric pressure bearing down on the surface of the liquid. Does salt raise the boiling point of water? Yes. Salt. remember to extend the cooking time by 5 to 10 percent. Why does the boiling point of water decrease with altitude? The higher the altitude. . The preparation for cheese fondue is a good illustration of the principle that alcohol lowers the boiling temperature of a liquid. The difference in the boiling point between typical supplies of hard and soft water is about a degree or two. the new kitchen science ture of the cooking food. The difference in temperature between unsalted and salted water (1 teaspoon of salt per quart of water) is about 1° to 2°F. the lower the atmospheric pressure. the .

000 feet above sea level. 31 water comes to its full rapid boil at a lower temperature in the mile-high city of Denver than it can in coastal Miami.000 212° 210° 208° 207° 205° 203° 194° 100° 99° 98° 97° 96° 95° 90° In our previously cited example. the Denver cook has a speed advantage.000 4. 195°F. but the difference is so negligible that you would need scientific equipment to measure it. Of course. even though its bubbling appearance resembles that of water boiling in Miami at 212°F. .000 3. For each 1.000 5. the boiling point of water drops almost 2°F (or approximately 1°C). . The water in the Denver pot will be circulating more vigorously and therefore the effect of convection will be more pronounced. Altitude (in feet) Boiling Point of Water (under normal atmospheric conditions) fahrenheit celsius 0 1. say.000 2. Simmering is a different matter. Does altitude also affect the freezing point of water? Yes. Assume that both cooks simmer at the identical methods . if both cooks use vague visual clues (such as “when bubbles first break the surface”) rather than a thermometer reading to ascertain the simmer point. albeit ever so slight. The freezing point will be higher in Denver than Miami. the Denver cook has to boil the food longer because the temperature of the boiling water is only about 203°F.000 10. then the Denver denizen would have to cook the food longer. Here.

Will a given volume of water boil at a higher temperature in a tall. wide one? Yes. the air gas is proporspace inside the pot experiences little increase in tional to its pressure because the built-up pressure created temperature by the heat lifts the lid. The difference is approximately 1°F. Since the tall. the greater the pressure. the outside air has less than an open invitation to squirm inside. the combined law would read: At a constant volume. narrow pot has a greater depth. the pressure of a gas At a constant is proportional to its temperature. so you turned off the heat.” making the separation of the lid and pot a Herculean task. assist in keeping outside air molecules from entering. However. allowing most of the expanding gas to escape. only to discover that in ten minutes you could not remove the lid from the pot? Charles’s Law and Boyle’s Law. wide pot. If the lid and pot are precision-matched (as a quality brand should be). Reason: the difference in atmospheric pressures. its bottom-lying water is under greater pressure from the water above it than is the water at the bottom of the short. if you cover a partially filled pot of pressure of a liquid and bring it to the boiling point. explain that kitchen phenomenon. Water molecules. What causes a lid to stick to a pot? Remember when your carrots were done before the rest of your meal. forming an airtight seal. . the Of course. taken together.32 . Within five minutes or so. once you turn off the heat source. the pressure inside the pot gradually decreases — along with the temperature. In simplified terms. sunny days. And as previously stated. volume. narrow pot than in a short. . the difference between the two pressures becomes so pronounced that it creates a “suction. the higher the boiling point. stormy days than it is on hot. the new kitchen science Does weather affect the boiling temperature of water? The boiling point of water is a degree or so lower on cold.

crusty texture. Other neophytes — under the impression that if the food inside cools. why does a food take longer to steam than to boil? Even more important than a cooking medium’s temperature is its ability to transfer heat to the food. the lid. gives up its heat to the cooking food less readily. If steam is a degree or two hotter than boiling water. The meat’s surface will tend to be mushy and pale brown. . and dark brown pigmentation. The Maillard reaction gives a meat’s surface an appetizingly intense flavor. An important chemical change called the Maillard reaction (see next Q&A) will occur. Steam is a poorer heat conductor than water and. place the pot over moderate heat for a short time. Why is it better to cook a roast in an uncovered pan? If covered. the meat will be cooked. and the ego. The temperature of the air inside the pot will soon rise and. a tactic that usually damages the pot. leaving behind an exposed coating of natural sugars. The Maillard (also called browning) reaction combines the sugar and amino acids on the meat’s surface into new compounds that enhance the flavor. the meat will be cooked by dry heat. and color. in accordance with the laws of physics. texture. 33 Some novice cooks try to pry open the lid with a tool. When you encounter an unyielding lid. How does the Maillard reaction work? As dry heat cooks a roast. the lid will promptly loosen — place the pot in cold water. . When the pressure nearly equals that of the outside. some of the internal meat juices flow to the surface and evaporate. This last method runs contrary to the laws of Boyle and Charles and therefore is exactly the opposite of what the cook should do. in methods . and other solid substances. If cooked uncovered. as a result. so will its pressure. by the moist heat generated by the steam trapped inside the covered pan. amino acids. the lid and pot will easily part.

You can promote browning by basting the surface of the meat with butter. is less apparent. the new kitchen science Most of the new compounds created by the Maillard reaction remain on or just below the meat’s surface. We do not particularly recommend the dust-with-flour browning technique because it can produce a pasty texture and a floury flavor or. its underside will cook in the liquid and therefore will be cooked by moist. A third major factor. Another disappointing outcome of the non-rack roasting method is a mushy. Some fall off the meat and coagulate on the pan’s bottom. rather than dry. a taste of burnt toast. As the meat’s internal temperature increases during cooking. and conduction from the pan’s surface intensifies the problem. As the meat cooks by dry heat. its fat content helps prevent the meat’s surface from drying out while its surface molecules dutifully brown. Another significant reason is that the meat’s colder interior absorbs heat from. the warmer surface. Why should roasting meat be set on a rack instead of on the pan’s flat surface? As a meat roasts. If the meat rests on the pan. bottom. heat. rather than crispy. Basting with the pan juices has the same effect. evaporation. Why is the surface temperature of a roasting meat lower than the temperature of the oven? One of the most obvious explanations is that the air molecules are hotter because they come in direct contact with the oven’s heat source or scorching interior walls. The result is unsatisfactory: The meat’s underside overcooks before the rest is done because moist heat cooks faster than dry. . and cools. This ongoing process produces a cooling effect. this cooling influence diminishes in importance. it releases juices that collect at the bottom of the roasting pan. if overcooked. some of its internal juices flow to the surface and evaporate. providing the flavor foundation of the esteemed pan drippings. Not only does butter contribute extra sugar and amino acids for the Maillard reaction. .34 .

it cools the surrounding area because the change from liquid to gas requires heat calories. such as a soufflé. you will badly scald yourself. Why can I insert my unprotected (save for a potholder) hand safely into a 350°F oven for a short time to retrieve a pan? Your hand is partially cooled for a brief period by the moisture that evaporates from your skin. This rapid heat transfer cooks the meat surrounding the spike faster than it should. because the cooling effect is lost in the water and because water is a better heat conductor than air. If you immerse that same hand in boiling water (a mere 212°F by comparison) for even a briefer time. The oven would be . (If it were. these holes are so small that they quickly seal themselves. therefore. Although it is true that you make many holes when using an instant thermometer. consequently. 35 (When water methods .) For this reason — and because animal flesh is a less efficient conductor than metal — you can briefly touch a roasting meat but not the pan in which it sits. A small instant thermometer does not pose this problem because it is not left in the roasting meat. . Why is a small instant thermometer better than a traditional large one for checking the temperature of a roasting meat? An instant thermometer is not only more accurate but also makes a thinner hole in the meat. can exit through that aperture. Because you leave the larger type of thermometer in the meat as it roasts. uneven roasting occurs. the mechanism would be ruined. heat is quickly conducted to the flesh surrounding the metal spike.) A frequently overlooked advantage of a small instant thermometer is that it allows you to test-probe the meat in more than one place. Fewer of the meat’s internal juices. as opposed to only one with the larger instrument. and. The amount of time you would be able to keep your hand in an oven would be reduced if you were cooking a liquid-based food in an uncovered container.

you should frequently shake and/or toss the food in the pan. since both techniques cook foods by dry heat in an oven. To a lexicographer or recipe writer. including breads and cakes. distinctions exist — and dish names such as “baked leg of lamb” and “roasted cake” would raise culinary eyebrows. the new kitchen science steamy. single-serving portions of meat. fish. What is the difference between oven-roasting and baking? From the standpoint of method. If the food you are cooking is a whole bird or a piece of meat (other than a ham or a minced-meat preparation) that will later be divided for serving. including meat loaf (a pâté is nothing more than a glorified meat loaf). there is no difference. Consequently. they are employed for different purposes. With all other foods — hams. Pan-frying is used for foods that take longer to cook. baking. For example. casseroles. then — in virtually all cases — you are roasting. and steam is a better heat conductor than the comparatively dry air that normally fills your oven. ranging . Sautéing is ideal for foods such as spinach and thin strips of meat that do not require more than a quick cooking over very high heat.) You use a lower heat than you use for sautéing to prevent the food’s exterior from overcooking before its interior is done.36 . . To prevent the high heat from scorching the food that touches the pan’s hot surface. Be prepared for a few established exceptions to the roasting versus baking nomenclature rule. Sautéing is somewhat akin to stir-frying. “baking” is not used to describe the fish dish “pan-roasted cod” because the cod is browned in a skillet on a range before being finished in the oven. (Pork chops and chicken thighs are two examples. You also use more oil. in popular terminology. fruits and vegetables — you are. baked goods. What is the difference between sautéing and pan-frying? Although both cooking methods fry foods in a shallow layer of heated oil in a pan. you could quickly burn yourself if you inserted your unprotected hand into the oven while cooking this kind of food. pâtés.

they change into steam with splattering methods . Why should the exterior of a food be relatively dry before frying it? When liquid water molecules come in contact with the hot oil. . If the oil is not hot enough. unwanted oil will reach the chicken before the outer protective layer can form. the coated surface quickly forms a protective shield. The proper temperature varies by the kind of oil and the type and thickness of the food. 37 in depth anywhere from 1/8 inch up to half the height of the food. The more you plan to reuse a cooking oil. As a general rule of thumb. This wrapping prevents the oil from penetrating to the chicken and therefore helps keep it from becoming greasy. When it is submerged in sufficiently hot cooking oil. the magic number for cooking breaded or batter-coated foods in vegetable oil is about 375°F. If the oil is too hot. It can also lower the smoke point and hasten the chemical decomposition of cooking oils. because the effect is cumulative. . the more important it is not to presalt your foods (or at least to minimize presalting). the breaded or batter-coated wrapping will be burned by direct heat from the oil before the chicken has had time to cook by conduction. Any deeper would be in the no-man’s land between pan-frying and deep-frying. Why is it a good idea not to salt foods before you fry them? Salt can draw moisture to the surface of the food and therefore increase the possibility of splattering. Water also hastens the deterioration of a cooking oil. Take the case of breaded or batter-coated chicken. What happens when you deep-fry a food at too low a temperature? Or at too high a temperature? A too-low temperature will make the food greasy. A too-high temperature will overcook the food’s exterior by the time its interior is properly cooked.

discoloring it. it stands to reason that you should not cook too much food at one time. use at least six volumes of oil for each volume of food. If they fall off into the oil. When deep-frying. and since the addition of room-temperature food will surely lower the temperature of a hot oil. and lowering the smoke point For the egg to perform of the oil. You can also help minimize the problem of the deep-frying oil dropping below its desired temperature by preheating your oil about 15°F above its optimal deep-frying temperature. A temperature of 400°F or higher taxes even an oil with a 450°F smoke point. the oil temperature may drop into the “greasy” 300° to 325°F zone — and will take time to return to the proper frying temperature. Use a thick-gauged pan for better heat retention.38 . The less food you add to the oil. you should do everytions — binding the thing possible to minimize it. If the ideal temperature is 375°F. . lightly dry before cooking beaten egg. Otherwise. the new kitchen science Why should I not crowd a pan with food when I am frying? It is unsatisfactory to fry or deep-fry in oil that isn’t hot enough. preheat to 390°F (but no higher because you would risk ruining the oil’s cooking effectiveness by chemically altering its molecular structure). Warm your ingredients to at least room temperature before you add them to the hot oil. Here are two other tips. imparting a bitter flavor to the food. Why should a breaded food be allowed to rest before cooking in hot oil? Binding the bread crumbs to the food is vital. bread crumbs to the Most breaded foods are coated with food — it must partially three layers: seasoned flour. and bread crumbs (in or- . Though there is no sure-fire way to keep every bread crumb from one of its chief funccoming loose. It also increases the number of fat molecules that vaporize into the air and make a greasy landing on your kitchen cupboards. the smaller the drop in oil temperature and the quicker the temperature recovery time. they will burn.

top-of-the-stove braising has an inherent drawback. If the liquid in the pot methods . because bubbles are poor binders • Using small bread crumbs because they adhere better than large crumbs • Preparing homemade crumbs. which cling better than the store-bought variety because of their coarser texture Is braising best done in the oven or on top of the stove? Braising consists of browning a food in hot fat. Resting the breaded food in the refrigerator. because though you keep out the refrigerator odor. the heat of an oven more uniformly engulfs the pot. This is best accomplished by placing the uncooked breaded food on a cake rack for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature. you simultaneously keep in the egg moisture. Other helpful hints for keeping the bread crumbs attached include: • Using room-temperature eggs • Not overbeating the eggs. In most circumstances. then the part of the food resting in the liquid will cook significantly faster than the portion projecting above it. And because the need to generate steam is not as crucial. First of all. For the egg to perform one of its chief functions — binding the bread crumbs to the food — it must partially dry before cooking. This uneven cooking occurs because insufficient steam is generated in the pot. you can cook the food at a slower pace and lower temperature. the food’s texture and flavor will likely suffer. If the fluid medium is kept below the boiling point. . . two conditions that are essential for braising a tough piece of meat. because your food will pick up odor during its stay. 39 der of application). is not recommended. In contrast. then simmering it in scant liquid in a covered pan. as some cookbooks advise. Oven braising has yet another advantage: It requires less pot watching. the oven is preferable for this operation. Wrapping the breaded food before placing it in the refrigerator does not solve your problem.

the closer you can place it to the heat source. How far should I place a food from the broiler’s heat source? Most foods are cooked between 3 and 6 inches from the broiler (measured from the flame or electric coil to the highest point of the food). Generally. how can an overhead broiling element cook foods with such intense heat? Although some conduction and convection cooking occurs within the broiler. the thinner the food. If you place a food too close to the broiler in relation to its thickness. This limitation occurs because such units use the same heat intensity for. Your preference about degree of doneness should also play a part in determining the distance between the broiler and food. the new kitchen science Can I broil at less than 550°F? Yes. If heat travels upward. it’s mainly radiant heat that cooks the food. 350°F or 550°F. the closer to the broiler you can place it. Unfortunately. An automatic device periodically turns the heat source on and off to maintain temperatures below 550°F. but only if you have an electric broiler that has variable temperature settings or an atypical gas broiler that has a variable flame. most gas broilers offer only one temperature setting — 550°F. The rarer the meat is to be cooked. . say.40 . it will be dry or overcooked on the outside before the inside is properly cooked. This heat . because cooking time will not be long enough to overcook the food’s exterior. If you place a food at too great a distance from the broiler. These broilers maintain a specific temperature by varying their heat intensity and are therefore versatile enough to broil properly some dishes — such as whole fish — that are better prepared in the 400° to 500°F zone. the exterior will not develop the soughtafter deep color and somewhat crusty texture by the time the center of the food is cooked. The setting must read broil in order to ensure a constant flame.

but you’ll like the oven broiler has a heat source grilled one more. orates. conduction. Cross-taste the two chickens. (Pure broiling incorporates only radiant thermal heat.Buy two identical quartered chickens. Does a gas outdoor grill impart more flavor than an oven broiler? Gas (and charcoal) outdoor grills impart a special grilled flavor to foods that oven-broiling cannot. and convection thermal heats. from the metal walls. While convection heat by nature rises. 41 emanates from the broiling element and. It moves in a straight line until it is absorbed by an object or is reflected. this time prescribed by the laws of angular reflection. In the latter case. the relish both results. The liquid evap. This happens because the dripping juices from the food come in contact with the hot Try This Gas-Grilling Versus metal grill and the metal surOven-Broiling Experiment faces directly below the gas outdoor grill. it begins another linear journey. that resides above the food. rises. radiant heat travels in any direction. and flavors the Grill one in a covered outdoor grill. to a lesser extent. Chances are you will In contrast to the grill. .cooking methods . other in your kitchen broiler.) With the door ajar. Why do some cooks leave the broiler door ajar when broiling meat? They want to improve the flavor and crusty texture of the meat by maximizing the broiling and minimizing the roasting aspect of cooking. Professional cooks use this open-door technique more than do home cooks because they tend to have better exhaust systems. the pan and air inside the broiling unit do not become as hot as they normally would. It does not reduce the intensity of the radiant heat emanating directly from the broiling element. This cooler temperature reduces the effects of conduction and convection cooking in the broiler. . while roasting encompasses radiant. which have absorbed some of the heat. the bottom and sides of the food.

allow sufficient time (30 to 50 minutes) for the flames to cease completely. the greater the distance from the coals and. When the steak curls. Before beginning the cooking process. These sauces are also liberally flavored with spices that become bitter when scorched. or barbecued. a major ingredient of barbecue sauces. . grilled. ruining its flavor. They also generate dirty and noxious smoke. lengthy belt of fat will warp the steak as it is pan-broiled. High heat readily burns sugar. the barbecuer par excellence will keep the food 4 to 6 inches above the briquettes. Trim off some of the excess fat. Knowledgeable barbecuers will not brush on the sauce until 15 minutes before the chicken has finished cooking.42 . as a direct result. And a buckled steak isn’t very attractive. acrid-tasting birds is the commercial barbecue sauce that backyard chefs slosh on the chicken. Why should charcoal not be flaming when I cook the meat? Flames (including flare-ups) char the food. various points along its previously flat surfaces will cook unevenly. Why should the fat layer surrounding a steak be slashed at intervals? Fat shrinks faster and more extensively than meat during cooking. They will also use more time and less heat. and color. These flavorful vapors do not effectively infuse the cooking food because they rise above it. . If the coals are extremely hot and well packed. broiled. Why are so many home-barbecued chickens black-crusted and bitter? The primary cause of these charred. But don’t trim off too much — fat contributes flavor and helps baste the meat as it cooks. texture. For best results. and consequently a thick. which flares up when it melts and drops onto the hot coals or gas grill bars. The thicker the food. the longer the cooking period. the new kitchen science This means that the juices evaporate mainly on the food’s top surface. make the slashes about 3/4 inch apart.

In addition. Buy a unit that has a pan made of thick-gauge metal. the greater the loss. (Open the air vents under the barbecue pan. you can increase the heat that reaches the food by placing the food closer to the coals. if your unit has them. rainwater steams a meat’s surface. you need to raise the temperature setting (or use more coals). the amount of heat lost to the outdoor air by lifting the lid increases. How can I increase a charcoal grill’s temperature? Buy quality-brand briquettes. The aluminum foil also reflects heat upward to the food. or insulate a thin-gauge pan by lining it with a layer of ashes or aluminum foil. you have another problem. 43 How does the weather affect outdoor grilling? As the mercury drops. They burn hotter (and longer) than lesser-grade ones because the charcoal material is denser and thus more combustible. . You can also augment the heat by increasing the speed of the fresh air flow to the briquettes. The stronger the wind. and packing them more closely together. (Try to shield the food from any passing breeze. making it less crusty. . using extra briquettes.) However. Every time you open the grill. be aware that air flowing over the food will both cool the food and carry away some of the heat rising from the coals. If it is raining.) Another way to raise the temperature is to minimize the heat that escapes through the walls of the barbecuing methods . To compensate. Heat also escapes when the lid is closed because of conduction through the unit’s metal.

use moist-heat cooking when the meat is not naturally tender. stewing. Moist-heat cooking methods include boiling. and dry-heat cooking when it is. you use dry-heat cooking methods for naturally tender meats such as young chicken and sirloin steaks. or larding (inserting solid fat into the meat). braising. and pressure-cooking. steaming. Borderline meat cases can be tipped in favor of dry-heat cooking if the meat is well marbled or its exterior is protected with fat by basting. Why does overcooking toughen meat? Protein molecules are the primary solid matter in muscle fiber. broiling.3 meats Which is best for cooking meat. It is the best choice when a meat contains a large quantity of connective tissue. In their natural state. and deep-frying. Generally. baking. They exist as independent units because their spiraled structure 44 . poaching. moist or dry heat? As a rule. barding (wrapping solid fat around the meat). . protein molecules are typically coil-shaped. Dry-heat cooking methods include roasting. simmering. microwave cooking. pan-frying. grilling.

allowing them to bind easily with each other and form a mass of joined protein molecules. The confusion is easy to understand because myoglobin (the principal pigment in raw meat) shares certain characteristics. It is best to braise water and shrink meat in a sub-simmering liquid. including color. the tighter the meat mass becomes. for example. Still. not arteries. however. and devastatOvercooking ing at well-done (160°F). The gain in muscle fibers tenderness and succulence more than outweighs the extra cooking time. Myoglobin content and depth of color can also differ noticeably according to anatomical . pronounced at medium-well-done (155°F). shrinkage and water loss are minimal at the rare state (130°F). toughens meat Braising and other moist-heat methods because the are more forgiving because the cooking liqcompactinguid and steam are trapped in the pan. However.meats . joined proteins boiling and even simmering will eventually squeeze out shrink and toughen meat. What determines a meat’s myoglobin content and therefore its color? The quantity of myoglobin in flesh varies by animal species — beef has more of it than pork. myoglobin is distinct from blood: It is found in muscles. noticeable at medium-rare (135° to 140°F). . Why is a “bloody red steak” not really bloody? This colorful and popular expression is a misnomer. With dry-heat cooking methods (including roasting and grilling). 45 hinders their binding with each other. with hemoglobin (the red pigment in blood). The more the meat is cooked. When cooked. Overcooking toughens meat because the compactingjoined proteins squeeze out water and shrink muscle fibers. the protein molecules uncoil and become denatured. Blood contributes little to the redness of a steak because most of it is bled out of the meat at the slaughterhouse or butcher shop. very noticeable at medium (145° to 150°F).

) Flesh color also depends on the age of the animal (it deepens with age). The legs consist predominantly of slow-contraction muscle fibers. not a flying one. long-duration movements such as roaming around the barnyard searching for insects and other food. Fast-contraction muscle fibers don’t require oxygen — and therefore myoglobin — because they use glycogen (a carbohydrate) for fuel. The fuel for the slow-contraction muscle fiber is fat and requires oxygen. the muscles are “white.and fast-contraction muscles. the redder the muscle will likely be.46 . In contrast. red-pigmented myoglobin. (See the discussion in the next Q&A about the color difference between a chicken’s slow. Because the muscle requirements of the chicken leg and breast are different. The slow-contraction muscle fiber is for the long-duration jobs and the fast-contraction muscle fiber for the quick-energy spurts. the duck (along with many other wild birds) uses its wings for more than mercurial es- . The leg is “dark meat” because the slow-contraction muscle fibers predominate. it’s usually to make a quick escape from a threat. the more slow-contraction fibers in a muscle. the two sets of muscles evolve differently. The opposite is true for the breast.” Actually. the new kitchen science location.and slow-contraction muscle fibers. which is stored in the iron-rich. Why is a chicken’s breast “white meat” and its drumstick “dark meat”? A chicken is a ground-dwelling bird. a chicken hardly uses its wings except for balance. Why is a duck’s breast meat dark? Unlike the chicken and domesticated turkey. and how the meat was stored and cooked. In the absence of myoglobin. When it flaps them energetically. while the breast is composed chiefly of fast-contraction muscle fibers to help flap the wings. It uses its leg muscles for unhurried. what the animal was fed. both the chicken leg and breast contain a combination of fast. Consequently. .

At baby beefhood (between six and twelve months old). the calf engineers keep metal objects like pails and pipes well beyond reach of a calf ’s licking tongue. the expression “anemic veal. In the wild. and other nutrients. lest the wrong minerals enter the digestive system. . What is “anemic veal”? In the past several decades. In effect. Leaving nothing to chance.meats . unlike cow’s milk. Why is veal paler than beef? A strictly milk-fed calf has a pink-tinged creamy white flesh because milk almost totally lacks certain minerals (particularly iron) that are necessary building blocks for the body’s production of the red myoglobin. the duck would exhaust its energy reserve before it could complete its journey. sometimes covering thousands of miles during a migration. By the time the weaned calf is a few months old.” Another drawback of veal from a typical “special formula” calf is an inappropriately coarse texture. fats. Thus. the liquid is virtually iron-free. it is relatively cheap and contains none of the butter fat that helps give veal its sublime flavor. If its breast were made mainly of fast. is fed a special formula of water infused with dry milk solids. As soon as the calf starts to eat foods like grass and grain. it flies long distances. its flesh tone starts to redden. the flesh is pinkish red. A calf ’s flesh at birth is fine- . Before it reaches the half-year mark. which spends the last part of its short life in an indoor stall with limited opportunity for exercise. which contain iron.rather than slow-contraction muscle fibers. At the animal’s maturity. and it continues to deepen with time and exercise. 47 capes. the color is rosy red. The chosen animal. Like cow’s milk. the premium veal industry has increased profits by putting into large-scale operation a technique that prevents a weaned calf from developing myoglobin. some premium veal products in the marketplace are from animals raised by man to be anemic. the meat is cherry red. the color is dark red.

the new kitchen science grained to a fault. but as the animal ages it coarsens. The additional month — a 33 percent increase in life span — does make a profound difference. Many butchers ignore this authoritative consensus — or are ignorant of it — because they sell calf meat (“baby beef ”) as veal and. Instead. tinge. but “special formula” calves are usually slaughtered at about four months. and then brownish. Based on the agency’s standards. Denied that oxygen. . its heart stops pumping oxygen-rich blood to the various muscles. Why is a fresh cut of raw meat red on its surface and brown inside? Contrary to what some shoppers suspect. not the meat monger. the myoglobin protein in the muscles loses its bright red pigmentation and acquires a purplish. At four months. the outside of the meat is not redder than the inside because the butcher treated it with a chemical spray. charge the higher veal prices for it. its grading inspectors define a meat as veal. and beef at about nine months. is responsible. the texture of the muscle grain is ideal — neither too fine nor too coarse. even worse. veal becomes “calf ” meat when the animal is about three months old. “calf. What is the cutoff age for veal? The U. the sought-after veal flavor is better from a three-month-old calf than from a fourmonth-old.48 . When an animal dies. Department of Agriculture does not have a standard based on a specific bovine age. Moreover. When the calf is three months old. Normal milk-fed calves are traditionally slaughtered at the age of about three months. The National Livestock and Meat Board agrees that the animal’s three-month birthday is generally when the meat should no longer be considered veal. Why do the special-formula calf raisers wait the extra month? More growing time means more meat per animal and therefore larger profits. the texture becomes too coarse to merit epicurean raves. Mother Nature.S.” or beef using criteria — such as deepness of flesh color and hardness of bone — that reflect an animal’s age. .

meats . Why does the color of cooked beef indicate its degree of doneness? The red pigment in rare meat. (Butchers refer to this color development as “bloom.”) So. oxidation finishes turning the myoglobin on the meat’s exposed surfaces bright red. all myoglobin in the meat has turned drab brown. refrigeration does slow the browning process. though the outside of the meat is the shade of red that consumers are taught to look for. the inside remains brown simply because the unexposed myoglobin lacks enough oxygen. not when it has just been removed from the oven at these temperatures. the new surfaces should become bright red. the myoglobin is pink. When myoglobin overoxidizes. these descriptions apply after the meat has rested. If you cut open the meat and give it time to aerate. too much oxygen has the same effect on meat as too little oxygen — both conditions can give it a brownish tinge. At medium (approximately 145° to 150°F). If oxygen intensifies the red color of a raw meat’s exposed surfaces. 49 Another color change starts to occur when the meat is butchered into retail cuts and wrapped in porous plastic film. (Note: As discussed later in this chapter. This color change can occur even if meat is wrapped in plastic or paper.) . . a raw. By the time the steak is well done (160°F). just a trace of the pink remains. it is transformed into a brown pigment called metmyoglobin. However. myoglobin. When the meat is medium-rare (approximately 135° to 140°F). then why does the meat eventually turn brown? Curiously. because both allow air to pass through. the myoglobin in the interior still retains most of its red color. Therefore. giving the meat’s newly exposed surfaces access to the oxygen in the air. undergoes chemical changes as its temperature rises. As the meat sits in the refrigerated display case. When the meat’s degree of doneness is rare (an internal temperature of approximately 130°F). red meat will turn brown if it is exposed long enough to the air.

primal is the short loin. Muscles in the legs. Without this tissue. and the animal’s age. How does the anatomical location relate to toughness? An animal uses certain muscles more than others. What is connective tissue? A steer’s muscle is approximately 75 percent water. and minerals. 20 percent protein. and. the meat would be a flaccid mass. the new kitchen science Why doesn’t ham become grayish brown when cooked? A cured ham contains nitrite salt. the tougher the flesh will likely be.50 . The least exercised. What makes one cut of raw meat naturally tougher than another? Connective tissue is the key determinant. belly. The quantity and firmness of connective tissue in a raw piece of meat are determined by three factors: the anatomical location of the cut of meat. The de- . and therefore the most tender. To simplify a complicated biological structure. The accompanying illustration shows the nine primal cuts of beef. we can describe such a muscle as consisting mainly of bundles of microscopic muscle fibers bound together — much like a coaxial cable — inside tiny. 5 percent fat. The greater the proportion or firmness of connective tissue in raw meat. which reacts chemically with myoglobin to create nitrosomyoglobin. and neck of a four-legged animal do more work than those located along the mid-backbone. semitransparent tubes of connective tissue. the animal’s activity. carbohydrates. Why does the inside of a shish kebab cube lose its red hue so quickly? The acid in the marinade (we are assuming that you marinate your shish kebab meat) lowers the temperature level at which myoglobin turns from red to drab brown. followed by the sirloin and rib primal cuts. collectively. a substance that stays rosy red even when exposed to high temperatures. .

meats .



gree of toughness even varies within each primal: As a general rule, the closer the meat is to a hoof or horn, the tougher it will be. Therefore, the portion of the chuck (or round) that lies closest to the mid-carcass will be more tender than the part situated near the head (or rear leg) of the animal. It follows that not all cuts of beef marketed under the same primal designation possess equal tenderness. The sirloin primal is a good case in point. Certainly, the sirloin steak that is cut from next to the short loin is much more tender than one taken from the area bordering the round. In order of their proximity to the short loin, the three basic steaks of the sirloin primal are the pin bone, flat bone, and wedge bone. They derive their names from the crosssection configuration of the one bone they all share: the hip bone. Unfortunately, most stores market sirloin steaks simply as “sirloin steak” rather than subclassifying them. Should your butcher not give you complete information, look for the shape of the hip bone. If the hip bone cross-section is circular and one side is noticeably bigger in diameter than the other, you are holding a pin bone sirloin steak. If the cross-section is flat like a bar, the steak is a flat bone sirloin. If the cross-section is triangular, you have a wedge bone steak. Sometimes the difference between the pin bone and wedge
Primal Beef Cuts
chuck rib short loin sirloin

brisket foreshank short plate



Source: National Livestock and Meat Board

52 .


the new kitchen science

bone isn’t obvious. When confronted with that situation, remember that the steak will be a pin bone sirloin if the overall piece of meat has a configuration slightly resembling that of a porterhouse steak, the cut that lies immediately next to the pin bone sirloin. The difference between these two cuts is the thickness of a sharp butcher knife. Why is a chuck roast poorly suited for roasting? A chuck roast comprises several distinct muscle sections. It is difficult to cook because its muscles range from tender to tough. The most tender muscle is best roasted, though it can be braised with good results. The toughest muscle requires braising, not roasting, if it is to become tender. On balance, braising is your best option. Europeans rarely have to choose between roasting and braising a chuck roast because they seldom encounter it. Unlike the American butchering method, which cuts the meat across a group of muscles, the superior European method separates the individual muscles. How does an animal’s activity affect meat’s toughness? The more an animal exercises, the greater the connective tissue development, and the more connective tissue, the tougher the meat. If you were to let one bovine freely roam a pasture while you raised its identical twin in a confined space, the roving sibling would have considerably more connective tissue running through its flesh. One reason ranchers emasculate their bovine charges has to do with the relationship between exercise and connective tissue formation: A steer (desexed male) is generally less active physically than his uncastrated brethren. The Japanese minimize connective tissue development with soothing hands. Steers that are raised for the famous Kobe beef are occasionally massaged along the back to keep them relaxed, because tension would flex the muscles and therefore exercise them.

meats .



What relation is there between an animal’s age and the toughness of its meat? The longer the animal lives, the more opportunity it has to exercise its muscles — and connective muscle development is usually cumulative. The aging process itself also helps firm connective tissue, making the meat tougher. If meat from an older animal is tougher, why is it usually the most desirable selection for braising and stewing? Slow moist-heat cooking methods like braising and stewing tenderize even a somewhat tough meat by breaking down most of its connective tissue. Thus, the original toughness of the raw meat is not a major factor when using such methods. The difference in the flavor of meat from an older animal, however, can be decisive. Since it is generally more flavorful, it should normally be your first choice for moist-heat cooking. How can I counteract the natural toughness of connective tissue? One approach is to use the most tender primals of U.S. prime grade meat. Other methods include cooking meat that has been aged, marinated, sprinkled with a commercial meat tenderizer, ground, scored, or pounded. Each of these techniques, as well as carving across the grain and slow cooking with moist heat, will be discussed in subsequent Q&A’s. How does slow moist-heat cooking soften connective tissue? The prime component of connective tissue is the protein collagen. That name derives from the Greek words kolla (glue) and gen (a word appendix signifying “production of ”). In everyday English, collagen produces glue or, in this case, gelatin. In a hot, moist environment (boiling water, for instance), collagen can be partially transformed, over a period of time, into gelatin. When this metamorphosis occurs, connective tissue softens and dissolves, making the meat more tender. The second major constituent of connective tissue is elastin.

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Unlike the more predominant whitish collagen, the yellow-tinged elastin protein does not soften — or at least, not perceptibly — in the dual presence of heat and water. If slow moist heat softens the collagen in connective tissue, why does it sometimes leave meat tough? Heat and prolonged cooking have opposite effects on the two main solid components of meat: Both soften connective tissue, but at the same time they harden muscle fibers. Fortunately for the cook, the tenderizing of the connective tissue more than compensates for the hardening of the muscle fibers — that is, if the meat is cooked properly. Granted, you can moist-cook meat slowly for several hours with a liquid at 140°F without unduly toughening the muscle fibers. However, these time-temperature coordinates scarcely soften the connective tissue. To accomplish that mission with a 140°F temperature, you need to cook the meat for at least six hours, a period that will likely toughen the muscle fibers and create a bacteriaengendered health risk. At the other extreme, you can moist-cook meat at, say, 212°F. Within an hour or so at that comparatively high temperature, much of the collagen will have gelatinized. Unfortunately, much of the muscle fiber will have coagulated too much and toughened. And the meat will shrink appreciably. Our experiments indicate that in most situations, two or three hours of slow moist cooking at 180°F strikes a balance between softening the connective tissue and not hardening muscle fiber or risking contamination. The meat will be properly done when the internal temperature reaches about 135°F (measure with an instant thermometer). Further cooking will toughen and shrink the meat. What are the two primary aging methods? Meat can be dry- or wet-aged. With dry aging, the surface of the meat is exposed to the air. With wet aging, the meat is tightly

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wrapped. The ideal cuts of meat for any type of aging are prime rib and sirloin roasts. Does dry aging make a real difference in the meat’s tenderness and flavor? If meat is stored in a proper aging environment, it undergoes an enzymatic change that softens some of the connective tissue. The optimal period and temperature are 10 to 20 days between 34°F and 38°F. (Freezing would inhibit the chemical process, and too high a heat would foster excessive bacterial and mold development.) The traditional dry-aging method does more than tenderize. It also deepens the red flesh color and intensifies the meat’s flavor, mainly because of the 10 to 20 percent shrinkage that occurs. (Of course, all this is reflected in the price.) Finally, the longer you age meat, the quicker it will cook to any desired degree of doneness. An alternative dry-aging method uses ultraviolet rays to kill surface bacteria. This allows the meat to age at about 70°F. The higher temperature shortens the aging time to two or three days, therefore reducing shrinkage. This process saves the processor money at the cost of tenderness and flavor for the diner. Another aging technique is to apply two minutes of intermittent electrical shocks to the hanging carcass. The process is fast, the results poor. What about wet aging? Nearly all wet aging uses the “Cryovac” process. It involves tightly wrapping and hermetically sealing the meat in polyethylene bags. Though this modern technique hardly tenderizes the meat, the mass-market meat industry favors it over the old-fashioned method because less shrinkage occurs and because the so-called aging can conveniently take place as the meat is shipped across the country from the slaughterhouse to your butcher’s refrigerated walk-in storage locker. Another wet-aging disadvantage is that moisture is trapped in-

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side the wrapping. This can give the meat a relatively mushy texture compared to the firm texture of a traditionally dry-aged meat. How does rigor mortis affect tenderness? Rigor mortis is a chemical change that stiffens meat. This process usually begins several hours after the animal is killed and continues for another 12 to 36 hours until an enzymatic action makes the connective tissue even more tender than it was before rigor mortis set in. The accompanying graph illustrates the relationship between the postslaughter time and the degree of tenderness for U.S. prime grade meat stored in a 35°F environment.

Tenderness Scale

Time in Days

Whoever first advised thousands of years ago that one should either cook an animal immediately after killing it or, otherwise, wait at least two days knew from practical experience what modern science has confirmed. Why do hunters hang their game? Hunters are not just trying to thwart ground insects and animals when they suspend a carcass from a tree limb. A dead animal’s muscles contract during the rigor mortis period, particularly if the animal is horizontally stored. Hanging promotes tenderness by helping to stretch out the animal’s muscle fibers.

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How does marinating tenderize meat? The marinade’s acid (be it derived from lemon juice, wine, or some other ingredient) is the potent substance that chemically softens the connective tissue. Acid also reduces the time required for heat to convert collagen to gelatin. To be effective, sufficient marinating time is necessary. With some dishes you can achieve adequate results in as few as several hours, though there are specialties, such as the famous German sauerbraten (“sour roast”), that call for a weeklong marination. What other factors determine a marinade’s effectiveness? Marination is a chemical process. The lower the temperature, the more slowly the chemical reactions occur. This explains why marinating at room temperature is considerably faster than doing it in the refrigerator. The degree to which the food is covered by the marinade also influences effectiveness. The greater the coverage, the faster the marination process occurs because liquid is significantly superior to air as a medium for chemical reactivity. Unfortunately, to submerge a large piece of meat in Liquid is siga bowl or jar requires a large volume of marinificantly sunade. For this reason, we recommend marinating perior to air in a tightly sealed plastic bag with its excess air as a medium squeezed out. This reduces the amount of marifor chemical nade needed. reactivity As a bonus, the package can be easily turned upside down periodically to coat the food’s entire surface — and your hands remain clean. The configuration, thickness, and type of meat also determine marination effectiveness. Other variables are the quantity and strength of the acid used. Why does marinating a roast make it less juicy? Even though the roast absorbs some of the liquid marinade as it lies submerged in it, the cooked meat will likely be less succulent than if it had not been marinated. Acid, a major component of

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marinades, tends to diminish a meat’s moisture-retention capacity, especially during cooking. However, on balance, the marinated meat’s juice loss is usually compensated for by a gain in tenderness and flavor. What is the difference between a rub and a marinade? Like a marinade, a rub is a mixture of flavor agents created to infuse meats with extra taste. Unlike a marinade, a rub is not a liquid. A rub’s ingredients (such as garlic, herbs, and spices) are chopped together to form a coarse paste, which is hand-rubbed onto a meat’s surface, typically one to several hours before it is cooked. Which is better, a rub or a marinade? A growing number of cooks prefer rubs to marinades because they impart more flavor and leach out fewer meat juices. And the meat’s center is less likely to end up drab brown. However, a rub Try This Rub Versus is less effective for tenderizMarinade Experiment ing because it is less acidic and the tenderizing agents do not Buy a roast such as a boneless pork penetrate as deeply into the loin. Divide it into two equal pieces. Marinate one piece for 24 hours, and meat.
rub the other several hours before cooking time. Roast them simultaneHow do commercial meat ously in the same oven to your desired tenderizers work? degree of doneness. Which piece is Most of the powdered meat more tender? Which is juicier and tenderizers sold in grocery more succulent? stores use papain as the tenderizing agent. Papain is derived from unripe papayas and works in much the same manner as the natural enzymes in meat that help soften connective tissue as the meat is aged. Both are termed proteolytic enzymes because they break down the proteins in muscle fibers and connective tissue into smaller molecules.

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Commercial meat tenderizers have a number of shortcomings, though. They are virtually impotent at refrigerator temperatures, only semi-effective at room temperature, and inactivated once the temperature rises above about 150°F. Because the papain seldom penetrates deep inside a cut of meat, the cooked food may end up tender (or even mushy) on the surface and tough in its interior. If you increase accessibility to the interior by deeply piercing the meat, as some papain-promoting recipes suggest, your efforts will be counterproductive. Your cooked meat will be tougher than it would be normally because you have created channels through which a lamentable share of juices escape during the cooking process. The store-bought products also tend to be laden with salts and other additives that can impart an unwanted flavor to your finished dish. Today some slaughterhouses inject a papain solution into an animal shortly before it is to be killed. The papain enters directly into the animal’s bloodstream, which carries the tenderizer to muscle tissue throughout the body. While the meat from this animal is cooking, the enzyme is activated (and finally inactivated when the temperature reaches approximately 150°F). Although it is true that this tenderizing technique produces meat that has a more uniform texture than meat sprinkled with papain, the flesh still tends to become mushy when cooked because the enzyme destroys too much of the muscle fiber firmness. How does carving a piece of meat across the grain and into thin slices make connective tissue more tender? Grain defines the direction of the tubular connective tissues in meat. “To cut across the grain” means to slice the connective tissue at right angles. Obviously, the thinner the slices, the shorter the resulting connective tissue segments. The shorter the segments, the less chewy the meat, and therefore the more tender it will seem to the eater. If you have trouble ascertaining the grain of the meat, try to remember this guideline: Typically, the grain flows in a direction

someone discovered how to broil the naturally tough and (then) inexpensive flank steak and end up with a tasty meat that was crusty on the outside and tender on the inside — a gastronomic bargain. and pounding tenderize meat? As with cutting across the grain. A dubious variation of pounding is the one depicted in the Academy Award–winning motion picture Rocky. The secret is twofold. Second. London broil’s creation was inspired by pragmatic considerations. not a round steak (see next Q&A). the pugilistic folk hero of the movie practices for his world championship fight by pummeling the beef carcasses hanging from the hooks in a refrigerated warehouse. On the other hand. Centuries. the bruising effect on the meat nullifies any gain. A flank steak should not be cut on the diagonal. head. While fist pounding tenderizes the meat to some extent. geometry also proves . As you may recall. geometry confirms this (a slice of a given thickness will be 41 percent larger in surface area if cut on a 45° slant rather than at a 90° angle to the surface). scoring. How do grinding. Why should true London broil be cooked no more than mediumrare — and why should the meat be sliced across its grain? True London broil is made with a flank steak.60 . reduce the length of the many tough and chewy connective tissues by using a sharp knife to cut the meat into thin slices perpendicular to the flow of the grain. if not millennia. but only on the scored surface. This entails using very high heat and not cooking the meat more than medium-rare. the new kitchen science from the middle of the carcass to the animal’s extremities (limbs. Pounding with a mallet helps tenderize meat by mashing some of the connective tissue. grinding appreciably shortens the length of connective tissue. . broil the meat quickly and briefly to keep the muscle fibers from overcoagulating and therefore toughening. Scoring does the same thing. and tail). ago. First. In the accompanying illustration depicting a side view of a flank steak. the double-ended arrow indicates the direction of the grain. Granted.

. most meat labeled “London broil” in supermarkets is round steak. Enterprising butchers soon began merchandising the then-inexpensive and abundant round steak (usually the top round subcut) as London broil. Consequently. you will be cutting with the grain and will not be shortening the connective tissues. you will appreciably shorten the connective tissues. This switch evolved in the post–World War II years. The issue is whether the gain in cosmetics compensates for the loss in tenderness. and the grain in a round steak — in its position on a platter — runs vertically rather than horizontally. There are at least two problems with that ruse: The substitute isn’t as flavorful as the flank steak. 61 that the resulting length of the connective tissue will be 41 percent longer if cut on a 45° angle instead of a 90° angle. However. when millions of Americans took up the fashionable backyard sport of barbecuing. Since each steer has only two flank steaks. Why do many butchers sell round steak rather than flank steak as London broil? Although the authentic (and best) London broil is made with flank steak.meats . its availability plummeted and the price soared. . London broil became one of the favorite specialties. if you slice the round steak at a 45° angle. if you slice a round steak as you should a flank steak (vertically relative to the surface of the platter). We do not think so.

if properly cooked. once the marbling did form. Marbling therefore is usually a sign that the development of tough connective tissue resulting from physical exertion has been minimal. If you are concerned about the calories and saturated fats in well-marbled meat. In fact. the new kitchen science Why is a well-marbled steak tastier than a leaner one? In addition to muscle fibers and connective tissue. a form of stored energy for the animal. take into account that most of that fat melts and drains out of the meat by the time the steak is cooked. or lamb. promises you more than flavor because its presence indicates two conditions. However. then.62 . Marbling performs yet another worthy function — it helps prevent the cooking meat from drying out by keeping the individual muscle fibers juicy. pork. which rims the steak or resides in large pockets. will almost invariably be tender. Thus. the animal must not have had cause to use it as an energy supply. Marbling. a rich diet — based on foods like corn — was necessary for the animal to develop substantial fat deposits. or sirloin primal areas to be as tasty as it is tender. also does this job. marbling does it better because it is dispersed within rather than outside the muscles. That fat. you deprive yourself of the full enjoyment of a first-rate steak. short loin. First. While it is true that the “good life” leaves the tasty fat deposits intact. when you buy beef that contains scant marbling. Second. the flavor boon of marbling is crucial. The fat in the adipose tissue. is the source of much of meat’s characteristic flavor and aroma. It follows. Exercise not only toughens the flesh but increases the flavor of the muscles. it is because the fat of each animal species has a distinctive cooking aroma that an educated nose can tell whether the meat cooking in the host’s kitchen is beef. muscle has tiny bits of embedded fat running through it. In re- . The meat from this indulged animal. that if you want a steak from the relatively unexercised rib. the meat’s flavor — unlike its texture — does not benefit directly from the animal’s inactivity. . This type of diet enhances the quality of the meat. called marbling.

Why is ground chuck usually better than the more expensive ground sirloin for hamburgers? Ground chuck normally has more fat than ground sirloin. but after the meat is tenderized by grinding. That extra fat not only contributes flavor but also helps keep the meat moist when grilling or broiling. If calories are your concern. Second. say. trim it off the cooked meat and don’t eat it. Another advantage of ground chuck is that it comes from a more exercised. And since more fat and less water will ooze out of the meat into the pan during the cooking process. . a steak? Grinding fosters bacterial contamination in two ways. part of the anatomy than does ground sirloin. and veal blade-end chops have a higher fat content and a lower water content than do their loin-end counter- . you need not be overly concerned about the higher fat content of ground chuck (as long as it is not excessive) because most of it will drain out of the meat as it cooks. remember that a smaller but succulent hamburger is more gastronomically rewarding than a larger hamburger of identical calorie count that is dried out. pork. and therefore more flavorful. the original sirloin steak was more tender than the original chuck steak. frying temperatures will be higher and there will be less splatter.meats . thus making the meat more vulnerable to airborne bacteria. the meat is exposed to the spoilage-causing microorganisms that may be present on the butcher’s machine or hands. True. Why do some cooks prefer the blade-end chop over the loin-end chop for frying? The lamb. Unless your diet dictates that you stay clear of saturated fats. Why is ground meat more perishable than. that plus becomes a big zero. First. the surface area of the ground meat has been enlarged to many times its original size. 63 gard to the band of fat that may surround the steak.

64 . your meat is bound to be less palatable and nutritious. Does the color of beef indicate quality? White fat suggests that the animal was fed corn or other cereal grain. 63). Better browning and less splattering result. The extra fat adds extra flavor. The other side of the coin is that you don’t want to cook your pork to just 137°F because the meat’s flavor would not develop . and furthermore. (You can kill it by freezing the meat at a temperature below minus 10°F for several weeks. This creates two of the benefits mentioned earlier in the Q&A on ground chuck (see p. prolonged cooking causes dryness. and because the fat-to-water ratio is higher.) Intelligent safeguarding is not the same as overreacting. which is what many cookbooks are doing when they recommend cooking pork to a temperature between 170° and 185°F. and excess shrinkage owing to moisture loss and coagulating proteins. at least during its final months. Today’s pigs are bred to be relatively lean owing to public demand for lower-fat food. If the meat does not cut easily. . With less exterior and internal fat. it’s overcooked. Pork can easily toughen and lose its succulence. What is the needed cooking temperature to kill trichinosis in pork? Cooking the meat to an internal temperature of at least 137°F will kill any trichinae present. making it mushy when cooked. toughness. On the other hand. but freezing alters the meat’s cellular structure. If you follow those directions. a steak surrounded by a pearly white layer of fat should be more tender — and expensive. the loin-end chop has its adherents because it’s more tender. You can tell whether pork has been overcooked with the knifeand-fork test. the new kitchen science parts. less water will exude out of the meat into the frying pan. Is it easier to overcook pork today than 50 years ago? Pork used to be rather fatty. overcooking is less forgiving. Consequently. Yellow-tinged fat indicates that the steer was grass-fed.

The center of a pork roast will be slightly pink. 251) for more information on trichinosis. If you take your temperature reading next to a bone in the center of the meat. the firmer and more elastic it becomes. See chapter 14 (p. the information garnered from such charts is better than no information at all. its flesh becomes less flabby because it loses water and its muscle fibers contract. Placing the thermometer point in a pocket of fat. . it is the last part to cook. Even if the thermometer gives the desired temperature for a thinner part of the meat. we recommend cooking it to an internal temperature of 150°F (a 13°F safety margin). your educated finger will relegate the thermometer to the drawer. there are a host of variables that render the charts crude estimates at best. Eventually. For pork that is both rewarding and safe to eat. 65 fully. The best way to learn the technique is empirically. the thickest segment may not be done. . When using a meat thermometer. therefore. by testing the resiliency of the meat each time you use a thermometer. As the meat cooks. the reading will be higher than it would be for center flesh farther from the bone. Are the minutes-per-pound charts for cooking meat fallible? Granted. Fat is not as good a heat conductor as meat. Bone is a better conductor of heat than meat. why should I test the thickest part of the meat and avoid letting the thermometer’s point touch a bone or pocket of fat? Since the center of the meat’s thickest section is farthest away from the oven’s heat source. The more a meat cooks. The skill of accurately measuring doneness of meat by its springiness cannot be taught in words. Nonetheless. How do experienced cooks tell whether a meat is cooked simply by touching it? These cooks are testing for resiliency.meats . gives a lower reading than it would for the adjacent flesh.

for example. they require fewer minutes per pound than do smaller pieces of similar shape and composition. If your chart does not take into account different sizes of meat. the arrows are still a long way from the meat’s center. you will have to make adjustments that reflect the fact that though larger pieces of meat take longer to cook. takes longer to cook than a long. A spherical 10-pound roast. the new kitchen science The most significant variable is the thickness of the meat. narrow 10-pound roast. Other variables include the temperature of the meat when you put it in the oven and the preheated temperature of your oven. narrow roast. Minutes-per-pound charts and recipes usually specify these two factors. All other factors being equal. In the accompanying illustration.66 . You must also make allowances for the amount of bone and fat in the meat. as well as figures for different degrees of doneness. buy. a bone-in or lean piece of meat cooks faster than a boneless or fatty one. Then — should you discover a discrepancy — add or subtract the variation when you set the oven dial. . while the heat has already reached every point of the long. There is no chart around that can take into consideration the accuracy of your oven temperature dial — chances are it is not as precise as you think. beg. the arrows represent the distance that heat has penetrated by conduction in a given time period. In the spherical roast. . To test your oven’s accuracy. or borrow a quality portable oven thermometer in good condition.

if you remove a 6-inch-thick roast from the refrigerator and place it directly in a preheated 350°F oven. If the roast is frozen. (You can compensate for this factor by lowering the suggested oven setting by approximately 25°F. Why does it usually take twice as long to roast than to boil or steam a meat? One could easily conclude that roasting would be faster because it uses a higher temperature. Naturally. nor will its exterior be as attractive. you will have to alter the given figures because covered meat cooks more quickly. (Boiling . When you cannot bring meat to room temperature. for example.meats . And since a room-temperature roast cooks more quickly than its colder counterpart. increase the original cooking time by about 50 percent. Of course. you should roast it at a slightly lower temperature than usual. 67 If you choose to cover your roasting meat (a technique we do not recommend).) Why should a roast be brought to. or near. at least allow the interior of the meat to partially reach room temperature. counterbalanced with a slightly longer cooking time than usual. Less complicated but less effective is to maintain the original temperature but to extend the cooking time. room temperature before cooking? This is principally a precautionary measure against having the roast’s outside overcook and dry out before the inside is properly warmed and cooked. and radiant heat. . add 12 to 15 minutes to the cooking time. if the roast is 6 inches or more thick. your roast will not be as tasty and juicy. convection. its surface will undergo bacterial contamination before the center of the meat reaches room temperature. An hour in the open should not pose a health threat except. when the room is hot and humid. It also employs all three types of thermal energy: conduction. you save energy. In that case. as a roast that was brought to room temperature before cooking.

by the fact that liquid and steam can transfer heat to food much more efficiently than air can.68 . as the oven temperature increases. Another is the use of a lid or foil: An uncovered meat develops a crispier. And it shrinks appreciably less and is more tender compared to a roast cooked at 350°F. The secret of slow roasting has been long known by commercial cooks who make roast beef for deli sandwiches. There are other variables that also determine the quality of a roast’s crust. but there are several major advantages. the deli can either make a bigger profit or charge less. richer-colored. Because there is minimum shrinkage. p. the new kitchen science and steaming use only the first two. The increased rarefaction lessens the ability of the air in the oven to transfer heat to the roasting meat. the crustier the meat is. One variable is cooking time: The longer the roast cooks. however. Slow roasting (as it is called) takes roughly 50 percent more time than roasting at 350°F. Fat helps to keep the meat’s surface from scorching and drying out. Another big plus: The roast (if not overcooked) has an inviting pinkish (instead of a dull grayish-brown) hue that stretches from the center to almost the surface of the meat. the air expands. . and more delectable crust than a covered one. Does high heat produce a better crust on a roast than low heat? The higher the heat. Yet another variable is the fat content of the meat or basting liquid. 33) takes place. Moreover. How can I minimize the shrinking of a roast? Rather than using the 350°F oven temperature recommended by many cookbooks.) These advantages of roasting are more than counterbalanced. The roast requires no basting and virtually no monitoring. roast the meat at 225°F until the internal temperature reaches about 130°F. the more the Maillard reaction (see chapter 2. How can I tell whether a smoked cut of meat has been cooked? Knowing for sure whether a smoked cut of meat has been fully cooked by the processor is important because if you guess the an- . thereby retarding crust formation.

Assume that because you mistakenly thought the meat was fully cooked. but because you thought it wasn’t. A 15. If a smoked and fully cooked whole ham is cut in half. the more the meat has been cooked. Your meat would lack proper flavor and texture. If it protrudes from the flesh. your smoked meat would become dry and tough. you may be wrong. its flesh shrinks but not its bone. Why should a roast be allowed to rest for 15 to 25 minutes prior to carving? At the moment when a roast is removed from the oven. the meat has been cooked to at least some degree. you did not cook it completely. the edges of your slices will be unnecessarily dry. In that case. when its juices are unevenly distributed. If you carve a roast immediately after cooking. the meat near the surface contains fewer juices than the meat at the core. for instance. as a cut of meat cooks. The meat was fully 25-minute respite (depending on the roast’s thickness) gives much of the liquid a chance to redistribute and settle . In addition. When making this observation. be sure you are looking at a bone that was exposed during the smoking process. This disparity occurs because many of the juices that were originally in the outer meat either evaporated or were forced toward the center. . 69 swer.meats . the newly exposed cross-section of the leg bone will not reveal the desired information because it will lie flush with the surrounding flesh. examine a visible bone. The more the bone stands out in relief. you and your dinner guests would risk consuming pathogenic microorganisms. This criterion is reliable because. you decided to cook it for the length of time that raw meat requires. Now consider the opposite situation. too. many of the meat’s juices will seep out because the saturated muscle tissue in the interior cannot absorb and hold all the excess liquid that has collected there during cooking. Should neither the butcher nor the label provide you with the information. or because you wanted to play it safe.

70 . its interior temperature will have climbed about 5°F. Why should I remove a roast from the oven slightly underdone? Assume that you want to cook your roast to 140°F of doneness and you leave it in the oven until it reaches that internal temperature. The center of a roast over 12 inches thick will increase in temperature approximately 15°F after the meat is removed from the oven. or barbecuing. making it easier to carve thin slices. Technically. or pot-roasting. the new kitchen science throughout the meat. The rise will be about 10 percent less for rare roasts. why is it unsuitable to cook a steak that is less than 1 inch or more than 3 inches thick? The inside of a steak less than 1 inch thick will be disappointingly dry and tough by the time the surface is appetizingly brown. These figures refer to medium-rare meats. The season-before-cooking faction argues that unless you sprinkle the salt on the meat before starting the . 10 percent greater for medium. a piece of meat such as this is a roast and should be cooked as one. by oven-roasting. When cooking meat with dry heat. schools of thought on this issue. the meat near the surface is probably hot enough — around 160° to 180°F — to continue cooking the colder center while you are allowing the roast to rest before carving (see preceding Q&A). and sometimes contentious. Such a steak is best pan-broiled. and 15 percent greater for those that are well done. grilling. When broiling. Although the middle of the roast may be 140°F. should I salt before or after the meat is cooked? There are two antipodal. The outside of a steak more than 3 inches thick will be overcooked before the center of the meat is properly done. This brief rest also allows the meat to become a little firmer. . slow barbecuing. The center of a medium-thick roast experiences roughly a 10°F rise. By the time the temperature equalizes throughout a thin cut of meat (under 3 inches at its minimum diameter or point of thickness).

we recommend that you sprinkle on the pepper near the end of the cooking period. the same fate probably awaits the pepper. and accordingly. This tech- . such as a sauté pan. The salt-after-cooking clique asserts that presalting draws out moisture unnecessarily from the cooking meat and therefore makes it tougher. If you presalt the meat. . so follow whichever precept your grandmother taught you. Some chefs add the pepper to a side of steak as soon as it has been cooked and turned. the cooked meat is unevenly seasoned. but unless you are careful not to scatter the pepper particles beyond the meat. broiler compartment. 71 cooking process. this group maintains. Why is it often advantageous to sear meat? Meat is seared by exposing its surfaces to an intense direct or indirect heat long enough to cook the outer layers of molecules. Salting steak that is to be cooked on a flat surface. if you use dry heat. Moreover. your food or sauce may end up with the distasteful flavor of scorched pepper. but short enough to have little effect on the meat’s interior. your steak will suffer. Consequently. A slice from a roast that was salted before cooking verifies their point: The edges taste saltier than the center. the salt does not have a chance to infuse the food and trigger a chemical flavor-enhancing reaction. Scattered salt is not as much of a problem because it will not scorch. As the salt-leached juices exude from the underside of the steak. they boil or turn to steam. is another matter. The pros and cons of each argument more or less balance out. We prefer a compromise solution: Salt each side of a steak after its final turning. giving that face a mushy consistency and a surface that is a pallid grayish brown rather than an appealing rich brown. If an oven is warmer than 325°F. the salt does not penetrate the flesh entirely. When cooking meat with dry heat. should I pepper before or after it is cooked? Ground pepper becomes bitter when scorched — and the heat of a hot frying or sauté pan.meats . or barbecue unit is sufficient to do the bad deed.

That category once encompassed 54 percent of the carcasses. It is in the best position to absorb the savory flavors of the bone — the same flavors that help enrich stocks. white fat. The increase is due to the inclusion of beef that prior to 1976 would have been given the third-level grade. and color — and. seals in internal meat juices. the new kitchen science nique gives the meat surface and meat drippings added texture. and firm. the federal government forbids giving growth hormones to some animals . Is meat still safe to eat if I forget to cut off the government grade or inspection stamp? Yes. fresh flesh color. in some instances.S. Today it includes 68 percent of them. that percentage jumped to 6. many nutritional authorities fear the effect of these natural or synthetic hormones on humans who eat the meat. yes. Consequently. bright. Was USDA prime beef better a few decades ago? On the average. The ink used is a harmless vegetable dye. In the not too distant past. Even the USDA choice designation isn’t what it used to be.) When the USDA lowered its grading standards in 1976. fine flesh texture. Department of Agriculture were awarded the prime grade. Why the controversy over using hormones to stimulate animal growth? Although it is incontrovertible that sex hormones like diethylstilbestrol (DES) can accelerate the growth of livestock. USDA good. USDA choice.5 — which means that approximately one-third of the beef being sold today as USDA prime would have been stamped before 1976 with the next lower grade classification.72 . 4. flavor. .5 percent of beef carcasses that were quality-inspected by the U. (USDA officials looked for ample marbling. the meat closest to the bone has a distinct advantage. Why is the meat nearest the bone usually tastier? In a given cut of meat.

73 and limits their use with others by setting minimum periods between the day the animal last receives the hormones and the day it is slaughtered. hormone-infiltrated meat is comparatively flabby and insipid. somewhat rainbowlike color that sometimes emanates from the cut surface of a ham slice is a sign of oxidation and not necessarily of spoilage. aroma. which is the number-one cause of grease splattering out of the pan onto the top of your erstwhile clean range. In the interest of saving time and money.meats . . yes. In order to sterilize a ham so that it can be stored at room temperature on a grocery shelf the processor must heat the ham to a very high temperature. greenish. almost all the processors today cure their products in brine. and nutritive value. bacon was typically cured with dry salt — the slow. traditional way. the more you convert the nitrate curing agents into nitrites. That intense heat negatively alters the ham’s flavor. Why does the bacon of today tend to splatter more than that of yesteryear? In Grandpa’s day. The hotter the heat. When exposed to oxygen (or light). From a gourmet’s point of view. texture. What gives a slice of ham an iridescent sheen? The glistening. Moreover. A more important reason concerns carcinogens. Is a canned ham that requires refrigeration better than one that doesn’t? Generally. some of the nitrate-modified iron content of the meat undergoes a chemical change that alters the ham’s pigmentation. This liquid infuses the bacon. Why is it best to fry bacon with medium heat rather than high? Less splatter and curl are two answers. which are substances suspected of causing cancer. . processors seldom reserve their best hams for their need-notrefrigerate products.

the new kitchen science What should I look for when buying bacon? The fat of quality.74 . well-conditioned bacon is firm. the free-range chickens get to move around a large yard. but if your priority is frying bacon extra crisp. For the same reason. results in a better-quality meat and a higher flesh-to-bone ratio. this collagen undergoes a chemical reaction. Unlike the latter.and stress-prone. you should not notice an appreciable toughening effect on the meat. research shows. Exercise also toughens muscles. but the effect is less pronounced on a chicken than a steer. Free-range chickens live more contented lives. you should begin sautéing or broiling a bone-in chicken breast side up. some of the skin adheres to the rack and peels off. This cosmetic problem can be lessened if you grease the rack well and begin the roasting process in a preheated oven with the breast side up for at least 20 minutes. This gives some of the newly created gelatin a chance to infuse into the fat and flesh under the skin or to ooze out into the pan. Does a chicken’s living environment affect its flavor? Free-range chickens are more flavorful than mass-produced chickens sold in supermarkets. changing into a gluey gelatin. diminishing the bird’s table appeal. A purplish-red flesh indicates that the bacon was cured with nitrates. When subjected to high heat. The cramped and sunless living quarters of mass-reared chickens also make these “shut-ins” more disease. . . As long as you buy a young free-range chicken. When you lift up the chicken. which. buy the thin-cut variety. Thick-sliced bacon generally offers the best flavor. which are almost always reared in crowded coops. so look for slightly browner flesh. This exercise develops more flavor in their muscles. Why does chicken breast skin sometimes stick to the roasting rack? The skin contains collagen. not spongy.

This loss would not occur if the chickens were chilled in air inside a refrigeration unit. accordingly. The processing plant lowers the temperature of a freshly dressed chicken to about 28°F. This is an effective process because few pathogenic microorganisms can survive (or at least . some shippers and supermarkets. the bird’s storage life is extended. This makes sense because the deterioration process is slower at 28° than at 32°F. Another way to extend shelf life is to package the chicken with plastic wrap. robs its flesh of some of its desirable flavor and texture. the freezing point of water. out of greed or ignorance. . so good. So far. 75 Does the method of processing a chicken affect flavor? Today’s mass-production methods diminish a chicken’s flavor. No need to worry about the chicken freezing. “Of course not. as they used to be. Are deep-chilled chickens frozen? Too often we’ve heard supermarket personnel answer a customer’s honest question. This freezes the chicken and. Here comes the problem. store the deep-chilled chickens at a temperature below 28°F. and to replace the oxygen inside this hermetically sealed package with nitrogen gas. a process that leaches out some of the built-in flavor. Once the chicken leaves the processing plant. Therefore.” To set the record straight.rather than hand-plucked. One reason is that mass-produced chickens are machine. it’s been deep-chilled. The mechanical plucking device removes part of the flavorful epidermis (outer skin layer) along with its feathers. just because a chicken has been deep-chilled doesn’t mean it wasn’t subsequently frozen and thawed. “Has this chicken been frozen?” with the flippant reply. The 28°F temperature would freeze plain water but not the liquid in the chicken. Another reason is that dressed chickens are typically chilled by soaking them in water at the plant. because the natural proteins and other solids immersed in that liquid lower the liquid’s freezing point.meats . Let’s first consider what deep-chilling means.

However. sunless. the new kitchen science flourish) without oxygen. either by scratching for its subsistence around the farmhouse or by eating the right mix of foods tossed to it by its owner. (See p. If the chicken had a yellow skin. yellow. It’s usually the liquid that was once stored inside or between the cells. has considerable connective tissue that is best tenderized with a slow moist-cooking . The validity of the yellow-skin criterion was undermined when. a shipper can easily freeze a nitrogen-packed chicken and thaw it later without most customers being the wiser.76 . Why the expression “Stew an old chicken. not sunshine. fry a young one”? A mature chicken. the companies are not legally forced to reveal their ruse to the shoppers. and especially an old one.) Once you cook a bird. Since the petals are natural. some of the mass-marketing chicken farms began to use a ploy to take advantage of its widespread acceptance. like deep-chilled chicken. within the last several decades. Without the “colorful” diet. . The next time you view the golden chickens in your supermarket. leave their cramped. Does yellow skin indicate a superior chicken? A yellow skin was once a worthwhile (though not 100 percent reliable) clue that the chicken was imbued with extra flavor and surface fat. chances were it grew up bathed in sun rays and enjoyed a nutritious diet. supermarket chickens would likely have ghostly bluish-white skins because they seldom. you’ll see another telltale sign: The bones will be darker than normal. think flowers. How can I tell whether wrapped chicken or beef in the meat display case has been frozen and then thawed? A large pool of juices in the tray package is a telltale sign. indoor coops. They added marigold petals or similar sources of gold. if ever. or orange pigment to their feed formulas. 237 for an explanation of how this liquid seeps out.

chewy bird. the older that animal is likely to be. This same hardening process also occurs in some of the bones of mammals. . . you would have a tough. becoming more ossified and brittle. The pinker its tone. Butchers sometimes snap the lower leg bones of lamb. slow moist cooking is not necessary. too. Relative porousness divulges information. A bone becomes denser as the animal ages. the more easily the bone snaps and the less jagged the edges will be. to ascertain the sheep’s age. Examine a cross-section of a bone. Moreover. Once again. Why does a pliable breast bone tip indicate a young bird? As a chicken or other bird matures. 77 method such as stewing. for instance. If you fried the mature fowl. Another touchstone is relative color. this method of cooking would be counterproductive because the lengthy cooking process would overcoagulate the protein molecules. the younger the creature. the tip of its cartilaginous keel (breast bone) calcifies. chewy bird. you would end up with a tough. The younger the animal. Since the young chicken has comparatively little connective tissue. What are the other bone tests for determining the age of birds and mammals? Relative size is the best-known gauge.meats . The larger a specific bone from an animal of a particular breed.

making it tougher and less succulent. You should still consider marinating crustacean meat because the process does enhance flavor. What else can toughen crustaceans? Marinating can toughen crustacean meat if you marinate the food too long or use too much of an acid in the marinade. lobster. Just be sure to keep the marinat- 78 . Think of the last chewy lobster tail or calamari ring you ate. for the same reasons explained for meat in chapter 3 (p. 44).4 seafood Why do squid. As we mention in the Q&A later in this chapter on nonheat methods of preparing fish. excessive heat denatures the protein molecules in muscle fibers. Water drains out of the meat. Once these molecules reach the coagulated state. This causes the formerly separated molecules to unite. Essentially. they lose much of their water-retaining ability. . an acid can “cook” flesh by denaturing the protein molecules in the same way heat does. The flesh contracts and becomes less succulent. and other crustaceans sometimes toughen when cooked? Overcooking is the chief culprit.

one in the natural fishes deenvironment of a stream and the other in a fish velop flabby farm. Nowadays some farmers can generate more protein per acre. rivers. . Even properly cooked crustacean meat can seem a bit tough and chewy if cut with instead of across the grain. the cooked trout would be striking. . the chef needs to replenish the stock regularly. pigs. which mature in the freedom of oceans. 79 ing time under six hours and go easy on the vinegar and citrus juice. by raising fish than by rearing cows. Farmed fishes are not without their advantages to the industry and the world’s food supply. Should crustacean meat be cut across the grain? Squid and other crustacean meat have more connective tissue and longer muscle fibers than fish. As a result. the difference in the firmness and taste of muscles. sheep. If you were to hatch two Farmed genetically identical trout eggs. As each year passes. which have little texture and flavor. which have Farmed fishes also have relatively little flavor little texture because they have been selectively bred to be as and flavor bland as possible to please the lowest common denominator of mass-market taste preferences. fish farming becomes more and more profitable and productive. If the eatery has striped bass on its menu. farmed fishes do little exercise as they pass their time in man-controlled environments like tanks and pools. and at a lower feed cost.seafood . That explains why calamari is customarily sliced into thin rings. farmed fishes develop flabby muscles. From a restaurant’s viewpoint. What’s wrong with farmed fishes? Unlike wild fishes. reliable supply. and lakes. farmed fish helps ensure a steady. Most dining establishments cannot afford to trust the luck of the local fishermen. or poultry.

The cultivated fish — though just as long as the wild one — would have a blander taste and less firm texture. Not to be confused with the fishy scent is the equally nauseating oil-and-kerosene odor that often emanates from fish that swam in bustling harbors. Sulfur. and streams and breed with their wild counterparts. What causes a “fishy” odor? Bacteria are responsible. During that absorption process. It smells like a fresh sea breeze. filling your nasal passages with odors reeking of ammonia. When bacteria attack a dead fish. Because of selective breeding and high-tech feeding. A fresh. along with other substances created by the decomposition process. is generated by the deteriorating flesh. the new kitchen science Do farmed fish grow faster than their wild equivalents? Considerably so. lakes. Are there negative consequences when farmed fish escape into the wild? Environmentalists are concerned that genetically manipulated fish species may (and sometimes do) escape into the oceans. waft through the air. some species that would normally take three years to reach mature length in the wild will do it in less than one year on a fish farm. too. Why are gills an early warning system for decay? The gills are the respiratory organs located underneath the earlike flaps behind the eye. making hatchlings less capable of surviving in the highly competitive natural habitat. These molecules. . When a fish is alive.80 . . just-caught ocean fish does not have the “fishy” odor. blood is pumped through the gills and absorbs oxygen from the water. the blood’s hemoglobin undergoes a chemical process and turns bright red. the chemical trimethylamine is gradually released from the flesh. This would threaten the survival of the wild fish by modifying the genetic makeup of their offspring.

Gills provide an excellent early warning system because they are more perishable than the flesh of the fish and will develop an offodor before the flesh starts to acquire the telltale scent. or sunken. and unavoidably. and should cling tenaciously to any bone. cloudy. the fillet gradually loses acidity. if they exist. 81 If the fish is properly stored after it dies. As it lies in storage. The resulting chemical reaction retards the water loss that occurs naturally in protein tissue when a life form dies. Oxidation also plays a role in the yellowing process. and resilient when pressed with the tip of the finger. the midsection should not sag appreciably. especially when it’s used excessively by overzealous fishermen and seafood processors. but not always. decreasing its water retention . not flabby or dull. clear. and bulging and look alive rather than dull. the normally white flavone pigment in the fish flesh picks up a yellowish tint. Any exposed flesh should be firm and lustrous. the stomach cavity should be free of excess residue. should be securely attached. the oxygen in the air will help keep the gills bright red for a few hours. The chemical additive tripolyphosphate (nicknamed “tripoly” in the trade) is sometimes the culprit. the skin should be shining (not slimy).seafood . Is it a bad sign if a raw fillet has yellowed along its edges? Usually such a fillet is over the hill. Then overoxidation gradually changes the hemoglobin from bright red to pink to brownish red and finally to grayish brown. If the fish is gutted (as it should be if dead for more than an hour). If scaled. Scales. The method is simple: The seafood is soaked for several hours in a tripoly solution. Why does seafood in fish stores sometimes look slimy? This sheen is usually caused by bacterial decay. What are the other major freshness tests for a whole fish? Eyes should be bright. . Protein tissue loses water during the postdeath stage because its molecular structure contracts. When the fish is held horizontally by head and tail.

The chemical actually increases the net amount of water in the seafood by about 5 to 10 percent. Tripoly raises the tissue’s pH factor. Moreover.S. Money is the obvious reason the fish industry wants to curtail water loss. causing the protein’s molecular structure to unfold. unlike the ham processors. . (Note: The seafood industry is not the only trade using this weight-building stratagem. . to some degree. and — as mentioned earlier — a slimy coating when overused. The tripoly user can therefore increase the amount of seafood he has to sell without catching or buying more seafood. soapy flavor.” However. Tripoly not only does its job in eliminating water loss but gives the industry a generous bonus. a lot of potential profits go down the drain. What they don’t tell you is that the tripoly treatment can give shrimp a mushy texture. the new kitchen science ability. Sodium watchers are concerned because tripoly sometimes comes in forms like sodium tripolyphosphate. That’s true. the seafood merchants are selling water. Department of Agriculture statistics) give calories per 100 grams (about 3 1/2 ounces) of raw flesh. The use of these additives has raised at least two health questions. The less obvious reason is also money-related. a condition that can lead to osteoporosis. phosphates can decrease the ability of bones to acquire essential calcium.) Seafood advertisers argue that the tripoly process makes frozen seafood more succulent than it would otherwise be. If a product weighed 10 percent more when the merchants caught or bought it than when they sell it. literally. Look in your local supermarket’s display case and you’ll see hams labeled “10 percent water added. In essence. Our rankings (based on U. one fish can have thrice the calories of another species.82 . Because of a difference in fat content. the seafood ones are not required to inform you that they are selling less meat than you might think. thereby increasing its ability to bind water. Is knowing the difference between fat and lean fishes important for a weight watcher? Yes.

for instance. Calories in Fish. T-bone steak.seafood . has 397 calories per 100 grams. we must remember that these foods have lower calorie counts than some other protein sources. . by Species . 83 American Eel Chinook (or King) Salmon Atlantic Salmon Rainbow Trout Atlantic Mackerel Atlantic Herring Shad Butterfish (from northern waters) Lake Trout Pompano Pacific Mackerel Lake Whitefish Striped Mullet Bluefin Tuna Pacific Coast Yellowtail Yellowfin Tuna Alewife Weakfish Pink (or Humpback) Salmon Swordfish Bluefish Carp Pacific Barracuda Atlantic Sheepshead Porgy and Scup 233 222 217 195 191 176 170 169 168 166 159 155 146 145 136 133 127 121 119 118 117 115 113 113 112 Striped Bass Whiting Freshwater Catfish Brook Trout Atlantic and Pacific Halibut Atlantic Smelts Pacific Herring Rockfish Atlantic Croaker Lake Herring White Sea Bass Butterfish (from Gulf waters) Pollock Sturgeon Red Snapper Walleye Pike Black Sea Bass Redfish Yellow Perch Atlantic Ocean Perch Monkfish Tilefish Haddock Flatfishes (such as Sole) Cod Hake 105 105 103 101 100 98 98 97 96 96 96 95 95 94 93 93 93 91 91 88 80 79 79 79 78 74 Before we eliminate delicious fishes like eel or trout from our diet.

their eco-environment contains a greater abundance of plankton at the bottom of the food chain. among other factors. The darker the flesh color of a particular species (or a given anatomical area of a particular fish). such as tuna and herring. plankton and mineral particles are more likely to remain suspended in the water. And any given fish will be leaner after it has spawned or experienced a food shortage. Vitamins and other nutrients in the flesh also tend to increase in step with a fish’s fat content. the higher the fat content is likely to be. . because Temperate Zone waters are colder and more turbulent than tropical ones. With rare exception (for example. If you want your fish flesh to be as lean as possible.84 . Generally. the pompano). . white fishes are usually your best bet. there is often a discernible correlation between fat content and richness of flavor. Shellfish from those sun-drenched shores. (Note: Tropical waters are clearer than Temperate Zone waters simply because they have less suspended matter. the new kitchen science Is the difference between a fat and lean fish important to nondieters as well? Yes. are usually gustatory delights. Fat content usually decreases in relation to the depth of a fish’s living environment. creating a richer food source for non-bottom-dwelling fishes. Why do fishes from cooler waters generally taste better? As we mentioned in the preceding Q&A’s. Cooler-water fishes tend to have a higher fat content because. that dwell near the surface. the more fatty the fish. however. At a given latitude. Moreover.) A good illustration of the gastronomic effect of water temperature is the comparison between the flavorful fishes hooked or netted in Georges Bank off the New England coast and the species caught in the Caribbean Sea. semitropical — and especially tropical — fishes are relatively bland. the more flavorful the fish. bottom-dwelling fishes like sole and cod are usually leaner than those.

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Why do river fishes generally taste better than lake fishes? Exercise builds flavor into flesh. Since a river fish must swim against the current just to remain stationary, it obviously needs to expend more energy than a typical lake fish. Not all river fishes oscillate their tails with equal vigor and intensity. An angler should expect less flavor in a fish that lazily wends its way along the silky bottom of a river than, say, in a trout that maneuvers its course through a cascading, cold mountain brook. Why do freshwater fishes have more of those small, annoying bones than marine fishes do? Salt water contains a greater concentration of minerals (particularly salt) than does fresh water and therefore has a higher specific density. Thus, a fish has greater buoyancy in salt water. This added buoyancy allows a saltwater fish to have a heavier bone structure. When some of the oceangoing fishes made the switch to a freshwater home eons ago, they evolved a lighter, thinner, more delicate bone structure to compensate for the diminished buoyancy. All well and good for a fish, but what about the millions Try This Fish-Steak Experiment of diners who dread choking on tiny, spiny bones? Why is the center cut of a fish superior to the tail cut? The meat from the center cut usually has a higher fat content and therefore a richer flavor. Though the tail’s flesh has a more intense flavor because of the extra work the tail must do to propel the fish through the water, the gain in quantity of flavor does not begin to match the loss in flavor quality. In terms of texture, the center cut is usually just right — not too flabby, nor too firm. The tail section is tough by comparison.

Buy a center-cut and a tail-cut fish steak of equal thickness and cut from the same fish. Sauté or broil both and cross-taste. Which steak tastes better and has a more desirable texture?

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How can I visually determine whether a fish steak or fillet is from the center or tail area? Most fishes fall into one of two shape classifications: round or flat. Salmon, trout, tuna, carp, and bass are examples of the first group, and sole, flounder, and halibut are members of the second. When a round fish is cut into steaks (slices cut perpendicular to the backbone), the pieces from near the center have a slit or missing segment extending up to the backbone, giving the steak a vaguely horseshoe-like appearance. That opening is the wall of the stomach cavity. A steak cut from near the tail has no slit because it was sliced from a section of the fish located behind the abdominal pocket. A whole fillet (a boneless slice cut lengthwise from head to tail) of a round or flat fish is tapered, the narrow end being the tail portion. Why does the darker flesh of many fishes tend to run along their backbones and near their tails? When a fish swims leisurely through the water, it propels itself chiefly with its back and tail muscles. These muscles consist mostly of slow-contraction muscle fiber because the work is performed with relatively slow movements over long durations. The large amount of myoglobin in the tissue around these slow-contraction fibers turns the flesh brownish red. (See the discussion on slow- and fast-contraction muscle fibers in chapter 3, p. 46). The muscles in the other areas of a fish’s anatomy are typically lighterhued (usually off-white) because they predominantly consist of fast-contraction fibers, which don’t require the presence of the oxygen-rich myoglobin. These pale-hued muscles are generally reserved for quick-movement activities, such as chasing a prey or escaping a predator. Why is fish flesh usually lighter-hued than land animal flesh? A fish expends less energy than a land animal when it moves from one point to another at a relaxed pace. Unlike the land animal, a

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fish doesn’t have to support its own weight — its body is suspended in a virtual state of neutral buoyancy in its natural habitat, the surrounding water. Consequently, the fish needs less slow-contraction (“long haul”) muscle tissue than its land counterpart. At the same time, because water is significantly denser than air, a fish needs more fast-contraction (“quick escape”) muscle fiber than does a land animal. Although the fish has the buoyancy advantage, that factor is far outweighed by the water resistance the fish experiences when accelerating quickly through the denser medium. To achieve the same acceleration rate, the fish has to expend more energy than the land animal, so it’s to a fish’s advantage to have as much fast-contraction fiber as possible. Unlike most fishes, the whale has dark-hued flesh, for good reason. It seldom needs to escape predators, and it travels for extended periods. Moreover, its muscles contain an unusually large quantity of the red-hued myoglobin because the whale must store as much oxygen as possible in its body for sustained dives. (A mammal, the whale cannot breathe underwater.) Frogs, with their light-hued leg flesh, are on the other end of the spectrum. They seldom move their legs except to flee a threat, so their legs don’t need that many slow-contraction muscle fibers. What they require, and indeed have, is a predominance of the fastcontraction muscle fibers. Incidentally, the flesh of a salmon is pink for more reasons than myoglobin. Diet is a major influence. Salmon eat generous quantities of crustaceans and other creatures that contain a carotenoid pigment that “stains” the salmon’s muscle tissue. Which is better gastronomically, the darker or lighter flesh? The dark areas (which are sometimes individual muscles) often have a higher fat content than the predominant lighter-colored flesh and therefore have more flavor. On the negative side, the flavor of the dark-hued flesh can be too pronounced and oily for some tastes. Moreover, since this flesh is high in myoglobin, which turns brown when heated or

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overexposed to oxygen, it can detract from the lily-white appearance of the rest of the fish. The high proportion of fat normally associated with these dark areas also shortens storage life. On these grounds, the consumer sometimes chooses to remove the dark areas. What are the tiny, dark red spots I sometimes see on fish fillets? Typically, they are bruise marks and indicate that the fish was handled roughly. This could happen if, for example, the fisherman hurled the fish into the boat’s storage bin or the fishmonger filleted the fish in a hasty, slipshod manner. The fillet could also have become battered if the fish-store clerk flung, rather than gently returned, it to the display case after showing it to a customer. (One way to judge a fishmonger is to notice how tenderly he handles fish.) The bruises do more than ruin the fillet’s aesthetic appeal. These defects can also affect the flavor of the fish, especially if they are numerous or if they were created more than several hours beforehand, because they accelerate the deterioration of the surrounding flesh. Why can’t I store fish as long as other animal meat? After an animal dies, some of its digestive enzymes erode the alimentary canal walls and invade the flesh. The flesh of an ungutted fish spoils faster under this assault than that of a land animal, partially because a fish’s digestive enzymes are generally more efficacious. Remember, those biological catalysts that labor in the fish’s digestive tract must chemically break down swallowed whole fish, bones and all. Compounding the disintegrating effect of the fish’s potent digestive enzymes is the fact that fish flesh is easier to digest than terrestrial animal meat. Glycogen also plays a role in storage. Fish (and other animals) store this carbohydrate in their muscle tissue as an energy source. At the animal’s death, this supply is converted to lactic acid, an effective preservative. Unfortunately, the amount of lactic acid in the flesh of a dead fish is usually scant because a fish burns up

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most of its glycogen store struggling to escape from the fisherman’s net or hook. Another problem is that the potentially pathogenic bacteria that lie in wait on the outside of the fish or in its digestive tract are, unlike those of land animals, psychrophilic. That term means that these microorganisms can thrive in relatively low temperatures. At one degree above the freezing point, the bacteria that typically attack fish can thrive, whereas the action of those that normally assault beef is retarded. Even at temperatures below 32°F, the bacteria in fish are more active than those in beef. Freezing the fish at an exceedingly low temperature (minus 100°F, for instance) is not a flawless solution because, though the bacterial growth may be impeded at such hypo-Siberian thermometer readings, freezing ruins the fish’s texture — even more than it does the cell structure of red meat. Even dried fish does not store as well as dried red meat. Using any preservative method, fish is more perishable than meat from warm-blooded vertebrates. Unsaturated fatty acids are more apt to oxidize than saturated ones. Since the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids is higher for fish than it is for mammals, it follows that fish will oxidize, and therefore become rancid, more quickly than beef, pork, or lamb. What is the best commercial method of freezing fish? Most modern oceangoing fishing ships have the necessary equipment to freeze a just-caught fish quickly and individually to minus 60°F or lower. Many other ships slowly group-freeze their fish to only around 0°F. (And sometimes they do not start the process until hours after the fish were caught.) A key advantage of the deep quick-freeze method is that cellular ruptures are minimized, which decreases the amount of flavorful and nutritional liquids that drain from a thawing fish. Can the provenance of a fish affect its wholesomeness? Most fishermen know that it’s risky to eat fish caught in rivers and lakes polluted by industrial wastes. Few realize that it’s risky to eat

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fish caught off one of the most popular fishing spots — a bridge. Auto exhaust fumes and the rubbish people dump in the middle of the night can pollute the waters near a bridge. Fish caught in coastal waters (particularly if near an urban center) are exposed to far more contaminants than deep-water denizens. This is why the flesh of a deep-water, 300-pound tuna is less likely to be contaminated than that of a shore-hugging, 8-ounce porgy. A large fish (and the people who eat it) may Few realize not be as fortunate if it lives near an industrial that it’s risky metropolis. Its flesh will likely have a higher conto eat fish centration of toxic mercury than that of smaller caught off fishes. Here’s why. Bottom-dwelling shellfish inone of the gest mercury waste that settles to the ocean most popular floor. The mercury in these crustaceans is transfishing spots — ferred to the fishes that devour them, then transa bridge ferred in turn to the fishes that eat them. Eventually, some of the mercury reaches the top of the food chain — fishes such as tuna, sharks, and swordfish. These large fishes live longer than smaller fishes and thus eat more flesh in a lifetime. Because mercury is difficult to expel from the body, a large fish living in coastal waters may become a repository of an unsafe quantity of mercury before it’s caught. Is it safe to eat sushi? The flesh of healthy fish living in unpolluted ocean water is free of pathogenic bacterial contamination. If such flesh comes from a nonpoisonous fish, is properly stored for not more than half a day or so, and is correctly cleaned and prepared, eating sushi poses no more threat to your health than consuming a wholesome raw oyster or clam gathered from uncontaminated waters. Unfortunately, many Japanese sushi bars in America (and some in Japan) serve less than perfectly fresh fish, and the seafood is not always hygienically handled. And to make matters worse, many of those sushi bars do not teem with customers during peak hours in

seafood . it tends to dry out unless the flesh is frequently basted. 1’ota and ceviche. the flesh of fish has meager connective tissue. . . Does it make a difference to a cook whether the flesh of a fish is fat or lean? Yes. Excess cooking (and it doesn’t take much) is inappropriate because it toughens the muscle fibers unnecessarily without tendering any meaningful payment in return. too. This coagulation can be accomplished with nonheat methods. respectively. if grilled or roasted. Why doesn’t fish have to be cooked to tenderize it? Unlike red animal meat. a chemical process that gives the flesh pleasing firmness and opaque color. French Polynesians call their version of the first dish poisson cru (literally “raw fish”). Then why is fish cooked? Cooking helps destroy any existing pathogenic microorganisms and — if not excessively done — develops and distributes flavor and coagulates the protein muscle fibers. A fat-fleshed fish is better suited for grilling or roasting because of the extra oil it contains. but it is worth it. very much so. 91 the middle of the week. The small amount of connective tissue in the flesh of a fish is more easily gelatinized by moist heat than the kind found in the flesh of landlubbers. This increases the chances that the chef doesn’t replenish his inventory on a daily basis. for example. have for centuries marinated freshly caught and dressed fish in lemon or lime juice. the muscle component that can make raw red meat relatively tough and dry. calling their cooked specialties. Our recommendation is to enjoy sushi only at a quality Japanese restaurant that is busy every day and has a conscientious sushi chef with impeccable standards. Tahitians and Peruvians. You will pay more. A lean-fleshed fish is best cooked in an oil or liquid.

is it necessary to add wine. Why shouldn’t broiling fish fillets be turned? For openers. or another acidic ingredient to the liquid? Without acid as a counterbalance.0. the pH factor of the contents of the pot will be 7. Bones impart a rich flavor to the surrounding flesh. and makes a more dramatic presentation. lemon juice. The head and tail also add flavor and nutrients to the cooking flesh. the gills spoil more quickly than the flesh. (That number denotes the neutralization of the opposing effects of the acid and alkali. off-white hue. Is a fillet less flavorful than an unboned piece of fish? Yes.) If yet more acid is mixed in with the poaching liquid. If just enough acid is added. as well as to the developing sauce or stock. yellowish. they do not usually need to be turned. giving the pigment. Serving the whole fish with head and tail intact also is prudent because the fish stays warmer on the serving platter. . the pH factor will fall below 7.0 (signifying acidic ascendancy). as we pointed out earlier. the alkali that is probably in the pot’s contents would chemically react with the flavone pigment in the flesh. extricate them. When poaching fish. If yours is freshly killed. and they may imbue the cooking flesh with an off-flavor. Should I sever the gills before cooking a whole fish? Your decision should largely depend on the freshness of your fish. Decapitation and tail removal allow the juices in the flesh in the main part of the body to leak out during cooking.92 . the flavone pigment becomes even whiter than it was when you procured the fish. the new kitchen science Is the flesh juicier and more flavorful if a fish is cooked with its head and tail on? Without a doubt. an unattractive. If it is more than a day old. don’t go to the bother of removing them. and therefore the flesh. When that happens. The under half of a thin fillet is cooked by a combination of heat penetrating . loses fewer juices.

be they the restaurant or home variety. panfrying. As soon as it flakes. in the low-moderate range (300° to 350°F) if pan-broiling. nearly always overcook their fish. which would in turn needlessly sap some of the fish’s delicate flavor. The second coordinate — time — should be as short as the cooking method allows. The element of error is usually in the time rather than the temperature. Lower temperatures than our suggested guidelines would prolong the cooking time too much. the protein has adequately coagulated. Temperature should be about 180°F if you are poaching the fish. Another test is to probe the thickest portion of the flesh with a fork. A fillet is also delicate. the fish is properly cooked. butter or grease the cooking surface before placing the fish on it.seafood . or baking. Prolonged cooking — even if you use the right temperature — robs flavor and toughens the protein. and the act of turning it is likely to break it apart. as soon as the translucent flesh turns opaque. Flaking occurs after heat has gelatinized the collagen in the myocommata. Most American cooks. To minimize the sticking tendency that can make removing the cooked fish difficult. just long enough to coagulate the protein. What are the tests for doneness in fish? In most instances. particularly if the flesh adheres to the grate or pan. 93 through the upper half of the fish and heat emanating from the hot pan below. . How long and at how high a temperature should a fish be cooked? Time and temperature are two inversely related variables of the cooking equation. 375°F if you are deep-frying. a type of connective tissue that . Higher temperatures than our recommended figures would develop more flavor. and about 450°F if you are broiling. and the flesh will fall apart at the slightest provocation. but that gain would not compensate for the resulting dryness and toughness of the flesh.

. flavor. the new kitchen science holds the thin. including by environment (for instance. These separated sheets give the properly cooked fish flesh a flaky texture. surface. What are the subclassifications of seafood? Below is a basic. aroma. and texture more quickly than warm-blooded animal meat principally because these three qualities in fish are more delicate and subtle to begin with. shape (round or flat). or popularity. fresh.or bottom-feeding. when serving fish. parallel sheets of muscle fiber together. a felony. Procrastination when serving meat is a misdemeanor.94 . Why does fish suffer more than red meat from a delay in serving? Cooked fish flesh loses its flavor. They can be classified . price. Temperate or Tropical Zone).or saltwater. somewhat simplified biological classification chart. Seafood Fish Shellfish Mollusk Crustacean crab crayfish lobster shrimp Bivalve clam mussel oyster scallop Univalve abalone conch snail Cephalopod octopus squid Fishes and shellfishes can be classified in dozens of ways. size.

the environment should be about 50°F and damp. a polysaccharide that converts into the simple sugar glucose. Among the three most widely eaten crustaceans. such as salmon. or to have expired only shortly before? The enzymes in a lobster’s (or crab’s) digestive tract are quite potent and can quickly start decomposing the flesh once the creature dies. Whatever the flesh. lobster is the sweetest. influence sweetness intensity. these crustaceans will devour each other while they are held in captivity in lobster tanks or shipping crates. is sweeter than land animal muscles. Why is it preferable for a lobster to still be alive at the time it is cooked. Are lobster claws secured with wooden plugs or rubber bands for reasons other than the benefit of the cook’s fingers? Lobsters are cannibals. including the amino acid glycine. 95 as anadromous (those. followed by crab and shrimp in that order. though less sweet than crustacean meat. Last but not least. Why do crustaceans taste sweeter than fish? Crustaceans like lobsters have a higher proportion of glycogen. seafood can be categorized by its fat content. Glycogen is aptly named: It is derived from the Greek words glukus (sweet) and gen (a suffix meaning “capable of bringing forth”). and unless their claws are disabled. Unlike the digestive system of fishes. Other substances. For optimum out-of-the-water storage. Fish flesh. How can lobsters stay alive out of water? Unlike fish. sweetness starts to diminish noticeably after a day or two of storage time. mammals. or birds. catadromous (those. they can extract oxygen from the moisture that clings to their gills. that migrate from the sea to spawn in freshwater rivers). or neither (if the fish spends its entire life exclusively in fresh or salt water). that . like eels. Surrounding the lobster in wet seaweed helps.seafood . too. that migrate from fresh water to spawn in the sea). .

Unless the tail curls under the body. It toughens its muscles and therefore your meal. thrust the tip of a knife downward into the natural breach where the head and front abdomen shells converge. Turn on both the hot and cold taps (be sure overflow water can pass through the sink’s drain). What is the best way to kill a lobster? Plunging a lobster (or crab) headlong into a pot of boiling water is not one of the best options because it is not exactly a humane method. Witnessing the doomed lobster’s one. A more compassionate alternative to the plunging method: Sever the lobster’s spinal cord before putting the lobster in the boiling water. . is absolute freshness. Another reason for a cook to insist on a living lobster is that live crustaceans are far more likely to harbor pathogenic microorganisms (such as hepatitis-carrying viruses) than are live fish. the microbe count in the lobster will also likely be much higher. If you want to sever the spinal cord but are apprehensive about the thought of scuffling with an energetic lobster. there would seldom be a way to ascertain beyond a shadow of a doubt that the uncooked lobster displayed in your local fish store had died a recent death. therefore.96 .or two-secondlong spasm should prove this point to any doubting Thomas. You can. given a head start. turn off the cold water while increasing the flow of hot water until the water in the tub is very . place the lobster right side up on a flat surface. Your best defense. To sever the spinal cord. on the other hand. the lobster is dead or close to it. This deadens its sense of pain. Even if you could safely cook and eat a lobster that has been dead for 24 hours. And when they do. determine whether the lobster is dead: Pick it up by its back. The shock of this convulsive death does more than inflict pain on the lobster. Then. Those disease-causing agents. Place the live lobster in a dishwashing tub in a sink. will multiply at a much faster pace in a crustacean. the new kitchen science of lobsters (or crabs) is difficult to remove before they are cooked. When the tub is filled. you can use a method we discovered through experimentation in the 1970s.

but today’s wine and beer prices place it beyond the budget of most people. Which claw tastes better? The flesh from the smaller claw is sweeter and more tender and therefore superior.seafood . A lobster is left-handed or right-handed depending on which side has the larger claw. A lobster costs enough as it is. though not as pervasive or intense as that of the shell. Which lobster tastes better. . relaxes its muscles. This chemical reaction changes the color of the lobster’s carapace from (typically) bluish seaweed-green to ruddy red.or left-handed one? Both are equal in this department. Cooked shrimp shells also turn red. and reacts less spasmodically when dumped live into the seething cauldron of water. Homarus americanus) is not symmetrical — that is. but the . The crustacean becomes inebriated. 97 hot. Now’s the time to perform your culinary surgery before your boil the lobster.” Lift it out (it will be insensate and unaware of your presence). despite what some lobster snobs aver. The larger claw has coarse teeth for the heavy-duty crushing jobs. Soon you’ll see the lobster “go to sleep. A close examination of any whole Maine lobster will reveal that its two claws are different in both size and function. Are there left-handed lobsters? Yes — and there are right-handed lobsters as well. the “Maine” lobster (or more properly. a right. the Northern or American lobster. whereas the small claw has fine teeth for lighter ripping and tearing tasks. Even the surface of crustacean meat acquires a pinkish-red hue. Why does a lobster turn red when cooked? Heat liberates a yellowish-red carotenelike pigment in the shell. Unlike humans and most other creatures. We know of some cooks who submerge the lobster (or crab) in a container of beer or wine. This hottap-water method can also be used to tame feisty live crabs. its left and right sides are not mirror images of each other. This method has validity.

by giving it a firm flick with your finger. one consumes everything inside the shell of a clam. If the shells do not open after the bivalve is cooked (and hence killed). or mussel. it is unnatural for one of these bivalves not to clamp its twin shells tightly shut if you frighten it — say. Something other than the abductor muscle — perhaps an oily mass of mud — was keeping the shells closed. or mussel? Unlike the other popular mollusks. Why the rule “Never eat a cooked clam whose shells don’t part upon cooking”? When a healthy clam. the new kitchen science large claw contains more meat and provides a taste contrast — so we are lucky that Mother Nature designed lobsters with one of each. the only part of this mollusk that we normally buy and eat. the scallop has a comparatively sizable and powerful abductor muscle. it wasn’t alive in the first place. intestines and all. However.98 . . Closing its shell in response to such an external stimulus is the shellfish’s only meaningful defense. the bivalve is dead or dying and may therefore be contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms or toxins. mussel. To perform this feat. Why the rule “Never cook a clam that refuses to close its shell before it is cooked”? It is quite natural for a healthy clam (or mussel or oyster) to open its shell if it feels relaxed as it rests on a bed of ice or in a bucket of cold water. oyster. In contrast. How does a scallop differ from a clam. oyster. a mature scallop jet-propels itself through its briny environment by rapidly snapping together its twin shells. . which do not travel through the water during their adulthood. or oyster expires. Should your threat not evoke the safety mechanisms designed by nature. so does the holding power of the muscle that keeps the two shells tightly closed.

The nonpareil soft-shell crab. Formerly. on the other hand. A scallop. is a young blue crab that has molted within the hour. Once pulled from the water. its only marketable body parts. or longer.seafood . In Florida. In order to grow a crab (or lobster) must periodically shed its shell and grow a new. as some believe. Immediately after undergoing this process (called “molting”). the crab is highly vulnerable to predators (including two-legged diners) and is known as a soft-shell crab. or mussel can remain alive and healthy for days. . gatherers of stone crabs killed the crustacean to obtain its two claws. desiccation. usually shuck the bivalve on the boat. grows a new appendage. therefore. Can a crab (or lobster) regenerate a claw? Yes. With one claw left to defend itself and forage for food. from a seafood buff ’s perspective. the mollusk maintains its own liquid eco-environment within its protective case. its juices run out and the coming of the three Ds — death. By doing so. 99 Why are scallops not sold in the shell? A clam. It takes days. Until it does. a mini-industry that was once threatened by depletion has revived by taking advantage of a crab’s regenerative capability. What is a soft-shell crab? It is not an individual species. Professional scallop gatherers. for the crab’s exposed surface area to ossify. and disease agents — is imminent. the crab hunters adopted the practice of breaking off only one of the stone crab’s two claws and tossing the creature back into the sea. and — if unlucky — suffers through the ordeal again. and sometimes a week or two. . larger one. discarding the quick-spoiling viscera. the crab survives. out of its natural seawater environment because it can tightly clamp its shell. and hence their own enterprises. To save the diminishing crab population. cannot snugly shut its two shells. the crab has a soft exterior. oyster.

. Both are larger than an average-sized shrimp but smaller than a lobster. It was sound.100 . Once digested. yes. the new kitchen science Are the prawns served in restaurants really shrimp? In all probability. This chemical can amplify the iodine’s effect on your taste buds. this advice is archaic for oysters harvested along the Atlantic and Caribbean coasts. odds are that you are eating jumbo shrimp. The best eating species are the Dublin Bay prawns of Ireland and the scampi of the northern Adriatic Sea. however. no-“R” months — May. decades ago when the lack of refrigerated trucks and trains made the shipment of any type of oyster hygienically precarious during the warm-weather. shrimp get iodine by eating sea creatures. Although its use to prolong the storage life of shrimp is prohibited in the United States. Sometimes the iodine flavor is intensified when processors use the additive sodium bisulfite. a cheaper and less succulent substitute. it is no secret that some foreign processors surreptitiously taint their shrimp with it before exporting them to America. . (These plants are iodine-rich because they concentrate within their cells the iodine in seawater. such as sand-dwelling worms. When a restaurant serves you prawns or scampi in America. Shrimp acquire an iodine flavor when they eat algae. a fair portion of the iodine remains in the shrimp’s bodies.) In addition. the prawn has lobsterlike pincer claws. that also eat the algae. Is the rule “Oysters are unsafe to eat in any month that does not contain the letter ‘R’” obsolete? From a medical authority’s viewpoint. Why do some shrimp taste less of iodine than others? A marine shrimp caught near the mouth of a river smacks less of iodine than one caught in unadulterated seawater because the seawater has a higher iodine content. Even marine shrimp that live far away from rivers can differ in flavor because iodine content in seawater and the food shrimp eat vary geographically. A true prawn is biologically different from a shrimp.

seafood . . . the rule wasn’t quite accurate because September is normally warmer than May. Even so. the “R”-less month dictum still has meaning. Oysters tend to be more watery and less meaty during the summer months when they spawn. and August. July. 101 June. From a discriminating palate’s perspective.

Scorched milk gives preparations a burnt off-flavor and 102 . infrequent and incomplete stirring. The staler Scalding has two primary purposes: to kill pathogenic microorganisms and to destroy certain enthe milk. the more likely it will scorch.5 dairy products When and why must you scald milk for use in a recipe? To scald milk means heating it to just below the boiling point. . And the staler the milk. What causes milk to stick to a pan? Any one or more of the following mistakes can scorch milk and cause it to stick: heating milk at too high a temperature. the zymes that would keep emulsifying agents in the more likely milk from doing their thickening job. Many cookbook writers do not know this fact and therefore direct their readers to scald the milk even though it is usually unnecessary today. heating for too long. scalding need only be done when you use raw (unpasteurized) milk. heating in a thinbottomed pan. Since those it will scorch two goals are accomplished when milk is pasteurized at the dairy. Use a thick-bottomed saucepan or a double boiler to prevent scorching the milk.

the milk bubbles are trapped between this skin and the milk. As these bubbles grow in number. Even better. as steam bubbles emerge from the milk. the approximate temperature at which some of the milk protein begins to coagulate. particularly if you are heating it above 140°F. (Tip: The best container for heating milk in a microwave is a Pyrex-style cup because it lets you monitor the liquid and is easy to transport and clean. Milk is less likely to scorch in a microwave because no portion of the milk gets hotter than the boiling point and the container never gets hotter than the milk. if a film forms. keep the milk comfortably below the simmer point. The first rule of avoiding a time-consuming cleanup chore is to never turn your back on the pot for even a short duration — the trapped steam can suddenly begin expanding. 103 human dishwashers a time-consuming chore. What burns and tenaciously sticks are the milk’s protein and lactose (milk sugar). even if the burner is set to low. Unless you have a good reason to do otherwise. This film can also create another problem (see next Q&A). However. even if you remove and discard it. What is the film that forms on the surface of milk while it is being heated? The film is milk protein that has been coagulated by the heat. the pot’s bottom can reach 300°F or higher. it imparts an unwanted flavor and color to your heated milk. they push the skin upward until eventually the skin and some of the bubbles may overflow the pot. use a microwave to heat your milk because it reduces the cleanup chore. they quickly burst. Milk can easily scorch in a pot set upon the range. Its existence is undesirable because it gives your final preparation a lumpy texture and a burnt taste. What causes this film to rise so suddenly (and overflow the pot)? Normally. When lactose caramelizes. well below the pot’s rim.) . And don’t forget to stir the milk frequently and thoroughly. .dairy products .

If you do drink raw milk. What is lactose intolerance? A baby produces the enzyme lactase. the new kitchen science Why doesn’t homogenized milk separate? Dairies use high-pressure equipment to force the milk through fine openings. Either temperaturetime combination kills pathogenic bacteria in the milk. which helps break down the otherwise hard-to-digest lactose (milk sugar) in the intestinal tract. pasteurization does give milk a slight cooked flavor. If your source is a healthy pet cow in the pasture within view of your window.104 . among them tuberculosis. more often. and merchant. Contrary to statements by the dairy industry. all the better. Pasteurization accomplishes another mission. This anticombining action is furthered by the milk’s casein protein. well-dispersed globules that cannot recombine into larger fat globules because of their minute size and the movement of the water molecules in the milk. If the fat globules were allowed to combine. on balance. Whether or not milk is pasteurized. to 161°F for at least 15 seconds. an emulsifying agent. distributor. it will eventually spoil when nonpathogenic bacteria multiply sufficiently. this flavor shortcoming is noticeable only to educated palates and is more than compensated for by the fact that pasteurized milk is. much safer to drink than raw (unpasteurized) milk. they would float upward to form a distinct layer over the fat-free milk. The heat treatment stalls this inevitable process by significantly reducing the original number of nonpathogenic bacteria in the milk. be certain that the product came to you from a reliable dairy. If children or adults stop drinking milk for an extended period . Pasteurization (as well as homogenization) also makes milk more digestible. However. a potential source of diseases. . How and why is milk pasteurized? The dairy heats the milk to either 145°F for at least 30 minutes or. This breaks up the milk fat into tiny.

they may lose the ability to produce lactase in sufficient quantities. Why is cow’s milk often diluted with water and sweetened with sugar before it is fed to a baby? The percentage of casein protein in cow’s milk is much higher than that in human milk because a calf has greater nutritional . turning it into lactic acid. 105 of time. a milk protein. Is milk allergy different from lactose intolerance? People with lactose intolerance have an enzyme deficiency. He is also apt to suffer from diarrhea and flatulence because the undigested lactose passes into the large intestine. The symptoms usually occur because the afflicted person’s small intestine does not produce enough lactase to digest the lactose.” Most lactose-intolerant people can eat cultured-milk foods (cheese or yogurt. for instance) or drink cultured milk. Is there a correlation between race and lactose intolerance? The incidence of lactose intolerance is quite high among Asians and blacks and low among Caucasians (especially for those of northern European extraction). And even cultured dairy products are on their never-eat list. Lactaid-like products will not help these allergy sufferers. a lactose-intolerant will eventually be able to produce more lactase. they digest the lactose.dairy products . . The person feels bloated because the undigested milk sugars pull extra water into the stomach. where bacteria convert it into acids and gases. Lactose is virtually nonexistent in those products because as bacteria transform the milk into a cultured product. such as buttermilk. Such people are lactose-intolerant and will suffer from intestinal discomfort and other ill effects if they consume very much milk. By gradually reintroducing his body to milk. but never in the quantity that was possible before he went on the “milk wagon. Those with milk allergy have an adverse immunological reaction to casein. Lactic acid plays a large part in giving cultured-milk products their characteristic sourness.

which is naturally sweeter. This beverage (as well as sugary fruit juices) is laden with bacteria that can cause tooth decay. The phrase “99 percent fat-free” on skim milk containers has misled many a shopper into thinking that whole milk is 0 percent fat-free. it would put a strain on the baby’s delicate digestive system. a parent should not let a baby get into the habit of falling asleep with a milk bottle. Is adding chocolate to milk a good way to entice children to drink milk? Though the chocolate flavoring is often an enticement. it is unsound from a nutritional standpoint. If the milk weren’t stretched with water and the baby’s intake of the milk (and its casein) thereby reduced.5 percent fat-free milk and whole milk? There is none. the bottle crutch should contain plain water. This ability to absorb loss of the essential mineral calcium is nutrithe calcium in tionally detrimental. Speaking of sugar. . cow’s milk is harder to digest than human milk. producing a new compound. Because its casein content is higher. Sugar is added to the cow’s milk to make the infant’s formula taste more like human milk. The intestines cannot absorb this tive system’s calcium oxalate because it is insoluble.106 . . The The oxalic acid oxalic acid chemically reacts with the calin chocolate incium. The oxalic acid in chocolate inhibits the digestive system’s ability to absorb the calcium in chocolate milk. especially for growing chocolate milk children. stated in percentages. Most of the whole milk sold in the United States is 96 to 97 percent fat-free. the new kitchen science needs than a human baby — its growth rate is about twice that of its human counterpart. Here is a breakdown of typical whole milk from a cow. calcium hibits the digesoxalate. What is the difference between 96. If a parent feels the child needs a nightcap.

7 99. Contents of Whole Milk . Subtotal Total Figures for a typical 99 percent fat-free skim milk or buttermilk are as follows: Contents of 99 Percent Fat-Free Skim Milk Fat nonfat components 1. it lacks the richer. Result: The milk sours. Subtotal Total Does low-fat milk have the same nutrients as whole milk? Low-fat milk has all the nutrients that whole milk contains except for the fat removed by the dairy.0% 89. etc.1 3. fuller-bodied taste and mouth-feel of whole milk.0 3. a milk-sugar carbohydrate that gives the liquid a slight but noticeable sweet taste.7 96.3 5.5 100. 107 Fat nonfat components 3.5 0. How does sweet milk become sour milk? About 5 percent of fresh milk’s content is lactose.0 Water Carbohydrates Protein Minerals. Although low-fat milk is a smart choice for those on low-fat diets.0 Water Carbohydrates Protein Minerals.6 5.dairy products .5% 87.6 0. etc. certain bacteria devour some of the lactose. converting it into lactic acid.0 100. . As the milk ages.

Dairies produce it by adding harmless bacteria to the milk. Real buttermilk — which is nowadays difficult to find — is preferable for cooking and drinking because it has a richer taste. it is apt to taste grainy.108 . and light cream Is heavy cream heavier than light cream? is lighter than whole milk. Although sucrose (the common table sugar derived from sugar beets or cane sugar) dissolves rapidly. all. About 35 percent of the dried powder is protein (mainly casein). a milk sugar. A cooked or burnt flavor is the outcome. . of the solubility problem. but not than light cream. The instant actually lighter dry-milk powders eliminate most. Contrary to what the senses in our mouths tell us. the new kitchen science Why doesn’t today’s buttermilk taste like yesteryear’s? True buttermilk is made from whole milk and is the direct byproduct of butter making. lactose does not. Why should nonfat dry milk be reconstituted the day before it is to be used? Nonfat dry milk is whole milk minus its fat and water. Another canned product. Unless you give your reconstituted dry milk a rest in the reHeavy cream is frigerator. The metal of the can also imparts an off-flavor. does not have to be sterilized because its high sugar content (over 40 percent) serves as a preservative by hindering bacterial growth. Why do canned milks have an unpleasant taste? Evaporated milk is heated in its can to a temperature well above 200°F in order to sterilize the milk. Virtually all of the buttermilk marketed today is artificially soured skim milk and thus not authentic buttermilk. Of course. that much sugar does not make condensed milk all that appealing either. fuller body. This thickens the milk and creates a tangy flavor. and about 50 percent is carbohydrate in the form of lactose. heavy cream is actually lighter than which is lighter light cream. and higher nutritive value than the imitation. condensed milk. and light cream is lighter than than skim milk .

Heavy whipping cream (also called heavy cream) increases . which is lighter than skim milk. and heavy whipping cream is 36 to 40 percent. Whipped cream. light whipping cream is 31 to 35 percent. Now. The figures for skim milk are about 1 percent and 90 percent. light whipping cream. consider that cream invariably rises to the top of nonhomogenized milk. fluffy texture. about 40 percent and 55 percent. Having been taught at a very early age the misleading phrases “heavy cream” and “light cream” biases our interpretations. too. This phenomenon can be easily explained because fat has a lower specific density than water. The latter two creams are popular in England. double cream (48 to 54 percent). 109 whole milk. consider that the fat and water percentages for heavy cream are. an emulsion. Clearly. whereas those for milk are. heavy cream and heavy whipping cream define the same cream. and clotted cream (55 percent and higher). respectively. the more effectively the encased bubbles will be supported. heavy cream. you incorporate air into the mixture in the form of tiny bubbles. The fat content of light cream is 18 to 30 percent. What determines how well a cream will whip? Fat content has a lot to do with how well your cream whips. about 4 percent and 87 percent. is a delicate structure: The watery nonfat portion of the cream that encloses the bubbles is supported by the fat. What is the difference among light cream. Skeptical? As proof. and heavy whipping cream? Butterfat content determines the classification of a cream. heavy cream is 36 to 40 percent. The more fat there is in your cream (up to a point). When you whip cream.dairy products . respectively. What fools our senses is primarily the fact that fat has a higher viscosity than water. Other cream types include half-and-half (a milk and cream mixture with 10 to 17 percent fat content). . These air pockets are what give the whipped cream its light.

a feeble whipper. You want it to be cold enough to be firm. As cream ages. and the like. Buying heavy whipping cream is no assurance that you are buying the ideal ingredient: The fat content of some is at the lower end of the 36 to 40 percent range. while others reach the higher end or exceed it. the cream should be as fresh as possible. incorporate these ingredients near the end of the whipping process. Reason: Used at room temperature.110 . the new kitchen science more in volume than light whipping cream. Since excess acid can disrupt emulsification. Ultrapasteurized cream has a longer storage life because it is pasteurized at a higher temperature than the standard storebought cream. some of the whipped cream will metamorphose into butter. you will have to overwhip the cream in order to disperse the sugar and vanilla uniformly. The temperature of the fat is almost as critical as its quantity. . If you are flavoring your whipped cream with sugar or vanilla. Do the same for the beater (just the detachable metal beaters if your beater is electric). Before your very eyes. If you wish to whip cream to its maximum volume. soups. be sure it has been sitting for at least several hours in your refrigerator. One reason is that the higher pasteurization temperature denatures the proteins to the point where their jelling capabilities are reduced. If you mix them into the cream after it has reached maximum volume. Other drawbacks are that ultrapasteurized cream has a cooked flavor and is a less effective thickener for sauces. Overwhipping is an irreversible culinary blunder. the bowl and beater can raise the cream’s temperature by 5° to 10°F. You are. churning the cream. . which does a better job than light cream. Adding them too early hinders the bubble development. in effect. A cook pays for this convenience in ways other than money: Ultrapasteurized cream has poorer whipping qualities. certain bacteria transform lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid. also chill your whipping bowl for 30 minutes in the freezer compartment. For best results.

111 Why are aerated creams poor substitutes for homemade whipped cream? An aerated cream has a cooked flavor because it was heated to a temperature high enough to sterilize it. too. Your coffee. The more a cream ages. Since three of the star ingredients of cream of tomato soup are cream. the more susceptible it becomes to curdling because its lactic acid content increases. or the salt quantity increases. and salt. then slowly add the acidic liquid to the cream near the end of the cooking process. As cream ages. To thwart the curdling tendency. the temperature of the mixture. has acid — and the stronger your brew or the more acidic the beans. Any acid in sufficient quantity. acid is the troublemaker. Chances are the cream was not as fresh as it should have been. its lactic acid content increases. Once mixed. Another pointer is to use the freshest cream possible. do not heat the cream of tomato soup for very long or at a temperature above 180°F. . Why does cream sometimes curdle when poured into a cup of coffee? Again. acid-rich tomatoes. . Why does homemade cream of tomato soup sometimes curdle? Acid can curdle cream (or milk). the more acid-rich your cup of java. Even worse than aerated creams are the pseudo-whipped creams that are marketed under banners such as “dessert topping. will curdle cream. the threat of curdling lurks in your kitchen whenever you prepare the soup. especially with the help of the coffee’s heat. heat the liquefied tomato mixture and cream separately. Add the salt just before serving.” These fakes smack of their nondairy ingredients: hydrogenated vegetable oils. and texture is too foamy and unstable. and preservatives. The tendency to curdle increases as the ratio of acid to cream. artificial flavoring. Natural flavor is further altered by preservatives.dairy products .

Vegans — and other vegetarians who abstain from dairy products — are also soy milk drinkers. depending on the cow’s breed and feed. Soy milk is a misnomer — it does not contain any milk and does not even vaguely taste like genuine milk. Soy milk is popular with people who suffer from lactose intolerance (soy milk has no lactose) or milk allergy (it has no casein). local legislation. All cows produce their deepest-colored butter in the springtime and early summer. carbohydrate (mainly the milk sugar lactose).112 . its composition can differ from batch to batch because of factors such as the cow’s breed and feed. and minerals other than salt. produce deeper yellow butters. Often soy milk is doctored with a sweetening agent. the new kitchen science How is soy milk made? Pure soy milk is produced by straining the liquid of mashed soybeans cooked in water. and dairy policy. . such as those from the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey). other minerals. the composition by weight percentages is as follows: Sweet Butter Salted Butter Fat Moisture Salt Other 81% 18 0 1 81% 16 2 1 Salt is used to extend storage life. What is the composition of butter? Despite the efforts of the American dairy industry to standardize butter. Certain breeds. If we take an across-the-board average. when the grass they eat is . “Other” comprises — in descending order of weight — protein (mainly casein). Is butter color a reliable indicator of quality? Natural butter can vary from the palest of yellows to a deep yellow. and vitamins. season. Butter’s calorie count is approximately 100 per tablespoon. infused with flavoring agents like almond. and fortified with calcium.

Why is salted butter a bane to cooks? The salt content of salted butter can vary from brand to brand. one’s religious code dictates its use). can therefore be made just as rich in color as one from springtime or Jersey cow milk. The situation becomes even more complicated if you use tub butter. and from region to region. for instance. which cannot be measured as easily and exactly as units of stick butter. When winter comes. production process. Since the recipes from virtually all serious cookbooks are based on the use of sweet butter. of course. A butter made with winter or Holstein cow milk. because that product is approximately 25 percent air. however. One batch of butter may have 1 1/2 percent salt and another twice as much. 113 particularly rich in orange-yellow carotene. . butter manufacturers try to give their products year-round uniformity by using dyes such as annatto seed extract or carotene. Even if you stick with one brand and know its exact salt content. White streaks or multiple shades of yellow indicate a defect in the cream ingredient. or storage.dairy products . Because it is . You must increase the volume of butter called for by one-third if you use whipped butter. Color is a quality indicator. so does a paler butter. it is a headache to calculate the amount of salt you must subtract from a recipe that calls for a given quantity of sweet (unsalted) butter. Because the average American consumer wants consistency. people who cook with salted butter create an extra complication for themselves (unless. A disadvantage of whipped butter is that almost all recipes are based upon standard butter measurements. when it comes to uniformity in a particular sample. Whipped butter’s advantages lie beyond the stove. Why is standard stick butter better for cooking than whipped butter? Whipped butter is merely standard butter inflated with air.

the new kitchen science airier. Why does butter go rancid? Oxygen is the chief culprit. do not expect your cooked foods to pick up the full. 117). Just because a butter goes rancid doesn’t necessarily mean it has become unwholesome. What are the advantages of clarified butter? Clarified butter is superior to regular butter in two salient ways. Another method for fighting rancidity is to change the butter into clarified butter (see p. and you can store it longer. Another is to use a 50–50 mixture of butter and vegetable oil. which has a higher smoke point than pure butter. These benefits are not won without a sacrifice: Clarified butter lacks most of the characteristic buttery flavor that mainly comes from one of the removed substances. This means that the bacteria dispersed in the water and in the butter cannot spread freely. . You can fry with it at a higher temperature. from which the protein has been removed. You can fry with clarified butter at a higher temperature be- . In fact. One way to help prevent or minimize this problem is to use clarified butter. Off-tasting and -smelling compounds are formed when oxygen comes in contact with the unsaturated fats in butter. butter’s vulnerability to bacterial spoilage is lower than most people think because butter is a waterin-oil emulsion. rich flavor of whole butter. You can slow down this chemical reaction by lowering the temperature (frozen butter lasts longer than refrigerated butter. the protein casein. whipped butter spreads more readily on bread and melts more quickly when used as a topping for warm foods like waffles. Whether you employ the clarified butter or the 50–50 method. How do I keep butter from scorching? Butter begins to scorch when the heat changes the character of the protein.114 . which lasts longer than room-temperature butter) and by tightly wrapping the butter (to minimize surface exposure to air). Consequently. each water particle is sealed in an envelope of fat.

especially. It is prevented from dropping through the fat layer because the trapped air in the frothy structure literally keeps these particular nonfats floating on top of the fat layer. The protein-carbohydrate water solution that makes up the bottom layer contains no fat because the fat. casein being the most important. and carbohydrates and is thus similar to the bottom layer. and a medium-thin. its emulsion breaks down. the more suitable your clarified butter will be for frying and storing. proteins. What are the principles of clarifying butter? To clarify butter. Many otherwise intelligently written cookbooks detail unnecessarily burdensome procedures for doing this. Clarified butter has a longer storage life because it is primarily the protein in the butter that makes butter vulnerable to spoilage. The more completely you remove the nonfats. Our method is less complicated. you must separate the fat from the nonfat ingredients. it eliminates the risk of scorching even one molecule of butter. 115 cause you raise its smoke point from about 250° to 350°F when you remove the butter’s protein. yellow middle layer of fat (your clarified butter). a thick. whitish upper layer of foam. If it is superclarified.) The foamy upper layer is often erroneously referred to as an impurity-based scum. The butter then begins to separate into three distinct strata: a thin. Moreover. (Or you could say with equal logic that the protein-carbohydrate water solution has sunk. proteins. having a lower specific density than the bottom layer. which is the component that scorches first. as is the fabled ghee of India. . whitish bottom layer of water infused with carbohydrates and. When butter melts. you can store clarified butter at room temperature for months without ill effects. has followed the immutable law of nature by rising. a threat posed by the frequently recommended technique of melting it in a pan over a flame.dairy products . By the time the bubbles . This layer is principally made up of water.

Another source of the gas in the bubbles is the air content of the butter. the developing yogurt. if enough sugar is used.) When your melted. If you offer the same people bread smothered with jam. fermenting that milk sugar and thereby producing carbon dioxide gas (as well as some alcohol). as the butter melts. and jellies know. preventing the denser upper layer from settling to its natural level. As the milk sours. What tricks people into thinking that they are consuming a . the fat layer will have solidified. . it helps preserve fruits. The air bubbles form chiefly because. fruit-flavored yogurt is essentially yogurt with jam or preserves. the fat layer solidifies. Thus. for instance. Often. and other cultured milk products at room temperature without fear of harmful bacterial development? Lactic acid inhibits the growth of certain bacteria that assault the highly perishable protein in the milk. though. Yet. its lactic acid content increases. even more sugar than needed is added to satisfy the sweet tooth of the typical customer. thereby eliminating the yogurt’s defense against spoilage-causing bacteria. Why does commercial fruit-flavored yogurt have so much sugar? As makers of fruit preserves. certain molds will feed on the lactic acid.116 . de-emulsified butter is refrigerated. they probably wouldn’t give it too high a nutritive rating. bacteria attack some of the carbohydrate lactose. Why can you make yogurt. (Most American unsalted butters are about 4 percent air by volume. jams. It is a sad fact that many lovers of fruit-flavored yogurt think they are eating a particularly healthful food. Yogurt manufacturers also take advantage of this storage-extending ability. can be safely kept in a 110°F environment for a half-day or so. if left too long at that temperature. crème fraîche. Refrigerator temperature is not cold enough to firm the watery bottom layer. the new kitchen science burst. However.

and often longer. store the covered bowl in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. An ovenproof glass bowl is best because it allows you to monitor the clarifying process. 3. yet the manufacturer can use the phrase because the sugar is “100 percent natural” by definition. 4. 1. 5. The smaller the chunks. place the covered bowl in an oven set at its lowest possible heat. Cover the bowl and place it on the warm spot. . Pat it dry with a paper towel. So is a rotten apple. Lift out the solidified fat disk. do not stir the butter. 117 Principle-Illustrating Recipe CLARIFIED BUTTER Before diving into this procedure. 2. It has virtually no nutritive value and can harm teeth and other parts of the body. Cut up a stick (1/4 pound) of unsalted butter into small chunks. Do not disturb the bowl until the middle (fat) layer has solidified. Alternatively. clarified butter of this sort can be stored for weeks. read the preceding principles on pp. Scrape off as much of the foam and slimy bottom layer as you can without damaging the disk. Finish the cleaning step by quickly rinsing the disk under cold running tap water. Ideally. When the butter has completely melted (30 to 60 minutes). the more quickly the butter melts. . 115–116. If kept covered and in the refrigerator. Place the chunks in a cup-sized bowl. such as over a stove’s pilot-light area. milk fat). ◗ healthful product is the phrase “100 percent natural” printed on the container. you will end up with 100 percent butter fat (technically. To Make a Superclarified Butter: Keep repeating steps 3 through 5 until no traces of the nonfats remain.dairy products . Sugar is an empty calorie food. In this step and in step 4.

the new kitchen science If you enjoy yogurt (as we do). A contaminating mold’s hyphae penetrate considerably faster in a soft than a hard cheese. Once you can smell more than a trace of ammonia. camembert. or worse. Desirable molds create the crust on brie. the cheese is over the hill because it is sensory confirmation that certain enzymes are attacking countless amino acids.118 . Hyphae are not always easy to spot. These harmful molds quickly multiply on the cheese surface and bore into the cheese with their threadlike filaments called hyphae. . landing uninvited on the cheese at the factory. Do not let the knife blade touch the tainted area. Is it safe to eat a cheese with mold? There are two types of cheese molds: desirable and harmful. a process that spoils the cheese. on the truck. Cut away the afflicted area to a distance of 1 inch in all directions (including down) from the mold. . at the store. Not so. owing to less physical resistance and more moisture. Their high toxicity level can make you sick. Should I buy a cheese that has an ammonia scent? Many a cheesemonger has convinced uninformed customers that the ammonia scent of a surface-ripened cheese such as camembert indicates that it has reached its peak of maturity and that French gourmets love eating their cheese in this condition. Without these beneficial molds. or in your home. which aids the mold’s growth. They normally arrive airborne. the cheeses would not properly ripen or taste as good. Unless you plan to store your yogurt mixture for a few days. eat it plain or add your own fresh fruit. Harmful molds are virtually everywhere and attack both soft and hard cheeses. You can usually save part of a hard cheese if the mold covers just a small surface area and there is no evidence of hyphae penetration. and other soft cheeses — and the veinlike mold inside Roquefort and other blue cheeses. so it is wise to discard a soft cheese that shows any sign of contamination. there is no need to add sugar to preserve the fruit.

using a thick-bottomed pan or double boiler. for instance. If you have a piece of cheese too large to eat all at once. bring the cheese to room temperature and cut it into small pieces. This shield also helps keep the cheese and its storage mates from exchanging odors. stirring all the time. Since water is a medium conducive to the growth of spoilage-causing bacteria and mold. cut off and bring to room temperature only what you plan to eat and leave the remainder tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Different types of cheeses have different melting characteristics. Once any cheese is opened. for even heat distribution. If the cheese is dry — as. however. Processed cheeses like American cheese melt more quickly and easily than most natural cheeses because they have low melt- . and stringy. a Parmesan — it should be finely grated. further cooking only makes matters worse. a hard cheese like Cheddar (about 37 percent water content) will last much longer than cottage cheese (between 70 and 80 percent water content).dairy products . Taking a cheese back and forth from refrigerator to dining room table robs it of moisture and hastens decay. Once the damage has been done. . Add the cheese just before you have finished cooking the sauce. rubbery. A cook who continues to heat the sauce in the hope of melting the unsightly protein lumps is pursuing an impossible dream. keep it tightly wrapped in your refrigerator. 119 Why can I store a hard cheese longer than a soft cheese? A hard cheese has a lower water content. To achieve the second goal. To minimize moisture loss. Why does a cheese sometimes refuse to melt in a sauce? Chances are the cook heated the cheese at too high a temperature or for too long. you want it to retain moisture for the sake of texture. A cook’s two primary goals therefore are to minimize the level of heat and the length of time that will be necessary to melt a particular cheese. Such treatment separates the protein from the fat and makes it tough. The first goal is reached by keeping the heat source at a low setting and.

where the cheese must become well integrated. If the air is equal to one-half the mix. . Try This Ice Cream Quality ice creams have Experiment lower overruns (roughly 80 percent) than those of low.quart-sized containers of ice cream cent or more) and therefore (one expensive. etc. Take two quality ice creams (100 per. the better its cooking qualities. flavoring agents. cold air.). the overrun is 50 percent. If it is equal to the volume of the mix. . The longer this cheese has been aged. Can you imagine eating the typical ItalianAmerican–style pizza without having to bite off those strands of melted cheese that stretch between your mouth and the slice? Can I judge the relative quality of an unknown brand of ice cream before opening the container? Understanding the concept of overrun will let you easily determine the relative quality of a container of ice cream in a supermarket. If it is one and a half times the volume of the mix. For some culinary specialties. the overrun is 150 percent. The ice cream with larger air. the overrun is 100 percent. A case in point is mozzarella. a protein-rich cheese. substandard products.Go to your supermarket. Among the natural cheeses. sugar. a cheese’s tendency to become stringy is a sought-after quality. one inexpensive) to the justifiably cost more than the customer-use scale in the produce department. the new kitchen science ing points.120 . the driest ones — if finely grated — tend to melt better than their moist counterparts because their protein is less likely to separate from the emulsion and coagulate into tough. which smaller cream content will be the — quite literally — are a lot of “lighter” of the two. “Overrun” is the measurement of the volume of air that is whipped into a given volume of ice-cream mix (cream. This is why knowledgeable cooks prefer to use “cooking cheeses” like Parmigiano-Reggiano (authentic Parmesan) for preparations like sauces. chewy strands that diminish the appearance and texture of the dish.

Why do ice crystals form in ice cream? If the ice cream journeys unhurriedly from store to home freezer. the higher its relative overrun is likely to be. A good ice cream takes its time to melt and will not as readily run down the side of a cone on a hot summer day. the producer must use twice as much sugar as it would if the ice cream were meant to be served at room temperature. As long as the water remains in an emulsion with the fat. Does ice cream contain more sugar than my taste buds tell me? Ice cream contains far more sugar than most people think. These new crystals give the ice cream an icy. . the ice cream may melt even more slowly than quality ice cream. Many producers use stabilizers like gelatin to help retard the melting speed of high-overrun ice creams. such as the tiny air bubbles that emerge on the surface as the ice cream melts and the chalkiness or gumminess of its texture. and therefore grainy. the original ice crystals .dairy products . in the form of minute ice crystals. makes too many trips in and out of the home freezer. some of the ice cream’s water content. In order to make the ice cream taste suitably sweet. The more quickly it melts in comparison to a high-quality ice cream. If the stabilizers are used with abandon. Sugar serves another purpose: It lowers the freezing point of the ice-cream mixture and therefore decreases the possibility that ice crystals will form. 121 There is another way to judge overrun before taking the first bite. but this necessitates purchasing the ice cream and taking it home. Place a small sample in a bowl at room temperature. though that sight will not hoodwink aficionados. The latter will taste significantly less sweet because the coldness of the ice cream numbs your taste buds. They will spot telltale signs. will separate from the fat content and eventually re-form into larger ice crystals. texture. Crosstaste a bite of melted and frozen ice cream. or is kept in a typical home refrigerator frozen-food compartment (which is not cold enough). diminishing their sensitivity.

the ice cream compacts. unless the ice cream is stored for a prolonged period or at a temperature well below 0°F. Should I scoop ice cream with a circular. The customer ends up with a faster melting. as many ice cream parlors do? Not if you want to retard melting. the ice cream curls. poorer-value product. the new kitchen science will not change their form or the ice cream’s texture. creating air spaces. With the first method. . slower-melting scoop. With the second method. Many ice cream parlors use the circular motion because slow melting is not their top priority. An employee would get fewer servings per tub if he pressed the scoop downward into the ice cream than if he dragged the scoop in an arc on the ice cream’s surface. Profits are. which is usually a must when serving the product at home meals. horizontal motion. creating a denser.122 . .

If it sinks but stands partially or fully erect on its tapered end. more suitable for a garbage heap than a stomach. New research on . If your egg sinks and lies on its side. with effortless grace. it is uncooked. the size of its air pocket is increasing. If your egg rotates smoothly. you are looking at a rotten egg. it is hard-cooked. your egg is over the hill. The wobbling occurs because centrifugal force continuously changes the raw yolk’s position inside the egg and so keeps altering the egg’s center of gravity. How do eggs fare in the cholesterol department? The American Heart Association’s dietary guidelines once recommended eating a maximum of three eggs a week. though technically still edible. Place the suspect egg in at least several inches of water in a bowl or pot.6 eggs How can I tell whether an unopened egg is raw or cooked? Spin the egg on its side on a flat surface. you have a fresh egg. while its yolk and albumen (egg white) are gradually losing moisture to the outside world through the porous shell. If it floats. If your egg wobbles noticeably. Can I tell whether a raw egg is fresh without breaking it? Yes. An egg acquires buoyancy as it ages because. 123 .

especially when you consider that a yolk is packed with many essential nutrients and has only 75 calories. as an egg gets older. Are fertilized eggs more nutritious than unfertilized eggs? Many health food stores make this claim. . If the tract is bleeding. Which is better. a week-old egg or one fresh from the coop? It depends. Are brown eggs more nutritious and flavorful than white eggs? No. This means that fresher eggs are the first choice when frying or poaching because they have a thicker egg white and firmer yolk. its yolk protein molecules gradually lose their binding abilities. Though some chickens that lay brown eggs produce more nutritious and flavorful eggs than the breeds that lay white eggs. This is not a high number. the new kitchen science eggs has changed that rule. shell color is not an indicator of quality. contrary to some food books. The blood spots are harmless blemishes and. Eggshell color marketplace preference is regional: In Boston the brown egg is more popular. However. the chicken’s embryo in a fertilized egg is so small that the amount of extra nutritional value it offers is inconsequential. On the other hand. A week-old egg is preferable for preparing a hardcooked egg because the shell is easier to peel.124 . Why do some egg yolks have blood spots? A yolk membrane can pick up blood spots as it travels down the hen’s reproductive tract before the surrounding albumen (egg white) and shell have been formed. qualities that increase the eventual compactness and attractiveness of the cooked egg. whereas in most other areas of our country the white is the top choice. do not indicate fertilization. some of the blood can attach itself to the yolk. An egg yolk contains 1 1/2 grams of cholesterol-raising saturated fat. . The AHA guidelines now permit an egg a day. Therefore. the opposite is true just as often.

What are the chances of being exposed to salmonella from a raw egg? Salmonella is a food-borne bacterium that can make people seriously sick with intestinal flu-like symptoms. Finally. the recently laid egg is easier to separate because as an egg ages. thicken. Those odds are trifling compared to the odds The chance of a store-bought chicken being infected with salof an egg monella. Another method of giving whole eggs superlongevity is storing them in carbon dioxide chambers. Result: cracked eggs. You can freeze the yolks and whites separately or together.) What this tells us is that people salmonella is should be hundreds of times more concerned rare — about about eating undercooked chicken than under1 in 10. . the membrane of its yolk weakens. (Research estimates range from 1 in containing 3 to 1 in 20. the egg nestled in a box in the supermarket display case is usually three to ten days old. . because freezing expands the contents of the eggs more than the shells’ capacity. an egg fresh from the coop has more flavor and nutritional value.or threeweek-old eggs are not rare in municipalities that do not require open dating. though two.eggs . For the record. Always shell the eggs first. Since freezing deteriorates texture and flavor. or emulsify a preparation.000 cooked eggs. Some firms extend the storage life of their eggs to six months by coating the shells with a light mineral oil that helps keep harmful bacteria out and beneficial moisture and carbon dioxide in.000. Moreover. 125 Fresher eggs are also superior when you use the yolk to leaven. Thanks to improved farming and storage procedures. the chance of an egg containing salmonella is rare — about 1 in 10. Should raw eggs be frozen in their shells? No. The relatively high fat content (32 percent) of yolks gives them a shorter freezer life than whites. freeze eggs only when necessary.

is the prime reason for the egg compartment’s traditional location. It stands to reason therefore that you must keep the yolk as far away as possible from the air pocket. Whether or not you have such a refrigerator. That perfect temperature. and the yolk is more perishable than the albumen (egg white). as shown by egg A in the illustration above.” in egg-storing terminology. the eggs are repeatedly exposed to temperatures well above the ideal. Upright storage helps retard spoilage because it maximizes the distance between the yolk and the egg’s natural air pocket. the new kitchen science Why were many older refrigerator models designed with the egg storage compartment on the swinging door? Accessibility. A B Why should eggs be stored upright? “Upright. The door is one of the least sensible locations because the eggs are jarred each time you open and shut the door. keep eggs in their original carton (if it’s clean) at the rear of the coldest shelf. is about 30°F. just above an egg’s 29°F freezing point. . it saves you the transferring chore — and helps shield eggs from refrigerator odors. means with the larger end up (tapered end down). Not only does this technique minimize jarring and temperature fluctuation. That gaseous space is potentially the egg’s most prolific breeding environment for airborne pathogenic bacteria. Moreover. rather than storage life.126 . by the way. .

. The cord connecting the yolk to the smaller end is tauter than the cord tethering the yolk to the larger end of the egg. This means that the albumen will more readily slide away from the yolk — and that the yolk membrane will be less likely to rupture during the separation process when the cook moves the egg back and forth between the halves of the eggshell. Consequently.eggs . The second reason is more complicated. the yolk does not float up as high when the egg is stored small end down. These are the two cords attached on either side of the yolk designed to keep the yolk anchored in the center of the egg. the gas is air (as is the case with soap bubbles and beaten egg white) or carbon dioxide (think of a beer head). Thus. One reason is that the surface tension of the albumen is lower at room than at refrigerator temperature. small air pockets can be more easily incorporated into the albumen to form a foam. A foam is a superstructure of bubbles. whereas the pocket in egg A is flatter because it is already above the liquid’s surface. At what temperature should egg whites be whipped? Although egg whites separate from yolks better at refrigerator temperature (see previous Q&A). they whip to their maximum volume at room temperature. Typically. Why are refrigerated eggs easier to separate than roomtemperature ones? The viscosity of the egg white (albumen) and the surface tension of the yolk membrane are noticeably greater at refrigerator temperature than at room temperature. The egg yolk is lighter than the albumen and will rise to its surface unless restrained. The liquid cannot be pure water because its surface tension is so great that it’s diffi- . which nature does with chalazas. Each bubble is made up of a pocket of gas trapped inside a spherical film of liquid. 127 One reason the separation between the yolk and air pocket is less in the egg B pocket is because the air pocket arches upward (as does any air bubble rising through a liquid).

Porcelain and glass have relatively slick surfaces that can slow down the whipping process because the egg whites tend to slip down the walls of the bowl with too much ease.128 . it is of slight value with a manual or electric mixer. remove that yellow villain with one of the sharp. (The precise reason this phenomenon occurs is still being debated by scientists. These efficient modern contraptions do their whipping chores almost as well in a stainless steel bowl. Why does even a speck of yolk make it difficult to whip egg whites? Egg whites cannot be whipped to their maximum volume if they come in contact with any fat beyond the trace amount they already contain. a pinch of cream of tartar whipped with the egg whites will stabilize your creation. and if a speck of yolk happens to taint the egg whites. Aluminum grays the eggs. is not the only potential source of . a copper bowl reduces the time and energy needed to whip egg whites. Do egg whites whip better in a copper bowl? Yes. Plastic is too porous. .) Though this advantage is a welcome relief when you are using the arm-tiring. This increases the likelihood that all the albumen will get its fair share of time in contact with the mixing blades. If you are using a noncopper bowl. stainless steel should be your first choice. So separate your eggs diligently. jagged edges of an empty eggshell. Even a speck of yolk will cause a problem because one-third of a yolk’s composition is fat. the new kitchen science cult to disperse pockets of gas within the water. Next to copper. A copper bowl also helps stabilize the beaten egg whites. at least to some degree. Yolk. it has enough other substances dissolved into it that its surface tension is sufficiently low to allow foaming. Not so with albumen. Fixed rotary blade mixers whip foam unevenly. Whatever the bowl’s material. Although it consists chiefly of water. and fat can easily lodge in it (see next Q&A). it should be round-bottomed. be sure its blade moves around the bowl. however. old-fashioned whisk method. If you use an electric rotary mixer.

your beaten egg whites will take longer to whip and will never achieve their maximum volume. the granulated sugar particles tend to tunnel through the beaten egg whites. Moreover.eggs . which sugar is preferable: confectioners’ or granulated? Confectioners’ sugar more thoroughly distributes itself through the beaten egg whites. it would become increasingly drier because protein molecules would begin to lose their ability to bind with water molecules. when heated. Why should egg whites be beaten slowly at the beginning of the whipping process? Vigorous beating at the start tends to create air bubbles that are too large. cream of tartar and other acids help stabilize the foam. its yolk and albumen (egg white) cool and. This shrinkage creates an air pocket at the egg’s . Grease in the whipping bowl or on the whipping instrument is just as bad. a medium to fast speed is appropriate. Not only would the foam begin to collapse. Large bubbles are less stable than the small ones that form when you begin by whipping the liquid for a few minutes at a low to medium speed. if you add these substances at the beginning of the whipping process. 129 volume-reducing fat. as a result. When making a meringue. you would not have enough time to incorporate them uniformly into the egg whites before the stiffened mixture starts to become unstable from overwhipping. contract. If you add the extra ingredients near the end. Once the egg whites (or cream) are halfwhipped. When whipping egg whites. However. They can also give a meringue an undesirable gritty texture. why should I wait to add ingredients like sugar or cream of tartar until midway in the preparation? While salt and sugar lend flavor. . Why do simmered or boiled eggs sometimes crack? Once an egg is laid. popping some of the essential air bubbles in the process.

So from now on. remove your egg from the refrigerator. creating an atmospheric pressure many times greater than exists in either the water or your kitchen. unfortunately.130 . Our illustration indicates that space with crosshatching. and gently ease the cold egg into a waiting pot of boiling water. Result: no cracked shell. This built-up pressure easily cracks the fragile shell. Its metal pinpoint is short enough not to rupture the membrane that separates the trapped air from the albumen but thick enough to make a convenient hole for the air to escape through as it expands while being heated in the simmering water. if the cook insists. then you must bring your eggs to room temperature before adding them to the hot water. This technique is not as foolproof as the pushpin method. but it is more reliable than the begin-in-cold-water method (see next Q&A). The problem can be overcome simply by piercing the egg’s larger end with an ordinary pushpin. always use the 15-minute timing if you plan to slice the eggs for use as a garnish. in boiling water). However. pierce it. the new kitchen science larger (nontapered) end. (Adjust heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes for soft-cooked eggs and 12 to 15 minutes for hard-cooked eggs. releasing the trapped gas and. allowing some of the albumen to ooze into the water. . . The air in the pocket can cause the shell to crack when you place the egg in simmering water (or.) If you do not have a pushpin or other suitable piercing device. depending on preference. The reason is that the heat of the water expands the trapped gas (air) in the pocket.

use fresh eggs. How can I prevent the yolk of a hard-cooked egg from becoming green-tinged? That unsightly surface color is produced when extreme heat or prolonged cooking chemically combines the sulfur in the egg with the iron in the yolk to form a harmless substance called ferrous sulfide. Even if you use the same pan. (Ferrous sulfide develops more readily in older eggs. to remove it under cold running tap water. You cannot get consistent results even if you time the cooking process with split-second accuracy — several influential variables exist. the yolk is less likely to crumble or break away from the white. . By so doing.) Second. bring a halt to further cooking by quickly cooling the eggs in cold water. Finally. Third. You can eliminate the problem by following three rules. it begins to stick to the shell’s innermost membrane. chill the whole peeled egg in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.eggs . The tap water temperature usually varies according to the outdoor temperature and time of day by as much as 15°F. once cooked. This . Why is a hot hard-cooked egg easier to peel than a cold one? As the cooked egg white cools. your range probably doesn’t have the precision controls that would allow you to set the same exact cooking temperature each day. Two other egg-peeling tips are to start at the larger end (the one with the air pocket) and. 131 What’s wrong with the popular begin-in-cold-water method for boiling eggs? Timing is iffy. if the shell is giving you a difficult time. never cook the eggs longer than 15 minutes. at best. First. the quantity of water you put in it will vary daily unless you measure the volume carefully. If you want to slice the egg. Why should eggs be poached in vinegar-spiked water? Vinegar helps give your poached eggs a more compact shape because its acid content lowers the cooking liquid’s pH factor.

a bad habit common among short-order chefs. However. If you cook the yolk to its just-right coagulation temperature (about 156°F). egg. a thin milky-white layer appears on the top of the yolk if you use any of the three egg-cooking methods mentioned in the previous paragraph. vise cooking it but like vinegar. it is impossible to fry an egg in the classic sense and simultaneously have a perfectly cooked egg white and a firm yolk. you must use a sparing amount as slowly as lest you overpower the egg’s flavor. low heat What makes a fried egg rubbery? Frying an egg at too high a temperature or for too long causes the protein in egg whites to coagulate excessively and lose internal moisture. As a bonus. we adSalt also helps speed the coagulation process.132 . . If you want a perfect fried egg. when the cook uses other than a quality vinegar or pours the vinegar into the pan with a heavy hand. Be sure to cook over very low heat and keep the lid closed (no peeking) to prevent steam from escaping. however. Technically. your egg will absorb less fat. we advise cooking it as slowly as possible over low heat — and removing it from the pan as soon as it is done. A proper ratio is about 1 teaspoon of vinIf you want a egar (or 2 teaspoons of lemon juice) per quart perfect fried of water. The hue of a “sunny-side up” yolk is a bright orange-yellow. People who do not like runny yolks should turn the eggs “over easy” rather than wait for the yolks to firm as they cook “sunny side up. you will overcook the egg white (which begins setting at about 145°F).” Or you could braise the eggs by covering the pan with a lid — the trapped steam hastens the cooking of the yolk tops. What you see is a thin layer of albumen that . A pinch or possible over two of salt per quart of water should suffice. enhancing their snowy luster. These benefits are overshadowed. Vinegar also blanches the egg whites. the new kitchen science precipitates the setting of the egg whites before they have had a chance to spread too far in the simmering water.

Why do I add a liquid to scrambled eggs? Your cooked scrambled eggs will be fluffier and more tender if you beat 1 or 2 teaspoons of water per egg into the raw eggs. In cooked ones. 133 naturally coats the egg yolk membrane. beat two eggs without adding the liquid.In bowl A. Why does the portion of the egg white that lies nearest the egg yolk set more slowly than the outer portion? An obvious reason is that it is thicker.bowl B. fluffier advantage of enriching your scrambled eggs? preparation. . use cream. beat two eggs with 2 teaspoons of cream (or milk or water). The inner albumen layer coagulates at a temperature about 5°F higher than does the second type of albumen. A third reason is less known. fect as water and has the extra Which method produces lighter. You don’t notice it at the beginning of the cooking process because at that stage it is transparent. Milk produces the same ef. Cook each batch separately. . giving the scrambled eggs a lighter texture. For even better results.eggs . the one that constitutes the entire bottom layer of the cooking egg. This liquid steams as your egg mixture cooks. The eggs will also be moister beTry This Scrambled cause the cooked protein molEgg Experiment ecules can bind with more water molecules than can un. Another one is that it doesn’t come in direct contact with the pan — the portion of the egg white that lies nearest the egg yolk sits on top of the second type of albumen.

and officials of the U. Department of Agriculture. and pumpkins are vegetables. But unless you are a botanist. In the lingo of cooks. .7 fruits and vegetables What is the difference between a fruit and a vegetable? From the botanist’s viewpoint. we suggest you either opt for the common usage or call the foods in question “fruitvegetables. tomatoes.” What is heirloom produce? An heirloom fruit or vegetable is genetically the same as it was before 1951. cucumbers. and pumpkins are fruits. a plant food is a vegetable if you usually eat it as part of a meal’s main course. cucumbers. a fruit is the ovary of the plant — that is. By that definition. By these guidelines. the other edible parts of the plant are classified as vegetables.S. produce merchants. the section of the plant that houses the seeds. eggplants. tomatoes. 134 . This purebred tastes appreciably better than its modern hybrid counterparts. the ones that fill the produce bins and frozen vegetable units in today’s supermarkets. Except for seeds and spices. eggplants. and a fruit if you normally enjoy it as a dessert or as a sweet between-meal snack.

Each has its own DNA code and distinct flavor profile. perhaps in a more devastating magnitude than Ireland suffered from the potato blight of the 1840s. and have Heirloom fruits long shelf lives. Look for “heirloom” signage. Good sources for buying heirloom produce are quality produce stores and roadside stands. For instance. The people largely responsible for safeguarding heirloom fruits and vegetables are small farmers and home gardeners who pass the seeds down from generation to generation.fruits and vegetables . and vegetables offer a treasure What’s the downside of cultivated hybrids? trove of genetic Although the industry succeeded in accomdiversity that plishing the goals mentioned in the preceding may well someQ&A. it did so with a considerable sacrifice in day help avert taste and nutrients. sizes. there are hundreds if not thousands of distinct heirloom tomato varieties. . This lack of genetic diversity increases the risk of widespread crop wipeouts caused by an influx of new pests and diseases or by old ones adapting to a hybrid’s defenses. Famine could result in developing nations. ship with minimum damage. grow in a variety of climates with consistency. Heirloom fruits and vegetables offer a treasure trove of genetic diversity that may well someday help avert famine. Another problem is that famine only two or three hybrids of a specific fruit or vegetable are normally planted by the largescale farm industry. be uniform in size and appearance. . grow some in your kitchen garden — many are easy to grow. There are more subvarieties of heirloom fruits and vegetables than most individuals realize. and colors. Alternatively. which come in numerous shapes. 135 Why is 1951 considered the cut-off date for defining heirloom produce? That was the year when the food industry began in earnest to cultivate hybrids that would resist pests and diseases.

In addition. Why do most raw. the decomposition process generates heat. the new kitchen science Are there edible plants that humans do not eat? We eat only a tiny fraction of the estimated tens of thousands of edible plants on earth. The higher its proportion in the cells. It also thwarts your efforts to scrub off pesticides that may have been sprayed on the fruit before it was waxed. Deterioration also occurs because of enzymatic action within the fruit or vegetable. lemons. oranges. a complex carbohydrate.136 . and yams are among the casualties. which in the eyes of some customers is a sign of quality. and corn account for over 50 percent of the volume humans consume. and moisture loss withers the food. grapefruit. as well as minimizing costly weight loss. the cook generally uses a combination of heat and moisture. Why are produce items like apples and cucumbers sometimes coated with wax? The food industry does it for its own sake. cucumbers. cantaloupes. is the chief constituent of the cell walls of vegetables (and fruits). pears. . Informed shoppers. plums. The list of fruits and vegetables that are falling victim to the wax treatment is lengthy. It also gives the fruit or vegetable a sheen. it does give food an off-flavor. Wheat. rice. How important is cellulose content in determining how long to cook a vegetable? Cellulose. which accelerates the rate of microbial and enzymatic damage. however. unprocessed fruits and vegetables tend to deteriorate so quickly? Attack by microorganisms is one obvious answer. not yours. and growing: Apples. To tenderize the cellulose. and therefore the vegetable. . know that it is an impossible chore to wash off all the wax. A coating of wax helps seal in moisture and therefore extends storage life. the firmer the raw vegetable will likely be. bell peppers. Even if food industry spokespersons are correct in their claim that the wax is safe to eat.

The stems have a higher cellulose content than the tips and will therefore still be undercooked by the time the tops are tender unless remedial action is taken. Heat in conjunction with moisture also tenderizes by dissolving some of the pectic substances that help glue the individual cell walls tightly together. In addition. Near the other end of the cellulose-and-moisture spectrum is a tomato. and crab apples are among those that cook well. for example). which has a high cellulose content. lacking sufficient cellulose. 137 Some foods present a special problem. (The endosperm — the white inside part of the cereal grain — has far less cellulose. Unlike white rice. The difference in cellulose content is the principal reason brown rice has to be cooked approximately twice as long as white rice to make it palatable and digestible. they become mushy and lose their shape. Suitable solutions include cooking the stems and tips separately or cooking them together but giving the stems a head start. What other roles do heat and moisture play in tenderizing vegetables? Heat destroys the osmotic capability of the cells and therefore diminishes the food’s structural firmness. . The beet does not contain enough moisture to soften its high cellulose content. Rome Beauty.) Apples like Red or Golden Delicious are unsuitable for cooking because. for instance) rather than with moist heat (simmering. brown rice still retains the outer bran layer.fruits and vegetables . Consider broccoli and asparagus. which has so little cellulose and so much moisture that its structure will collapse if overbaked. How necessary is moisture for the softening of cellulose? The need for moisture can be demonstrated by trying to cook a beet with dry heat (baking. they do not contain enough acid to balance the sugar often added by the cook. York Imperial. . You can also shorten the cooking time required for the stems by paring them (a significant percentage of the cellulose resides on or near the surface) or by cutting the stem into smaller pieces.

Cut them into small pieces and cook them in an uncovered pot with plenty of water. their flavor and odor strengthen. don’t overcook such vegetables. including spinach. the new kitchen science Does acid affect the cooking time of vegetables? Acid slows down the cooking process. For your nose’s sake. which helps explain why beans cooked in a casserole made with tomatoes require 10 to 20 percent more cooking time than a nonacidic baked bean dish. As the leaves cook. you can still minimize the potent taste and smell. cooking in a generous pot of water is called for when you want to reduce the strong flavors of some vegetables. the fewer vitamins you lose. . However. need no water because the moisture that clings to the leaves after you have washed them is ample for the first minute of cooking. piece size. and for the sake of texture. The less water you use. and atmospheric pressure — factors that we discuss elsewhere in this book. including individual preference. cooking method. Another way to avoid the disagreeable qualities sometimes associated with cabbages and turnips is to buy them young and fresh. Does prolonged cooking bring out the flavor of either cabbage or turnips? Too many homes reek unnecessarily with objectionable odors because the cook has been misled by a recipe or by grandmotherly advice into believing vegetables like cabbage and turnips should be cooked for a long time. As these vegetables mature or spend time in storage. Each of these three . Is it advisable to cook vegetables in as little water as possible? Water can leach water-soluble vitamins (B and C) out of food. they contribute enough water of their own for the pot. Alkali has the opposite effect of acid: It shortens cooking time. If you are forced to use some that are overmature or have been stored for a while. What other factors determine the cooking time of vegetables? Dozens of other variables enter the equation. Many leafy vegetables.138 . degree of heat.

and nutrients have less time to leach out of the food. By cooking without a lid. cooking onions and garlic for prolonged periods (just as long as you don’t burn them) has an opposite effect. Flavor the peas with 1 tion caused by acid (which is /2 teaspoon of vinegar (or 1 teaspoon generally volatile and dissi. Cook batch A in a lidded saucepan (to trap the acid in the pan). they denature chlorophyll. them batch A and batch B. A covered pot also cooks at a higher temperature than a lidless one.peas. a muddy green in a matter of a half-hour or so. Which batch has a brighter. the chemical compound responsible for giving green fruits and vegetables (as well as the leaves of the forest) Try This Acid-Discoloration their characteristic pigmentaExperiment tion. you reduce the number of nutrients that dissipate into the air. Buy a standard-size package of frozen you minimize the discolora. for the same reason mentioned in the previous Q&A. Solution: Add the acidulous dressing just before serving. is the villain. Defrost it. the vegetables better retain their vivid green (see the next Q&A). In combination. They become mild-flavored. Divide the peas into two equal-portioned batches. Without a lid.of lemon juice). coupled with heat. like green peppers.fruits and vegetables . Is it better to boil a vegetable covered or uncovered? Whether or not you use a cover depends on your priorities. When you cover a pot. What causes a green vegetable to turn muddy green when cooked? Acid. . Call pates into the air). Interestingly. 139 steps encourages the leaching out of unwanted flavor and odor compounds into the water. so the vegetable cooks more quickly. more appealing hue? . Cook batch B in an uncovered saucepan. Should raw green salad vegetables be added to salad just before serving time? A strong vinegar-based salad dressing can turn green salad vegetables.

If you’ve ever seen a vegetarian with a yellow skin tone. we strongly advise against using baking soda for this purpose. When it is cooked for more than a brief period. the greater its alkalinity.140 . . gives the food a mushy texture. It is often caused by consuming vast amounts of carrots or carrot juice. . this chemical compound — unlike the other major fruit and vegetable pigments — is a valuable nutrient. it can be converted by your body into vitamin A. Because it is a provitamin A. the alkali in the pot becomes predominant and turns the cabbage bluish purple. When enough of the acid has dissipated. The cabbage is red to begin with because of its high acid content. and therefore the more the cabbage discolors. the new kitchen science Why do green vegetables cooked with baking soda have a brighter color? Baking soda helps maintain the vivid green because it is an alkali and therefore neutralizes the discoloring acid in the vegetable and cooking water. Some of the carotene overdose is deposited in the fatty tissue beneath the skin. he may be suffering from hypercarotenum. Acid turns it red. However. The harder the water. Is the color of an orange an unreliable indicator of ripeness? A series of cold nights can change the color of a ripe orange rind from orange to green. by softening the hemicelluloses of the vegetable’s cell walls. What gives carrots and other yellow-orange fruits and vegetables their color? Carotene. A series of warm nights can change the color of an unpicked unripe orange from green to orange. and alkali a bluish purple. What causes red cabbage to turn bluish purple when cooked? The principal pigment in red cabbage is the chemical compound anthocyanin. It destroys vitamins (particularly vitamin C and thiamin) and. much of its acid escapes into the air with the steam. Besides adding a colorful excitement to foods.

and ascorbic acid in the lemon juice slows down that process. . That would indicate that the mushroom was treated with the chemical sodium bisulfite to retard discoloration. First and foremost. is due to the pigment flavone. (However. 141 Moreover. When this chemical compound is subjected to prolonged heat or alkali. it will have developed a light-to-medium brown discoloration. as well as that of salsify and cauliflower. do not overcook them. Why does lemon juice prevent discoloration of avocado and potato slices? The discoloration of the exposed flesh is largely caused by oxidation. avocados undergo a chemical reaction that produces unwanted. What is not natural is for the mushroom to have a bright lily-white hue at this stage. bitter-tasting compounds. Another technique is to cook the food. a brownish-yellow tint develops. some naturally green rinds are orange because they have been dyed orange. Can a mushroom be too white? The common supermarket-variety mushroom is bright white when harvested. This is natural. Also.fruits and vegetables .) Why should I not cook avocados? When heated. Several countermeasures can help keep your vegetables white. fresh . What causes boiled white onions or potatoes to turn yellow? The whiteness of these vegetables. That’s why you seldom see hot avocado dishes on menus or canned avocado products on supermarket shelves. don’t cook avocados. for the reason we explain in the next Q&A. buy young. By the time it reaches the produce bin or salad bar table. This type of preserving agent can cause allergic reactions. because heat inactivates the enzymes in the food that would otherwise bring about discoloration in the presence of oxygen.

being a fat. and other clan members do more than add flavor of their own. you release a gas. This increase helps expel some of the raw onion vapors. Just as their volatile oils can irritate your eyes. the new kitchen science vegetables in good condition. . When a recipe calls for sautéing both onions and garlic. Why is the onion family so widely used in cooking? Onions. the whiter your boiled vegetables will be. shallots. If you shorten the sautéing time of the onions to accommodate the garlic. Butter. producing a bitter flavor. It also chemically converts some of the onion molecules into new.142 . What brings tears to my eyes when I chop onions? When you chop or slice an onion. these organs tend to be more sensitive to flavors and scents of foods. also captures more of the desirable onion essences that would otherwise dissipate into the air. you will certainly burn the garlic. It wafts upward and chemically reacts with the water in your eyes to form sulfuric acid. Your body reacts defensively: Tears are produced to expel the irritant. sweet-tasting ones. but do not add so much that the flavor of the whitener becomes undesirably obvious. The more of these acids you add. . If your pipes carry hard water. the lachrymator agent propanethiol S-oxide. unsweet. Why are onions cooked in butter more flavorful than those cooked in water? The butter not only contributes its own distinct flavor but lets you cook at a temperature higher than 212°F. why is it essential to add the garlic near the end of the sautéing process? If you sauté the garlic for as long as is required for the onions. they can irritate your taste buds and olfactoreceptors — a plus if kept within bounds because when slightly teased. oniony flavor. scallions. your onions will be insufficiently cooked. try adding a touch of cream of tartar or lemon juice to help neutralize its alkalinity. giving your dish a raw.

Another popular countermeasure is to make a 1/4-inch-deep. which imparts a bitter flavor during both the storage and cooking periods. Make sure garlic stored you periodically open the jar. Buy large garlic heads (relative to their variety) because you will have fewer garlic cloves to . ily develops in steep it in oil and keep it refrigerated. Discard the conin a sealed tents within ten days. especially at room Botulism eastemperature. simmer the onion. Some people are innately more susceptible to the tear-producing chemical reaction than others. the keener the flavor and the less bitter any internal green sprouting will be. Keep your unpeeled garlic in a dry. and cool (but not refrigerated) place. . the greater your tolerance. The fresher the garlic. Whatever technique you employ. What causes garlic to become bitter during storage? Moisture hastens sprouting. Why does the inside of a whole onion sometimes pop out when I boil it? The force that pushes the inside section of the onion out through one of the polar openings is pent-up steam. well-ventilated.fruits and vegetables . Their higher moisture and sugar content lessens the quantity of tear-causing gas that is formed. because boiling increases the chances of onion-pop by bouncing the bulb around the pot. X-shaped incision into the root end. 143 Sweet onions cause fewer tears than standard cooking onions. the more frequently you cut onions. Remember: Botulism easily develops in garlic stored in a sealed container. give the steam one or more extra escape routes by piercing the onion with a thin skewer before you add it to the water or stew. To avoid this. However. If you store peeled garlic in a jar. That’s why the “crier” is more apt to be a person who cuts onions only occasionally. container What should I look for when buying garlic? Avoid heads if they have started to sprout or have exterior soft spots.

consider buying regular garlic and using less of it. much of the starch in the vegetables converts to sugar. Potato sprouts contain this same chemical — avoid them. their product would be either too brown on the outside or undercooked on the inside. That extra sugar means that the French fries brown faster when cooked. . Should green-tinged potatoes be left in the supermarket’s produce? Yes. Why are new potatoes better than Idaho and other mature potatoes for making potato salad? Because new potatoes have more moisture and a lower starch content. Why shouldn’t a raw whole potato be stored in the refrigerator? The cold environment of the refrigerator encourages excessive conversion of the potato’s starch into sugar. If fast-food establishments served the 50 percent thicker. This will save you money and reward you with a more enticing garlic aroma and flavor. Since the raw. Why are the McDonald’s and Burger King French fried potatoes thinner than the norm? More than consumer preference is involved. If you buy elephant-type garlic because you do not relish a strong garlic flavor. as well as less of the . This chemical process makes the tuber uncharacteristically sweet.144 . the new kitchen science peel per volume of chopped garlic and chopping will be easier. but enough to make you think twice about eating one of these tainted taters. precut potatoes are shipped and stored frozen. The green surface blemishes are caused by overexposure to light. they will absorb less of the cooking water. your stored garlic supply will not dry out as fast. normal-sized American French fries. The tainted areas will taste bitter and contain at least some level of toxic solanine — not enough to kill you. Even more important.

the sauce has not as much opportunity to overpower the more delicate flavor of the potatoes. . Not to be confused with hollow heart is internal blackish rot or fungus growth. 145 mayonnaise or vinaigrette dressing. And since mature potatoes contain less water. which have become gummy during the cooking process. Why are Idaho and other mature potatoes better than new potatoes for baking and frying? Mature potatoes are drier. and mealier than new potatoes. so they will become fluffier and lighter-textured when baked. Why should potatoes be pierced before they are baked? A pierced baked potato will have a better texture — mealy rather than soggy — because more of its moisture can escape. When less of the sauce is absorbed. which should be completely removed. we consume fewer calories. Why is it imperative not to overcook or overwork mashed potatoes? Both excesses rupture many of the potato’s cell walls. there will be less splatter when they are fried in hot oil. Therefore. because it is not so thoroughly absorbed. starchier. the trapped steam can explode the potato. . The cells in the center of the potato move outward.fruits and vegetables . These granules. Even people who prefer soggy-textured baked potatoes should pierce the potato deeply at least in one spot. leaving a hollow. Just as important. new potatoes will be less likely to break when the salad is mixed and served. What causes a “hollow heart” to form inside some baking potatoes? The empty space in the center of a baking potato is usually the result of a potato growing too fast. Otherwise. allowing many starch granules to escape from their cellular prison.

a sticky layer of gelatinized starch will develop on the exposed flesh soon after the potatoes are put in the hot oil. Whatever you do. soak the freshly cut potatoes for several minutes in ice-cold water. This can cause the potatoes to stick to each other and the pan. Its sharp and fast blades can rupture the cell walls so quickly and effectively that you’ll end up with gluey potatoes in practically no time.146 . This problem doesn’t exist for leftover potatoes because their interiors don’t need cooking. This step removes some of the surface starch. the new kitchen science give your finished mashed potatoes a pasty. Pat them dry with paper toweling — you don’t want any water droplets clinging to the potato surface lest the hot oil splatter when you lower the pieces into the pan. . Your potatoes will be airier if you mash them in a vertical rather than stirring motion — and if you don’t perform that task until just before serving time. consistency. . rather than a fluffy. Why should I soak potatoes before French-frying them? If the surfaces of the cut potatoes are too dry. The advantage of pan-frying potatoes at a fairly high heat is to minimize the development of a sticky film of starch on the surface of the potatoes. This substance can cause the individual potato pieces to stick to the pan and break apart when you try to dislodge them. the outside of the potato pieces would be burnt before the interior was properly cooked. Rinse them briefly under a fast stream of cold tap water and drain them in a sieve or colander. Why are leftover potatoes better than fresh ones for making pan-fried potatoes? You can’t cook raw potatoes at as high a temperature as you can previously cooked potatoes. For best results. don’t try to mash potatoes in a food processor. Promptly add the potatoes to the preheated oil before their surfaces lose their remaining moisture. If you did.

For this reason. refrigerate it as soon as it enters your kitchen. which explains the rationale for this seemingly snobbish recipe: Don’t pick the corn until a pot of water. Corn connoisseurs can detect the drop in sweetness within an hour after harvesting. the toughening effect of table salt is not as pronounced today as in decades gone by. an element that can toughen the skin of corn kernels during cooking. Why does popcorn pop? As the popcorn kernel is heated. pears. is boiling. The steam pressure increases gradually until the kernel’s structure is no longer capable of restraining the pent-up steam. not more than a minute’s run from the cornfield. if not months. This extends the fruit’s availability but degrades the fruit for the customer. and peaches sometime have mealy textures? Such fruit was likely harvested before ripening and stored in a cold warehouse environment for weeks. 147 Why do fruits like apples. The higher the temperature of the ear. Not only can they suit their individual preferences. Why should corn be eaten as soon as possible after it is picked? A chemical reaction converts the sugar in the corn into starch — and the longer the corn is off the stalk. the faster the chemical reaction occurs. At . the greater the conversion. unless you intend to cook the corn immediately. Heat also affects the conversion process. Why shouldn’t I boil corn in salted water? Table salt is not pure sodium chloride. but the corn will be more tender. It contains traces of other substances. its internal moisture converts to steam.fruits and vegetables . Modern salt-processing techniques remove much of the calcium before the product reaches the supermarket shelf. In any event. including calcium. . That is why it’s generally a good idea to let your guests salt their corn on the cob at the table.

148 . Ordinary corn doesn’t explode like popcorn because it has a lower internal moisture content and a weaker structure. they may have lost some of their crispness. popping power. For obvious reasons. the kernel explodes. but tofu (bean curd) has several times more total fat and twice as much saturated fat as the equivalent weight in skinless chicken breast. If the vegetables are fresh — as they should be — soaking will have the opposite effect: They will lose a bit of their crispness because of water buildup between the walls of the already plump cells. If this happens. hence. once the corn is popped. that scant loss is more than compensated for by the pleasant texture imparted by the extra moisture. The water absorption re-swells the individual cells. Soaking them in ice water returns some of this crispness because the food cells regain some of their lost water through osmosis. let us point out that it has only half the total fat and saturated fat con- . the popcorn will lose some of its crisp texture. so the steam pressure cannot build up as much. For some relatively dry vegetables like carrots. popcorn must be popped in an enclosed container. Otherwise. Why do cookbooks recommend soaking carrot and celery sticks in ice water? If these vegetables are less than fresh. However. the lid should be removed or the popcorn bag opened promptly lest the popcorn reabsorb some of the released steam trapped in the chamber. Is tofu fat-free? Many diners are under that impression. To be fair to tofu. Another rule for successful popcorn is to store the unpopped popcorn in an airtight container. the kernels will lose internal moisture and. The fact that its temperature is lowered by the ice water also helps crisp the tired vegetable. however. but to a much lesser extent than osmosis. forming the characteristic fluffy morsel. causing them to press against each other and once again make the entire structure of the food more rigid and therefore crisper. . the new kitchen science that split second.

cucumbers. 149 tents of a skin-on chicken leg serving of the same weight.fruits and vegetables . and unripe when picked. they are more tender than if allowed to grow to their maximum potential size. This practice reduces spoilage losses because the . Why do most of the mass-marketed tomatoes have inferior flavor and texture? These tomatoes have a relatively bland flavor and a cottony texture because commercial growers harvest their produce prematurely. Despite the superiority of young mature fruit-vegetables. because most American shoppers associate largeness with quality. eggplants. as it is known. Profit is the motive. is a meat substitute. it costs less to grow the biggies because of labor savings. At the same time. What is textured vegetable protein? TVP. the food toughens appreciably. the color and flavor additives in TVP-based products. and other fruitvegetables better than those that are larger and more mature? Most fruit-vegetables reach the first stage of maturity before they have completed their growth. If harvested then. The fully grown specimens sell better. and so the tomatoes are still very green. Because of changes that occur in cellular structure as the cell walls begin to thicken. Compared to meat. Fully mature fruit-vegetables have another undesirable quality: more seeds. like artificial bacon bits and meat extenders. immature. smells. because this Asian staple — unlike the other popular legumes — contains all eight essential amino acids and can be easily molded into any desired shape. Why are young zucchini. Soybeanbased TVP can also foster flatulence. More often than not. becomes more abundant. too. On the negative side of the coin. the product is manufactured from soybeans. can produce unpleasant tastes. and textures. . TVP has fewer calories and less saturated fat. which cannot be softened by cooking. Compare tofu to red meats and it seems like a fat-watcher’s dream food. On a pound-per-pound basis. the woody cellular substance lignin. supermarkets usually stock the fully grown ones.

making it taste comparatively sweeter. If they had been left on the vine to ripen naturally.150 . for in order to stay sound. In addition. aroma. they would have generated their own ethylene gas in time enough to trigger the color change. the fruit will likely lose acidity. those that are reddened by nature have significantly better flavor. Why shouldn’t you serve tomatoes cold? They won’t be as aromatic and savory because cold hinders the conversion of the vegetable’s linolenic acid to Z-3 hexenel. trap it by placing the fruit in a paper bag. Rather than letting the gas dissipate into your kitchen air. Though both artificially ripened and vine-ripened tomatoes are red. your fruits — like you — need to “breathe. the . Your best solution is to hasten the ripening process by harnessing the ethylene gas that the fruit naturally generates. and peaches is unripe. The additional ripening will make the fruit taste sweeter because some of the starches will be chemically converted into sugar. avocados. they are marketable longer. you run the risk of having them spoil before they become fully ripe. they take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide (though the nonfruit part of the plants does the exact opposite). But if you let these fruits finish their ripening process at home. This is not an intolerable problem as long as the fruit is not more than slightly unripe and you give it time to ripen further.” Like animals. the new kitchen science tomatoes are less fragile and are therefore better shippers — and being less perishable. and texture. Be sure to pierce the bag with a half dozen or so well-distributed pencil-sized holes. The tomatoes are red when they reach the store because the food industry artificially turns them red by gassing them with ethylene. . How can I use the ripening effect of ethylene gas to my own advantage at home? Sometimes your produce merchant’s entire supply of fruits such as apples. The ethylene gas becomes concentrated and therefore accelerates ripening.

Instead. Cold also reduces the volatility of molecules and therefore the number of Z-3 hexenel molecules that will reach your olfactory receptors. . the eater is often exposed to the cyanide.fruits and vegetables . Are people fantasizing when they claim they can tell the sex of a tomato or an eggplant? We have met many shoppers who brag that. because the quantity of cyanide in the seeds is minute. also contain traces of cyanide in their kernels. Though there tends to be a positive correlation between the smallness of the scar and successful seed devel- . including those of apricots and peaches. Do apple seeds contain poison? Apple seeds do contain cyanide. isn’t a serious threat to a healthy person. Since these seeds do occasionally split open. Another way to foster Z-3 hexenel development is never to place store-bought tomatoes in the refrigerator when you return home from the market (as most shoppers do). 151 compound that accounts for much of the desirable ripe-tomato scent and taste. But this shouldn’t stop you from enjoying apples. by examining the size of the scar on the blossom end of the fruit. which is impervious to the effects of both normal cooking and gastric juices. Prove this phenomenon to yourself: Cross-taste opposite ends of an orange segment. Is one end of a fruit sweeter than the other? The blossom end is generally sweeter than the stem end because it usually develops more sugar. Even if you were to swallow hundreds of seeds. The quantity of poison in one split seed. they can tell the “boys” from the “girls” and therefore determine which tomatoes and eggplants have more seeds. Certain other seeds. however. a deadly poison. allow the tomatoes to ripen at room temperature for several days. They will be considerably more delicious. the cyanide would pass through your digestive tract intact because it is encased by the seed’s hard shell.

development) is not conspicuous at the stage of the food’s maturity when it is harvested. the new kitchen science opment within these fruit-vegetables. Some fruits and vegetables.152 . . . the scar size cannot have anything to do with their sex because these foods are botanically perfect. are either male or female — the asparagus is an example. as opposed to stamen. Scar size can relate to the number of seeds in the food because when self-pollination occurs under less than optimum circumstances. seed development is below par and the scar size is larger than usual. the difference is not readily apparent to the naked eye at the marketplace because the telltale sexual characteristic (pistil. Nonetheless. The term “perfect” signifies a life form that can self-pollinate. A few fruit and vegetable buyers also erroneously claim that they can ascertain the sex of other perfect plants such as pineapples. however.

) Reduction does more than thicken. It concentrates existing flavors. which chefs call “reduction. (Many recipes. by using a thickening agent. the thicker your sauce becomes. . And the Maillard reaction (see p. 153 . or by employing a combination of these alternatives. Another popular technique for thickening a sauce is to introduce a quantity of minute solids. advise the cook to reduce the liquid to one-half or less of its original volume. How do I raise the ratio of solids to liquids? You can accomplish this in several ways. One procedure. into the preparation.” is to boil the liquid for a period of time so that some of it evaporates. especially those of the classic French cuisine. the more water-absorbent these food molecules are. by cooling them. 33) precipitated by heat chemically creates new flavors. such as puréed vegetables.8 sauces and thickeners What are the basic ways to thicken sauces and other liquids? The cook can thicken them by raising the ratio of solids to liquids.

It is an emulsion consisting of butter. egg yolks. . choron (flavored with tomato). it is an emulsion comprising oil. or relatively permanent (days. and lemon juice combined with a little water. and mousseline (combined with whipped cream). starches like wheat flour. What is an emulsified sauce? In the simplest terms. the molecules cease frolicking about altogether. If you freeze the liquid (at 32°F or 0°C for pure water). for instance. and either lemon juice or vinegar. .) Well-known derivatives include béarnaise (hollandaise enlivened with shallots. tarragon. Related sauces include chantilly (mayonnaise mixed with whipped cream). transforming your preparation from a liquid to a solid. make hollandaise sauce possible. and rémoulade (mayonnaise plus chopped pickles. months. Other world-renowned emulsified sauces include beurre blanc and sabayon (zabaglione). egg yolks. 158. What are the most widely used thickening agents? The list includes emulsifying agents. Emulsions can be temporary (measured in seconds or minutes). and other flavoring agents). the new kitchen science Why does cooling thicken a sauce? An increase in viscosity occurs because. and pectin from fruits. Mayonnaise is the best known and most widely consumed emulsified sauce. gribiche (a piquant mayonnaise made with hard-boiled yolks). (You will find its recipe on p. gelatin extracted from bones and seaweed. salt. its water molecules lose kinetic energy and become less mobile. as a liquid cools. maltese (infused with orange). which helps set custard.154 . and cayenne pepper. Basically. semipermanent (hours). egg protein. Each of these categories is discussed in ensuing Q&A’s. Hollandaise is the most celebrated emulsified sauce. mustard. which. and vinegar). and sometimes years). an emulsion is a stable mixture of two liquids — such as oil and water — that normally separate from each other.

If you want a stable emulsion. in turn. Second. it reduces the water’s surface tension. The stability of an emulsion is undermined when the sauce is subjected to one of the following: . Homogenization. . which prevents the oil droplets from combining into larger units. they find each other’s presence repulsive. we must first accept the scientific principle that oil and water do not naturally mix. a process that creates a relatively stable emulsion. milk. Quite literally. because that tart condiment is. Whole milk. prevents this separation. you do more than disperse the oil throughout the vinegar: You also break down the oil into droplets minute enough to remain temporarily suspended in the vinegar (which from now on we will call water. the water’s ability to repulse oil. you need an emulsifying agent. How and why does a sauce emulsify? To understand the emulsifying process. Emulsifying agents occur naturally in many animal substances. The second you stop agitating the dressing. A good illustration of this aversion is homemade oil-and-vinegar salad dressing. including egg yolks. and blood. for example. The oil rises to the top and the water sinks because oil has a lower specific density than water. First. the oil droplets repulse each other. in effect. separating from the water in the process. the emulsion breaks down and the cream (butterfat) rises to the top. 155 Sauces are not the only emulsions. When you shake or beat your salad dressing. An emulsifying agent helps to keep the oil particles from combining in three basic ways. too. since like charges repel each other. thereby reducing. mainly water). is one. the agent gives the surfaces of the oil droplets identical electrical charges. the agent coats the oil.sauces and thickeners . the oil droplets start to combine into units too large to be suspended in the water and thus slither their way upward. If milk fresh from the cow is left to stand. Third. serving as a physical barrier between the droplets.

if emulsion is your only goal. They contribute flavor. color. Solution: Before adding the beaten yolks to your sauce. is not the only emulsifier that can be used with butterfat. for instance. . gradually raise their temperature by quickly blending into them small amounts of the heated sauce. It also prevents the beaten yolks from becoming uniformly distributed throughout the sauce. which supplements the butterfat. the small quantity of casein in regular butter does. needs egg yolks because they perform other functions. Yolks supply a little fat. help emulsify your homemade hollandaise sauce. This curdling does more than ruin the visual and tactile appeal of your sauce. and hollandaise curdles when heated close to 190°F. if they did not. Are eggs essential for making hollandaise? Lecithin. You can substitute the milk protein casein. a phenomenon of nature replete with positive and negative electrical charges that neutralize some of the emulsifying electrical charges in the sauce. the new kitchen science • Temperature extremes: For example. • Excess agitation: Overbeating destabilizes both mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce. Why should unheated raw egg yolks never be added to a hot sauce? The sudden change in temperature will curdle the egg yolks. and nutrients and provide some water. mayonnaise separates when frozen. (In fact. . however. • An opposite electrical charge: A hollandaise sauce or mayonnaise sometimes does not properly emulsify during a thunderstorm. Finally. an essential for optimal thickening. to a slight degree.156 . some of the ingredients in the yolk work as a team to enhance the stability of the sauce by increasing the sauce’s viscosity.) Hollandaise sauce. Then you can add the yolks to the heated sauce without repercussions. you would have to increase the amount of tap water called for in the recipe. the emulsifying agent in egg yolks.

Think of lemon juice’s tart taste as a delightful bonus. which explains why they are common ingredients in vinaigrette sauces. Although blender mayonnaise cannot rival the hand-whisked variety. Other natural emulsifier-stabilizers include mustard. At the expense of flavor and texture. Blenders are slightly superior to food processors for making sauces like mayonnaise because their thinner. 157 What are other ways to stabilize an emulsion? Acid (if used sparingly) is one of the most effective emulsion stabilizers. commercial sauce manufacturers give their products hyperstability by throwing into their mixing vats such stabilizers as monoglyceride and diglyceride. Can I make an emulsified sauce in a blender or food processor? Our answer is a guarded yes for mayonnaise and “not recommended” for hollandaise sauce. it can be good if properly made. If you follow these recipes. the egg yolk will be insufficiently cooked and the sauce’s texture will lack the silkiness of authentic hollandaise. cayenne pepper. . Some cookbooks have recipes for blender or food processor hollandaise sauce. and not because of flavor.sauces and thickeners . Many restaurant chefs also scuttle flavor and texture by indiscriminately adding gelatin or starches such as arrowroot. and onions. . that you add lemon juice (or vinegar) to your hollandaise sauce and mayonnaise. Result: Much of the salad dressing slides off the leaves and sinks to the bottom of the salad bowl. Why go to all the bother of preparing a pseudo-hollandaise sauce in a blender or food processor when our recipe for the real McCoy is almost as easy and yields markedly superior results? Why should salad greens be dried before adding a salad dressing? The water molecules form a surface layer. keeping the salad dressing from properly clinging to the salad greens. It is principally for this reason. sharper blades produce a smoother texture and incorporate more air into the developing sauce.

if necessary. they envision this emulsion curdling or separating as their guests gather around the dinner table. The bottom part is a large. Cut up 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter. and place over pilot-light area or in pan of hot water. but our improvised boiler is advantageous because. the new kitchen science Principle-Illustrating Recipe HOLLANDAISE SAUCE 1 cup: 4 to 8 servings No other sauce has created more fear among cooks than hollandaise. allow to cool to lukewarm before using. and eggs. When melted (roughly 30 to 45 minutes). The upper part is a small.) 2. you can more quickly determine the heat level and then regulate it. the task will be a snap — unless a thunderstorm is at hand. hollandaise sauce has an affinity for fish. vegetables (particularly artichokes. If butter becomes too hot. salt. the classic example being eggs Benedict. 3 yolks of large eggs 1 2 cup unsalted butter / 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 4 / teaspoon salt. If you understand the principles of emulsion and faithfully follow the steps and tips in our recipe. asparagus. 4. 3. or to taste pinch of cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon water 1. Put in glass measuring cup. (This remedial action is described later. Prepare an improvised double boiler. You may want to include an extra egg in case your sauce curdles. stir to blend. Reserve for step 8. thickbottomed skillet (or sauté pan) in which 1/2 inch of water is brought to a near-simmer (170°F). and cayenne in small bowl.158 . . You can use a standard double boiler. Bring eggs to room temperature. thick-bottomed saucepan. Consistently preparing the perfect hollandaise sauce is not as difficult as most cooks imagine. . Mix together lemon juice. Based on their sad but true experiences. Melt butter slowly. Buttery and rich. and broccoli).

Gradually add increasing quantities until all the butter has been incorporated. The sauce may curdle if served on top of an extremely hot food. such as one just removed from the broiler or deep fryer. Beat ingredients together until just blended. If it becomes too thick. Use a stainless steel. you must beat the sauce constantly and somewhat vigorously. If water starts to become too hot. Serve immediately. stir mixture. but not so hot that the sauce curdles. then — when thoroughly blended — add 2 more tablespoons and blend. Beating the mixture too energetically or too long in this step will impair the yolks’ ability to emulsify. Place saucepan in skillet. salt. Into the upper part of the improvised double boiler put egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of water. creating an off-flavor and -color. The ideal temperature for this step and step 7 is about 170°F (or 160°F if your saucepan is not thick-bottomed). it might thicken (or worse. return to heat and continue to beat. white peppercorns. If you do not have cayenne. The sauce is cooked when it falls off your whisk or spoon in thick drops. Consistently scrape all surfaces so that no part of the sauce overcooks or becomes lumpy. 159 5. Constantly beat egg-water mixture with moderate strokes until it thickens slightly to a batterlike consistency (approximately 1 to 2 minutes). The skillet water must be hot. Start with about 1 tablespoon (1/2 liquid ounce) of the butter. 7. 6. At this point. tin-lined copper. Should the sauce prove to be too thin. If you overcook the sauce. (The lemon juice reacts chemically with aluminum. carbon steel. and cayenne. preferably. or heat-proof glass saucepan. remove saucepan from skillet water and promptly beat in the premixed lemon juice. beat in approximately 1 tablespoon of hot water. substitute finely ground black or.sauces and thickeners . quickly lift saucepan. 8. and adjust temperature setting.) A stainless steel whisk is a more efficient beater than a wooden spoon. or iron. . This step takes several minutes. Slowly pour lukewarm butter into saucepan. 9. curdle). In order to break the butter into tiny droplets that can be coated with the yolks’ emulsifying agent. . while warm (not hot).

because you have altered the balance of ingredients. discard the ice cube and vigorously beat the sauce. as in step 7. particularly if she has a French-sounding name — sauce Georgette. your resurrected sauce will not be as stable an emulsion as one made with the basic recipe. In a clean saucepan. the emulsion is partially destroyed because the oil freezes more slowly and thaws more quickly than the other ingredients. Of course. ◗ . gradually add to the new egg-water mixture the curdled sauce. as you did in step 5. sounds impressive. If Serving Must Be Delayed You can keep the sauce lukewarm (110° to 120°F) for approximately 1 hour by placing it in a covered container within a larger container of hot water (about 150°F). the new kitchen science If Your Sauce Curdles or Separates A hollandaise sauce has a mean streak: If you give it an opportunity to curdle or separate. If this remedy fails. they will probably enjoy it. for example. When thickened as in step 6. Despite its curdled state. lightly beat one egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water. it will still have a pleasing taste. it will. you must begin the emulsification process again. Just name it after your favorite aunt. Fluff with whisk or spoon before serving. As long as your guests do not know that your botched creation was supposed to be a hollandaise sauce. go ahead and serve the curdled version. The sauce should not be stored this way longer than two days. After several seconds. If you cannot save the hollandaise sauce. If it is necessary to store the sauce for more than an hour. cover it and refrigerate. If the sauce is just beginning to curdle. Hollandaise does not freeze well. which you should keep handy for such an emergency. then bring to room temperature before reheating to 110° to 120°F. .160 . remove the saucepan from the skillet water and quickly lower the temperature of the sauce by swirling in an ice cube.

To see firsthand how a true vinaigrette sauce and a so-called vinaigrette sauce differ. Since oil and water repel each other. diminishing the oil’s chances of sticking to the leaves. Think of thousands of discrete. in contrast. not an emulsion. . Rather.) Its oil is dispersed in the form of tiny droplets in the water. some too oily. Each droplet is separated from the other droplets by the surrounding water. the water on the leaves’ surfaces will “push away” the oil. or let the dressed salad sit around too long before being eaten. If the cook merely stirs the oil and vinegar together with a few fork strokes. is an example of a water-in-oil emulsion. Even if the cook does a good job of drying the leaves. The emulsion can break down in short order. try the recipe that follows. their surfaces will retain their natural water content.sauces and thickeners . Its water is dispersed as tiny droplets in the oil. What else can break down an emulsified vinaigrette sauce? A homemade emulsified vinaigrette sauce does not have the chemical stabilizers found in commercial sauces. Some bites will taste too vinegary. Is there more than one type of emulsion? Two basic types of emulsions exist: oil-in-water and water-in-oil. evenly scattered beads of oil in a glass of water. Milk and mayonnaise are also examples of an oil-in-water emulsion. In contrast. (We use the term “water” because vinegar is about 95 percent water. the oil exists as minute droplets sheltered within the vinegar. or made it too far ahead of time. 161 Why should a vinaigrette sauce be emulsified even if the salad greens have been dried? Salads suffer from non-emulsified vinaigrette sauces. the oil in an emulsified sauce will not be repelled by the water on the leaves because the oil in this sauce doesn’t come in direct contact with the leaves. Butter. he has formed an oil-and-vinegar sauce. A vinaigrette sauce is the oil-in-water variety. This would be the case if the cook only lightly emulsified the vinaigrette sauce. .

This underscores the wisdom of waiting to make your vinai- . and so on. A homemade vinaigrette sauce is unstable. Oil and pure water won’t emulsify — you need an emulsifying agent to create a negative electrical charge around the tiny oil droplets that you create in step 2. mustard. dribble some of each sauce on dried lettuce leaves — observe how much better the emulsified version clings. Serving Tips 1. It will soon begin to deemulsify. the rate at which the oil droplets recombine into larger units will be slowed down. Since like charges repel. but this time. To see the striking difference between the emulsified and non-emulsified sauces. then compare them side by side. . the new kitchen science Principle-Illustrating Recipe VINAIGRETTE SAUCE 1 /4 cup This salad dressing recipe produces a genuine vinaigrette sauce. and the acid in the vinegar. Now. consistency. one that is emulsified. Visually analyze the two sauces — look for dissimilarities in color. You are creating an emulsion by breaking the oil pools into minuscule droplets. as many home cooks do. then lightly mix them with a few swirls of the fork. follow the recipe steps. prepare one of each. A vertical shaking motion works best. Vigorously shake the jar vertically for 5 seconds. Put all the ingredients in a small glass bowl. You know you’ve been successful when the oil and vinegar appear to be a single substance — and when the mixture thickens and becomes opaque. / 2 1 2 / 1 8 / 1 4 cup olive oil tablespoons red wine vinegar teaspoon finely minced onion teaspoon mustard pinch of dried thyme pinch of cayenne pepper pinch of ground peppercorns pinch of salt (to taste) 1. Then sample the sauces — notice that the emulsified sauce tastes less oily.162 . make the emulsified sauce using the same ingredient list. Next. Put all the ingredients in a small jar. Begin by making the non-emulsified version. 2. This recipe has a number of emulsifying agents. including onions.

For your regular vinaigrette sauce. 3. consider prechilling the oil. However. Experiment by substituting ingredients — a vinaigrette sauce is a creative cook’s dream. the protein in egg whites. . for a longer-lasting emulsion. there is an optimal proportion of egg protein to other ingredients. if you don’t mind increasing the dressing’s tartness. There is no one perfect oil for a vinaigrette sauce. 4. you may have to incorporate the oil gradually to create the emulsion. Cooks with quick wrist movements can even use a fork. and more particularly in the yolks. but a delicate one like walnut oil is more suitable for a salad dressing than a richer. 2. use one large egg for every 2/3 cup . ◗ Why do eggs thicken a custard? When heated. use white vinegar if you prefer. which are discussed both in this section and in the Maltese Falcon custard recipe that follows. 3. milk) in which it is suspended. but the resulting dressing would be too acidic for most sophisticated palates. So. the salad leaves and salad bowl. The higher the temperature. Remember. A 2-to-1 ratio would increase the stability even more. You can also emulsify the sauce using a whisk and a round-bottom bowl. We specify red vinegar so that you can easily distinguish the vinegar from the oil in the non-emulsified mixture. the solidifying protein simultaneously thickens the liquid (for example. the less stable the emulsion. Variations 1. 2. cooks and coagulates. Our recipe calls for a 4-to-1 oil-to-vinegar ratio. Under ideal conditions. You could increase the emulsion’s stability by lowering the ratio to 3-to-1. that the sauce will be only as good as the quality of the individual ingredients. especially. though. and.sauces and thickeners . For the standard milk-based custard. Ideally. vinegar. fullerflavored one. 163 grette sauce until just before you’re ready to dress and serve the salad.

the new kitchen science of milk. For the sake of simplicity. some of the proteins lose their coagulating effectiveness and your custard starts to “weep. you will need to increase the number of eggs.” Prolonged cooking. the temperature at which all the proteins have finally coagulated. you can use the whole egg. even below 180°F. does the same damage.164 . Technically. counting each egg white as about the equal of one egg yolk. because these ingredients reduce the thickening ability of protein. extra large. This requires stove-top (not oven) cooking because the mixture must be stirred constantly. . Above 185°F. so if you substitute a liquid such as water in a recipe. The secret of making the preparation soft is to reduce the amount of binding that occurs between the egg protein molecules while you cook the custard. we and other writers generally speak of protein in the singular. adjust the ratio accordingly. Since each type solidifies at a different temperature in a zone ranging from slightly below 140°F to slightly below 180°F. How do you make a soft custard? Unlike a standard custard. will not be as rich and smooth-textured as one thickened strictly with yolks. however. and even more so if you add acid. . medium. This supple property makes a genuine soft custard ideal for filling pastries and topping desserts. If the egg size is small. we must temporarily switch to the plural to draw attention to their different properties. (Your finished custard. or jumbo. however. Extra egg is also necessary if you add sugar. Your custard mixture reaches its full glory when it is heated to slightly below 180°F. Since egg white also contains protein.) Milk itself contains proteins that thicken. a soft custard has a loose consistency resembling that of the so-called soft custard ice cream served on cones. there are many types of protein.

Bring eggs to room temperature. Slowly heat to about 150°F. mix milk. liqueurs. Preheat oven to 325°F. We feature this rather than the standard. 3. but we think you will find that the gustatory gain more than compensates. Once you have successfully prepared Maltese Falcon custard and mastered the principles on which it is based. . 2. primarily because the orange juice. Our recipe calls for twice the normal proportion of yolks to liquid. Granted. which we substituted for part of the milk content. Maltese usually implies the presence of oranges. our selected recipe requires a bit more skill and effort to prepare than the standard custard. cream. such as acidic foods. contains significantly more acid and less protein than does milk. In culinary parlance. The image of a soaring falcon suggests the heights this dish can reach if prepared properly. because it better illustrates the relationship between eggs and other ingredients. that you might add to your mixture. Bring pot of water to a near-simmer and reserve for step 6. or what have you.sauces and thickeners . you will be in a good position to create at will thousands of other interesting custards made with fruits. 165 Principle-Illustrating Recipe MALTESE FALCON CUSTARD 4 servings Maltese Falcon is a fitting name for this special custard. somewhat unexciting eggand-milk custard recipe found in most cookbooks because Maltese Falcon custard is considerably richer and more delicate. vegetables. Our recipe is also a better learning device for you. and orange juice. 6 1 1/4 1 2 / 1 4 / 3 egg yolks cups whole milk cup heavy cream cup orange juice tablespoons sugar 1 2 / teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon finely minced orange rind pinch of cinnamon pinch of nutmeg 1. . In saucepan.

Because of the smaller size of these dishes. ◗ . Cover and chill before serving. Place this dish in a wider. Pour mixture into a 1-quart soufflé or other suitable ovenproof dish. If orange is waxed. Use only the outermost (orange-colored) layer of the rind. as the subsurface white rind is objectionably bitter. The yolks in the custard make it vulnerable to bacteria attack. The reason this custard takes a little longer to bake than an all-milk-based one is partly due to its higher acid content. or the acid in the orange juice may curdle the cream. Just before serving the chilled custard. Gradually stir the heated liquid into the egg mixture. Before pouring the custard into its baking dish. 5. In mixing bowl. ovenproof dishes. Do not open the oven door prematurely — this will lower the oven temperature. lightly beat yolks. 7. Prepare the custard in individual-sized. Place entire unit in preheated oven. the baking time will be cut by as much as half. Generally. Because retained heat will continue to cook the middle of the custard after the dish is removed from the oven. the shorter the cooking time. scrub it well. Cool by placing dish on rack at room temperature for 30 minutes. then blend in remaining five ingredients. 2. and the probing test should be done in the exact center of the custard. invert and unmold it onto a serving dish. The yolks may curdle if the liquid is much hotter than 150°F or if you add the liquid all at once. Variations 1. Fill the pan with approximately 1 inch of hot water.166 .) 4. the new kitchen science Do not let mixture simmer. coat the bottom of the dish with a layer of caramel (melted sugar). prepared in step 2. scald first. test for doneness halfway between the center and rim of the dish. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes. . or until a sharppointed knife inserted into the custard comes out dry and clean. delaying cooking time. high-rimmed pan. (If using raw milk. 6. so do not leave it at room temperature longer than necessary. the wider the dish and the fresher the milk and eggs.

The standard equation for a medium-thick sauce is 2 tablespoons each of butter and flour per cup of liquid. Any higher ratio of flour to liquid produces a goo more suitable for mending broken crockery than satisfying empty stomachs. If you want to make the sauce richer. To make an extra-thick sauce for purposes such as coating food for deep frying. use 4 tablespoons each. the physical presence of the starch — a solid — lowers the proportion of the liquid in the sauce and therefore increases the sauce’s viscosity.) quantity of flour This variable is the most significant and can be easily determined by a formula. For a thick sauce. When the starch is heated. (See the next Q&A for details on different types of starch. The second way is more complex and more significant. in the process. 167 How does starch thicken a sauce? In two ways. quantity and type of other ingredients If you add other solids. You . use more butter. use 3 tablespoons each. If you want to do the opposite. your mixture will become thicker because the solids lower relative water content. will dictate the thickness of your finished sauce. First. . can be varied with some flexibility. collectively. the molecular structure of each granule stretches. incidentally. Butter quantity. we will restrict ourselves to the use of white wheat flour as the starch in the ensuing discussion. reduces the proportion of free-flowing water in the sauce. to a sauce. For the sake of simplicity. Ingredients like dry rice or pasta not only take up space but if used in sufficient quantity may even absorb most or all of the liquid. What determines the viscosity of a starch-thickened sauce? There are several variables that. as the following examples indicate. thereby increasing water retention.sauces and thickeners . If you want a thin sauce. use less. such as cheese. decrease the butter and flour to 1 tablespoon each. Each of the minute starch granules traps water molecules and.

too. since these ingredients chemically alter a starch’s thickening power. the darker and more flavorful it becomes. Which sauce loses a noticeable longed period. beurre manié (small balls of softened butter blended with flour). . Call one stock A and the other stock B. amount of its desired thickening power? types of roux Roux are classified traditionally by their color: white. Thus. or an acid such as wine or lemon juice. you need to use more blond roux than white. blond. the roux is best in terms Experiment of dependability. but there’s a tradeoff. The color is a function of cooking time — the longer you cook a roux. The type of liquid matters. smoothness of texture. The slurry is the most the roux method. and more black roux than brown to thicken a given quantity of sauce.168 . The more you cook a roux beyond the white stage. Cream produces a sauce of denser consistency than an equivalent volume of milk. more brown roux than blond.utes. You can add the flour in the form of a slurry (typically. heated mixture of butter and flour). These are desirable attributes for some dishes. the weaker the thickening power of its starch molecules.Make ready two separate cups of cosity with minimum use of chicken stock. stock B with the troublesome because it tends slurry method. Thicken stock A with flour. the new kitchen science will need to use slightly more starch if you are adding sugar. how the flour is incorporated into the sauce You have three basic alternatives. or roux (a cooked. or black. brown. One solution is to add part of the sugar or acid near the end of the sauce making. cold water and flour). which in turn yields a thicker product than does stock. Of the three alternaTry This Sauce-Thickening tives. and maximum vis. how the roux is cooked One of the prime purposes of the roux step is to separate the indi- . Keep them warm over to lose thickening power if a low heat source for 20 to 30 minkept over a warmer for a pro.

The exact critical point varies according to a host of factors. However. they would form lumps. stability. you need to cook the flour granules in order to increase their capacity to retain water.sauces and thickeners . If the granules were allowed to combine. . serving temperature Starch-thickened sauces increase in viscosity as they cool. Reason: moisture loss. Also. and translucency are all affected because the molecular structure differs with each type of . allowing the trapped water molecules to escape. there is a point of diminishing returns. gummy mass when it cools in the dining room. it will likely become an unappetizing. Take this factor into account when you prepare your sauce. If cooked too long or quickly. including the type of starch used. the viscosity and stability of the sauce diminish because the starch’s molecular structure stretches too much. length of storage The longer you store a starch-thickened sauce. Viscosity. You must cook the roux at least three to five minutes if you want to achieve optimal granule separation and to induce the stretching process. If you thicken your sauce to the desired viscosity on your stove. you must stir the roux frequently and cook it with low heat because scorched flour thickens poorly and scorched butter tastes abominable. 169 vidual flour granules. Another purpose of the roux step is to begin stretching the molecular structure of the individual flour granules. texture. the thicker it tends to become. dry inside and surrounded by a waterresistant membrane that would eventually hinder water absorption and therefore thickening capacity. Will substituting a different kind of starch affect the finished sauce? Very much so. This lumping would also lessen the appeal of your finished sauce. how long the sauce is cooked As mentioned earlier.

or from almonds or other nuts. a sauce made with it is less likely to separate and break down when subjected to prolonged heat. Those two starches are generally incorporated into a sauce by means of using slurry (a fluid blend of flour and a liquid such as water) rather than the roux or beurre manié method. Whole wheat flour is less practical as a thickener than white wheat flour because the refined product has a higher starch content. of the sauce-making process. Regular white wheat flour is superior to cornstarch and arrowroot in stability. Use half the quantity of cornstarch because it has twice the thickening power of white wheat flour. can be sprinkled directly into sauces but direly lack stability.170 . rice. oats. . peanuts. Our experiments indicate that cake or pastry white wheat flour is more suitable than its all-purpose counterpart. forming a membrane-envelope that effectively blocks the water’s access to the flour molecules contained . from cassava. barley. such as the Wondra brand. be it derived from wheat. the new kitchen science starch. or other root or tuber. The last type produces a grainy sauce reminiscent of the pastes we used in elementary school. Specially processed instant wheat flours. rye. if you substitute cornstarch for white wheat flour. use slightly less than half the quantity because arrowroot has slightly more than double the thickening power of white wheat flour. millet. or other legumes. Why does an instant flour dissolve more easily than a regular flour? Regular flour does not readily dissolve in water because it tends to lump. and this addition is usually done near the end. from soybeans. or other cereal grain. If you substitute arrowroot. potato. The outer flour molecules gelatinize soon after they come in contact with the hot water. corn. desirable qualities for many sophisticated dishes. Both cornstarch and arrowroot produce a sauce that is smoother and more transparent. which in turn is better than baker’s flour. rather than at the beginning. For example. you will have to alter the formulas given earlier.

. Once thickened. Firmness varies inversely with the temperature of the preparation. Gelatin increases the viscosity of liquids because when you moisten it. spaces are left through which water can reach the middle of the lump. Rechill that liquid. trapping water molecules in the process. and the presence approximately of any other ingredients you may have added. the instant product consists of small granules that have been chemically or mechanically processed into irregular shapes. result. and you once again . Flour firms have developed instant products designed to minimize obstinate lumping and therefore dissolve more easily (though at a sacrifice to thickening and staying power). the gelatin granules swell up to approximately ten times their original size. when the process chilled and unmolded. The paragon mixture. but the final results are different. giving your mixture a grainy texture. When these granules do adhere to one another. Typically. This phenomenon is somewhat similar to the thickening action of starches.sauces and thickeners . but most seaweed-derived thickeners are processed into products such as agar-agar. Use too much gelatin and your creation trapping water may be capable of bouncing into your dining molecules in room on its own. yet quiver slightly if shaken. Irish moss (carrageen) is usually used whole. Another rich gelatin source is seaweed. the ules swell up to temperature of the mixture. How does gelatin thicken a liquid? Gelatin is a protein extracted from animal bones and connective tissue. A gelatin-thickened preparation will be finer-textured and will retain its stability under a broader range of temperatures. Result: The inside of each lump remains dry. 171 within. ten times their Use too little gelatin and a limp product will original size. the preparation can be changed back into a liquid simply by heating it. The firmness of a gelatin-thickened mass Gelatin grandepends on the ratio of gelatin to liquid. will support its own weight.

a political and gastronomical crony of King Henry IV of France. This sauce is a derivative of the basic white sauce. . substitute a standard or improvised double boiler (see hollandaise sauce recipe. gradually adding a little more milk each time. 158). 2. Slowly melt butter in saucepan. Eliminate lumps by stirring frequently and scraping sides and bottom thoroughly in this step and in steps 3 and 4. Cook mixture over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Continue cooking at below the simmer point for 4 to 10 minutes. This step takes a minute or two. Repeat the process. a marvelous topping for green vegetables. Ideally. was created by Philippe de Mornay. There are as many descendants of the basic white sauce as there are stars in the firmament — Mornay sauce is one of the most celebrated. 3. p. Blend flour into butter with whisk or wooden spoon. Thoroughly blend 1 ounce of milk into the roux. Undercooking leaves a raw flour taste. Use a thick-bottomed saucepan to prevent scorching butter. the milk should be at room temperature. or stock. made of butter. seasonings. depending on sauce volume. and a liquid such as milk. please familiarize yourself with the preceding Q&A’s on how a starch such as flour thickens a basic white sauce. if it is refrigeratorcold. 4. this step will take a little longer. If you do not have one. flour. cream. until all the liquid has been incorporated. Before following this recipe.172 . . 2 2 1 1 2 / tablespoons unsalted butter tablespoons white wheat flour cup whole milk cup grated Gruyère cheese 1 4 1 2 / cup grated Parmesan cheese / teaspoon salt (or to taste) pinch of cayenne pepper 1. Adding the milk too quickly will create obstinate lumps. 6 to 10 servings Mornay sauce. the new kitchen science Principle-Illustrating Recipe MORNAY SAUCE 11/2 cups.

reducing its water-retaining qualities. The amount of salt needed varies according to the salt content of the cheeses selected. 168). Creative Variations Our featured Mornay sauce recipe is classic. Your sauce is ready when you notice a marked acceleration in the thickening process. Stir until melted. beat in a little extra milk. Once you have mastered it and learned why the sauce thickens. ◗ . 6. Season with salt and cayenne. If Your Sauce Is Too Lumpy You can smooth out the lumps in a blender or food processor. there is a trade-off: The agitation will disengage some of the water molecules trapped by the starch molecules. and type of cheese. For added visual appeal. 173 If the heat is too low (under 140°F). If you allow the sauce to reach the simmer point. refrigerate the sauce. If the delay has to be for more than approximately 45 minutes. quantity. substitute freshly ground black or. Serving Tips Serve immediately. Add the cheese. If too thin. If delay is unavoidable. the flour will not gelatinize (swell) sufficiently to absorb the maximum quantity of water molecules. Cooking for too long also stretches the molecular structure excessively. you overstretch the flour’s molecular structure. though it will never be even remotely as smooth and satiny as it was originally. or add other solid ingredients such as finely minced ham. which indicates that the stretched starch molecules are absorbing the water molecules in appreciable quantities. blend in one or more balls of beurre manié (see p. not de rigueur. 5. be daring: Vary the ratio. substitute stock or cream for part of the milk. thereby thinning your sauce. However. If cayenne is unavailable.sauces and thickeners . glaze your Mornay-sauced foods under a preheated broiler. . If Your Sauce Is Too Thick or Thin If your sauce becomes too thick. keep sauce warm (about 140°F) and stir periodically to prevent a surface film from developing. white peppercorns. Finely grated or ground cheese will melt more quickly and thoroughly. preferably (for appearance’s sake).

If you use canned pineapple. . the hot water should be under 180°F. you can forgo the cold-water step because sugar counteracts the clotting effect.) Sometimes the cause is age — so serve the dish the day you make it. Why shouldn’t I dissolve dry. some of the granules will lump and not dissolve. but they yield a more delicate flavor. At other times. the moist crystals readily dissolve. . In some cases. This lumping diminishes the gelatin’s thickening power and produces a detectable grainy texture in your prepared dish. unflavored gelatin powder in hot water? If you pour hot water directly into the dry. When the hot water is then added. however. Just as important. you can skip the parboiling step because the enzymes have already been deactivated. Fresh pineapple is particularly difficult: It contains an enzyme (bromelain) that severely retards thickening. destroy the hindering enzymes by simmering the fruit pieces for several minutes. This alternating process can be done a number of times. inhibit gelatinization. the surface of the prepared gelatin was exposed to air for too long. including sugar in excess.174 . the cook used too high a proportion of gelatin powder to liquid. First blending the unflavored powder with a little cold water softens and wets the crystals. (The dish should be kept covered. What causes gelatin desserts to develop a rubbery skin? There are several possible causes. veal bones have more collagen — thicker stocks result. If you are blending at least an equal portion of sugar into the plain dry gelatin. If you want to include fresh pineapple in your mixture. Why are veal bones preferable to beef bones for stock making? Veal bones cost more per pound than beef bones. the new kitchen science have a solid. For best results. though not indefinitely because repeated temperature extremes partially destroy the gelatin’s thickening ability. Some ingredients. unflavored gelatin.

Heating makes the pectin in fruit water-soluble. citrus fruits. Pectin alone will not set a jelly. sour blackberries. rubbery consistency. However. you can add a commercial pectin concentrate in liquid or powder form. which will give the jelly a tough. you must be careful not to destroy the pectin in your mixture by cooking it at too high a temperature or for too long. The first is the type of fruit used. a carbohydrate that occurs naturally in most fruits. Only a small quantity of this concentrate is necessary. deficiency of it is unlikely to be the cause of any setting problems. Most fruits contain acid. The opposite is true for apricots. Since jelly recipes call for fistfuls of sugar. 175 How does pectin set a jelly? The essential thickening agent in jelly is pectin. nectarines. pineapples. sour cherries. To compensate for a pectin-deficient fruit. Here is one more variable that makes an almost ripe fruit preferable to a fully ripe one: higher acid content. . An almost ripe fruit is more appropriate for making jelly than a fully ripe or unripe one because useful pectin is at its maximum just before the fruit reaches its peak of ripeness. for it requires both acid and sugar to thicken properly. peaches. but acid content also changes with the ripening process. apples. or that cooking conditions interfered with the thickener’s job. cranberries. The proportion of pectin can also be increased by reducing (boiling down) the fruit juice used in the jelly-making process. you can safely assume that either too little pectin or an incorrect proportion of other ingredients went into it. . beware of an overdose. and strawberries. If you are using ripe fruit and a commercial pectin. making it difficult to spread on toast — assuming someone would want to eat such an unappetizing product in the first place. and quinces have a high pectin content. The second pectin-content determinant applies to all fruits: the stage of ripening. For instance. raspberries. Two main factors determine a jelly’s pectin content. you can supply the necessary acid by adding approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of fruit juice. a condition necessary for jelling.sauces and thickeners . If your jelly does not set.

the new kitchen science Are there other thickening agents? Hundreds of other thickening agents are used by home cooks and food manufacturers. notably calves. Cheese makers and pudding makers coagulate milk with rennin. filé powder and okra. though they are more likely to be found in commercial food-processing plants than in home kitchens.176 . They include blood and cream and those two favorites of Cajun cookery. . . Gum arabic and gum tragacanth are extensively used. an enzyme from the stomach lining of certain young animals.

an herb’s fragrance is ephemeral — it doesn’t take long for the heat to dissipate an herb’s precious volatile oils. But do not add more salt. Almost any leftover dish needs to be reseasoned with aromatic flavoring agents (herbs. Unfortunately. This alters the chemical composition of the spices. Most of the essential oils of these agents are lost during the storage and/or reheating processes. This mineral retains virtually all of its original sensory impact.9 seasonings Do I need to reseason leftover dishes? Very likely. Why should spices in general not be added until near the end of the sautéing process? Most spices — including peppercorns and cinnamon — scorch when subjected to very high temperatures for more than a short time. giving them a disagreeably bitter flavor. 177 . That’s why it’s wise to add aromatic herbs in two . It’s wise to add aromatic herbs in two stages to a long-cooked dish When should herbs be added to a long-cooked dish? An herb is supposed to contribute both taste and aroma to a longcooked dish. especially).

. but after all the cooking liquid has been added. The one liquid that would do them the most good is plain water. which they seldom imbibe on planes. such as potato salad.178 . Second. Fifteen minutes or so before the dish is cooked and served. sweet. and soft drinks laden with thirst-producing sugar. coarsely chop half the herb supply you plan to use. Consequently. The delicate aromatics of this batch of herbs will be lost. and bitter taste qualities is greatest in the 60° to 120°F zone. Do in-flight chefs face special culinary problems? They must use more aromatic seasonings than normal because food tastes blander in an airplane than on the ground. First. Consequently. Many passengers compound the dehydration problem by consuming quantities of coffee and alcohol (both diuretics). canned tomato juice (extremely salty). but the herbs will have an hour or two to interact chemically with other ingredients. the new kitchen science stages to a long-cooked dish. Stir it in the pot at the beginning of the cooking process. the cabin’s relatively dry atmosphere dehydrates and therefore impairs the passenger’s olfactory sensory mechanism. finely chop and add the remaining herbs — their flavor and fragrance will be noticeable to the diner. the chef should not season liberally with salt because it would increase the body’s need for water. How does temperature affect taste? The perceived intensity of salty. Do the reverse when you salttest a room temperature food like a leftover soup that you plan to reheat. the cabin pressure decreases the volatility of the odorant molecules and therefore the passenger’s capability of sensing them. when seasoning a 180°F preparation that is to be served later at room temperature (72°F). use less salt than your taste buds suggest during the hot test sampling. creating new flavors that will add taste complexity to the dish. . First. The cabin’s low humidity also dehydrates the passenger’s entire body.

During the last twoTry This Sugar-Salt thirds of pregnancy. Does of sugar to an oversalted dish. or sour subwith room-temperature water. or sour substance lowers the intensity of sugar. he is anxious about the meal’s success or he just had a stressful argument. B. A bitter. Stir 1/2 teaspoon of Sweetness lowers the intensity salt into glasses A and B. That’s why it’s difficult for our taste fect each other in your taste perception. and C. Label stance? them A. A cook who is sampling a dish to adjust the seasonings should keep that in mind if. See how salt and sugar significantly afHow does sugar affect the taste Half fill three standard-sized glasses of a bitter. Stir 1 teaof a bitter.seasonings . why a cook adds a pinch cross-taste B and C for sweetness. the reverse is true. . salty. Foods will taste tarter than they really are. salty. for example. . This phenomenon Cross-taste A and B. Does the phase of the menstrual cycle or a pregnancy affect how a cook might season a dish? The phase of the menstrual cycle or of a pregnancy affects sensitivity to odors and therefore could affect how a cook adjusts seasonings. The ability of a female cook to taste-test foods is keenest during the middle of the twenty-eight-day cycle and during the first three months of pregnancy. too. 179 Does being nervous alter the cook’s taste perceptions? The folk wisdom “an unpleasant experience leaves a sour taste in the mouth” is physiologically valid because tension increases acidity in the mouth. Taste Experiment her sense of smell is less acute than normal. quality. salty. C taste sweeter than B even though both contain the same amount of and why a lemonade maker sugar? uses sugar to counteract the acidity of the lemon juice. Does A taste partially explains why a coffee saltier than B even though both contain drinker adds sugar to a bitter the identical quantity of salt? Now brew. Interestingly. however. or sour taste spoon of sugar into glasses B and C.

. cook it in a string-tied cheesecloth bag for easy removal.180 . Prohibition-era drinkers knew this salt-absorbing technique well. . however. or raw peeled potatoes will absorb a fair amount of the salt if you simmer the starch staple in the soup until the ingredient is cooked to your liking. It is mined from existing salt deposits that were laid down eons ago by now-extinct seas. Why is kosher salt better than regular salt for sprinkling on food like corn on the cob? Kosher salt crystals are larger and cling better to food surfaces because they have a more jagged configuration. Understandably. Sea salt’s alleged nutritional superiority over rock salt. How can I save an oversalted soup? Rice. Then remove and use it for another dish. is nonsense. it is de rigueur for some food connoisseurs. pasta. the new kitchen science buds to detect how much salt and sugar some processed foods contain. Cooking wines were widely and legally available but were heavily salted to make them unsuitable for drinking. one of which requires that as much blood as possible be removed from meat before it is cooked. The amount of the extra trace minerals it contains is too trifling to matter. sea salt is harvested from existing seas by trapping the saline water in tidal basin pools and taking advantage of free solar power to evaporate the water until only the salt remains. If you use rice or small-sized pasta. In contrast. Kosher salt is so named because it was specially developed as an aid for Jews who adhere to kosher dietary laws. rock or sea salt? Most of the salt (sodium chloride) merchandised in America is rock salt. the characteristics of kosher salt make it better suited for drawing out the blood. It has a stronger flavor and a more interesting character than rock salt. Many skirted the law by steeping potatoes in cooking wine to make it palpable. Which is better.

Take a sip when they eat in low-priced from glass A and notice that MSG by Chinese restaurants and not itself is virtually tasteless.But more important. and 1 1 many of the victims seem to /8 teaspoon of MSG plus /4 teadevelop those symptoms only spoon of salt into glass C. note the distinct called Chinese restaurant syn. stir 1/8 teaspoon of MSG into glass A. chiefly psychosomatic. the widely held belief that even small doses of MSG produce headaches. Notice how the natural salt flavor Therefore. . Next. For example. 1/4 low tolerance for MSG). Does MSG cause headaches? There is some preliminary evidence that suggests that more than a slight to moderate consumption of MSG could be unhealthy. unless the chef did has been amplified. and other physical distresses — and that one falls victim to these by eating in inexpensive ChiTry This MSG Taste nese restaurants — is largely Experiment poppycock (unless one happens to be one of those rare Half fill three glasses with tap water. If you have not already identified the strange. and especially of salt (sodium chloride). when the chemical reacts with salt. Finally. . it creates a peculiar off-flavor. take a sip from glass B and make eateries? The local corner cofa mental note of the natural taste of this fee shop is apt to use just briny liquid before sampling the remainas much MSG as a run-of. palpitations. then conduct the accompanying experiment. However. after when they eat in other budget rinsing your mouth out with fresh plain water.seasonings . people who has a particularly Using separate spoons. take a sip from glass the-mill Chinese restaurant. frequent occurrence). 181 What does MSG do? MSG (monosodium glutamate) highlights the flavor of food. a direct result of use an MSG megadose (an glass. Unfortunately. the so. why do so teaspoon of salt into glass B.the MSG-and-salt chemical reaction.metallic taste produced by this chemidrome would appear to be cal reaction. distinct flavor created by MSG. C.

it is dried skinless. skin and all. by pickling. What is the difference between green and red chili? Color indicates how ripe the fruit was when it was picked. the wrinkle-skinned black peppercorn. yellow or orange) becomes visible. Green peppercorns are picked immature and then preserved. If left on the vine to ripen fully. All chilies — and the world has countless varieties — are green when young. the fruit loses much of its chlorophyll content — and the previously hidden red (or. The relatively smooth-surfaced white peppercorn is picked at full maturity. If black peppercorns were used. in some cases. and aroma. After it is soaked to facilitate the removal of its skin. Pink peppercorns. Color has nothing to do with species. Their distinguishing characteristics derive from variations in harvesting time and processing methods. Green peppercorns. The most common of the three. Other cooks prefer to take advantage of the wonderful intense flavor and fragrance that the skin of the dried pepper provides. it has a different color. the compound that makes some of us reach for the nearest . the black specks of the ground dried skin might detract from the food’s visual appeal. are often cooked and served whole in dishes like braised duck. by the way. Some cooks prefer to use white peppercorns in pale preparations such as white sauces and cream-based sauces. is picked slightly immature and then dried whole. . are not true peppercorns — they come from a different plant. Although the dried pink peppercorn berry resembles the true item in size and shape. spongy ribs contain the greatest concentration of capsaicin. white. taste. What is the hottest part of the chili pepper? The white. and green peppercorns? All three are produced from the berry of the same tree (Piper nigrum).182 . the mildest and classiest of the three. the new kitchen science What is the difference between black.

the diner’s skin cools. Third. the answer is multifaceted — there are at least six reasons. The seeds are the next most potent part. muggy day in the tropics. Parboiling the flesh reduces the chili-hotness even more. Second. Why is chili generally more popular in tropical than in Temperate Zone cuisines? As with many questions about culinary traditions. chili makes living in the scorching tropics more bearable because this species of capsicum helps cool the body. if you will. Yes. Remind those braggarts that their skill stems from previous exposure to chili and not from innate talent. you will have eliminated over 90 percent of a chili’s firepower. hot chili perks up the appetite. partially because they cling to the ribs. On a hot. vegetables and seafood in the . that seemingly paradoxical statement is true because the consumption of the essential oils of chili turns the body into. Chili usually causes the diner to sweat. you have as much appetite as you would in a steam bath. If you discard the ribs and seeds. a walking air-conditioning unit. Though tropical fruits are ambrosial delights. When the heat of the day or a dry breeze evaporates this perspiration. because as water changes from a liquid to a gas. First. . the more immune one’s sensory receptors become to the potential palatescorching bite of these incendiary capsicums. an important consideration because tropical weather does anything but whet the desire for food. hot chili adds needed zest to a diet that would otherwise be. it absorbs a lot of heat calories from its surrounding environment. Why are some people less affected by chili-spiced dishes than others? With rare exceptions. the more frequently one eats chili. comparatively bland. 183 fire extinguisher.seasonings . for the most part. Chances are you have already encountered chili snobs who base their gastronomical superiority on their ability to eat hotter foods than you can.

Besides providing flavor excitement for its own sake. Sucrose is only about two-thirds as sweet as fructose. . What is the essential difference between white and brown sugar? Brown sugar contains molasses. chili aids digestion by accelerating the flow of gastric juices. the new kitchen science tropics are generally much blander than in the Temperate Zone. brown sugar is practically as low in nutritional value as white. and color. few brands specify on their labels whether the sugar was made from sugar cane or from sugar beets. sticky substance that gives brown sugar its distinguishing flavor. to at least some degree. chili is a natural preservative. Sixth — tourists take note — chili tends to reduce.184 . as contemptible cooks have long known. Fourth. Even chilly-climate cuisines can benefit from chili. How much difference is there between sugar refined from sugar cane and from sugar beets? Both are sucrose sugars. Despite the claims of some health food faddists. a significant difference in sweetness between sucrose sugar and the other leading forms of sugar. What’s more. There is. a glucose sugar that is also known as corn or grape sugar. aroma. a byproduct of the cane sugar– refining process. This makes chili valuable to people who live in the tropics because the hotter the climate. Sucrose is about twice as sweet as dextrose. chili can swamp the telltale taste of spoilage. The difference between the two in taste and cooking properties is all but imperceptible to even an expert’s palate. the faster and the more likely food will spoil. however. . the incidence of diarrhea and some other intestinal disorders. Fifth. It is this dark. Sucrose is about thrice as sweet as maltose (malt sugar) and roughly six times sweeter than lactose (milk sugar). the sugar that is derived from plants (mainly fruits and honey).

the cook must contend with another negative. Equal or Sweet’n Low. inferior. However. Sweet’n Low has a bitter aftertaste. It is cheaper than sugar and has a longer shelf life.seasonings . (This topic is covered more fully in the discussion of baking powder in chapter 11. The flavor and bouquet of supermarket products labeled “cooking wine” are. Sweet’n Low maintains its sweetness when subjected to heat and has a longer shelf life than Equal. in one word.) More often than not. p. 201. . Which artificial sweetener. A not-so-apparent reason is the effect of the chemical reaction that occurs when alkali and acid are combined in a liquid. Why should I avoid using the cooking wines found in supermarkets? A centuries-old maxim says never cook with less than a good wine because a bad one will impart its inferior qualities to your food. is better for cooking? For dieting? Equal is unsuitable for preparations like stews and baked goods because heat diminishes its sweetness. at least one of the food ingredients you are marinating has an alkaline content that interacts with the acid in the vinegar (or lemon juice or wine). 185 Why is high-fructose corn sugar so widely used in the food industry? This sweet concentrate — processed from corn starch — is an effective sugar substitute for those who produce foods and beverages such as soft drinks and sweet baked goods. perceptibly diminishing the sharpness of your acidic marinating/flavoring agent. If a cooking wine contains alcohol (not all do). Why does a vinegar-based marinade lose some of its sharpness after a food has been soaking in it? An obvious reason is that some of the natural juices of the food seep out and dilute the marinade. The .

the new kitchen science manufacturer must by law make the alcoholic cooking wines undrinkable by infusing them with copious amounts of strong flavoring ingredients. which does not dissipate into the air so readily. . Children frequently consume traces of it in fermentable foods such as very ripe apples. .186 . the soup will be overpowered by the not-so-delicate sherry taste. And a teaspoon of sherry in a bowl of soup shouldn’t cause alarm either. virtually all of the alcohol dissipates into the air because alcohol has a relatively low boiling point (about 175°F at sea level. When you cook with wine in an uncovered pot for more than a short time. Why should sherry not be added to a soup until just before serving it? Soup is lightly laced with sherry for the elegant fragrance that it adds. wine-enriched dish such as coq au vin to children? Wine normally has an alcoholic content of about 10 to 14 percent — the remaining liquid is water. traces of alcohol occur naturally in food. they are widespread and difficult to avoid. Since much of the sought-after subtle aroma of sherry dissipates into the air within minutes after the fortified wine comes in contact with the hot soup. such as salt or MSG. Although the delicate fragrance of the sherry will escape into the air. as compared with 212°F for water). Yet another soup-making faux pas is to reach habitually for the sherry bottle. Why shouldn’t I be too concerned about serving a slow-cooked. An even greater cooking transgression than adding the sherry too early is to compensate for the expected fragrance loss by using more than a teaspoon of sherry per cup of soup. The scant quantity of alcohol that remains with the water should not be cause for alarm — after all. The issue is really a matter of principle. The ability of sherry to add charm to a soup is lost when it becomes familiar. These additives throw recipes based on regular wine out of kilter. it is essential not to add it too soon.

. you should also make sure that the preparation has not cooled too much and that the dish is preheated. nutrients. Set it ablaze before too much of its alcohol has been absorbed by the food. and thickening agents as you can.seasonings . Don’t dally once you pour on the flambéing agent. Another rule for successful flambéing is to preheat the alcohol to about 130°F before you strike the match. They are not especially concerned about whether or not they have allowed enough time for most of the alcohol content in the beverage to burn away. A sudden plunge into boiling water would partially seal these elements into the bones. Why do many flambéed dishes smack too much of alcohol? Most flambéers — including black-tie restaurant captains — perform their pyrotechnic magic solely for its oohs-and-aahs value. and therefore fewer of them would leach out into the water. When selecting the beverage to be flambéed. aroma. Since lukewarm food and sauce. can quickly cool the alcohol upon contact. . the alcohol’s assertive flavor will overpower the main ingredient. as well as a room-temperature serving dish. 187 Why should I add soup bones to the pot while the water is still cold? Your goal is to extract from the bones as much of their taste. color. and unless most of it does. remember that the higher its proof the more readily it will ignite. because an alcoholic beverage — unless it is of exceptionally high proof — will stubbornly refuse to ignite much below that temperature.

If it says “pure vegetable shortening. there is less difference between animal and vegetable fats than most people would suspect. Those that are liquid at room temperature are called oils. . fats from vegetables are liquid at room temperature. it is common culinary practice to use the term “fat” for those fats that are in a solid state while at room temperature.10 oils and fats Is an oil a fat? To a scientist. The notable exceptions are vegetable oils from the coconut and palm kernel. Shortening can be made with animal or vegetable fats. an oil is a fat. Those based on vegetable oil are made solid by hydrogenation.” the prod188 . Even though their saturation and cholesterol profiles do differ. both fats are made up of a glycerol molecule linked with three fatty acids. or a combination of them. However. Chemically speaking. What is shortening? Shortening is classified as a fat because it is solid at room temperature. Fats from animals are solid and. They share the attributes of being water-insoluble and having a greasy feel. generally. Read the label.

Try This Buttered Meat Experiment An all-purpose oil. moist texture and. could have been used. The phrase “pure shortening” means that either animal or vegetable fats. liberally baking purposes. an effect that is undesirable except in a few specialties. a commendable flavor. gists may try. For that and other reasons. it is inclined to collect instead of remain uniformly distributed through the baking dough. Those additives. or both. Call them A inferior both to regular oils and B. Cross-taste A and B. If the word “pure” is missing. therefore. the food manufacturer must use additives that appreciably lower the oil’s smoke point. unfortunately. your baked goods will tend to be too grainy. Grill or barbecue them.oils and fats . unlike fats such as butter and lard. A for frying and to fats for minute before they are done. 189 uct is exactly that. the manufacturer has included additives to lengthen the shortening’s storage life or improve some of its cooking properties. We do not recommend the all-purpose oils. It also lu- . These products do not give the best of both worlds: good baking properties plus a high smoke point for deep-frying. Can baked goods be made with oil? One of the failings of oil is that. In order to give the oils improved baking quality. is a compromise. lower the smoke point. . No matter brush the top of steak A (but not steak how hard the food technolo. noticeably Buy two identical steaks. It makes meat more succulent because fat spurs salivation. Fat gives your baked items a fluffy. as a bonus. the type that have been engineered to be suitable for both baking and deep-frying.B) with butter. Why does fat make some meats taste better? Fat does more than add flavor and keep the cooking meat moist. their laboratory Which has the better flavor? Which quest for a truly all-purpose seems more tender? oil will be futile.

fat. and because it takes longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates. making it easier for your teeth to tear the fibers apart. overcautious people who go to the other extreme (consuming as little fat as possible) unwittingly risk their health another way. your body is forced to resort to its supply of protein. In practice. an organic compound that is far better utilized for other missions. D. it helps keep the stomach satisfied between meals. including the building of cell . Consequently. Thanks to the barrage of warnings from the mass media. . However. excess fat intake. They brush steaks with melted butter just before removing the meat from the heat source. too. Authorities say that 30 percent of a normal adult’s calories should come from fat. fat adds flavor and interest to prepared dishes. If your body has used up its stored fats and carbohydrates and does not have a fresh supply of fat as an energy source. Fat is the vehicle that transports fat-soluble vitamins (A. is not a dire threat to membranes and good health per se. most people know the dangers associated with eating too much fat: obesity and coronary heart disease. E. such as building body tissues. including the Is cholesterol unhealthful? building of cell Cholesterol. What is unhealthy is over. They should worry about the bodily functions. the figure is much higher for the average American. has its building chores: It is essential for cell development. most Cholesterol is Americans need not fret about a fat shortage essential for in their diet. an alcohol.190 . Is fat consumption unhealthful? We must eat fat to stay alive. It is essential for bodily sex hormones functions. Butter is the best fat for improving the flavor of steaks. to name two. Besides its nutritive value. However. the new kitchen science bricates the meat’s muscle fibers. as many restaurant chefs know. and K) through the body.and underconsumption of fat. other peril.

Although your body needs some cholesterol. monounsaturated. these two vegetablebased foods never did contain cholesterol. you’re classified in the “high blood cholesterol” group — and failure to go on an immediate and strict cholesterollowering diet would be foolish if not ultimately fatal. If your serum cholesterol level is below 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood. since cholesterol comes only from animal sources.oils and fats . oxygen. You can get your necessary supply of cholesterol from your liver (where it is produced) and by eating foods of animal origin: meat (especially fatty cuts and organs). Therefore. A fatty-acid molecule is a chain of carbon. . you should give serious attention to reducing your level because you’re in the “borderline high blood cholesterol” group. the shopper shouldn’t be paying attention to the manufacturer’s claims about cholesterol. an excess amount in your arteries can cause coronary heart disease and premature death. and if so. hence the umbrella name triglycerides. He should be minding whether the product contains a fat called trans fatty acids. For the record. 191 membranes and sex hormones. What is the structural difference between saturated. and eggs. If your level is between 200 and 239. Is a vegetable oil or margarine that “contains no cholesterol” ideal for cholesterol watchers? Many shoppers assume that if they buy a vegetable oil or margarine whose label says “contains no cholesterol” they run no risk of raising their serum cholesterol level. but there is a maximum number of hydrogen atoms that . you probably don’t have to be concerned about lowering your level because you’re classified in the “desirable blood cholesterol” group. and hydrogen atoms. The length and makeup of this hydrocarbon chain can vary. how much. dairy products. and polyunsaturated fat? A fat or oil is composed of one glycerol molecule linked with three fatty-acid molecules. Trans fatty acids are a major contributor to heart disease (more on this topic later). If your level is 240 or above.

The diagram below depicts the middle of such a molecule: Otherwise. the new kitchen science each carbon atom can have. Why is saturated fat unhealthful? Saturated fat forces the liver to produce more low-density lipoprotein (LDL). the opposite is true for vegetable oils. a microscopic vehicle that carries cholesterol through the arteries. If the molecule has its full capacity of hydrogen atoms. Except for the tropical oils. If the molecule has exactly two fewer hydrogen atoms than it is entitled to. . . LDL promotes buildup of atherosclerotic plaque — deposits on the artery walls that inhibit blood circulation. it is called polyunsaturated: Animal fats contain a lot of saturated fatty acids. the molecule is unsaturated (the number of missing hydrogen atoms is always divisible by two). and scant amounts of polyunsaturated acids. it is called saturated. it is called mono-unsaturated.192 . some monounsaturated fatty acids. This buildup can cause a stroke or heart attack. Notice the double bonding of two carbon atoms and the corresponding absence of two hydrogen atoms: If the molecule has room for four or more extra hydrogen atoms.

mono-unsaturated. are another source of highly saturated oils parading under the “pure vegetable oil” banner. This classification is based on the predominant oil. it doesn’t decrease the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the bloodstream. Unlike polyunsaturated fat. Nondairy creamers. Like polyunsaturated fat. in general. that since both are fats. 193 Cholesterol watchers are warned not to buy products with high oil content if the label merely states “pure vegetable oil” rather than listing the oil’s specific name. however. including the widely used coconut and palm kernel oils. and polyunsaturated oils. Why are mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats considered beneficial? Neither fat fosters the production of excess LDL. All oils are a combination of saturated. They . HDLs are highly beneficial because they tend to remove excess cholesterol from the circulatory system. . Keep in mind. mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated? A couple of decades ago scientists believed that the polyunsaturated kind was more desirable. Now researchers are voting for the mono-unsaturated variety. In fact. Is a 100 percent peanut or other vegetable oil free of saturated fat? Just because a vegetable oil is classified as mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain saturated fats. they become unhealthful if excessively consumed. it decreases the amount of LDL in the bloodstream. This helps explain why olive oil has become the pet among informed cholesterol watchers — approximately three-fourths of its oil is mono-unsaturated. both tend to lower the amount of LDL in your body. “Pure vegetable oil” is likely to be made in large part from highly saturated coconut or palm oil because they cost less than the widely available mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated oils. Which fat is better.oils and fats . What’s most important to the cholesterol watcher is the percentage that is saturated. The worst offenders are the tropical oils.

etc. Fat Content of Vegetable Oils Saturated Mono-unsaturated Polyunsaturated Canola/rapeseed Walnut Safflower Sunflower Corn Soybean Sesame Olive Peanut Cottonseed Palm Palm kernel Coconut Average 6% 9 10 12 14 15 15 15 18 27 54 84 93 28 65% 28 13 19 28 24 41 73 49 19 38 14 6 32 29% 63 77 69 58 61 44 12 33 54 8 2 2 40 Is a margarine made with oils that are high in mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats good for the heart? Margarine contains significant amounts of trans fatty acids. (The exact figures vary by growing region. season. the new kitchen science contain an even higher percentage of saturated fats than does butter (92 percent and 84 percent. They pose an equal or greater heart-disease risk to consumers than saturated fats. food manufacturers hydrogenate many of the mono-unsaturated fats in order to solidify a liquid oil into a spread. Margarine makers . versus 63 percent). Figures are averages. The following chart shows you the percentage breakdown of fat types in thirteen popular vegetable oils. respectively. .) Oils are listed in ascending order of saturation. Although margarines are generally made with vegetable oils that are high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. These hydrogenated fats have a different form than saturated fats but act like them when it comes to clogging arteries.194 .

This converts the unsaturated fat molecule into a trans fatty acid molecule. the more trans fatty acids it contains. Olestra is too large and dense to do the same. so it passes through the digestive tract. Therefore — other factors being equal — pourable margarine has less trans fatty acids than tub margarine. Hydrogenation changes the form of a mono-unsaturated fat by adding hydrogen atoms to its hydrocarbon molecular chain. On the other hand. which in turn has less than stick margarine. Why is Olestra calorie-free? Olestra (a sucrose polyester) is a man-made product that is used in products like snack chips as a fat-free and calorie-free substitute for regular fat. but the presence of trans fatty acids in the product when you melt it over your steaming corn on the cob. and K) from foods that are eaten during the same period with products con- . If you see the word “hydrogenated” or the phrase “partially hydrogenated” preceding “vegetable oils” in the ingredient list. In that respect. Does a margarine’s firmness indicate the degree of hydrogenation? Generally. Therefore. E. One issue with Olestra is that it reduces the bodily absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A. . it does an effective job. you know the product contains trans fatty acids. A critical difference between Olestra and most regular fats is that the latter are small enough to enter the bloodstream (with their fat and calories) through the intestinal walls. D. the harder the margarine. do not automatically assume that the food has not been hydrogenated. What counts is not the absence of saturated fatty acids in the oil when it entered the margarine factory.oils and fats . do not be hoodwinked by a company’s sales pitch that its product is made totally with unsaturated oils. 195 also know that a hydrogenated oil has a longer shelf life because it is less susceptible to oxidation and hence to rancidity. with fat and calories intact. if you do not see the “hydrogenated” qualifier.

trout. Why is knowing the smoke point of an oil important? The smoke point of an oil is the temperature at which it starts to smoke. Good plant sources include flaxseed and walnuts. but needs them. This cosmetic benefit comes at the expense of proper flavor and aroma. Nutrition experts believe they help prevent or lessen the effects of various ailments. As food cooks. it dyes the oil.196 . and tuna. it begins to decompose. an obnoxious-smelling compound that can inflame the cook’s respiratory system. And some people who have consumed Olestraadded products have experienced diarrhea and other gastrointestinal side effects. and — say some experts — many of its unsaturated fatty acid molecules become saturated. Fish-oil supplements are also widely available. What is known for sure is that the chemical breakdown of the glycerol molecules in the fat creates acrolein. including heart disease. What are omega-3 fatty acids? Omega-3 (and omega-6) fatty acids are part of a group classified as “essential” fatty acids. salmon. . Why do many short-order cooks prefer to deep-fry in used oil? More than thrift encourages these chefs of the coffee shop circuit to favor secondhand oil. the new kitchen science taining Olestra. The human body cannot manufacturer them. When an oil smokes. If you buy an oil with a smoke point not very far above . including fatty fish like mackerel. gradually imparting a deep honey pigmentation that can be transferred to the next batch. as you undoubtedly have noticed if you have taken a bite of one of those photogenic French fries served at your neighborhood greasy spoon. depression. They are best obtained from omega-3 rich foods. you lower its smoke point irreversibly. and swollen joints. Knowing an oil’s smoke point can also save you money because each time you deep-fry with an oil.

Smother the flames with a tightfitting lid or a sheet of foil wrap (kept handy for such an emergency). but approximate averages for the leading oils are 510°F for safflower. How can I prolong the useful life of an oil? First. do not preheat the oil any longer than is necessary. 197 375°F (the normal deep-frying temperature). and 375°F for olive. 495°F for soybean. 440°F for peanut. If you want to save money by reusing an oil as many times as possible. For the same reason. The built-up pressure will burst the entrapped pockets of steam. select the right pot. rather than a squat and wide. The longer an oil is heated. . An oil reaches its flash point (about 600°F for most oils) when tiny wisps of fire begin to leap from its surface. If the oil is then heated to its fire point (which averages slightly under 700°F for most varieties). splattering the burning oil and endangering cook and house alike. chances are its smoke point will drop to below 375° after its first use. pot to minimize surface area. if you have one. What are flash and fire points? Even higher than the smoke point are two other critical points: flash and fire. the more quickly it will decompose. Oxygen is an enemy of oil. Why should an oil fire never be put out with water? Some of the water droplets will find their way into the hot oil and instantly convert to steam. 420°F for sesame. If . The figure is roughly 375°F for vegetable shortening (solidified oil). its surface will be a blazing inferno. The smoke point for any given vegetable oil varies from brand to brand. Therefore.oils and fats . suffocate it with baking soda or the foam of a fire extinguisher that is formulated for an oil fire. If the grease fire has spread outside the pan. select one with the highest smoke point. Opt for a stainless steel rather than an iron pot because the latter will hasten rancidity. 475°F for corn. choose a tall and narrow.

the new kitchen science you are cooking more than one batch of food. and therefore the quicker it will become rancid.198 . The best way to ascertain temperature is with a quality deep-fat frying thermometer. Your oil can be tainted by the bread crumbs and other particles that are scorched within a minute after they detach themselves from the frying food. add each new batch without delay (unless time is needed to adjust the cooking temperature). . Light also damages oil. funnel it through several layers of cheesecloth into its original bottle or. because such thermostatic controls are seldom sufficiently accurate. Choose a storage container whose volume approximates the volume of the oil. cool cupboard. because the more ullage (the air space between the lid and the liquid). remove as many as possible with a small strainer or slotted spoon before they have a chance to burn. We recommend its use even if you have a rheostat on an electric deep-fat fryer. so keep your supply tightly covered in a dark. Better yet. Turn off the heat immediately after removing the last batch from the oil. When crumbs do fall off the food into the oil. a solid consistency) when stored at refrigerator temperature. the quicker the oil will oxidize. Doesn’t refrigeration cloud an oil? It is perfectly natural for an otherwise sound oil to develop a cloudy appearance (and. As soon as the oil cools to a safe temperature for handling (about 140°F or so). refrigerate the oil once it has been opened. Some cookbooks recommend heating the oil until a slight haze appears on the surface. which is the information you want. Shake off loosely attached crumbs before adding the food to the oil. preferably. This is poor advice because smoke indicates that your oil is decomposing — and it does not reveal the exact temperature. into a clean glass jar. The oil suffers no damage and should become clear again when brought to room temperature. for some oils. .

your oil will no longer deep-fry effectively. Virgin olive oil has a moderately higher acidity level (between 1 and 4 percent). sugar-rich foods can particularly deepen the oil’s color. When smoke appears on the oil’s surface before the temperature reaches 375°F. An oil’s downfall is also indicated by rancidity. 199 What are the signs of a deteriorated oil? Visual clues include changes in color and viscosity.) If the oil’s natural odor and flavor have been unduly contaminated by foods cooked in it. . The more you use an oil. Olive oils with acidity levels above 4 percent were refined with heat or chemicals and cannot use the term “virgin. primarily caused by prolonged contact with air. but at the expense of drawing out more of the unwanted acids from the olive pits and skins. (There are plenty of those around. This extra processing extracts more oil. which can be seen as sediment or suspended flecks. This decrease in fluidity is mainly caused by an alteration of the oil’s molecular structure. An oil perceptibly darkens with use — and especially with misuse — because the molecules of both oil and food burn when subjected to high or prolonged heat. but also by the accumulation of loose. absorbent food particles. the presence of impurities. and a lowered smoke point.oils and fats .” They are simply labeled “olive oil. Because sugar caramelizes. This occurs when the olives are pressed harder or are pressed more than once. How do virgin and extra-virgin olive oils differ? An extra-virgin olive has a maximum of 1 percent oleic acid because it comes solely from the first cold pressing of the olives. An oil’s rancidity can best be described in sensory terms by comparing it with the taste and smell of a stale potato chip. The same is true if it tastes burnt or inordinately oily.” . the oil should be discarded. the more slowly it will pour.

Since compressed yeast contains 70 percent moisture (compared to only 8 percent for dry yeast). The sugar ferments and most of it converts into alcohol and carbon dioxide. 80° to 95°F yields the best product. though for bread-leavening purposes. One packet (about one scant tablespoon) of active dry yeast has the leavening power of one standard cake of compressed yeast. Are dry and compressed yeast products interchangeable? Yes. a simple sugar). As with baked goods made with baking powder. the carbon dioxide — along with trapped expanding air and steam — leavens the bread. it must be stored in the refrigera200 . How does yeast leaven bread? When the yeast cells feast on the sugar (or the starch that a yeast enzyme has converted into glucose. a chemical reaction takes place. .1 1 baking What is yeast? Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is made up of minute one-cell fungi that rapidly multiply if given their favorite foods (sugar or starch) in a moist environment. Its ideal temperature for growth is 110° to 115°F.

When placed in a hot oven or on a hot griddle. the heat helps release additional carbon dioxide from the baking powder.baking . producing carbon dioxide. The resulting pressure swells the countless air pockets. but it must be stored in an airtight container lest it absorb water from the atmosphere. How can I test the vitality of yeast? Just before using the yeast. because this cooking ingredient is essentially a blend of acid (calcium acid phosphate. Dry yeast need not be refrigerated. which in turn expand the food being baked. . raising its moisture content. First. How does baking powder leaven baked goods? Perhaps you recall from your high school or college chemistry class experiments that carbon dioxide bubbles are generated whenever water is poured over a dry acid and alkali mixture. 201 tor — and even then it loses its leavening effectiveness in about two weeks. Second. popularly known as baking soda). Well. sodium aluminum sulfate. or cream of tartar. the heat expands the trapped carbon dioxide gas and air and creates steam. Moist kitchen air — which enters the baking powder canister each time you open it — dramatically lowers a baking powder’s . The gas generated creates minuscule air pockets — or enters into existing ones — within the dough or batter. that is exactly what happens when you use baking powder. Does baking powder lose its potency over a period of time? Yes. That would reactivate the yeast’s metabolic enzymes. the food for the yeast. the dough or batter rises. your microorganisms are dead or enervated and will not leaven your dough or batter. Add water to this mixture and a chemical reaction results. mix some into 1/4 cup of lukewarm water that has been enriched with 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. awakening the dormant yeast cells. primarily for two reasons. If the yeast mixture does not start to bubble within 5 to 10 minutes. to name three) and alkali (sodium bicarbonate.

When you substitute buttermilk for sweet milk. As the accompanying experiment demonstrates. therefore.202 . Call them A and B. why should I substitute baking soda for all. or some. you . Can I make my own baking powder? Yes. Which produces the most bubbles and. Six hours later reopen the can and transfer 1 teaspoon of its powder into cup B. is more potent? When substituting buttermilk for sweet milk in a baking recipe. whatever you are planning to Transfer 1 teaspoon of it into cup A. of the baking powder in the recipe? In order for a chemical leavening agent to release the optimal quantity of carbon dioxide gas into the dough or batter. If the chemical reaction is weak or Set up two 8-ounce measuring cups does not occur. as it is in the case of baking powder. the more actively this Potency Experiment mixture will bubble. When using homemade baking powder. A with several layers of very damp paper toweling (it should not touch the powder). and — if you plan to store your supply — 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch. Then cover cup bake. The cornstarch absorbs moisture in the air and therefore prevents a premature chemical reaction between the acid and alkali. The standard home recipe for making the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of commercial baking powder is 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. the new kitchen science potency. The fresher the baking Try This Baking Powder powder. because the carbon dioxide gas is released more quickly and at a lower temperature than is the case with the commercial double-acting powders. . the acid and alkali must be in proper proportion. 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Promptly close the can. Always test your baking powder’s potency before using it by mixing a little of it into a little water. stir in a halfcup of cold tap water. your baking (or glass bowls). work quickly. Into each cup. powder will not properly raise Open a new can of baking powder.

the pockets expand and therefore so do the baked goods. .or batter-inflating pressure is also generated when heat converts some of the food’s water content into steam. Why are high-in-sugar doughs leavened with baking powder. For each cup of buttermilk that you use in place of sweet milk. Dough. 203 incorporate extra acid into the batter or dough. . the weight of the food’s mass would cause many of the air pockets that were formerly supported by the pressure of the carbon dioxide. Popovers and cream puffs are prime illustrations of this process. To counteract the hyperacidity. the cook needs only to substitute baking soda (an alkali) for some or all of the baking powder in order to maintain the necessary quantity of alkali. which upsets the proper proportion of acid to alkali that was worked out in the original recipe. reduce by 2 teaspoons the amount of baking powder originally called for in the recipe and replace it with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. How do air and steam leaven baked goods? When heat builds up the pressure of the air trapped within the tiny air pockets in the dough or batter. steam. thereby inhibiting the leavening process. or hot air to cave in. It also retards the gluten proteins from mutually bonding because many will bond with the sugar instead. That extra acid will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide generated. What prevents baked goods from collapsing back to their original size once their leavening gas escapes or cools? Baked goods acquire a firm structure principally because the heat of the oven or griddle coagulates the protein and gelatinizes the starch in the batter or dough.baking . If it were not for this firming action. not yeast? A yeast dough made with a lot of sugar does not leaven well because sugar slows the fermentation process.

Flour tends to lose moisture the longer it is stored. a given quantity of carbon dioxide expands with greater force. and the outer bran layer. it does not become rancid as quickly and easily and therefore has a longer shelf life. What are the pros and cons of whole wheat versus white wheat flour? Whole wheat flour contains all the edible parts of the wheat berry: the starchy endosperm. . the baked goods may have a rather coarse texture that would not please many bread connoisseurs. moisture content usually varies with the brand of flour and the season. you must sometimes make adjustments in the amount of flour (or liquid) you use in order to keep the dough or batter’s flour-liquid ratio in proper balance. use more flour. If your flour has more than an average amount of moisture. 5. White wheat flour has three principal advantages over whole wheat flour. and the dough or batter is leavened more quickly and to a greater volume at higher altitudes. and a flour will pick up moisture if you knead it on a humid day. the carbon dioxide gas generated by the yeast or baking powder encounters less resistance from the surrounding air. For these reasons. It is less vulnerable to rancidity because it does not contain the germ.204 . the component of the . last week. the new kitchen science Why should I use less yeast or baking powder when baking at high altitudes? Since the atmospheric pressure is lower at.000 feet than at sea level. Also. say. If it is on the dry side. Unless the baker cuts back the quantity of leavening agent used. the miller removes most or all of the germ and bran. use less. First. or last year. Therefore. the nutritious germ (embryo). Why must I be prepared to vary the amount of flour that I use for a particular bread recipe? The flour you use today may have either more or less moisture than was in the supply you used yesterday. To produce white flour.

baking . and fiber of the wheat berry reside in the germ and bran. What is the difference between ordinary whole wheat and graham flour? The various wheat berry components of regular whole wheat flour are ground more or less uniformly. Why do many serious home bakers prefer hard and soft flours over all-purpose flour? All-purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheat flours. 205 wheat berry that contains the fat that causes rancidity. from the marketer’s viewpoint. white wheat flour has greater popularity: Most Americans have been conditioned since childhood to prefer baked goods made with white wheat flour. too. For flour made from the whole berry. protein. One must not be fooled into thinking that enriched white bread is the nutritional equal of whole wheat bread. fat. minerals. To discerning palates. One should also not be hoodwinked by the term “wheat bread” on the label.” If the list of ingredients says “whole wheat flour and wheat flour. Second.” the bakery used a blend of whole and white wheat flours. look for the term “whole. whole wheat bread is also superior to white wheat bread because it has a more interesting flavor and texture.” before the phrase “wheat bread. In the milling of graham flour. Third. the outer bran layer is ground to a coarser texture than are the endosperm and germ. Hard wheat (sometimes called baker’s) flour is perfect for bread making because of its high gluten content. it is significantly more nutritious because nearly all the vitamins. Finally.” or “100 percent whole. Soft wheat (also called pastry) flour is the better . Each of these flours is ideal for specific tasks. white wheat flour leavens better because it contains more gluten per weight. Whole wheat flour has its advantages. First and foremost. white wheat flour is more digestible. because far more nutrients are removed during the milling of white flour than are replaced in the enrichment process. a substance that provides structure for the expanding dough. .

Millers treat their bleached product with chemicals for more than one reason. The most obvious is cosmetic: Bleaching agents whiten the flour. . your bread lacks sufficient gluten. And all-purpose flour is equal or superior to hard and soft wheat flours for making certain baked goods. millers cut their costs with chemical processing. Mainly for that reason. all-purpose flour is available in every grocery store. Since a southerner tends to bake more biscuits and the northerner more bread. and natural aging of unbleached flour requires keeping the prod- . Is unbleached flour preferable to bleached flour? Unbleached flour has a more natural taste because it has not been tainted with the chemicals used to process bleached flour. But just as important. for example. Does all-purpose flour vary regionally? The major national flour processors use different blending formulas to take into account regional baking preferences. upon a high gluten When you use all-purpose flour for most content — most biscakes and other delicate baked goods. the new kitchen science choice for baked goods that do not need to Soft wheat flour is rely upon a high gluten content — most the better choice biscuits. the southern formula has a larger proportion of soft wheat and the northern formula has a higher proportion of hard wheat. and cakes. Unlike hard and soft wheat flours.206 . All-purpose flour is not without advantages. pastries. for example gluten. their cuits. This means that a recipe in a national publication calling for all-purpose flour may yield different results in different regions of the country. It is adequate for the needs of the average home baker. pastries. notably popovers. Flour must be aged to strengthen its gluten content. many cookbooks automatically specify it for all their baking recipes. and texture will be tough because of too much cakes. for baked goods When you use all-purpose flour for bread that do not rely making.

Reason: Most modern baking recipes are based on the measured volume of unsifted flour. unlike baker’s yeast. a deeper-hued crust. But even if the flour of yesteryear didn’t need sifting for lightness. partly because the flour sold today is not as compacted as it was in our grandparents’ day. potato water. calories. Adding milk.baking . When you purchase unbleached flour. Flour processors discovered that they could avoid that storage expense by using chemicals to age the flour artificially. Why is a sourdough baguette denser and more acidic than a standard baguette? The sourdough yeast (Saccharomyces exiguus) multiplies at a significantly slower rate than does common baker’s yeast. How does the choice of liquid affect the dough? Bread made with water has a chewier texture and crisper crust than one made with milk. it is usually wiser not to. one that helps give sourdough bread its characteristic flavor. In the process. or beer furnishes the yeast with hearty food and the diner with added nutrients. it probably would have been best to sift it anyway to remove insects and other impurities. A more compact and less airy loaf results. willing and able to do it — and a certain type native to the San Francisco area does. . . and flavor. look for an established brand. Is sifting flour necessary? Unless the recipe says to sift. 207 uct in a warehouse for several months. because of its protein and sugar (lactose) content. a highly acidic byproduct is formed. However. Bacteria are. however. Sourdough bread is more acidic because. which is your assurance that the flour has been sufficiently aged. sourdough yeast cannot digest maltose sugar. milk helps produce a more delicate texture and.

Without the support given by heat-coagulated egg protein. and profiteroles — egg yolks are essential. honey. However. The French buy their bread supply twice a day because authentic French bread is fatless and therefore stales quickly. A bread’s fat content slows down moisture loss. deepen the color of the crust.208 . these baking specialties could not maintain their steamedand puffed-up shapes. éclairs. it does give bread a firmer crumb and crust. they add calories and. the new kitchen science What is the function of sugar. their caramelization can discolor the bread. This more appealing texture is due to the salt’s having slowed down the growth of yeast. On the negative side. increased volume. if too much is used. They can also add flavor. flavor. though they do bestow color. . What is the function of egg in a yeast bread? Eggs are not required in yeast bread making. and an overall richness. it stales. they can make the bread more tender because they postpone protein coagulation and thus allow the dough or batter to swell to a greater volume before heat stabilizes the structure. and molasses in bread making? Although these sweeteners are not essential. . remember that your dough will require a little extra flour to keep the optimal balance between the dry and liquid ingredients. What function does salt serve in bread making? Though salt is not an essential ingredient for bread making. thereby helping to prevent the dough from expanding too quickly. When substituting molasses or honey for sugar. Salt also contributes flavor to bread. nutrients. A superabundance of these sweeteners can also slow down the yeast’s growth enough to keep the dough from rising properly. and extend the bread’s shelf life. for baked goods such as popovers — or the pâte à choux–based cream puffs. Why will bread made with a fat stay fresher longer than one made without fat? When bread dries out.

minute. fat can help because it retards gluten development. Why does yeast dough need to be kneaded? The most obvious reason is to distribute the yeast cells and other ingredients uniformly throughout the dough. saturated fatty acids. . 209 What else does a fat contribute to bread? Should a baker want to give a bread a softer and smoother texture. Reason: Fat retards the drying out of the exposed surface. What bread-baking steps produce a soft crust? A hard crust? For a soft crust. Butter and margarine also lend color. create a steamy baking environment by placing a pan of water in the bottom of the oven. One result of uneven dispersal of yeast cells is that the dough will rise faster in some places than in others. brush the top of the baked goods with cold water. preexisting air pockets within the dough. calories. As more gas develops. either before placing it in the oven or while it is baking. increasing the volume of the dough. richness.baking . it becomes trapped inside the gluten structure. What happens if yeast dough rises too little? Too much? Both extremes produce a tough-textured bread. when kneaded. the air pockets in the dough do not expand . become a cohesive network of elastic strands.) A fat also adds flavor. Gluten is a mixture of proteins in the flour that. As the carbon dioxide gas develops. nutrients. pressure builds up within these spaces. This pressure stretches the elastic gluten strands. Alternatively. (The greased gluten strands have a more difficult time latching on to each other and therefore are less effective in forming a structural network. The trapped gas finds a home in the countless. or it creates its own minuscule cavities. It is equally important to develop a firm gluten that will provide a supporting framework for the expanding dough. For a hard crust. brush butter (or other fat) over the top of the bread before it is baked or while it is in the oven. and. if it is butter or lard. In the case of insufficient rising.

If the yeast bread dough did not rise sufficiently. A much better strategy is to stop mixing the ingredients just before all the tiny lumps of flour dissolve and then let the process automatically complete itself as the batter sits undisturbed in your refrigerator.210 . the greater the browning effect of caramelization. what went wrong? One possibility is that the dough was too cold to foster yeast growth. you overdevelop the gluten in the flour and your pancakes will be tougher than necessary. of the carbon dioxide that you need for leavening the pancakes. the strength and elasticity of the gluten strands are irreparably weakened. specify so much sugar that . the new kitchen science enough to give the bread a light. It also helps to brown your morning masterpieces more evenly because a greater area of the bottom surface will rest flat on the hot griddle. and therefore the dough’s structure is doomed to collapse. the sugar melts and then caramelizes. When a dough overrises. How does sugar help give pancakes a rich brown color? As the pancake cooks on the griddle. . The cold refrigerator temperature not only retards bacterial attack and growth but impedes gluten development and hinders the yeast or baking powder activity.) Another likelihood is that the yeast was “liquidated” when the baker mistakenly mixed it with water that was too hot — a temperature of 140°F or more will usually kill yeast. The more sugar you add to the batter. airy texture. Why should I slightly underblend my pancake batter and then let it rest for an hour or two before using it? If you mix pancake batter too energetically or for too long. (The best temperature range for leavening bread is 80° to 95°F. Excess blending can also cause the premature formation. Many recipes from popular cookbooks and magazines. A smooth batter produces more than just desirable texture. It is also possible that the yeast was DOA. and escape. however.

and typical American butter has over 15 percent — too much for this use. Most French butters have about 10 percent moisture.baking . Reason: Butter melts before the oven’s heat can set a biscuit or cookie mixture. solid animal fat better aerates the cooking mixture. Why is solid animal fat superior to butter for making biscuits and cookies? A biscuit or cookie made with butter is undesirably squatter than one made with a solid animal fat such as lard. making the biscuit or cookie lighter and fluffier. . Yet another advantage of solid animal fat over butter is the ease with which the former is incorporated into the flour before the liquid ingredient is added. The result will be misshapen and lack the light. . Some American bakers reduce the moisture by placing the domestic butter in a kitchen towel and forcing some of its water content out and into the towel with a rolling pin. thin sheets of dough. such as the glorious one churned in the Normandy village of Isigny. resulting in taller and more visually inviting biscuits and cookies. the pastry will not have the heavenly flavor of a quality French butter. delicate texture of a pâte feuilletée made with a butter that has the proper moisture content. too much steam will be generated and the pastry will cook too rapidly and expand too much. 211 the pancakes could almost be better served as a dinner dessert than as a breakfast food. butter-coated. When pâte feuilletée bakes. Why is the butter of America inferior to that of France for making pâte feuilletée (puff paste)? Pâte feuilletée consists of layers of rolled-out. It is used to make such famous pastry as napoleons and vol-au-vents. Moreover. Though this technique may solve the excess moisture problem. raising the pastry to many times its former height. If the butter contains too much moisture. which allows the cooking item to spread. the water in the butter steams and helps separate the individual layers. Solid animal fat does not prematurely render.

Because of their small size. Why are black baking pans usually superior to the shiny variety? A dull. for instance) . the center takes longer to solidify. giving it extra time to rise. Why do my cakes develop unwanted domes? Your cake batter probably has too much flour. Why do different baked goods require different baking temperatures? Ideally. most biscuits can be successfully baked in or near that temperature range. which reflects much of it. Well-sugared breads must be baked at an even lower temperature (325° to 375°F) because the sugar would caramelize too much at a higher temperature and blacken the crust. dark. or black surface absorbs more of the radiant energy coming from the oven walls than a bright. . all its liquid molecules would have more time to circulate before the batter near the pan’s edges set. Once that occurs. However.212 . A black pan (carbon steel. creating the dome effect. the new kitchen science How do I prevent ingredients like nuts and dried fruits from settling to the bottom of a batter or dough during baking? Sprinkle them with flour before mixing them into the batter or dough. Therefore. the amount of heat transferred to the liquid center is reduced because the molecules near the pan’s edges are no longer in motion. shiny. If your batter were thinner. The coating absorbs some of the surface oil and water that exudes from these ingredients during baking and therefore reduces their tendency to slip downward through the batter or dough. a lower temperature (about 400°F) is necessary for baking bread loaves because the higher temperature would burn the outside of the bread before the heat could reach and bake the inside. or white surface. these foods should be baked at a high temperature (in the 425° to 450°F range) so that the expanding internal gases can adequately increase the volume of the dough or batter before the coagulating protein sets the food’s structure.

you must either extend the cooking time or increase the baking temperature. No matter what the cooking temperature or how long the cooking time. and that 15°F can make a crucial difference. In one of our experiments. Because the shiny pan’s temperature is lower. 213 will therefore become hotter and transmit heat more quickly than an otherwise identical uncoated stainless steel or aluminum pan in the same oven.) On the average. Shiny bakeware is not all that bad. reduces the heat reaching the cookies’ undersides. absorbing comparatively little of that en- . (A Harvard University study in the Middle East found that the surface of an outfit made with black cloth is about 10°F hotter than one of white cloth because the black cloth absorbs two and a half times more radiant energy from the sun than the white. it pays to use a scouring pad to keep its surfaces free of dark stains. a shiny pan is 15°F cooler in a 350°F oven than its black equivalent. This phenomenon explains why white suits and dresses are popular in hot. Some delicate cookies require a very hot oven but are apt to burn on the bottom when baked on a dark. on the other hand. A glistening cookie sheet.baking . we purposely baked a loaf of bread in a shiny metal steel pan that was tarnished in spots with accumulated oven grease stains. Neither of those two alternatives is totally satisfactory. dull cookie sheet. The light-and-dark color pattern on the bottom and side crusts of the baked bread came close to duplicating that of the stained pan’s outer surface. If you do bake with a shiny pan. It can be beneficial at times. When you bake with a stained pan. sunny weather. Does food bake more quickly in a glass container than in a metal one? Yes. chances are that either the exposed crust will receive too much heat or the crust that lines the pan will absorb too little heat. . This is because the transparency of glass allows radiant heat to pass directly through it. the portion of the food resting on a black blotch may burn by the time the food on a bright area is properly baked.

in this case. will cook the food on its side of the pan faster than air current B will cook the food on its side. the flowing substance is air rather than water. Cooks using a recipe based on figures for a dark-surfaced pan and baking in one made of ovenproof glass must either shorten the baking period or lower the oven temperature by 10°F.214 . the new kitchen science ergy in the process. the speed of its current increases. Uneven baking also occurs because food on the left side of the pan is bombarded with more of the radiant heat (see relevant discussion in chapter 1. 18) that emanates from the oven’s walls. decrease the temperature 25°F. except that. p. Air current A. When the recipe is designed for a shiny pan and you use a Pyrex container. And since a faster-moving hot air current cooks food faster than one that moves more slowly. The same phenomenon occurs with currents in your oven. uneven baking results. the air currents that flow upward through it will move faster than those that flow upward through less restricted areas of your oven. depicted in our accompanying illustration. If there is a narrow gap between a pan and an oven wall or another pan. Why should a baking pan be at least one and a half inches clear of the oven walls and any other pans? When the width of a river decreases. . baking pan A B .

you don’t have to worry about serving your guests an off-scented crust. In oven B. why should I stagger the pans? In the accompanying illustration. and some use metal pellets when baking a pie shell blind — that is. 215 When baking on more than one oven shelf. will undercook because insufficient hot air currents will reach the area between the two pans. Therefore. . 1 2 1 2 A B What is the best temporary filler when baking a pie shell blind? Some people use beans or rice. Why is it helpful to brush beaten egg on a pie crust before adding the filling and baking the pie? This technique helps prevent soggy pie crusts because the egg protein forms a shield between the dough and the moist pie filling. as well as the top of the food in pan 2. the upper surface of the pie shell is less likely to be underbaked. the metal pellets are better heat conductors. before adding the filling. the pans in oven A are staggered so that air can reach the tops and bottoms of both pans. Though both the manufactured and the natural weights are heavy enough to keep the empty pie dough flat on the pan while baking.baking . Moreover. . the bottom of the food in pan 1.

Why should breads and cakes be unmolded from their pans soon after they are removed from the oven? When a bread or cake comes out of the oven. If too little steam dissipates into the air. This provides desirable textural contrast. Why does toast quickly dry out at the table? A just-toasted slice of bread should be crispy on the outside. As the hot bread sits on the table.216 . Why should quiches made with onions and mushrooms be served fresh from the oven? Because these foods have a high water content. To prevent sogginess. . it is permeated with trapped steam. It also eliminates the possibility that moisture will condense and accumulate in the space between the bottom of the bread and the pan. This maximizes the surface area from which the steam can escape. then promptly unmold it and place it on a cooling rack. the new kitchen science Since the coagulating temperature of the egg mixture is lower than the jelling temperature of the filling. the steam either escapes into the air or converts to water. you reduce the period in which the water in the filling comes in direct contact with the crust. which the solids quickly absorb. they lose an appreciable amount of moisture as they cool. heat converts interior water molecules into steam. . That’s why it is best to make toast in small batches as you need it. This moisture can give a quiche two undesirable characteristics: a weeping surface and a soggy crust. the bread or cake will become soggy. first let the baked product rest in the pan for several minutes until it has settled. soft inside. As it cools. which easily escapes through the pronounced porous structure of a yeast bread.

mold could develop on the bread’s surface at such an accelerated pace that the bread would have been better stored in the refrigerator. If so. bread will turn stale more quickly in the refrigerator. despite the staling factor. be it breadbox. . dry place and is not kept in an airtight bag. zipperlock freezer bag. On the other hand. or freezer. if the bread is not located in a cool. 217 Why does bread usually stay fresher in a breadbox than in a refrigerator? Two reasons. the relatively dry refrigerator air draws more moisture out of foods than does normal room-temperature air. First. refrigerator. it might be attacked by airborne mold spores. For optimal long-term storage. minimize moisture loss by keeping the bread well wrapped. Wrap the loaf well in plastic or place it in a heavy-duty. Consequently. Whatever storage medium you choose. freeze the bread (it freezes well).baking . the bonding between the starch and water molecules is weaker at refrigerator temperature than at room (and freezer) temperature. Second. .

Am I more likely to become dehydrated in the summer or winter? Though your body loses more water during warm months. but that loss is less apparent. you could conceivably last up to ten days without water at a constant 50°F temperature in a sealevel environment. Is thirst an accurate indicator of my body’s need for water? Thirst is an imprecise warning system. Your body usually needs water replenishment long before thirst begins and well after it 218 . but only several days without water. . you are more likely to become dehydrated during the cold months because you are less conscious of the need to drink water. Providing you do not exert yourself. You lose water through sweating in the winter. The sweat doesn’t linger on your skin as long because the moisture is absorbed quickly by the dry atmosphere in heated rooms and by your absorbent cold-weather clothing.12 beverages How much more important is water than food for basic survival? You can survive several weeks without food under normal conditions. Your survival-withoutwater time drops to one and a half days in a scorching hot desert.

that there is another reason to choose iced water when we are thirsty. The result is counterproductive: In 30 minutes you end up thirstier than you were before. This gas is dissolved into the water under high pressure in the un- . Your small intestine requires extra water to digest sugar and has to “steal” it from other parts of your body. Should I drink iced or room-temperature water to quench my thirst? Even a young child knows that iced water is more refreshing and cools the body better than does room-temperature water. Which is better for slaking thirst.beverages .) You should also continue to drink water after your thirst disappears. Denver than San Francisco.) How is carbonated water produced? Naturally carbonated water is created when acidic subterranean water chemically interacts with limestone to form carbon dioxide. Do we need to drink more water at higher altitudes? You may have to drink at least several more glasses a day in. 219 ends. plain water or soft drinks? Water is considerably superior for quenching thirst because regular soft drinks contain sugar. This means that if you are thirsty. for example. We also exhale more moisture because the thinner air increases our breath rate. (Dehydration can be harmful. Water evaporates faster through your skin pores at higher altitudes because the atmospheric pressure is lower and the air is drier. . however. (The best way to appreciate that we exhale water is to think about the vapor we emit on a wintry day. This action forces the water more quickly into the small intestine where it can be absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream. you had better make it a priority to drink some water as soon as possible. Iced water quenches thirst faster because the cold water lowers the stomach’s temperature. Few of us are aware. causing it to constrict.

and tomatoes. it would be better married to a red wine. the new kitchen science derground environment. Other enemies of wine include artichokes. and red wine with red meat” dictum fallible? That maxim is an oversimplification because it does not take into account the many exceptions to the rule that stem from the marked differences in the characteristics of both wines and recipes. Is the “white wine with white meat. for instance. 1978). Roast chicken is a case in point. rising bubbles. see Howard Hillman’s The Diner’s Guide to Wines (New York. which is insufficiently high. High-acid liquids such as vinegar and citrus juice. Eventually. Artificially carbonated water is created by dissolving the carbon dioxide gas into the liquid under high pressure in aboveground tanks. . For a detailed exploration of the broad and complex world of wine-food affinities. as long as the beverage is dry and light-bodied. When the cap is removed. Why do champagne and soda pop fizzle when opened? Before the cap is opened. Are some ingredients incompatible with wine? Not all ingredients have an affinity with wine. The carbon dioxide in the liquid begins to escape in the form of small. . Hawthorn. chocolate. give wine a disagreeable off-flavor. Why does a person get intoxicated quicker on champagne than wine? Carbonation speeds the absorption of the alcohol into the bloodstream. the exposed liquid will go flat. Because of its hearty flavor. the pressure drops to the room-temperature pressure level. the pressure inside the bottle is sufficiently high to keep the carbon dioxide gas that is dissolved in the liquid within the liquid. onions.220 . The sulfur content of egg yolks does the same deed. pineapples. asparagus.

Let us say you have just finished a delightful dinner and . in all likelihood. the microorganisms inside the bottle will be denied sufficient oxygen. As soon as you pull the cork or unscrew the cap of a fresh bottle of wine. If the cork is too porous (as a result. the wine will soon sour. Why are genuine corks not the ideal choice for wines that do not need aging? Nearly 100 percent of wines sold do not need to be aged and therefore their bottle stoppers do not need to let the wine breathe. malic acid crystals that have solidified from the wine and are evidence of an inferior. Another plus for bottles that do not use genuine corks is that you and your wine merchant do not need to store them in a horizontal position. A nonporous synthetic cork (or a bottle cap made of noncorrosive metal or plastic) is a better choice because it is cheaper and the savings can be passed along to the consumer. for instance.beverages . of drying out because the bottle wasn’t stored in a horizontal position). the bacteria-laden air in the room starts souring the wine. What are those tiny glasslike particles that sometimes cling to the bottom of a wine cork? Contrary to the belief of some horrified wine drinkers. 221 Why are genuine corks essential for wines that require aging? A wine that needs to be aged in the bottle is “alive” with the microorganisms that help it to mature. broken glass. if ever. good-conditioned cork provides a happy medium. Those microorganisms need oxygen. these crystalline bits are seldom. . A quality. If the cork is manufactured from a nonporous metal or plastic. which passes through a porous cork. wine-making process. Is air the greatest enemy of leftover wine? Yes. though not necessarily unwholesome. They are. The maturation process should be slow — and it is the amount of oxygen available to the microorganisms that largely determines that rate.

on the other hand. Why does beer stay colder in a glass bottle than in an aluminum can? The heat from your living room or from your guest’s clutching hand takes longer to reach the chilled beer through the glass than it does through the aluminum because not only is the glass considerably thicker. As a result. the amount of air space lying between the wine and the cork. even if you put it in the refrigerator. then cork and store. Why is wrapping a bottle with wet layers of newspaper a good way to cool a picnic wine on a scorching day? Cooling occurs because. when water molecules change from liquid to gas. It works. standard-sized wine bottle. pour the liquid into a clean. the day’s heat evaporates the water in the newspaper. and some of the heat calories from these wrappings are thus transferred to the air. In the case of the picnic wine. now colder. the new kitchen science there. assimilates some of the heat calories from the glass bottle. which in turn removes some of the heat from the wine. it is also a much poorer conductor of heat. . an inexpensive handheld device that sucks air out of a partially filled wine bottle. Use the popular wine vacuum pump. Beer sold in bottles and cans. Why do most knowledgeable beer drinkers prefer draft to bottled or canned beer? All beer is susceptible to spoilage caused by microorganisms. Alternatively. it would likely be undrinkable upon opening. empty halfsized bottle (saved for this purpose). the wine cools.222 . Don’t just cork the bottle for tomorrow’s meal. This problem is not often serious for draft beer dispensed from kegs because generally it is consumed long before the microorganisms can ruin the brew. they absorb heat calories from their surroundings. sitting on your table. This . This will decrease the ullage. is a half-empty. The newspaper. takes such a slow route from brewery to belly that unless it is pasteurized.

223 pasteurization process — which is not used for genuine draft beer — partially cooks the beer and therefore negatively alters its flavor. which carries it to the brain. . If she had as many of these enzymes. giving drinkers a false sense of bodily warmth and increasing the amount of heat escaping from the body. the more a given quantity of alcohol will affect you. when her metabolic rate slows down. . Does alcohol affect women more than men? Yes. body weight being number one. The average woman not only has less tissue to absorb alcohol than the average man. Because a growing number of people recognize the difference in taste between pasteurized and unpasteurized beer. for several reasons. They are more prone to frostbite and the deadly dangers of hypothermia. The higher alcohol level could make the difference between passing and flunking a police sobriety test. she has proportionately less muscle tissue and more fat on her frame. a woman is most susceptible to the effects of alcohol just prior to her menstrual period. alcohol is usually more dangerous in subfreezing weather. In addition. The alcohol dilates the blood vessels under the skin. However. Does alcohol affect drinkers more on hot days? The higher the environmental temperature. a woman’s stomach has fewer of the enzymes that break down alcohol. more of the imbibed alcohol would be digested instead of entering the bloodstream. Result: More of the imbibed alcohol passes through the stomach walls to the bloodstream. Does aspirin affect my alcohol tolerance? Two extra-strength aspirins taken a half-hour before drinking alcohol will noticeably lower the stomach’s ability to metabolize the alcohol. you might consider buying a suitable-size barrel of unpasteurized beer for your next party. Moreover.beverages .

The quality of the alcohol drunk: Premium brands are better filtered and better processed. . it simply turns a drunk into a wideawake drunk. What will cause tomorrow’s throbbing headache is primarily one or more of the following ten factors: The quantity of alcohol imbibed: Of all ten causes. The type of alcohol consumed: Congeners are byproducts formed during the distilling and aging process. it must be metabolized. Does coffee sober up a drunk? No. and thus have fewer congeners than lower-quality labels. Once the alcohol enters the bloodstream. For example. These “impurities” give various liquors a distinct flavor. Like the cold shower. Sometimes this takes hours. The rate at which you pour it down the hatch: The body of an average drinker can comfortably absorb approximately one drink per hour. Can I freely switch drinks without fear of getting a hangover? Contrary to popular notion. . The ingredients of the drink: Lots of syrupy additions will make a stomach revolt. this is usually the chief culprit. so give a drunk ample time to sober up before allowing him to drive home. people with a couple of drinks under their belt tend to take more physical risks. and to be more outspoken. the new kitchen science Why does alcohol lower inhibitions? Alcohol is a narcotic that “numbs” some of the brain cells that regulate a person’s defenses and sense of propriety. Drinks like scotch and brandy have many congeners. Among wines. whereas vodka has relatively few. to be more easily aroused sexually. people do not get a hangover simply because they switched from a dry martini to a scotch and soda to a glass of wine. Chianti has far more than average. with or without the aid of alcohol. but they also help produce headaches.224 .

Every refrigerator has FO. and to the type of drink in particular: Steady drinkers have an advantage in this category over the now-and-then imbiber. Cross-taste A and B.bevereages . which can debase an iced drink. 225 Your level of tolerance to alcohol in general. chances are it will. The quantity of food in your stomach: The folk saying “Never drink on an empty stomach” is definitely true because alcohol stimulates the stomach’s secretion of gastric juices. Put the rinsed cubes in glass A. A quick rinse of the cubes under cold running water just before you use them dispatches the malodorous molecules down your drain rather than your gullet. The quality of food in your stomach: Many merrymakers gorge themselves with sickening hors d’oeuvres or overeat at the dinner table — and then blame the next day’s results solely on the alcohol. Self-fulfilling prophecy: If you think a hangover will result. most of the damage is only surface-deep because few of the foul-smelling molecules have had enough time to penetrate the ice. more appealing scent and flavor? Why should ice cubes be rinsed? As ice cubes rest in their container in your freezer compartment. Let the glasses sit at room temperature until all the ice melts. which does little to wash away pathogenic bacteria. . Fortunately. Which glass of water has a cleaner. When the stomach is empty. they pick up FO (freezer odor). Rinse one half of the ice cubes under cold tap water to remove the surface odor and taste. Hygiene: Some busy party hosts recycle the glassware with a quick rinse. . these juices have little else to do except irritate the stomach lining. Try This Ice Cube Experiment Remove from your freezer enough ice cubes to fill two standard-sized drinking glasses (name them A and B). unless your cubes are over a couple of weeks old. the unrinsed ones in glass B. Be sure these cubes have been sitting exposed in your freezer for a week or two to pick up surface freezer odor.

226 . Why does a late-night cup of coffee keep some people awake more than others? The frequent coffee drinker develops a greater tolerance to the stimulating kick of caffeine than does the occasional java imbiber. However. and decrease fatigue. too. The exact amount of caffeine in coffee or tea can vary appreciably according to such factors as the bean or leaf type. Parents who forbid their young children to drink coffee should be aware that a 12-ounce bottle of a typical cola has approximately one-quarter the caffeine of an average cup of coffee — and many times more of it than found in a cup of decaffeinated coffee. Which has more caffeine. It also contributes new desirable flavors when it chemically interacts with other coffee components. Does caffeine affect the taste of coffee? Caffeine — the best-known coffee component — has a mild bitter flavor. Psychosomatic considerations come into play. tea or coffee? A pound of tea — on the average — has twice the caffeine of a pound of roasted coffee. whereas the pound of coffee brews about 40 cups. Chances are you will toss and turn in bed at night if you think that insomnia is the inevitable consequence of a nocturnal cup of coffee. since that weight of tea typically yields about 160 cups. people are born with varying degrees of tolerance. the new kitchen science Is coffee drinking addictive? Caffeine is an addictive drug. the net result is that the cup of tea has roughly half the caffeine of a cup of coffee. sharpen thinking. Excessive coffee drinking can induce nervousness and produce drug withdrawal symptoms. and brewing time and temperature. Light and moderate coffee drinking can lift one’s mood. though its downside is negligible compared to those of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. . Also. grind or leaf size. . including lethargy and depression.

chemicals. but to a much lesser extent. as some office workers do. an acid. the answer is yes. The acid in coffee. too. Caffeol (not to be confused with caffeine) is responsible for most of the characteristic rich flavor and aroma of coffee. What is the ideal temperature for brewing coffee and tea? The ideal brewing temperature for coffee strikes a balance between extracting the maximum amount of caffeol compounds and the minimum of polyphenol compounds. dissolves some of the cup’s polystyrene into the brew. Most coffee professionals place the optimal coffeebrewing temperature below the boiling point. people shouldn’t be drinking two or three cups a day out of those containers. and polyphenols (tannins) give coffee a tang. Water that has been boiled. If one’s local water supply has a disagreeable off-taste (as some do). 227 Should coffee and tea drinkers forgo those Styrofoam cups stocked by some office coffee wagons and fast-food outlets? At the very least. We know of some coffee lovers who eschew even cold tap water and use distilled water. and impurities embedded in the pipes and boiler. if not excessive. and especially tea.beverages . Is it always advisable to use freshly boiled water for brewing coffee or tea? For best results. then cooled. and then reboiled has lost enough of its oxygen content to give a slight flat taste to the brewed coffee or tea. These off-flavors come through the cold-water tap. Cup erosion is most pronounced when hot tea is flavored with lemon. somewhere in the 185° to 205°F range . Why is hot tap water a poor choice for brewing coffee or tea? Hot tap water extracts too many of the metals. then this approach would make sense. a disintegration that doesn’t benefit your taste buds or your health. Most coffee professionals place the optimal coffeebrewing temperature below the boiling point. a desirable quality. .

The brewing method also influences grind size.228 . Despite the taste advantage of using drip-style coffee grains. Recommended brewing temperatures for tea are more hotly debated by the experts. A coffee scent in the room. What determines ideal grind size? Coffee style helps dictate the size of the grind. Beans used for making espresso should be ground finer than those for American-style coffee. the coffee grounds will not release enough of their caffeol compounds. green teas are best brewed between 180° and 200°F. . oolong teas between 185° and 205°F. within each of the three categories. the lower the brewing temperature should be. in most instances. Turkish coffee demands an even finer grind. Also. Another drawback is that the percolator method exposes the coffee’s aromatic agents to the air prematurely and excessively. If the brewing temperature is too low. the better the quality of tea. If the temperature reaches the boiling point — and especially if it remains there for more than a brief period — the grounds will yield too much of their polyphenol content and thus will likely create a displeasing bitter taste. it has been boiled for 7 to 15 minutes. though evocative. Our experiments show that. Of the most popular coffee-brewing processes. Little wonder that the resulting coffee tastes bitter. so that too much of the aroma escapes into the kitchen air long before the coffee is ever poured. the new kitchen science somewhere in the 185° to 205°F range. . The ideal grind size for American-style coffee is what is known as “drip grind” because it has the optimal surface area for making a brew that is rich but not bitter. and black teas between 190° and 210°F. Why does percolated coffee taste bitter? Not only has percolated coffee been boiled. does not compensate for a deficiency of fragrance in the cup. you cannot use them in a percolator because the grains would fall through the perforations in the basket and into the brew. the drip method is by far the best.

the water will pass through them too quickly. and cover the container promptly after use. . some of his beans may be overexposed to oxygen. If the coffee grains are undersized. keep out as much oxygen and moisture as possible. the coffee grains are vulnerable to even more oxygen and moisture. despite the vacuum claim. To minimize flavor loss and delay rancidity. be wary of coffee displayed in open wooden barrels. Storing the covered coffee in a cool place — such as your refrigerator — also increases its shelf life. Still. the water takes longer than necessary to filter through. However. For the best cup of coffee. buy whole beans from a conscien- . Once the can is opened. Result: Either the coffee will be weak. This allows volatile flavoring compounds to escape easily. 229 Can the grind size for drip coffee be too small or too large? Yes. Why should coffee be brewed soon after it has been ground? Ground coffee deteriorates noticeably within a few days — as opposed to two to three weeks for coffee beans — because such a large surface area is exposed to air. Result: The coffee is bitter. the water will extract fewer caffeol compounds. Coffee processors often sell their ground product in so-called vacuum-packed metal containers in order to keep volatile aromatic coffee substances in and oxygen and moisture out. or the cook will be forced to use extra grains and the coffee will be more expensive than need be. As coffee grains sit around. Whole beans are less susceptible to oxidation. the increased surface area hastens oxidation and rancidification of the coffee’s essential oils. they also lose some of their carbon dioxide. And because of the limited surface exposure of the grains. the increase in the exposed surface of the grains allows the water to extract too many polyphenols. Also. time brings some deterioration in quality because every coffee can contains some oxygen. a gas that contributes to the brew’s body and bouquet. If the coffee grains are oversized.beverages . In addition. Unless the merchant does a brisk coffee business and he doesn’t replenish partially filled barrels by dumping the new beans on top of the old ones.

Mocha beans are deficient in rich flavor and aroma but have surplus acid. French roasts brew a stronger-flavored and slightly more bitter cup of coffee than an American roast because of their longer roasting period and finer grind. its volatile aromatic compounds flee the liquid. Also. Why should I serve coffee immediately after brewing? As the coffee sits on the warming device. American roasts get the least time in the coffee roaster. while those labeled Italian (or espresso) are given the most time. and American coffee roast? These roast classifications refer to the length of the roasting period and not to different kinds of beans. to a lesser extent. This stream of room-temperature air lowers the liquid’s temperature through convection and evaporation. a product transported from the Middle Eastern port of that name. What is the rationale for the mocha-java blend? The java coffee beans that are cultivated on the Indonesian island of that name have a rich. freeze it in a well-sealed moisture-proof container. A French roast falls between the two. Moreover.230 . the new kitchen science tious merchant with a fast turnover and grind them at home as needed. mellow flavor and aroma but lack enough acid to give balance to a cup of coffee. French. Centuries ago some- . Beans can go directly from freezer to grinder to coffee maker. Italian and. Just the opposite occurs with mocha coffee beans. Why can I sip coffee that is hot enough to burn my skin? In sipping a very hot cup of coffee. If you must store your coffee bean supply for more than two weeks. you probably suck in more air than you normally do when sipping a not-so-hot cup. . What is the difference between an Italian. the saliva that coats your mouth partially insulates your oral tissue from the hot coffee. the heat that keeps the coffee warm simultaneously develops a bitter flavor in the coffee’s essential oils.

To prevent fermentation. the fermenting process is brought to a halt by heating and drying (firing) the leaves in an oven or. and the idea was a success. has a character that falls between those of black and green teas. Several hours later. Nowadays what is sold as “mocha-java” is really mochajava–style coffee because few beans come from the Yemen port of Mocha and many of the “java” beans in the mix come from lands beyond Java. 231 one came up with the idea of blending the two types of beans to produce a balanced cup of coffee. while the blue ribbon in the realm of green tea goes to the April-picked. the freshly plucked leaves undergo a steaming rather than a withering process. except that the fermentation period is appreciably shorter. and is classified black or green depending on how the harvested leaves are treated. Oolong tea leaves go through the same processing steps as black teas. grade one (sixteen grades exist) Dragon Well . The world’s finest black tea is vintage (not plain) Darjeeling from India. . Green tea leaves are not fermented — and therein lies the salient processing difference between the black and the green. more traditionally. Black tea leaves — the type that is most popular in America and Great Britain — are first partially dried (withered). What is the essential difference between a black and a green tea? All tea is plucked from the same botanical species.beverages . Oolong tea. which contain enzymes that trigger fermentation. This is done by spreading them in layers on racks for about a day. the third major category. Green tea is typically less pungent as well as much lighter and more yellowish green in color. The lack of fermentation is largely responsible for the great contrast in color and taste between a cup of black tea and a cup of green tea. though exceptions to the rule do exist. with sunshine. Then the leaves are passed through rollers that rupture their cells in order to release some of the internal juices. The heat of the steam renders the enzymes in the leaves incapable of causing fermentation. Thea sinensis.

Though oolong teas can be good. especially for other people who may subsequently drink the milk. It also traps steam. Should I add milk to tea? If a brew is of mediocre quality. Why is it necessary to cover a steeping cup or pot of tea? The lid does more than minimize the water’s heat loss. not the steeping period. the new kitchen science from the People’s Republic of China. which dampens any unsubmerged tea leaf and sends it to the bottom.232 . . However. However. which is preferable. The longer the water and tea remain in contact. . Mediocre teas tend to be more astringent than quality teas. Milk lowers their astringency because some of the astringent tannic acids in the brew bind chemically with the milk’s protein molecules. you may have a scientific reason for adding milk. he might be affecting his wallet because he will be decreasing storage life. a longer steeping period or more tea leaves? If you prefer strong but not bitter tea. For a strong tea. even if only one person will be drinking the milk. What’s wrong with drinking milk directly out of the carton? Hygiene is the obvious consideration. tea connoisseurs are right in saying that adding milk to a quality tea is equivalent to putting ketchup on caviar because the milk masks the tea’s subtle aromas and flavors. A human’s mouth is a repository of many forms of bacteria that can sour the milk prematurely. the more bitter your drink will be because more polyphenols are extracted from each leaf. And there is another benefit: With fewer free tannins. a great specimen has yet to be produced. tea is less constipating. Another way to prevent heat loss while steeping is to preheat the cold teapot by pouring plain boiling water into it and letting the container stand for several minutes before discarding the water. increase the amount of tea leaves.

. but its nutritional value will suffer. 233 Will a store-bought container of orange juice last a week in the refrigerator once its sealed cap has been opened? Because of its high acid content. . Oxygen enters and circulates inside the container each time the juice is poured — and oxygen is the primary agent that destroys the sought-after vitamin C content in the orange juice. the juice should still be potable after a week in the refrigerator.beverages .

. Are sous vide foods safe? The sous vide (French for “under vacuum”) food preservation method was invented by the French in the 1970s. many Americans are concerned about health risks. radiation does not remain in irradiated foods. Many leading health organizations say that irradiated foods pose no serious health risks. They shouldn’t be. then quick-chilled and refrigerated. and is it safe? Irradiated food has been bombarded with ionizing radiation to help sterilize it and extend its shelf life. Sous vide fruits and vegetables 234 . usually for a maximum of several weeks. The pouched food is reheated in simmering water before it is opened and served. Although it is widely accepted in Europe as being safe and practical.13 food storage What is irradiated food. Just as radiation does not remain in microwaved foods. The food is slowly cooked and sterilized in a sealed vacuum pouch. Some people mistakenly believe that irradiated foods are radioactive. This radiation treatment kills harmful bacteria and destructive insects — and can eliminate the need to use chemical sprays.

The middle phase of normal freezing. too. Marination is. sugar. for instance. Refrigerating a food will not kill most of the microorganisms storage . a process called sublimation. a pickling process. a salt-and-water solution. Freezing kills microbes or inhibits their growth. liquidity. A second popular technique is to immerse the food in brine. Salt also creates an adverse environment for microorganisms. certain chemicals can crop up in the formula as well. One salting technique is dry-curing: The food is coated or buried in salt. How do the other major food preservation methods work? Drying (removing up to 99 percent of the food’s water content) is an effective preservation method because no known form of earthly life can thrive without water. and spices. salt. A variation of the second method is to inject brine into the food. . among other things. Pickling involves treating foods such as cucumbers with vinegar or other acidic liquids that are hostile to the well-being of microorganisms. Placing the food in a cupboard near a stove is not the answer because water molecules from the steaming pots can be greedily absorbed by the “thirsty” food. Salting (curing) draws much of the moisture from the food either by simple absorption or by osmosis. are thwarted without a sufficient H2O supply. by pumping the saline solution through the blood vessels. is skipped. the selected food is frozen before its water content is removed. The water is first changed to ice and then directly into vapor. With freezedrying. and texture than those that have undergone more conventional storage and cooking methods because less cellular rupturing occurs. color. . 235 tend to retain more of their flavor. it is advisable to store them tightly wrapped in a low-humidity environment. Since desiccated foods can readily assimilate moisture from the air. A pickling solution usually also contains water. but it retards their growth enough to preserve the food. Enzymes.

The growth of microorganisms will be prolific unless other precautionary steps. (See “Why must vegetables be blanched before freezing?” later in this chapter.) Canning requires two major steps. Smoking does the same for foods like hams. the new kitchen science Predicting a food’s refrigeration life is not an exact science. other meat — two days. and how often and for how long the refrigerator door is opened. the freshness and condition of the food. of course. Over a dozen variables affect it: the kind of food. The second step is sealing the food in an airtight. Sugaring is another preservation technique because sugar creates a hostile environment for bacteria. sterile can or jar to protect the contents from any onslaught by a new supply of microorganisms or oxygen and to keep the food from drying out. The first is heating the food hot enough and long enough to kill most of the microorganisms and all of the potentially more dangerous ones. uncooked state: seafood — one day. most bacteria thrive at temperatures between 60° and 125°F. and the area nearest the freezer unit is colder than the crisper). although at a very slow pace. Department of Agriculture.236 . is an even better deterrent than refrigeration. . such as the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. ground meat — one day.S. Freezing. or 2° to 4°C). how the food was seasoned and processed. the refrigerator’s temperature (ideally 35° to 39°F. Enzymatic reactions continue at low temperatures. conservative guidelines for several popular foods in their fresh. a level that is beyond the capability of the freezer compartments in the majority of home refrigerators. . how the food was wrapped or covered. For optimal results. The following are rough. and they do not cause problems except when freezing fruits and vegetables. What is the temperature “danger zone” for bacterial growth in foods? According to the U. and milk — four days. the location in the refrigerator (the rear wall is colder than the door shelves. a freezer’s temperature should be no higher than 0°F (minus 18°C).

Experiment Osmosis. water will flow take about an hour. swelling it in and B.mushier? creases the pressure of one cell against the other. 237 such as marinating. and thus their capacity to absorb and retain water. diminishes the osmotic capability of the cells. cell make the water in the cell When A is thawed. Does freezing diminish the quality of food? The answer is an undeniable yes. .) Grill or sauté A into the cell. cell wall) to equalize the con. The water loss is caused by the creation of ice crystals and the loss of Try This Meat Freezing osmotic capability.After A is frozen (typically about 8 to 12 hours). Cross-taste. Since mally takes 10 to 18 hours). (This will on the outside. have been taken to make the food unfavorable to bacterial growth. is the natural passing of liq. thank you. Freeze A and refrigerate B. completely thaw it in the centration of liquid on both warmest part of the refrigerator (norsides of the membrane. Freezing. in simple terms. at temperatures below 60°F. the A and B. During this the dissolved solids inside the thawing period. bring both A and B more concentrated than that to near room temperature. store B next to A. For these reasons. Call the steaks membrane (in this case.Buy two identical steaks to test the efuid through a semipermeable fect of freezing on meat. Which steak is the process. When the frozen food thaws. our world has thermophilic (heat-loving) microorganisms that flourish at temperatures above 125°F. storage .” There exist certain cryophilic (cold-loving) bacteria and other microorganisms that can do nicely. The swelling in. and thereby the food’s rigidity. . Likewise. and consequently the cells lose their plumpness and the food its firmness. more cautious experts place the danger zone between 40° and 140°F — and some expand the temperature range even further. some of its stored water seeps out of its cells. It is important to note that we use the phrase “most bacteria.

The food’s texture therefore will suffer less damage. and the expansion bursts many of the cell walls and pushes some of the cells apart. to be sure. These crystals take up more space than the original water. bewalls. Yet there are steps that can be followed to ensure . some damage occurs). will pick up foreign odors from the circulating freezer. it carries with it some of the food’s original cause crowdflavor and nutrients. Another related benefit is that the food — particularly meat — will not lose as many of its juices during thawing because its cell walls remain relatively intact. spinach. Most commercial food processors quick-freeze their products by methods such as immersion in a cold solution or exposure to frigid air blasts. the new kitchen science Ice crystals. form inside and around the cells when the food is frozen. and lima beans are among the vegetables that suffer the least deterioration (though. giving the seeping liquid an easy escape route. . These tiny crystals do not cause as much tearing as the larger ones formed by slow freezing. of course. The experiment on the previous page will conclusively prove that freezing does give a mushy texture to foods with a relatively high water content. Peas. the second major cause of flabbiness.238 . The faster the food is frozen. if stored long cold air from enough. Vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli are poor freezers because the process ruins their desirable texture. properly Some vegetables survive the freezing ordeal better than meat. Avoid overAnother drawback to freezing most foods is loading your that when liquid flows out of the ruptured cell freezer. Still another negative feaing prevents ture is that most frozen foods. The process is. the smaller the ice crystals that are formed in and around its cells. seafood. Why are certain freezing methods better than others? The key to maintaining a food’s quality is speedy freezing. and fruit. faster than any possible in a home freezer.

food storage . The implication is clear: If you plan to freeze a cut of meat for a long period. salt lowers the freezing point of water. their freezing properties are poor. keep your refrigerator full. however. Is a full freezer more energy-efficient than a half-empty one? It uses less energy because frozen foods retain cold far better than does air. So if a prepared food has been presalted (most have). Air circulation is essential for helping preserve the scent and freshness of some nonfrozen items. 239 that an individual home unit freezes food as quickly as possible. Does a chest freezer have an energy-saving advantage over an upright freezer? A chest freezer will not lose as much cold air each time you open it because cold air is heavier than warm air. As a bonus. Don’t. and some of the food already in the freezer is likely to partially thaw and then refreeze. The cold air in the four- . Are there some foods that are less suitable for freezing? As people who have sprinkled salt on icy sidewalks know. Since salt pork and bacon are both fatty and salty. When possible. Fat does not freeze as well as protein or carbohydrate and consequently has a shorter freezer storage life than its two companion nutrients. because crowding prevents cold air from circulating properly. . your food will stay frozen longer in the event of a blackout. the food will not freeze as well as it would if unsalted and will thus have a shorter minimum freezer storage life. you would probably be wise to trim off all or most of its excess fat before freezing it. forming larger ice crystals in the process. add only a few room-temperature items at a time to a partially filled freezer because a large volume of unfrozen food will appreciably raise the freezer’s temperature and capability. Avoid overloading your freezer.

240 . After liquid fat and pan juices are mixed together. the principal ingredient of pan juices. to store pan juices. cold air easily cascades out of an upright freezer each time you open its fourth wall. pour them into a container. the grace pe- . cover. Why does chicken have a shorter freezer and refrigerator life than beef? It has a higher unsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio. What is the best way to store surplus pan juices? Take advantage of a basic law of nature: Fat has a lower specific density than water. This direct transformation from ice to vapor is termed sublimation and produces what cooks call freezer burn. the new kitchen science walled chest has only one avenue of escape — upward. and refrigerate. Why should I wrap meat tightly before storing it in the freezer? Freezing does not halt evaporation of the meat’s fluids. The meat’s covering should be sealed securely to prevent oxidation and to help ward off rancidity. which is temporarily in a solid state. . However. cool to near room temperature. we do not recommend removing the fat layer until you are ready to use the stored pan juices because the fat serves as a functional seal that helps prevent bacteria and foreign odors from reaching the juices as they sit in your refrigerator. it only retards it. Unsaturated (especially polyunsaturated) fats are more prone to oxidation. In contrast. When the fat layer has solidified. if the entire surface of the meat is not carefully covered with a moisture-proof (or at least moisture-resistant) wrap. Therefore. the fat — because of its lower specific density — gradually rises to form a distinct upper layer. while the pan juices settle. the door. will evaporate. because oxygen molecules can more easily bind with their molecules. you can easily remove it. some of the food’s water. and therefore rancidity. Although the fat in any meat will eventually become rancid if stored long enough. leaving the pan juices behind. Therefore.

Though harmless in small doses. Why should aluminum foil not be used to wrap food that is to be frozen? Aluminum foil usually helps maintain a food’s temperature — whether high or low — because it retards the transfer of heat from the food to its surroundings and vice versa. A tight wrapping also helps prevent the meat from absorbing freezer odors. when keeping a food cold — perhaps for a picnic lunch — face the shiny side outward so it can reflect radiant heat away from the food. forming a powdery white substance on the surface of the foil and food. It could . you can preserve heat by facing the shiny surface of the foil inward toward the hot food. plastic storage . you can profit in other ways from its properties. Why does chocolate sometimes develop a white discoloration? The bloom (as this discoloration is called) is almost always caused by improper storage and is usually one of two substances. If serving must be delayed. Some examples: A food. first cover the exposed food with plastic wrap. By the same token. a food protected by foil will retain heat and not freeze as quickly as it would in. in aluminum foil. Because a shiny surface reflects radiant heat. you can keep a hot food warm longer. say. or section of a food. Thus. 241 riod is certainly long enough for normal requirements if the food is kept solidly frozen and not exposed to excess oxygen. If you want to take advantage of the storage virtues of aluminum foil. or a cold food cool. Why should I not wrap salty or acidic foods in aluminum foil? Salt and acids react chemically with aluminum. this coating is undesirable in terms of flavor and cosmetic appeal. Although aluminum foil is not the best choice for freezing. can be wrapped with foil for slow thawing. .

The vegetable’s own enzymes are largely responsible for that transformation. slightly unripe fruits are better than ripe ones. most vegetables should be blanched before they are frozen. When it comes to freezing. flavor. This technique deactivates enzymes and blocks oxidation. In fact. on the other hand. the moisture extracts sugar from the mixture’s interior. However. such as ascorbic acid or sugar syrup. a more effective alternative to blanching fruit is to preserve color. Or it could be sugar that was drawn to the surface by the condensation of a loosely wrapped. Why is sugar syrup customarily added to frozen fruits? Fruits are also candidates for blanching as they. . and taste take place in a vegetable that is left out on a table or in the refrigerator. refrigerated chocolate mixture. before freezing. For this reason. the bloom is unaesthetic but harmless. and the temperature in most home and commercial freezers is not below 0°F. Some cooks choose to boil or steam their vegetables as they would before serving. are susceptible to deterioration caused by enzymes. color. However. the new kitchen science be cocoa fat that rose to the surface of a solid chocolate mixture that was stored too long at room temperature. The extremely cold temperatures of freezing slow down the changes but do not completely stop them. too. The process involves partially cooking the food in boiling water or steam for up to several minutes. In either case. inactivates enzymes and sets color and flavor. texture. blanching is preferable to full cooking because it does less damage to the vegetable’s texture. and taste. texture. and nutrients by adding an antioxidant. and sugar’s sweetening power helps mask the acidic flavor in un- . Extreme heat.242 . Why must vegetables be blanched before freezing? Obvious changes in color. Sugar also serves at least two other important functions. some enzymatic activity has been observed at minus 100°F.

making the texture mushy when the mixture thaws. However. . On the one hand. 243 ripe fruits. Thawing in the refrigerator can take as little as several hours for a thin steak or as much as several days for a colossal turkey. If meat must be defrosted quickly and is a little too thick to risk thawing at room temperature. How can I tell whether a wrapped piece of meat sitting in the butcher’s display case has been frozen? A large pool of juices in the tray package is probably a result of the rupturing of cell walls caused by freezing. because the time it takes to thaw is not long enough to pose a health risk. Sometimes the cook does not have the time to defrost meat in the refrigerator and must leave it out at room temperature. rapid thawing — if done properly — reduces the threat of bacterial storage . rapid thawing causes more of the meat’s juices to be lost and more deterioration in texture. the cook faces what seems to be a contradiction. The problem can be resolved by transferring the meat from the freezer to the refrigerator. Sugar also lowers the freezing point and thus helps prevent the formation of large ice crystals that could rupture the fruits’ cell walls and membranes. This usually doesn’t present a problem if the meat is a thin cut. place it in a tightly . where the temperature is high enough for the meat to thaw and cold enough to allow the process to progress at a slow pace while preventing bacteria in and on the meat from increasing dangerously. Why are certain methods better than others for thawing meat? Two primary aims when thawing are to minimize damage caused by the ice crystals melting in the meat and to avoid bacterial contamination as the meat’s temperature rises. On the other. Punctured cells are undesirable because flavorful juices would seep out. But the surface of a thick piece of meat will completely thaw long before the inside and therefore affords ample opportunity for bacterial growth.

the new kitchen science sealed waterproof bag and leave it in a tub or sink filled with cold water. We don’t recommend thawing meat (especially a thick cut) in a microwave oven. Generally. state). We do not mean to suggest that foods should be randomly thawed and refrozen. especially since the injuries a food suffers during freezing and thawing make it more vulnerable to deterioration. but not the solid. the resulting textural damage would certainly discourage future sales. The frozen-food company also wanted to prevent customers from encouraging bacterial growth by subjecting the product to room temperatures for extended periods of time. Business logic stood behind his decision. Is it safe to refreeze a food? Yes. and the misapprehension quickly spread. or that has been no warmer than 40°F and has been out of the freezer for no more than 24 to 48 hours. only to return it there after deciding it wasn’t needed. keep it securely wrapped as a precaution against moisture loss and contamination from the environment. Birdseye did not want to be held responsible for any mishandling once the product reached the consumer’s hands. you can safely refreeze a food that still has ice crystals. The only detrimental effect will be the one normally associated with freezing. if the food is not dangerously contaminated at the time of refreezing and is handled properly afterward. The “do not refreeze” warning gained its prominence when Clarence Birdseye. Wherever you choose to thaw meat. . Shellfish and dishes con- . Caution should always be exercised. the father of the frozen-vegetable industry. included the phrase on his company’s packages.244 . Some food writers interpreted the “do not refreeze” recommendation as a not-to-be-questioned health precaution. If the customer repeatedly removed a package from the freezer. a loss in texture and flavor — and it may be amplified. The meat’s exterior will be mushy and overcooked long before the meat’s interior begins to thaw (a microwave oven can heat molecules in the liquid.

245 taining cream are among the foods that are particularly susceptible to bacterial storage . The temperatures of the topmost (or foremost) refrigerated packages are occasionally higher than they should be. This is too often a sign that the frozen food has thawed to some extent at least once before you saw it. Should I think twice about buying a frost-coated package of frozen vegetables? Yes. We’ve also observed a similar problem for refrigerated items like meat and milk that are stored in open display units. Onions. its existence portends deterioration. as is the case with oranges and bananas. because if one package inside a shipping container has thawed. Sometimes thawing occurs in the store’s display unit. then chances are that some of the contiguous packages have also. Like animals. which accelerates the ripening of the bananas. Are certain foods natural storage enemies? Yes. some storage relationships are symbiotic. should never be stored with potatoes — they emit gases that negatively alter the flavor of the potatoes. This condition reduces storage life and probably creates a health hazard now and then. However. . they breathe in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. they should not be refrozen once they have thoroughly thawed. in an airtight environ- . Our research in several dozen supermarkets indicates that the surface temperatures of the topmost frozen-food packages in open display units are sometimes above 32°F. But even if the ice crystals are caused by moisture from another package. Why should you not store fruits and vegetables in sealed. Oranges give off ethylene gas. In most cases. Eventually. Moral: Select deep. The source of the frost is usually moisture that has escaped from the food inside the package. airtight bags? Fruits and vegetables are alive. for example.

This moisture shortens the dried herb’s storage life. and a cold beverage will gradually gain heat from the environment in the same way. and nutrients. they will use up all the available oxygen and suffocate. forcing the refrigerator to work longer to cool to the desired temperature. the new kitchen science ment. Damaged cells spell loss in color. In winter. less moisture flows in because the room air is drier and you don’t open the door as frequently for ice cubes and cool drinks. Why should I not refrigerate jars of dried herbs? Condensation forms inside the cold jar each time you open the container in the room-temperature kitchen. Their solution is counterproductive. . Can a person cool a room by leaving the refrigerator door open? We hear stories about people doing this when their air conditioner breaks down on a sweltering day. Why do I have to defrost my refrigerator less in the winter than in the summer? The frost buildup comes primarily from the moisture-laden air that flows into the refrigerator each time you open it. texture.246 . Few people realize how much heat is expelled through the refrigerator’s rear exhaust vent. Delaying the defrosting chore can be expensive in this day of high energy costs. The coating insulates the tubing. The room gets warmer because a refrigerator is not a 100 percent–efficient machine — it produces more heat than coldness. Why does a vacuum storage bottle maintain the temperature of beverages better than a thermal bottle? The heat of a stored hot beverage is mainly lost to the colder air around it through conduction. . A thermal or a vacuum bottle retards the transfer of heat (in either direction) between food and its surroundings by placing a poor heat-conducting medium between the two. flavor.

it better preserves the texture. After death. Why is a pressure cooker a must for most home canning? To kill the bacteria that can produce the deadly botulism toxin in low-acid canned foods. It follows that the lower the glycogen . startled. (Just in case there is any confusion. Consequently. afraid.) A thermal storage bottle does have a convincing selling point: It is less breakable. any conversion that occurred will shorten the meat’s storage life. color. 247 The basic difference between the vacuum and thermal storage bottles is the chosen storage . a substance that retards bacterial growth. If a mammal (or fish) is agitated. With a vacuum bottle. the medium is a solid material that is a poor conductor of heat. Because a pressure cooker can reach a temperature of about 250°F. Or you can use a pressure cooker. flavor. the thermal method. its body automatically starts to convert the carbohydrate glycogen stored in its tissues into sugar for quick energy. However. a process that cooks the food to death before it kills the bacteria. thus increasing its chances for survival. you have two options. the medium is a near-vacuum that is hermetically sealed between the unit’s inner and outer glass liners. This natural biological reaction gives the animal greater strength to fight or take flight. allow us to point out that the Thermos brand employs a vacuum and not. a pragmatic consideration when the user is a lunch-toting child. and nutrients of the food by appreciably shortening the required cooking time. . the vacuum bottle more efficiently impedes heat transference — and this capability is most pronounced when storing a hot beverage. Does an animal’s state of mind during its final hours affect the storage life of meat? Yes. should the animal die. or otherwise psychologically disturbed. the glycogen remaining in the muscles converts into lactic acid. as its name suggests. aroma. but not as poor as a near-vacuum. In the case of the thermal bottle. You can cook the food at or near the boiling point for a ridiculously long time.

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level, the less lactic acid is produced, and therefore the shorter the amount of time the meat will stay fresh. Every experienced deer hunter has heard the so-called chestnut that the venison will be more tender if the arrow or bullet is well targeted, slaying the animal instantly. This advice is not only humane but also sound, because if the deer struggles, runs, and enters a state of shock before dying, it will use up much of the glycogen in its muscles. When this happens, the venison meat cannot safely be hung for very long, and therefore it will not become as tender as it should be. For the same reasons, modern slaughterhouses kill — be it with an electric probe or whatever — with such surprise and swiftness that an animal barely has time to contemplate its fate. Some slaughterhouses go one step further and try to maintain an environment that is as serene as possible for the animal.


health and nutrition

How many microbes live in a speck of dirt? Scientists estimate that a speck of dirt could contain millions of microbes. Good reason for thoroughly washing an apple, celery stick, and any other fruit or vegetable you intend to eat raw. What is the single greatest cook-induced source of bacterial contamination in the kitchen? Usually it’s the humble can opener. Although many cooks wash their cutting board surface dutifully after each use, they forget to do the same to the can opener. Even if just one tiny food particle sticks to the blade, it can make an excellent medium for pathogenic microorganisms. These bacteria have ample time to multiply by the time the cook uses the can opener the next day. Why should you not set a hot pot on a butcher block or other cutting surface? The primary harm is usually not damage to the cutting board surface but an increase in bacterial contamination. The board absorbs heat from the pot and can retain it for up to 30 minutes. During

. 249

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this time, any pathogenic bacteria that are on the board will multiply faster than if the board were at room temperature. How fast do bacteria multiply? In an ideal environment, a bacteria cell can divide approximately every 20 minutes. The accompanying table illustrates the proliferation results over a 10-hour period. Of course, these are theoretical, not real-world results, as bacteria sometimes divide slower than expected. But imagine what would happen if the stew started off, as is possible, with thousands upon thousands of bacteria cells. And some bacteria do more than divide. They produce toxins that can kill you or make you seriously sick.
Bacterial Growth in a Single Bacteria Cell Dividing Every 20 Minutes in a Meat Stew Left Out Overnight Time Bacterial Count

9:00 p.m. 10:00 p.m. 11:00 p.m. 12:00 a.m. 1:00 a.m. 2:00 a.m. 3:00 a.m. 4:00 a.m. 5:00 a.m. 6:00 a.m.

1 8 64 512 4,000 32,000 262,000 2,000,000 16,000,000 134,000,000

How do some outdoor grillers unwittingly contaminate their cooked food? They transfer raw meat from the kitchen to the grill on a dish. Later they bring the cooked meat to the table on the same dish without first washing it. How does trichinosis attack the body? You can contract this disease when you eat pork or pork products that contain the live worms, round in shape and microscopic in

health and nutrition .



size, that are called trichinae. Although most people associate trichinosis with pig meat only, other animal flesh, including deer and bear, can also be contaminated. After you eat infected meat, the parasites lodge and reproduce in your intestines. Their larvae enter the bloodstream, travel to your muscles, and, while growing there, cause pain, fever, muscle deterioration, and sometimes death. Trichinosis is not found around the entire globe. Southeast Asians eat raw pork, and Europeans consume raw hams — for example, the celebrated prosciutto of Parma — without dire health consequences. In the United States, the medical profession nowadays sees relatively few cases of trichinosis, owing to increased public awareness and the widespread adoption of precautionary measures. For instance, garbage — favored by trichinae and pigs — is now cooked before it is fed to the animals. Most municipalities have instituted laws requiring that butchers within their jurisdiction use a separate meat grinder for pork, or that they sterilize the grinder before changing from pork to nonpork. In this way, the chance of contaminating other foods is minimal or nil. Government standards help assure the consumer that cured ham and precooked sausages produced by responsible meat processors are free of trichinae. Today chicken meat is 1,000 times more likely to be contaminated with harmful bacteria than pork with the trichinae worm parasite. Still, whenever you eat any other American-produced pork, it is wise to assume that it contains live Today chicken trichinae, even though the actual chances meat is 1,000 that this is so are incredibly small. Why play what amounts to Russian roulette in the times more likely kitchen? Remember that a government into be contamispection seal is no protection against trichinated with harmnosis because the examiners do not check for ful bacteria than the microscopic worms. Take the same prepork with the cautions that your butcher should: Never trichinae worm taste-test uncooked pork mixtures. Always parasite thoroughly wash your hands and any utensil

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that touches raw pork with hot water and soap or detergent. If you grind the pork, sterilize the machine with boiling water afterward. See chapter 3 (p. 64) for cooking instructions regarding trichinosis. Is an uncooked canned ham trichinosis-proof? Federal law dictates that all ham must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 140°F before being canned. Since a temperature of 137°F kills the deleterious parasites, a can of ham is not a threat, whether labeled uncooked or fully cooked. (The latter must be cooked by the processor to a minimum interior temperature of 148°F.) What causes botulism? A person can be stricken with botulism after ingesting the toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The bacterium can form the toxin only in the absence of oxygen, so canned goods and products like meat that are wrapped in airtight casings are potential sources of botulism. The pernicious toxin is more likely to be generated in low-acid food, such as mushrooms, peas, corn, or beans, than in a high-acid food like tomatoes. However, some new tomato hybrids are not acidic enough to prevent the bacteria from creating the toxin, so home canners beware. Food destined for canning must be heated to a temperature high enough, and for periods long enough, to kill any toxin-producing bacteria present. If toxins have developed in a food that has been stored under anaerobic conditions, they can be made innocuous by boiling the food for 30 minutes. Nevertheless, any suspect food product — such as one with a swollen can or jar lid — should be discarded untasted. Botulism symptoms include malfunctioning of the nervous system. Vision, speech, and swallowing are impaired. Death results in cases where the respiratory muscles are paralyzed. There is an antiserum, but there is a catch to its use: It is most

health and nutrition .



beneficial when given before the patient’s symptoms are apparent, and most people have no idea that they have eaten contaminated food until they are physically affected. Once a person does exhibit symptoms, quick diagnosis and treatment is crucial to survival. What causes staphylococcal poisoning? “Staph,” as this common food-borne disease is nicknamed, is caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. That microorganism creates the toxin most readily in the 40° to 120°F temperature zone, particularly in low-acid foods. Custard-filled foods are notorious sources of staph. Such foods should not be left out of the refrigerator for long. For the record, mayonnaise has been given a bum rap: It’s not the underlying reason chicken and other mayonnaise-dressed salads become contaminated under the hot sun at picnics. In fact, the relatively high salt and vinegar-lemon content of commercially prepared mayonnaise slows down bacterial growth. The real culprits are low-acid ingredients such as the chicken. (Please note, however, that homemade mayonnaise usually is too low in acid and salinity to retard the bacterial growth.) What are other major food-borne bacterial poisonings? Salmonella bacteria are found in many foods, including raw meat, unpasteurized milk, and uncooked eggs. The disease-producing agent is the bacterium itself and not the toxins generated. E. coli bacteria thrive in animal fecal matter on farms and can be transferred to cut-up meat in a processing plant. Shingella bacteria can also come from fecally contaminated food. Does a special anti-impurity filter attached to the kitchen sink’s water tap or pipe do more harm than good? Unless you frequently replace the filter or thoroughly clean it, you risk unsafe bacterial buildup. In some filtering systems, the bacteria multiply so rapidly that within a couple of weeks the number of microorganisms that flow into your drinking glass may exceed

the new kitchen science the quantity that would have traveled unhindered through your tap. cardiovascular. By U. Check the local facts before investing in a filter apparatus. the water gushes through the filter too quickly to trap as many microorganisms as the unwary buyer is led to expect. or in the hands of returning tourists. If used to store or cook foods (and especially highly acidic foods). This lead buildup in the body can cause damage to internal organs as well as to the immune. Some glazed kitchenware pottery that is brought into this country illegally. The type of tin cans that are sealed with lead solder are another potential source of lead poisoning. . The . and other demons as some alarmists — and filter hucksters — claim.254 . as many people believe. noncorrosive vessel. additives. but this therapeutic magic is not chiefly due to its ingredients. It is a sound policy never to store a high-acid food such as grapefruit juice in an open can. and other systems. the lead will likely migrate from the walls of the vessel to those of the diner’s stomach. The primary credit belongs to heat. Does chicken soup help cure colds? Yes. impurities. Instead. Even if a filter is changed frequently. transfer the contents to a glass jar or similar unleaded. Children can also suffer learning and behavioral disorders. law. there remains the question of the effectiveness of the various brands. Can I get lead poisoning from glazed pottery kitchenware? Each year a number of people die or become seriously ill from lead poisoning caused by the lead that leaches out of improperly glazed pottery kitchenware. falls well short of the federal standards. With most.S. glazed pottery designed for culinary use must be fired at a high enough temperature to fuse the lead component of the glaze into the container permanently. Perhaps an even more important issue is whether your water supply is as dangerously contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms.

the more fluid the mucus becomes and the more quickly it exits the respiratory tract. What you put in your body can sometimes sap the strength of certain vitamins or undermine your body’s ability to process or manufacture them. and boozehounds and sugar fiends require more of the B complex vitamins than their moderate companions. your body needs an extra supply of water to combat and flush out the microbes and unwanted byproducts. oxygen. That would be counterproductive because when you have a cold. cigarettes. Chicken soup is not the only remedy. Can diet. Another hot liquid such as a cup of tea would also serve the mucus-ridding purpose. to the point where the soup will partially dehydrate you. you will probably need to consume more than the U. 255 higher the temperature. If you do use chicken soup.S. This is beneficial because mucus harbors cold-causing microbes. Additional B complex vitamins are also recommended for people using antibiotics for extended periods of time. and for women taking birth control pills (who also need extra vitamin C). you need not offset a lack or loss of vitamins with supplementary vitamin pills. Chain smokers. Whenever this happens. hydrogen. for instance. Increasing one’s intake of fruits and vegetables usually accomplishes the same mission more and nutrition . make it from scratch. Your body . recommended daily allowance of vitamins (although these allowances are more than ample for most people). and they can be flawlessly duplicated in the laboratory. . and nitrogen. Commercial soups and bouillon cubes tend to be very salty. need extra vitamin C. However. Why are manufactured vitamins no different from natural vitamins as far as the body is concerned? Most vitamins are actually surprisingly simple configurations of basic elements such as carbon. or medication affect a person’s vitamin requirements? Yes.

One way to reduce their loss is to cook your vegetables in as little liquid as possible in order to minimize the quantity of vitamins that leach out into the cooking medium. use the leftover cooking liquid. Steaming your food in a scant amount of water. . The primary reason is that the B complex and C vitamins easily flee our bodies in our perspiration and urine. Scientists may be able to manufacture the vitamins that have so far been identified. Here lies the wisdom of drinking a daily dose of orange juice (high in vitamin C) at breakfast and eating ample portions of vegetables (high in various B vitamins and sometimes in vitamin C) for lunch and dinner. . The argument for natural vitamin supplements is faulty — although lucrative. Though your body can store the fat-soluble vitamins it needs in its fat cells for weeks. What should cooks know about water-soluble vitamins? Unlike the four fat-soluble vitamins (A. therefore. If you shop around for vitamins or vitamin-fortified foods. any vitamin supplement. Another vitaminsaving technique is to cook foods as quickly as possible. but they have neither the knowledge nor technology to manufacture all the subtle components of a complete diet. is no substitute for a balanced diet. And when you do steam (or if you must boil). ascorbic acid (synthetic vitamin C) and rose hips (natural vitamin C) because the two have an identical chemical makeup.256 . Consequently. is preferable to boiling it. However. whether natural or synthetic. the eight B vitamins and vitamin C dissolve in water. and K). Because of their water solubility. E. D. which is why Chinese woks are so highly touted by nutrition-conscious cooks. you will notice that the natural vitamins usually cost considerably more than the synthetic. you need to replenish your supply of water-soluble vitamins on a daily basis. your reserve of water-soluble vitamins is relatively short-lived. for instance. the new kitchen science cannot discern any difference between. the B complex and C vitamins leave vegetables as easily as they do your body.

However. they must select only those that are the freshest and in the best condition. Typically. When this journey is long and drawn out. . Many of their vitamins and minerals pass unused through the body because the human digestive system — unlike that of ruminant creatures — cannot sufficiently disintegrate the comparatively tough cellular walls of these vegetables and therefore cannot extract all the nutrients. as it usually is. Under these circumstances. the product found in the supermarket’s frozen-food section is often more nutritious because if food processors are going to preserve their vegetables successfully.) Is spinach more nutritious raw? Though most vegetables are more nutritious when eaten raw. where they wait until they are shipped to the supermarket. since it is impossible to peel a potato without scraping away some of the vitamin-rich pulp. it . and they must normally freeze them within hours after they have been harvested. a slow truck transports vegetables from the farm to a warehouse. the answer is a resounding yes. where they wait again until the home cook decides to use them. (A shortcoming of freezing. is that it deteriorates texture. Are most of a potato’s vitamins in the skin? Vitamins in potatoes and most other vegetables are not concentrated in the skin (as some health food faddists believe). 257 Are fresh vegetables more nutritious than frozen ones? When referring to vegetables fresh from the farm. there are exceptions. However. but in the pulp just under the skin. a frozen-food product is likely to be more nutritious than nonfrozen vegetables that have meandered along a time-consuming route from earth to palate. of course. In addition. and carrots and spinach are two. their freezing process is extremely cold and and nutrition . the vegetables lose more vitamins than if they had been fast-frozen. where they wait until a customer takes them home to the refrigerator. if not sooner.

the U. Of some twenty required amino acids. Proteins in meat have all eight essential amino acids and thus are referred to as complete protein. Because some Americans (particularly those in the so-called goiter belt in the North Central states) suffer from iodine deficiency. your thyroid gland could not manufacture thyroxine — a hormone necessary for bodily functions such as growth and the prevention of goiter. do not possess all the essential amino acids. . some medical authorities believe that if you eat a lot of seafood or food grown in iodine-rich soil (commonly associ- . and color contrast. 272) for a discussion of how vegans and traditional vegetarians obtain the eight essential amino acids. and therefore their proteins are termed incomplete. This pairing partially explains why millions of people in southern China can remain healthy on a diet consisting of a high proportion of rice (which. government encourages table salt processors to fortify their product with potassium iodide to help ensure that everyone receives enough of the mineral. with the notable exception of soybeans.) These select eight are called essential amino acids. See chapter 15 (p. texture. Which is better. Besides. and enzymes. because animal protein has a surplus of the essential amino acids that cereal grains lack. iodized or plain salt? Iodine is essential in the diet because without it. However. eat scant quantities of meat.258 . your body can manufacture all but eight of them. Vegetables. red blood cells. People who. too. the skin does have some nutrients and adds flavor. for economic or personal reasons. like other cereal grains. eggs. (Some authorities say nine.S. the new kitchen science makes sense to cook and serve it with its skin. is particularly low in the amino acid lysine) while usually eating no more than a meager serving of seafood (high in lysine). and dairy products and large portions of whole cereal grains are nutritionally safe. What is an essential amino acid? Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins that your body needs to construct and replenish tissue.

ice cream. Why does a candy bar provide a quick energy boost? Candy is rich in simple sugars that can be quickly digested and absorbed into your bloodstream. Antioxidant that can also serve as a color stabilizer and nutrient. On the negative side. gelatin. chewing gum. 259 ated with coastal areas) or drink water that has acquired the mineral from such soil. The iodine-fortified product makes more sense for people who live great distances from a seaboard. Nor does it furnish long-lasting energy. an hour or so after munching on the candy bar you may be hungry again or feel a psychological and physical letdown because of the sudden drop in your blood sugar level. The food industry uses hundreds of and nutrition . and puddings. your body must take the time to convert more complex carbohydrates (such as are found in a potato or piece of bread) into glucose before they can be used for energy. What do all the additives listed on a food package do? The accompanying chart describes briefly the principal uses of some of the additives that are most frequently listed on packages in supermarkets. . you may be overdosing on iodine if you also regularly use iodized salt. beverages. Bear in mind that our list is far from comprehensive. Helps preserve such foods as beer. Additives Listed on Nutrition Labels Additive Principal Use and Comments Acetic acid (ethyl acetate) Flavoring agent found naturally in many fruits. too many to itemize in this book. frozen Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) . bread dough. In contrast. liquor. Synthetic version is used in baked goods. so you may feel an extra lift soon after eating a candy bar. a typical candy bar consists of empty calories and does not provide your metabolism with valuable vitamins and minerals. We had to be selective.

Produced both naturally (in citrus fruits and berries) and synthetically. cheese. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) Similar to BHT (see below) in function and use. and ice cream. Often found in coffee creamers. Prevents loss of redness in cured meats and provides a source of vitamin C in drinks and breakfast foods. Derived from seaweed. jelly. Used as a fruit flavor in such products as candy. sodium caseinate Citric acid. and milk. Found in foods such as breads. and sour cream. Also used to stabilize oil-water mixtures and foam in beer. pies. Commonly used in foods such as breakfast cereals. snacks. Used as antioxidants and flavoring agents. is considered less of a health risk. Nutritious proteins used to thicken and bleach. jellies. and vegetable cooking oils. carbonated beverages. Calcium. Calcium also acts as a diet supplement. sodium citrate . cakes. . cottage cheese. sausages. spices. BHA. frozen custard. chewing gum. Antioxidant for retarding rancidity in fat and oils. therefore a natural additive. rolls. however. potato chips. Some people experience allergic reactions. the new kitchen science fruit. ice cream. sodium propionate Carrageenan (Irish moss) Casein. cake mixes.260 . poultry stuffing. Preservatives used to fight the growth of mold and bacteria. and ice milk. ice cream. Primarily used as a thickening agent in such foods as coffee creamers.

See p. They also stabilize beer foam. . pickles. Primarily used as firming agents in prepared food. including arabic. guar. margarine. This process changes most of the polyunsaturated oil to saturated fat. Used in processing evaporated milk. It is used nowadays in many processed foods. karaya. gravy and sauce mixes. and prevent the formation of crystals on ice cream and candy. Frequently used in carbonated drinks. Cranberries and prunes naturally contain this additive. and salad dressings. 261 Disodium phosphate Chelating agent (traps trace amounts of metal ions that would lead to spoiling and color loss). jams. act as emulsifiers in salad dressings. When hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil. The protein is then more easily digested. Commonly found in canned chili. pork products. ghatti. . a new solid compound is created. and sauces and as an emulsifier in various cheeses. Composed of vegetable protein. Gums (various and nutrition . 181. which has been broken down chemically into amino acids. preserves. Natural thickeners and stabilizers. Hydrogenated vegetable oil products include margarine and shortening. locust bean. and tragacanth) Hydrogenated vegetable oil Hydrolized vegetable protein (HVP) Monosodium glutamate (MSG) Sodium benzoate Preservative that fights the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms in acidic foods. frankfurters. Used to enhance the flavor of food. and instant soups.

. are all forms of sugar. lactose. calories. Sodium chloride Sodium nitrate. soups. can the food still contain sugar? Keep an eye out for the suffix “-ose. Found in most cured meats. salami. Used to flavor and preserve a wide range of processed foods. Sugars are used as sweetening and sometimes preserving agents. and sucrose. sodium nitrite Sorbic acid. the new kitchen science Sodium bisulfate. bacterial growth in such foods as baked goods. dried fruits. . for instance. corn syrup.262 . and sausages. maltose. Can produce carcinogenic nitrosamines when combined with natural food substances called amines. As explained in chapter 9. potassium sorbate Sugar If the word “sugar” is absent from the ingredients list on a label. and wine. they also have no nutrients. there is little nutritional difference among the various types of sugar — all provide empty calories. Chemical name for salt. Destroys vitamin B1 (thiamine) in food. ham. the world’s number-one additive. including bacon. fructose. dried fruits. See next Q&A. if any. and wine. bologna. soft drinks. sulfur dioxide Preservatives and antibrowning agents used in beverages. frankfurters. syrup. dehydrated potatoes. mayonnaise. Preservatives and coloring agents used to inhibit the growth of botulism-producing bacteria. While artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol and saccharin have few. Naturally and synthetically produced. to some extent. cheese. Prevents mold and.” Dextrose.

Unfortunately. also known as roughage or bulk. Dieters should also be aware that most fiber passes through the body without being absorbed. fruits. 263 Why does sugar cause tooth decay? Sugar is food for plaque-residing bacteria colonies. refers to the undigestible carbohydrates found in whole cereal grains. and and nutrition . too. The degree of decay is dependent more on how long the sugar remains in contact with the bacteria colonies than on the amount of sugar consumed. It can cause intestinal gas and hinder your body’s ability to absorb certain minerals. These undigestible substances facilitate digestion and elimination by carrying other waste products along with them as they leave the digestive tract and by absorbing fluids that make wastes soft enough for easy passage. seeds. fiber’s chewy texture and heaviness create a full feeling. Why do I need fiber in my diet? Fiber. some weight-conscious people do not consume enough fiber because they mistakenly believe that carbohydrates per se are fattening. it is believed to help rid the digestive tract of some fats and carbohydrates that otherwise would eventually be absorbed into the body. Without adequate fiber. Fiber-conscious Americans and inhabitants of other countries where highly refined foods glut the market usually must strive to consume enough fiber. legumes. Second. Too much fiber is bad. The latter substance helps bind the sugar to the tooth. it can help keep weight down in two distinct ways. First. They convert the sugar into acid that corrodes tooth enamel. and rectum on a deficiency of fiber in the diet. colon. making you less tempted to satisfy yourself with refined high-calorie foods. . and according to medical evidence. Many doctors lay partial blame for various malfunctions and diseases of the bowel. causing tooth decay. the intestines and bowel work sluggishly. a pure caramel candy usually does less damage than a sugary cookie made with starch. How much is . For this reason. and the wastes that result from the digestive process remain in your system longer than they should. vegetables.

Some diners take antacid pills to relieve heartburn because their alkaline ingredient helps neutralize the acid. our body probably needs some nutrients that food scientists know nothing or little about. Why are fast eaters more prone to stomachaches? Food gobblers increase their chances of heartburn in two ways. Moreover. One should not use this remedy on a steady basis. their stomachs are forced to release extra acidic digestive juices to break down the abnormally large pieces. Most chronic heartburn sufferers know that high-acid foods can trigger the condition. such a diet reduces the magnitude of exposure to unwholesome substances such as toxins and pathogenic microorganisms that any single food might harbor. It’s not common knowledge that fatty foods can also activate heartburn. It dilutes the acid. Likewise. First. Belching typically follows. . . The rising air sends acidic digestive juices flying up to the esophagus. they swallow a lot of air. since wolfers don’t have time to chew their food into easily digestible pieces. Second. A frequently overlooked remedy is a glass of plain water. A varied diet also lessens the possibility of consuming an unhealthy amount of any single nutrient. because antacid pills alter the body’s acid-base balance. they relax a valve in the esophagus that normally prevents the acidic gastric juices from backing up into the esophagus. too.264 . however. The type of food matters. This added acid can cause heartburn. A diet rich in variety therefore stands a better chance of providing all the necessary nutrients. the new kitchen science too much fiber? Some experts recommend a maximum of about 35 grams per day for the average adult male. Indirectly. What is the theory behind eating a varied diet? Science has identified over 40 different essential nutrients — and no one food ingredient offers them all. without seeking medical advice. So can alcohol and coffee — and lying down after a meal.

contains only four food calories (energy) per gram. does the body need fat? Wouldn’t it be simpler if the body used glycogen exclusively for its energy reserve? Glycogen has a shortcoming. the body would need to carry around 9 pounds of glycogen. What are the chances of regaining the pounds you lose on a diet? Unfortunately. That’s an extra 5-pound burden.15 diets we’ve included this chapter because cooks play a major role in determining the success of weight-reduction and other diets. then. Why do humans and other animals have fat? The body’s fuel is glucose (sugar). the news isn’t encouraging. like protein. Converting fat into glucose. Special diets are also discussed elsewhere. contains nine calories per gram. including in the cholesterol-related items in chapter 10. 265 . To substitute glycogen for 4 pounds of fat. Most people seeking to lose 10 or more pounds on a weight-loss diet will regain most or . It’s a carbohydrate that. Why. Converting glycogen into the needed glucose is a relatively fast process. in contrast. is considerably slower and more complex. however. It is stored as glycogen (for quick energy) and fat (for longer-term needs). Fat.

266 . the weight watcher is elated during the first few days of his diet. Several days into the diet. the real goal. including the glycogen stored in the liver. Then the rate of loss dramatically decreases or vanishes. salt plays a major role in the noticeable weight loss dur- . the body begins to convert water-plentiful muscle tissue into the needed glucose. when the body discovers that it doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to convert into glucose for energy it goes to reserve sources. the lower your basal metabolic rate. If your “no gain. the body smartens up — it stops consuming its own muscles and switches to stored body fat for its energy source. Can a successful dieter return to his old weight-maintaining calorie intake? The less you weigh. no loss” calorie intake level was 2. the new kitchen science all of the lost weight within a year or two. not fat loss. exercise regularly. . Second. His scale shows a dramatic weight loss. for several reasons.000 calories before you lost weight. What few dieters realize is that much of the initial decrease is due to water loss. And some of these people will eventually end up weighing more than they did when they started their diets. Third. Dieters usually lose a lot of water through urination during the first few days. and learn to make healthy food choices. First. The consensus of leading independent weightloss authorities boils down the secrets of success into three simple caveats: Don’t eat more calories than your body burns. At that point. the body loses water when the glycogen is used. far less water is lost as calories are burned. Since water is stored with this glycogen. Why do so many people end their weight-reducing diets several days after they begin? Typically. Discouragement sets in and motivation wanes. Since far less water is stored with fat than with glycogen or muscle tissue. that intake level would now be too high to maintain your new weight. the body continues to lose water even after the available glycogen is depleted.

) Chances are that the food you ate yesterday was inordinately salty.same number of calories you normally tention to your scale during do. This lowers fast weigh yourself. How are food calories measured? When food scientists say an apple has 100 calories. However.000 times greater than the normal calorie. If the first few days. Once you’ve been on your diet for several days.the low-salt experiment. the one commonly used in physics and chemistry.000 calories for a 3-pound gain. Before breakalso be reduced. they are specifying the potential energy (heat) that the apple can generate as it passes through the body. Go back to a normal salt intake and the extra pounds will be eliminated within a couple of days. either eat a lot of heavily salted foods or go on a lowpacity. which would increase the quantity of water your body retains.mainder of the day. try to consume the a diet. don’t pay too much at. you would have to consume an extra 3. Next morning weigh yourself.500 calories for each gained pound — that adds up to over 10.2 pounds) of water by 1°C at 1 atmospheric pressure. did you lose a pound or so? term progress of your diet against your third-day weight. Measure the long. Each food calorie is equal to the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram (1 liter or 2. Today’s salt intake can appreciably afhis salt intake will probably fect tomorrow’s weight. The lion’s you did the high-salt experiment. so a food calorie is 1. don’t necessarily be disheartened if one morning the scales report that you’ve gained two or three pounds overnight. for the rethe body’s water-retention ca. Since Try This Weight Lossa dieter usually reduces the Gain Experiment quantity of food (especially junk food) he normally eats. So. This calculation is based on a kilogram rather than a gram. did share of any weight drop will you gain a pound or two? If you did be water.diets . . Then. 267 ing the first few days. (For it to be fat. the next time you begin salt diet. The gain is mostly water. .

thinking. Don’t conclude.325 calories. Calories you consume beyond the basal metabolic. that this fat person needs twice as many calories. digesting. including breathing. in addition. however. need extra calories for growing. physical activity. and perform other functions. circulating blood. the average fat person burns fewer calories than the average thin person. a fat person has a higher fat-to-muscle ratio. a fat person is typically less active than a thin person. replacing cells. pump blood. First. These are the calories the body burns for basic life-support processes. For instance. Do fat people need more calories than thin people to maintain their weight? A 300-pound fat person burns more calories than does a 150pound thin person because he requires more energy to move his body weight around. This means he needs fewer calories be- . Second.268 . the typical per hour calorie expenditure rate beyond the basal metabolic rate is practically zero for watching TV. 400 for leisurely cycling. the average woman roughly 1. In addition. he has a thick adipose fat layer. your body needs calories for physical activity. which insulates the body. Sensitive instruments measure the amount of energy generated by the burning food. and growing requirements are converted to body fat. and 600 for moderate-paced jogging. 300 for casual walking. and maintaining body temperature. How many calories do we need? The average man burns roughly 1. On a pound-for-pound basis. . Third. These basal metabolic functions take place even if one is sitting perfectly still.700 calories per day for basal metabolism. a sealed compartment in which a specific weight of food is completely burned. Children. the new kitchen science Scientists calculate the food-calorie value with devices such as the bomb calorimeter. 500 for unhurried swimming. reducing heat loss and therefore reducing the number of calories needed to regulate body temperature. for three reasons.

269 cause fat cells require fewer calories than protein-rich muscle tissue to function and survive.500 calories per day is just what a male needs to maintain his weight. males needed quick energy for combat and pursuing prey.diets . In fact. A pound is a pound. Hormonal differences between the sexes are partially responsible — so is the difference between their bodies’ fat-to–lean muscle ratios. which is more efficiently stored in the buttocks and thighs than in the abdomen. it would be unhealthy. (As explained earlier. because your body needs a certain amount of water for vital functions such as flushing out toxins and other waste byproducts.) Why do men tend to gain abdominal fat and women buttock and thigh fat? Abdominal fat quickly releases its energy faster than buttock and thigh fat. Never dehydrate yourself. Though you could shed an extra pound or two of water with tactics such as drinking only a modicum of water each day. the same number of calories would likely cause a female of the identical weight to gain extra pounds. This ratio is higher for females. you will probably need to increase your water intake because dieters usually produce more waste byproducts than nondieters — the . A female requires fewer calories on a pound-for-pound basis because her basal metabolic rate is slower than a male’s. . fat burns calories at a slower rate than does lean muscle tissue. Does a woman require fewer calories than a man of the same weight? If 2. They needed to store ample fat for pregnancy and nursing. so what’s wrong with losing water? Don’t be motivated or discouraged by water-related fluctuations. In the early days of humankind. They remain in the body unless the kidney has sufficient water to flush them out. Females were gatherers. not fighters and hunters.

according to studies. many more calories than they really need. and they will remain with him for life. It takes about 20 minutes for this signal to reach the brain. leaving them with an uncomfortable. Our blood glucose receptors perceive this change and signal the brain that the body has consumed enough food. his fat cells do increase in number. Should a weight watcher skip breakfast? Some dieters do. it’s easy to pass the point of satiation without realizing it. when an infant is overfed. This problem is especially acute for fast eaters. Will overfeeding a baby dramatically increase his chances of being an obese adult? An adult’s fat cells won’t increase in number if he overeats. bloated feeling. If they had chewed and eaten slowly. Therefore. our blood glucose levels rise temporarily. When he reaches adulthood. His body would require 10 percent fewer calories than he . Within the 20minute duration. . Should the elderly eat less than they did during their prime? Suppose a person weighed and exercised the same at 65 as he did at 25.270 . Your body will then burn calories at a slower rate than if you had eaten breakfast. He grows fatter because his existing fat cells increase in size. Why should weight watchers eat slowly? When we eat. However. he’ll have a greater capacity to “balloon out” because his body has more fat cells that can expand. they wouldn’t have ingested as much food by the time the brain transmitted the “full” signal. but they do not save as many calories as they may think. they can consume a lot of food. the new kitchen science extra byproducts are formed when the body converts stored fat into energy. Skipping breakfast (or any meal) lowers your basal metabolic rate.

Nor does protein prohelp build muscles vide fuel for the muscles — carbohydrates as much as eating and fats do that.diets . increasing the risk of clotting. either in their foods or from salt tablets. What should an athlete eat before training or competing? He should avoid fats because they take up to six hours to digest. but eating an in the form of excessive amount of protein. doesn’t build muscles as much as eating complex carbohydrates does. that they may have enjoyed in their earlier years. Eating an excessive amount of Is the “big. juicy steak” diet valid for athletes? protein. The need for vitamins and other essential nutrients does not decline as much as an older person’s caloric requirements. Proteins are digested more quickly but should be limited because . A meat-rich diet. He burns fewer calories. whether in the meat or suppleform of meat or supplements. Worse. To be sure. Their regular diet usually provides sufficient salt for their needs. perhaps. it could thicken the blood. For health’s sake. Consequently. A senior citizen also needs fewer calories because his basal metabolic rate has decreased. the aged have little room in their diets for the empty-calorie foods. howdrates does ever. whether Some athletes still think so. isn’t going to do anything dramatic except. raise his serum cholesterol level or damage his kidneys. they must make every calorie count. Body fat requires less energy than protein-rich muscle. partially because his fat-to-muscle ratio decreased as he grew older. Consuming extra salt could be dehydrating and upset the stomach. . 271 did in his youth. the athlete complex carbohyneeds some protein. such as sugar and alcohol. doesn’t help ments. Does an athlete need to put extra salt in his food? Few athletes need extra salt.

etc. Vegetarian Diet Variations Traditional vegetarian Vegan (pronounced vee-ghen) Avoids animal products but may consume dairy and eggs. The carbohydrates should be the complex. eggs. the Jains sect in India goes beyond the traditional vegetarian diet. milk. They disallow root vegetables (includ- . A carbo-loading meal should be consumed several hours before the activity. variety. for example. the new kitchen science they increase the body’s need for water. They are digested the fastest and can be converted into quickenergy glycogen. For example. yogurt. which are permitted.272 . Does not eat any animal product — including fish. the digestive system saps some of the body energy needed by the muscles. dehydrates and increases insulin production. Diet is identical to that of a lacto-vegetarian with the exception of eggs. butter. each with its own set of dos and don’ts. a vegan does not wear or otherwise use animal products — including wool sweaters and leather shoes. Sugar. . In addition. How do vegetarian diets differ? Four of the best-known vegetarian diets are briefly described in the accompanying table. not the simple. Follows the restrictions of a traditional vegetarian except for one: A lacto-vegetarian consumes dairy products.). and dairy products (cheese. Carbohydrates are the best bet. Lacto-vegetarian Lacto-ovo vegetarian Many other vegetarian diets exist. If the athlete eats a heavy meal or doesn’t give the food time to digest.

They can instead plan a meal consisting of foods that collectively contain the essential eight. Lacto and lacto-ovo vegetarians need not be as concerned about consuming their required share of complete protein because dairy products and eggs contain all eight essential amino acids. causing the ulcers. Should an ulcer sufferer eat more frequently? Ulcers are more likely to act up on an empty stomach. Does the menstrual cycle influence calorie intake? Dieting females should watch their portion and calorie count with extra attention during the 10 days after ovulation. Thus. fats. 273 ing carrots) out of concern that pulling or digging up a vegetable might harm insects living in the soil. so trying to keep at least some food in the stomach makes sense.diets . Spices. There is one salient condition. one does not have to eat meat or dairy products to obtain all the amino acids the body cannot produce. The two must usually be eaten at the same meal. however. These juices eat away areas of the stomach lining. Bland foods work best. Studies show that females tend to consume about 500 calories more per day during that span than they do during the 10 days preceding ovulation. the traditional peasant dish of rice and beans or the American Indian mixture of lima beans and corn (succotash) are good sources of protein. . coffee. and alcohol exacerbate the condition. Is it easy for vegetarians to consume all the eight essential amino acids? Fortunately for vegans and traditional vegetarians. Gastric ulcers occur and are aggravated when an excess quantity of acidic digestive juices build up in the stomach. So does stress. Whole cereal grains and legumes are the most famous of such complementary foods whose proteins add up to form a complete source. .

. which can undermine the benefits of anticoagulant drugs. the new kitchen science Do some foods lessen the effect of pharmaceutical drugs? When given a prescription. Some do. For example. it’s a good idea to ask your physician or pharmacist whether certain foods could sap the drug’s therapeutic value.274 . spinach is rich in vitamin K. .

of the foods that you thought you could “identify blindfolded. if any. Over 75 percent of what we discern as taste is really smell. and let a friend give you unidentified samples of familiar foods such as raw apples and onions. The odor molecules reach your olfactory receptors through a hidden passageway (located behind your palate) that connects your oral and nasal cavities. Think about how food “tastes” bland when you have a cold.16 potpourri Does smell play a more dominant role than taste in taste perception? Very much so. Another way to demonstrate how taste buds receive more credit than they are due is to close your eyes.” Why are smells so fleeting? An enzyme decreases the olfactory receptors’ ability to recognize an odor once it has been detected to better detect the next new . 275 . Chances are you will instantly recognize few. The chief reason it does is that mucus blocks many of the food odors from reaching the olfactory receptors in your nasal chamber. as well as various flavoring agents and cooked meats. hold your nose.

Other experts demur. Do taste buds exist beyond the top of the tongue? Some of your 9. The most overrated area is the roof of your mouth. They . we sense an infinite variety of flavors through the interaction of just four primary types of taste buds — sweet. and sweet Is umami the fifth taste? Some taste physiologists argue that the basic-four list of tastes (sweet. the new kitchen science odor. believing that the jury is still out.000 taste buds are also found on other parts of your mouth. What role do taste buds play? Although the taste buds play second fiddle to the olfactory receptors in taste perception. Surprisingly. they significantly affect how food tastes. underside of the tongue. salty. . and bitter) should be expanded to include umami (a Japanese term pronounced oo-mom-ee). Taste Bud Concentration Zones on Top of the Tongue bitter low-intensity sour. including lips (usually very salt-sensitive). Their intensity and location on the tongue vary from person to person.276 . and bitter. and inner cheeks. salty. salty. sour. your palate. sour. Some laboratory research supports their view. That’s why a smell of fish that is strong when you walk into a restaurant is usually low-keyed by the time you sit down at the table.

each partially filled with 1 ounce of roomformance of the sweet. for instance. most people would say. Fortunately. and hearing senses influence our taste perceptions? Eaters sometimes erroneously ascribe the sensory perceptions of sight. sour. oughly stir. touch. . such as the Angostura an identifiable flavor profile. and thorsalty. Add. touch. not combined with other amino acids). a side effect of a chemical reaction triggered by glutamate. it could Map your own taste buds by placing chemically modify the each sample.intense. 1 tablespoon of lemon basic taste. or bitter taste receptors. And if you could take the crispness out of a raw apple. 181) will teach you how to identify the elusive MSGtriggered (and therefore umami) taste. and 2 teataste or not.” and “meaty. juice into the second glass. temperature water.” These terms cover too broad a taste spectrum to communicate adequately the umami taste profile to anyone who does not already know it. 1 tablespoon of sugar into creating the illusion of a new the first glass. How do the sight. It has been where the specific flavors are the most variously described as “sa. hamburger that has been dyed a bright green will not taste like hamburger to most people. As tests have proven. into the fourth glass. When Try This Taste Bud glutamate is in its free form Mapping Experiment (that is. After tastthough it is difficult to char. It could be. “It just doesn’t taste right.potpourri . The experiment in chapter 9 (p. an amino acid (a building block of protein).” rather than correctly conclude. note the place(s) acterize in front of you four clean glasses. vory. 1 teaspoon Whether umami is a basic of salt into the third glass. variety. monosodium glutamate is a salt form of glutamate and does produce an umami taste.” “brothy. “It doesn’t feel or sound right. it is real and has spoons of bitters. 277 say that the umami taste may not be a basic taste. and hearing to taste.” .

When the air inside them is heated in the oven. so it’s denser. Egg whites (albumen). not your dinner party’s). or. (For tips on making a successful soufflé. Why do makers of quality pasta prefer semolina flour? Semolina flour. Liquid-phase water lacks these niches. Therefore.) Why does ice float? Water has three phases: solid. and gas. . its oxygen and hydrogen molecule components bind in a looser fashion. see the recipe on the next page. which in turn inflate the entire soufflé. when beaten. if truth be told. the liquid-phase water sinks. . you could say with equal logic. the soufflé deflates. which is made from part of the durum wheat berry. The soufflé also decreases in volume when a force such as a moving spatula punctures some of the air bubbles. They are also responsible for its downfall (the soufflé’s.278 . The culpable party. has a very high level of protein and cellulose. the new kitchen science What makes a soufflé rise? What makes it fall? Beaten egg whites make the soufflé rise to the occasion of your dinner party. When the air inside the bubbles cools. Semolina flour also tastes better and is more nutritious than its leading rivals. consist of countless minute air bubbles. if any at all. creating niches in the intermolecular crystalline structure. substances that help keep the cooked pasta relatively firm. is the cook who made one or more culinary errors in the science of soufflé making. Pasta made with other flours tends to become mushy when cooked. liquid. Though many a cook has blamed the collapse of a soufflé on the spouse who slammed the kitchen door. it expands and enlarges the albumen bubbles. In the solid phase. the less dense ice floats. the force of the shock waves from that deed is too weak to pop more than a few air bubbles.

you must use room-temperature. flavored sauce (or purée of meat. . Once you learn the reasons why you follow certain procedures and avoid others. Your soufflé will rise to great heights only if you whip the egg whites to their maximum volume — and to accomplish that goal. Cover and chill the prepared dish in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. soufflé making is child’s play — you’ll end up with a glorious soufflé each and every time. Bring eggs and milk to room temperature. because without the butter lubricant. Grease the inside of a 6-cup soufflé dish with 1 teaspoon of the butter and then coat it with 1 teaspoon of the cheese (shake out and discard any cheese particles that do not stick). Separate the eggs (all four whites in one bowl. seafood. the soufflé mixture will stick to the dish and not rise freely. Thoroughly grease the inside of the dish. 3. and especially the side walls. three egg yolks in another). Chilling the dish keeps the butter from melting prematurely and sliding to the bottom during baking. rather than cold. . eggs. 3 4 3 5/8 yolks of large eggs whites of large eggs tablespoons unsalted butter cup finely chopped or grated Gruyère cheese 3 tablespoons white wheat flour 1 cup whole milk 4 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts 1 4 1 8 / teaspoon salt / teaspoon black pepper pinch of cayenne pepper pinch of cinnamon pinch of nutmeg Optional: 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar 1. 2. vegetable. 279 Principle-Illustrating Recipe MACADAMIA CHEESE SOUFFLÉ 4 servings The basic soufflé is no more than a thickened. or fruit) that has been lightened with beaten egg whites and then baked. Preheat the oven to 400°F.potpourri .

Using a rubber spatula. spoon-pour the mixture into the chilled soufflé dish. To prevent yolks from curdling when you add them to the hot sauce. Add nuts. review the tips on beating egg whites in chapter 6. And once the eggs are in the sauce.280 .) Stir in beaten egg yolks. The finer the cheese is grated or chopped. pp. Do not fold for more than a minute. first warm them by mixing into them 1 or 2 tablespoons of the hot sauce. Then gently spoon the remaining beaten whites on top of the mixture. 7. Under. But first. Add remaining cheese and stir until melted. Fold egg whites into lukewarm sauce. lukewarm (115°F). p. Add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat.) 4.or overbeating reduces volume and sabotages delicate texture. Turn off burner. (Important: See steps 1–4 of the Mornay sauce recipe in chapter 8. With a delicate touch. If the sauce is too warm or too cold when you fold in the egg whites. 127–129. the extra protein supplied by the yolk would cause the baking soufflé to set and brown prematurely. lighten the sauce base by mixing into it about one-third of the beaten egg whites. Prepare a roux with remaining butter and flour. If used in this recipe. Scrape the spatula across the bottom and up the side of the bowl and then give it a polite flip. and let the sauce cool to. Slightly rotate the bowl and repeat. Keep repeating until nearly all the beaten whites have been incorporated into the mixture. the mixture should almost reach the rim of the dish. 6. your soufflé will not inflate to its maximum volume. the new kitchen science Reserve the surplus egg yolk for other purposes. stir well. This will take about 15 minutes. keep the sauce comfortably below the simmering point. (Important: For this step and step 5. Your soufflé will suffer less from having some lingering specks of egg white than it will from not having sufficient volume because it was excessively folded. . then incorporate milk. cut directly downward through the middle of the mixture. If you have beaten the egg whites properly and incorporated them carefully into the sauce. . Season with salt and spices. 172. or near. the more quickly it will melt. 5.

. Some recipes suggest overcooking the soufflé beyond the moist-center stage to give it added structural strength. First. Experiment with other cheeses. seafood. Serve immediately. Five minutes out of the oven is long enough to cool the air inside the soufflé appreciably and therefore enough to shrink your culinary triumph noticeably. it will not be cooked enough by the time your soufflé comes out of the oven. Without once opening the oven door. that is unnecessary. If your main ingredient needs to be cooked. Your soufflé will have risen 2 to 3 inches and will have acquired an attractive golden brown crust. The best soufflé has a moist center. If freshly grated and used in a blend of milder cheese. your soufflé will not topple. and then cover with the remaining half of the soufflé mixture. 281 You need not tie a paper collar around the soufflé dish. Cheese is just one of numerous possible main ingredients. if you want a full-volume soufflé. Place the soufflé dish on a rack set just below the middle of the oven. . Immediately turn down the oven thermostat to 375°F.potpourri . then add the star ingredient (being careful that the pieces do not touch the sides of the dish). because if you have followed our guidelines. bake for 22 minutes (for a moist center) to 27 minutes (for a firmer but still moist center). partially cook it before you add it to the soufflé mixture. 9. or vegetables and want to take precautions against having the food pieces settle during the baking period. as some recipes specify. If a soufflé is correctly prepared. Otherwise. Some food writers say you need not immediately place the uncooked preparation in the oven — not so. such as Emmenthaler and Appenzeller. fruits. for instance — construct your soufflé in three layers. Variations on a Theme 1. If your pieces are slightly larger — crabmeat chunks. consider chopping them fine or puréeing them. 2. Parmesan cheese can give your soufflé pleasant zest. If you are incorporating meat. Reserve a teaspoon of both the nuts and the cheese to sprinkle on top of the soufflé mixture before it goes into the oven. 8. place half of your soufflé mixture in the dish. A soufflé is not only ethereal — it is ephemeral.

Next. You can give your soufflé a decorative dome. falling objects. and binding. Spices can also be varied. hot surfaces. make a 1/2-inch-deep groove in your mixture. you run the risk of the book being attacked by mildew-causing fungi. to suit your whims. What is the most dangerous room in a home? Hundreds of thousands of accidents occur annually in the American home kitchen. which flourish in humid kitchens. Never make the same soufflé twice — do at least one thing differently each time. if your kitchen is lit with fluorescent lighting. the new kitchen science 3. but if a cookbook is rare or irreplaceable. Using the end of a wooden spoon or a finger. Second. A firstdegree burn is slightly red or discolored and causes only mild swelling and pain. the tubes may leak enough ultraviolet rays to cause a damaging chemical reaction on the book’s pages. First. What is the best way to treat a burn? Ninety-nine percent of burns that occur in the kitchen are firstdegree burns and usually require only home treatment. cover. including children and spouses. or if it covers an extensive area of the body. ◗ Should cookbooks be stored in the kitchen? It’s a practical site. just before you place the soufflé in the oven. and countless distractions. 4. place several ice cubes in a clean plastic storage bag and . The cook has to contend with knives. If the burn is more severe than this. broken glass. The best way to treat a first-degree burn is to cool the burned area quickly by lightly pressing an ice cube against it. slippery floors.282 . within reason. call a doctor or emergency medical center. This step minimizes the extent of cellular damage. following the circumference of the dish. the kitchen is too hostile an environment. .

an unheated plate will perceptibly cool the food before all of it has had a fair chance to be eaten and enjoyed. . remove the bag. As soon as the ice begins to feel unbearably cold. The ice-cube treatment is superior to the old-fashioned rubwith-butter method because ice cubes numb the pain. 283 gently apply it to the burned skin. the glass one will keep food warm longer. Consequently. Moreover. Which will keep food warm longer. Of course. Glass is a considerably poorer conductor of heat than is metal. The cooling effect is almost as acute for a serving platter. a glass or metal serving dish? Assuming that both containers are identical in size.potpourri . The same principle is true for glass’s close relative. Fatty foods stay warm longer than lean ones. and thickness. soak the part affected in a suitable-size vessel or sink of water with plenty of ice cubes. Keep repeating until the pain subsides (but not to the point where you risk frostbite). soup. If the burn covers a wide or hard-to-reach area. Why is it more important to preheat a dinner plate than a serving dish? The mass of the room-temperature (70°F) dinner plate is usually much greater than that of the hot (say about 160°F) food. If the pain returns. including the food’s fat and moisture content. shape. Ditto for solid foods versus liquid ones like stews. ceramic. . Many other variables also affect heat retention. or vegetable poses less of a problem. butter can foster infection. The quantity of the heated food will usually warm the serving dish before the dish can appreciably cool the hot food. A deep-sided serving dish for a stew. and therefore the rate of heat loss through the sides of the container is slower. place the icecube bag over the burned area. the most influential variable of all is whether the food is covered.

In addition to its molecular properties. and thus the water alone cannot effectively penetrate oil. and just as important. The soap molecule’s hydrophilic end binds itself to the water. Unless that happens. or oil-coated food. . on the dish. The oil-soap-water emulsion is not. hard. A soap molecule is an emulsifier because of its split personality. the new kitchen science How does soap help clean a dirty dish? Soap (and detergent) reduces the relatively high surface tension of water and so enables the water molecules to penetrate better the pores of the food residue clinging to the dish. The other end behaves in the opposite manner. However. When cleaning a dish smeared with a raw or cooked flour paste. Soap helps clean dirty dishes in another way.284 . so that freed soil floating in even relatively dirty water usually is not forced to take up residence on a soaking plate once again. some of the food particles — although surrounded by a sinkful of water — can remain dry. however. while the hydrophobic end attaches itself to the oil. Oil and water molecules naturally repel each other. This increase allows the fluid to carry more and larger particles. . The hot water therefore better penetrates the food. Why is hot water a better dish-cleaning medium than cold water? Not only does hot water make oil and other food substances more fluid and therefore easier to dislodge. A little elbow grease on your part. permanent — as you can tell from the oil layer that sometimes lightly coats your hands. however. but it also has a lower surface tension than cold water. It is hydrophobic — repulsed by water and attracted to oil. do not make the water too hot. the soap or detergent can more readily form an oil-and-water emulsion. One of its two ends is hydrophilic: It is drawn to water and shuns oil. soap makes the water more viscous by its sheer physical presence. and the oil molecule glides off the plate. and difficult to remove. lest the flour become instant glue. with the aid of an emulsifying agent like soap or detergent. the water and oil will mix and travel down the drain together.

Adhesive makers know this principle well: Starch is the basic material for many of their products. In contrast. the heat will loosen the glue’s hold on the metal. How do I rid the inside of my teakettle of its deposit buildup? If you have been boiling only water inside your kettle. 285 Why is flour so difficult to remove from pots and utensils? Flour is a starch and therefore can be quite sticky when exposed to water. because temperatures higher than 140°F tend to cook flour. You have another option if the label is metal pot on the outside of a pot — use heat. Fill the pot with boiling water and let it stand. Acid can dissolve such deposits. Always rinse or soak a flour-coated pan or implement immediately after you use it. If necessary. . In most cases. and let it stand overnight. Don’t try to peel a label off the pot prematurely lest hard-to-remove remnants of the glue remain bonded to the metal instead of the label. you can repeat the process. Fill the teakettle with a mixture of one part vinegar to six parts water. the hard deposit layer is mainly alkali compounds and minerals. The next day thoroughly wash out the kettle. Use lukewarm water rather than hot. thereby increasing the adhesiveness of a flour paste. Glue-removing products are How can I remove a glued label from a new metal formulated to pot thoroughly and easily? loosen chemiThe soak-in-water method doesn’t work well cally the bonds on most modern label glues. How do I separate stuck-together glasses? The two glasses should part if you contract the inner glass and expand the outer glass by subjecting them to cold and hot tempera- . stains caused by acids like tea or coffee are best removed with an alkali such as baking soda. Be patient. Solution: Gluebetween the removing products are formulated to loosen chemically the bonds between the glue and the glue and the metal pot.potpourri .

Ergo. a geodynamic factor called the Coriolis force affects the ease of stirring — but again. the vast majority of righthanders can stir more adroitly in a clockwise direction. one can understand why the “stir clockwise” commandment became engraved in many cookbooks. This bonus power imperceptibly increases the velocity of the whirling mass if the Northern Hemispherean is stirring counterclockwise. . respectively. save for the negligible influences of human physiology and geodynamics. Believe it or not. the new kitchen science tures. The opposite is true for left-handers. The rotation of the earth as it pirouettes through space creates an interesting phenomenon: Vortexes such as kitchen sink whirlpools and tropical storms generally spin counterclockwise north of the Equator and clockwise on the lower half of the planet (unless the body of liquid or gas has strong countercurrents that could give the incipient vortex sufficient momentum to start swirling the wrong way). water and carefully pull the two apart. easily. However. Immediately immerse the outside of the outer glass in hot. or use ice. to a minuscule degree. Is the rule “Stir a mixture clockwise” nonsensical? Some mixtures can be blended more quickly. Because right-handed chefs and recipe writers outnumber their southpaw colleagues by about nine to one. . and uniformly if the cook stirs in only one direction. Pour cold water into the inner glass. but not boiling.286 . it doesn’t make a hoot of difference whether you stir clockwise or counterclockwise (unless you believe in that old superstition that stirring counterclockwise brings bad luck). one who follows the “stir clockwise” superstition has to expend more energy — perhaps the equivalent of one calorie per century. a counterclockwise circular force — albeit minute — is exerted on the fluid food in a bowl in a Northern Hemisphere city like Cleveland or Copenhagen. Conversely. Human physiology? Because of the anatomical design of the arm and hand (as well as force of habit).

however. A Chinese from Canton. Smith’s stomach has come to accept as the norm. would eat a lot of rice complemented by smaller portions of vegetables (and even smaller portions of fish or meat. Go low on alcohol because it dilates blood vessels and therefore increases the flow of blood near your skin. . Since water quickly passes through the stomach. In exactly 60 minutes. if any). which lures mosquitoes. Mr. This helps remove the buildup on your skin of lactic acid. Mr. Hunger pangs come about. Many a typical American diner (let’s call him Mr. if at all). Another factor is psychosomatic.potpourri . too. Smith may indeed have that ol’ empty feeling within an hour or two. for example. Since mosquitoes abhor smoke. Be sure you’ve bathed recently. Don’t. You need to take additional measures. Mr. Smith’s problem are the economics of some restaurant owners. his stomach will start to rumble much sooner than if he had had his traditional high-fat American dinner. put on perfume or don dark clothing — both attract mosquitoes. Here are some practical tips. because the average Chinese meal tends to be less rich in fats than the meals that Mr. 287 How can I keep mosquitoes from biting me while I’m barbecuing? Sometimes the use of mosquito repellents and insecticides is insufficient. . while relegating the rice to a background role. Smith) receives hunger signals sooner than usual from his stomach because he has not eaten a genuine Chinese meal. you could always stand downwind from the barbecue unit. who cut costs by serving a high proportion of watery vegetables (though ingredients such as snow peas are expensive and therefore used sparingly. Adding even more to Mr. Since the digestive tract takes two or three hours longer to digest fat than it does carbohydrates and proteins. Is the saying “You’re hungry an hour after eating Chinese food” true? Yes and no is our answer. but your lungs and clothes wouldn’t fare well. Smith eats a lot of vegetables.

288 . Your body digests fats more slowly than it does carbohydrates and proteins. your peaceful slumber may be short-lived when a nightmare or upset stomach gives you a rude awakening. you adjourn to the living room and sink into a comfortable chair. Because carbohydrates also help produce serotonin. Alcohol compounds the dozing problem. After eating your way through generous helpings of every dish gracing the table. Your drowsiness is caused by more than the sheer bulk of food you consumed or the dullness of the game or its commentator. we discovered that hardly any food — including garlic — has not been considered an aphrodisiac at some time or in one place or another. and bread you ate allowed the sandman to perform his miracle in a wink. . Among the foods that are currently in vogue in America for their . The type of food affects how long you will be sleepy. possibly to watch the televised football game. and lamb — all traditional specialties for festive affairs. an amino acid that helps your body produce serotonin. the gargantuan portions of starchy potatoes. Mind over matter. a biochemical that has a soporific effect on man and other animals. Are some foods sleep inducers? Nearly everyone is familiar with the family holiday dinner syndrome. yams. the new kitchen science Smith’s stomach may respond to his “hungry-in-one-hour” belief. pork. if your food and alcohol intake is too much or too rich. the longer your doze. Naturally. It anesthetizes brain cells that normally would keep you alert. so the higher your meal’s fat content. Foods known to have high levels of tryptophan include turkey. beef. Long before the official gun marks the end of the first half you are in dreamland. Certain of the foods you are likely to eat on such occasions are rich in tryptophan. Are some foods aphrodisiacs? During our around-the-world food research trips.

Whether particular foods are aphrodisiac. is the subject of heated debate. as William Shakespeare observed. soft music. artichokes. and the object of your desire. but liquor is quicker.” . mangos. eggs. Whatever effect a reputed aphrodisiac food may have. 289 supposed innate capacity to titillate the sexual appetite are aromatic herbs and spices. papayas. and truffles. Alcohol acts as an aphrodisiac because it reduces inhibitions. can be a sexual depressant because. chili peppers. chocolate. such as the potentially fatal Spanish fly considered an (made from ground dried beetles) and the aphrodisiac equally dangerous powdered bark of the yohimbine tree — can by itself sexually arouse the human body. leeks. a supposed aphrodisiac can usually bring the evening to a euphoric climax if accompanied by candlelight. mushrooms. avocados. alcohol “provokes the desire. lobsters.” An excess of that love potion. . oysters. eels. Ogden Nash said it best: “Candy is dandy. caviar. asparagus. Hardly any however. on the other hand. nutmeg. sesame seeds. quails. dates. passion fruit. And even if you do not believe in a food’s inherent erotic magic. its potency is in direct proportion to the partaker’s faith in its power. ginger. figs. Nearly food — includall modern medical scientists scoff at the idea ing garlic — that any substance — except for a few that are has not been proven. saffron.potpourri . honey. but it takes away the performance.




The Cake Bible. 1990). The Cook’s Book. 1999). by F. H. Tex. Biochemistry of Food. E. N.. Matz (McAllen. . by Y. Dairy Science and Technology Handbook. 1981). Blanc (London: BBC Books. 1990). the following proved especially useful. Basic Food Chemistry. Hillman (New York: Avon. Hui (New York: Wiley. Lee (Westport. Bakery Technology and Engineering. McGee (San Francisco: North Point Press. Corriher (New York: William Morrow. We recommend them to anyone who wants to delve deeper into this exciting subject. Cookwise. Eskin (San Diego: Academic Press. by H. Grosser (New York: Beaufort Books. A. 3rd ed. Beranbaum (New York: William Morrow. by M. Blanc Mange: The Mysteries of the Kitchen Revealed. A.: AVI Publishing. 1988). O.further reading of the many books we researched to write The New Kitchen Science. by R. 2nd ed. by S. by R. 1997).: Pan-Tech International. L. by A. A. by S. 1983). by H. 1996).. The Cook Book Decoder. Conn. 1981). 1993). The Curious Cook. 293 .

.: Consumer Education Research Center. Rue. by M. Shahidi (New York: Aspen. Penfield (San Diego: Academic Press. Food Science. Foods: Experimental Perspectives. Conn. 3rd ed. by M. Campbell and M.: CRC Press. N. 2nd ed. by H.: Woodhead. by A. Mass. H. by T. R. by D. Ronsivalli and E.. L. Fennema (New York: Marcel Dekker.. Fla. Weiss (Westport. Food Safety and Toxicity. E. 1998). Food Theory and Applications. N. further reading Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology. Flavor of Meat. Williams (New York: Prentice-Hall. Food and the Consumer.: Prentice-Hall. 1998). by J. Weaver (Englewood Cliffs.. 2nd ed.: CRC Press. Bowers (New York: PrenticeHall. by N. by Y. by L. by F. 1980). Food Fundamentals. Food Chemistry. 2nd ed. . 1997).. de Vries (Boca Raton. by J.. 1995). McSwane. by O. Bender and A. 1990). 2001). G. 1990). Gould (London: Blackie and Son. 5th ed. 2nd ed. Russell and G. 3rd ed. 1996). 7th ed. Food Oils and Their Uses. Elementary Food Science.J.. 2002). 4th ed. N. 1982). 1999).: AVI Publishing. Fla. N. 1983). Meat Products and Seafoods. by A. Grosch (Berlin: SpringerVerlag.J. by R. Berko (South Orange. 3rd ed. Vieira (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.. 1992). 1998). by H.294 .. M. 1991). J. Foods: A Scientific Approach. Food Additives Explained. Hotchkiss (Boca Raton. R. and A. J. D. Food Preservatives. Belitz and W. The Essentials of Food Safety and Sanitation.. 2nd ed. .. by D. Kramer (Westport. Hui (New York: Marcel Dekker. 1991)..: AVI Publishing. 3rd ed. 6th ed. McWilliams (New York: Plycon Press. P.. Linton... McWilliams (New York: Prentice-Hall. 2001). Foodborne Disease Handbook. Experimental Food Science. J. A. by H. 2nd ed. Food Science. Charley (New York: Wiley. by N. H. W. M. Conn. Bender (Cambridge. Charley and C. 3rd ed. 1982). R. Food Chemistry. K. Potter and J.

Keeping Food Fresh: Old World Techniques and Recipes. by Y. Jelen (Englewood Cliffs. Vt.: American Association of Cereal Chemists.further reading . Miller. by C. Peppers. F. 1–15 (New York: McGraw-Hill.: CRC Press. McGee (New York: Scribner’s. E. by S. Ingredients for Bakers.: AVI Publishing. S. by J. Fundamentals of Cheese Science.. W. E. 1999). Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. vols. The Domesticated Capsicums. 4th ed. H. Brown (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2nd ed. 2002). J. Functional Properties of Food Components. by R. 1981). 1989). Fla. 2nd ed. Emsley (Oxford. D. Lawrie’s Meat Science. ed. K. by R. 295 Frozen and Refrigerated Doughs and Batters. Paul. Matz (McAllen. N. 2000). Hui (New York: Marcel Dekker. 1983). Mass.. by Y. by H. by G. Meat Science and Applications. Jay (New York: Aspen. Modern Food Microbiology. Handbook of Daily Foods and Nutrition. 1992). Sultan (New York: Wiley. England: Oxford University Press. Practical Baking. 1985). Fleck (New York: Macmillan. 6th ed. K.. by J. Goodhart and M. Fox (New York: Aspen. Lorenz. by N. by P.. by J.. 1980). Nutrition for Your Pregnancy. and L. On Food and Cooking. by W. 2nd ed. 6th ed. Jane Brody’s Nutrition Book. Brümmer (St.: Woodhead. and J. K. .. Introduction to Nutrition. 5th ed. Pomeranz (New York: Academic Press.. by H. by K. J. Fundamentals of Food Freezing. by J. . Shils (Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger. 1998). 1995). 2nd ed.: Chelsea Green. 2001). 2nd ed. 2000). Kulp. Nature’s Building Blocks: An A to Z Guide to the Elements. 6th ed. Minn. Lawrie (Cambridge.J. Tressler (Westport. A. by J.. 1987). M. 1991). by P. Conn. 1996). 1999). Desrosier and D. 1984). McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. D. Brody (New York: Bantam. 1995). 1983). Texas: Pan-Tech International. McBean (Boca Raton.. Aubert (White River Junction.. Andrews (Austin: University of Texas Press. Jarvis.: Prentice-Hall. Introduction to Food Processing.

Margen (New York: Random House. Meilgaard. L. V. Sucros: Properties and Applications. Understanding Natural Flavors. M. Volatile Compounds in Foods and Beverages. The Science of Cooking.296 . 2002). Gaman and K. Farber and E. 1992). Wolke (New York: Norton. 3rd ed. further reading Safe Handling of Foods. R. 1991). Nutrition. Barham (Berlin: Springer-Verlag. by M. 1999).. T. . C. Fla.. Piggott (New York: Academic Press. . Todd (New York: Marcel Dekker. D. Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition. 1995).: CRC Press. What Einstein Told His Cook. J. by A. 6th ed. Sensory Evaluation Techniques. by A. Sherrington (New York: Pergamon. by P. Maarse (New York: Marcel Dekker. 2000). The Science of Food: An Introduction to Food Science. Mathlouthi and P. and Microbiology. ed. M. 1994). The Technology of Cakemaking. Bent (New York: Aspen. Carr (Boca Raton. Reiser (New York: Aspen. G. by P. by S. C. and B. B. by J. by M. 1990). 1997). by H. Civille. by R. 2000). Paterson and J.

288 . 259–62 Agar-agar. 185 Acidic ingredients affinity with wine. 254 Additives and preservatives. 289 beer. 199 sorbic. 9 in meat marinades. 2 storing. 129 ascorbic. 264 in emulsified sauces. See also Wine as an aphrodisiac. 227 oleic. 224. kitchen.index Abalones. 138 curdling effect on cream. 171 Airplane food. 94 Abdominal fat. 285 in vinegar. 92. 30 effect on inhibitions. 256. 13. 235 in poaching liquids. 223–24 boiling point of. 255 in flambéed dishes. 224–25 sleep-inducing effects of. 199 in olive oils. 220 cooking green vegetables with. 91 staining effect on knives. 220. 241 interaction with copper. 262 stains. 201 citric. 131–32 preservatives added to. 260 for cleaning teakettles. 297 . 187 hangovers from. 261 in salad dressings. 285 in coffee and tea. See Egg whites Alcohol. 78–79. 57 in pickled foods. 269 Accidents. 224. 222–23 body’s absorption of. 139 cooking times for. 282–83 Acetic acid (ethyl acetate). 259 Acid adding to egg whites. 139 in seafood marinades. 178 Albumen. 111 digestion of. 259–60 in baking powder. 50. 157 interaction with aluminum. removing. 289 effect on vitamin absorption.

151. 234–36. 236. 141. 253 Clostridium botulinum. 203 fats for. 204–7 at high altitudes. 252–53. 185 in teakettles. 212 effect of air and steam on. 253 in fish. 123–24 Amino acids. 212 Alkali -based cleansers. 285 All-purpose flour. 264 Anthocyanin. 263 in nasal passages. . 236–37 killing. 138 interaction with red cabbage. 271–72 Avocados. 104 salmonella. See High altitude Aluminum foil. 11 Antacids. 204 baking soda for. 201 in baking soda. 253 staph. overfed. 26 Apricots. 170 Artichokes. 247. 150 . 143. 249–50 E. 105–6 Bacon. 175 Arrowroot. 112 Altitude. 13 American Heart Association (AHA). 260. 250 in mouth. 256. 73. 63. 262 in raw milk. 212 dried fruit and nuts in. 259–60 Asparagus. 125. 262 on can openers. 140 effect on cooking times. 223 Athletes. 189. 264 in baking powder. 285 in antacids. 253 in water filters. 150 wax coating on. 151 ripening. 253–54 Baked goods. 74. 125. 147 pectin in. 247 in lobster. 258. diets for. 220 Ascorbic acid. milk. 273 Anodized aluminum pans. 241 Aluminum pots. 137 mealy. 8. 13. 211 firming action in. 255 -preventing additives. See also specific appliances using during brownouts. 239 Bacteria botulism. 202–3 buttermilk in. 253 Staphylococcus aureus. 125. 140 in marinades. 249 in chicken. 89–90 growth rates of. 11. 203 flavor of. 261. 189 flours for. 270 Baby formula. 175 poisonous seeds in. 140 Antibiotics. 201–2. 252–53 on cutting boards. 255 Antioxidants. 250 growth temperatures for. 253 in eggs. 203. 253 shingella. index Babies.298 . 204 oven temperatures for. 202–3 dome effect in. 137 cooking. 80–81. 104. 220 Aspirin. 205–6 Allergies. 96 in meat. coli. 288–89 Apples cellulose in. 136 Appliances. 236. 259–60 Aphrodisiacs. See also Bread baking powder for.

220. 174 calf meat. 266. 212–15 Baking powder. 215–16 pie shells. 64 for hamburger. 72 veal.vs. 154 Beef. 47–48. body Boiling water boiling points for. 222–23 Beets. 47 freezing. 211 quiches. 52 primal cuts of. Coffee. adhering. 217 kneading. 137 Beurre blanc. 149 Béarnaise sauce. 268–71 Basting roasts. stove-top. meat. 252–53 Boyle’s Law. 157 Blood sugar levels. 215 puff paste. 245 Barbecue sauces. 226 thirst-quenching. 208–9 flour quantity for. 219. for stock. 154 Beurre manié. 50–51 degrees of doneness. 53 oven vs. 140. 216 texture of.index . Water . 30–32 in pressure cooker. 42. 256 soft drinks. 205–6 Baking. 34 Bean curd (tofu). 49 fat color in. 21 Bones. 204 freezing. 189 unmolding from pans. 168 Beverages. 255 Biscuits. hard vs. 262 symptoms of. 207 moldy. 203. 94 Blanching vegetables. 236. 217 . soft. 50–51 storing. 246–47 orange juice. 260 Birth control pills. 32–33 Braising description of. 252 treatment for. 233. 219 BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole). 247 causes of. 240 USDA grades and standards. 64 flesh color of. 170. 63 Kobe. 47–48 connective tissue in. blind-baked. 208 fats in. 43. 42 Barbecuing. Milk. 201–2. 187 Botulism in canned foods. See also Alcohol. Steaks bones. 260 BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene). grass-fed. 287 Basal metabolic rate. 240 grain. 174 Beer. See also Roasts. 174. See also Baked goods baking pans. 216 Baker’s flour. Tea. 259 Body fat. 211 Bivalves. 299 carbonated. 219. 209 liquids in. See Fat. 252 in garlic. 36 Baking pans. 39 Bread crumbs. 143 -preventing preservatives. 201–3. 77. 285 Bananas. 204 Baking soda. 48. 242 Blenders. 209 eggs in. 38–39 crusts. 39. 212–15 compared with oven-roasting. 220 maintaining temperature of. pie crusts.

208. 202–3 Buttock fat. 138–39. 260 Carrots. 259 Canning foods. 184 Brownouts. complex. index composition of. 5 Butter American vs. 40 open-door technique for. 114 scorching. 194 Cantaloupes. energy boost from. 114–16 clarified. 13 Carbon steel woks. 182 Carbohydrates digestion of. 19–20. 113–14 clarified. 112 cooking onions in. 41–42 compared with roasting. French. 217 sweeteners in. 226 Caffeol compounds. 93 positioning food for. 19–20. 3 Carbon steel pots. 40–41 Bromelain (enzyme). 38–39 Breakfast. 219. 216 yeast. 207 stale. 41 heat temperatures for. 4 Carcinogens. 235 Briquettes. 136 Capsaicin. 271. 51 Broiler units. 73. 211 basting meat with. 140. 211 rancid. 43 Brisket. 34 buying. 288 as source of energy. 40 pan-broiling. 17.300 . skipping. 211 for baked goods. 217 storing. 117 color of. 236. . 13 Carbonated beverages. 2. 260 Calf meat. 209 Breaded foods. 140 Caffeine. 217 rising of. 40 Broiling compared with grilling. 26 BTU (British thermal unit). 227–28 Cake flour. 112–13 . refrigerating. 21. 208. preparing. 257 Bread. 190 for puff paste. 17 Carbon steel blades. 216 unmolding. 272 Carbon monoxide. 142 flavoring steaks with. 13. 252 Canola oil. 24. 73 Brining foods. 272. 259 sleep-inducing effects of. 40 radiant thermal heat in. 220 Carborundum. 263–64 myths about. 263 simple vs. 47–48 Caloric content of fish. 269 Cabbage. 105. 266–71. 114 storing. 287–88 fiber in. frying. 82–83 Calories. recipe for. 273 Can openers. 12. 208 texture of. cont. 209–10 salt in. 209–10 toast. 212. 70. 174 Brown sugar. 148. 4. 8. treating. principles of. 107. 249 Candy. 170 Cakes. 247. 15–16 Burns. 140 Carrageenan. beef. charcoal. 106. 216 Calcium. 208 sourdough. 270 Brine-cured bacon. 114 Buttermilk. 200–201. 282–83 Butcher steel. 108. 207. 41 oven broiler units. 259. 262 Carotene. 1.

27 Conch. 228–29 grind size for. 241–42 Cholesterol. 74. 43 Charcoal grills. 63 Cigarettes. 220. 226 Italian roasts. 154 Charcoal briquettes. 253 barbecued. 98 Clarified butter. 75–76 free-range. 94 Conduction cooking. 125 skin of. 51. 174 Combustion. 227. 260 Clams. 55 . 251 Chili peppers. 76 soup. Macadamia. 181. 240 supermarket. 260 Casein (milk protein). 226 American vs. 287–88 Chinese restaurants. 228 hot. 230 sobering effects of. 105. 124.index . 229–30 drip. 74–75. 29 Connective tissue in chicken. 79 dry-aging and. for treating colds. charred. 230 beans. 285 in Styrofoam cups. 76 trichinosis from. 42 buying. 76–77 collagen in. 12. 109 Coconut oil. 228 serving. 75 myoglobin in. 24. 230 mocha-java. 240 frozen. 136–37 Cephalopods. 59–61 Casein (food additive). 148 Cellulose. 125. 227–28 caffeine in. 76–77 bacteria in. 227 addiction to. 106. 32–33 Cheese. 46 nitrogen-packed. removing. 139 Chocolate. 227 Cold remedies. 75–76 salmonella in. 76–77 dark and white meat. 279–82 Chef ’s knife. 230–31 percolated. 15–16. 46 deep-chilled. 1 Carving meats. 94 Champagne. 301 Chlorophyll. 76 connective tissue in. 230 insomnia from. 154 Chuck beef. 255 Citric acid. 226 deterioration of. 76–77 cooking methods. 156 Cast-iron pots. 74–75. 53 in crustaceans. 74. 271 Chopping food. 8. 8. 117 Clostridium botulinum. 252–53 Clotted cream. 220 Chantilly sauce. 24. 188. 52. 53. about. 74 freezing. 41. 43 Charles’s Law. 5–6 Chicken age of. 1. 114–16. 125 thawed. 193–94 Coffee acid in. 15–16. 112. 6 Choron sauce. 181 . 118–20 Cheese Soufflé. French roasts. Carving knife. 254–55 storing. 228–31 brewing. 190–93. drinking. 182–84 Chinese food. 25. 224 stains. 13 Celery. 105–6. 254–55 Collagen. 94. 236.

38. 95 glycogen in. 248 Dehydration from excess salt. 44. 197 Corningware. 8. 116 Crepe pans. 53. 194 Crabs. 59–61 in well-exercised muscles. 255. 14 Cornstarch. 185–86 Copper bowls. 76–77 in older animals. 22 secondhand oil for. . 8 Crispers.” 110 Dextrose. 202 Cottonseed oil. 60 moist-heat cooking for. 99 Cranberries. 38 Deer. 25 Crustaceans. 53. 48. 236 “Dessert toppings. U. 221 Corn. 95 marinating. 196 uncrowded pan for. 53 Convection cooking. 163–66 Cutting boards. 18–19 Cookbooks. 202 Creamers. 271 from excess sugar. wine. 286 Corks. See also specific names connective tissue in. 54. 201. 198 Deep-frying breading for. 175. 262 Diets for athletes. 194. 58–59 in meats. 118–20 cream.. 38–39 oil temperature for. 111 Curing foods. 53–54 in fish. 120–22 yogurt. 170. color of. See also Butter. elastin in. 9 Coriolis force. 249–50 Cyanide. 282 Cookies. 60 marinating. 94 Cream. nondairy.S. 193–94 for elderly. 50. 78–79 Cryovac process. 56 slicing and carving. 270–71 Connective tissue. 151 Dairy products. 79 . 55–56 Cucumbers. 218–19 weight loss and. 128 Copper pots. 91 grinding and scoring. 44. 55. Milk cheese. cont. 78 subclassifications of. 57 meat tenderizers for. 108–11 Cream of tartar. 108–11 ice cream.302 . storing. 105. 22. 6. 156 Curdled milk or cream. 269–70 Department of Agriculture. 37–38. 211 Cooking wines. 97 cutting across the grain. 94 tough texture of. 198 pans for. 72. 271–72 cholesterol-lowering. 189. 231 Deep-fryers. 147–48 Corn oil. 105. 76–77 pounding. 50–54. 129. 60 rigor mortis and. 79 cooked. 272 signs of. 116–18 Darjeeling tea. 261 Crayfish. 94. 28–29 Convection ovens. 193 Crème fraîche. 136 Curdled egg yolks. index flavor of. 95. 191. killing. 56. 20–21 Cook-top ranges. 78–79 overcooking. 235 Custards.

127. 128 in soufflés. 45. 125–27 supermarket. See Beverages Drip coffee. 128 in soufflés. 129–30 shells. 156 as emulsifiers. in sauces. 278–82 storing. 128 shells. 157. 127–29 Egg yolks adding to hot sauces. 272–73 vitamin requirements and. 27 self-cleaning. 124 shells. 265–67. fiber in. See also specific methods Duck breast meat. 220 blood spots in. 125 in yeast breads. 253 Earthenware. from whites. 279–82 in yeast breads. color of. green-tinged. 283 Disodium phosphate. 21 convection. from yolks. determining. 124 flavor of. 131 hard-boiling. 38–39 in custards. 125 freezing. cracked. 123 refrigerating. 253 scrambling. 269–70 Digestion of carbohydrates. 123–24 separating. piercing. 271. peeling. See also Egg whites. 109 Dragon Well tea. 161–63 Drinks. 208 Elastin. salad. 278. 20–21 microwave. 273 variety of foods in. 124–25 fertilized vs. 287–88 Dinner plates. 272. 125 hard-boiled. 208 Eggplant. 19–20 buying. 16–19. 156 . 53–54 Elderly. 44. 132 poaching. 163–66 effect of age of. 228–29 Dry aging. 123 salmonella in. 287–88 of proteins. 263–64 for ulcer sufferers. 255 for weight-loss. cleaning. unfertilized. 132–33 separating. cooked. 287–88 of fats. 17 Electric ranges. 261 Double cream. 303 freezing. 263. 46–47 E. 133 separating. serving. 127. 124 boiled. 284–85 Dishes. 20. 151–52 Egg(s). 131–32 raw vs. 130–31 overcooking. 235 Dry-heat cooking. 231–32 Dressings. 279–82 whipping. 130 simmering. 125. 54–56 Dry-curing. 23–24. 8. 132 layers in. 270–71 Electric ovens broiler units in. 125 in fried eggs. determining. 14 Egg whites freezing. 131 curdled. Egg yolks for breading foods. 27 . 125 saturated fat in. coli bacteria. 283 Dishes. slicing. 190. 132 pan-frying. 127. 131 shells. 126–27 rotten. 156 affinity with wine. 131.index . 264 vegetarian. 129–30 in soufflés. diets for.

109. 253–54 Fire point of oil. 269 in babies. 287–88 in egg yolks. See also Hollandaise sauce in blender. 277 weight loss-gain. 190. 190 digestion of. 269 causes of. 191–92. 123–24 “essential” fatty acids. 271 contrasted with oils. 150 Experiments acid discoloration. 148–49 trans fatty acids. 157. 139 baking powder potency. 270 on buttocks. 25 Fires. 225 meat freezing. 43. 271 substitutes. 273 Essential fatty acids. 131 Fiber. 92 broiling. 197. grease. 85 gas grilling vs. 195–96 in tofu. 194–95 Fatty acids. 157 principles behind. 237 MSG taste. 154 emulsifying agents in. 196 Ethylene gas. 161 vinaigrettes. 82–83 Emulsified sauces. with nonstick pans. 163–66 definition of. 123–24. 88 buying. 161–63 Enamel cookware. 85. 201 buttered meat. 86. 155–58 examples of. 192–95 overconsumption of. marinades. 88 caloric content of. 80–82. . 271. 269 Fat(s). 179 taste bud mapping. 10 mono-unsaturated. 196 in fish. 192–95 saturated. 155–56 types of. 189 fish steak. 58 sauce thickening. 109 minimizing. 80–81. 190. See also Oil(s) animal vs. 63. 258. 263–64 Filé powder.304 . 89–90 bones in. body in abdomen. 188 in cream. 168 scrambled eggs. 191. 261 as source of energy. 211 body’s need for. 185 Essential amino acids. oven broiling. 106–7. 188–89. 7 ice cream. 265 in bread making. 261 in meat. 268–69. 265. 87–88 flavor added by. 268 on thighs. 189–90 freezing. 9–10 Equal. 208–9 in butter. 82–84. 120 ice cube. vegetable. 157 custards. 239 hydrogenated. 110 dietary guidelines for. 133 sugar-salt taste. 176 Filtering systems. 92–93 bruise marks on. 188 . 155. 197 Fire-starter chimneys. index in baked goods. 266. 197 Fish bacteria in. 267 Fat. 41 hot spots. 189. 194–95. 154 in food processor. 261 shortening. 62–63 in milk. 194–95 Ferrous sulfide. 192–95. 112 calories burned by. 181 rubs vs. 190 polyunsaturated.

87 odors from. 240 effect on flavor and texture. See also Freezing foods bread. 74 Freezers. 51 Flour in breads. 241 best methods for. 89 serving. 60–61 Flare-ups. 240. 88–89 gills in. 247–48 milk. 91–93 farmed. 84–85. 91 oxidation of. 235. 143 meat. 87–88. 217 butter. 144. 204–7. 245–46 garlic. beef.vs. 81–82 storing.index . 51. 246 eggs. center. 247. 88–89 lake. 88–89.vs. 234–36. 92–93 flavor of. 240 chocolate. 89 fruit. 89 poaching. 85 marinating. 125 fatty foods. 84. 79–80 fat vs. 206 hard wheat. 247 sauces. 86–88 connective tissue in. 254 vegetables. 80–81 overcooking. 81 Flambéed dishes. 95. 90–91 testing for doneness. 87–88. 92 freezing. decay in. 205–6 . 278 washing off pots. 91 mental state at death. 197 Flat bone sirloin steak. 241–42 dried herbs. 236 in tin cans. 91 cooking methods. 146. 237–38 eggs. 160. 94 slimy coating on. 234–36. 89–90 quick-frozen. 91 fillets. 239–40 Freezing foods in aluminum foil. 86. 236 preservation methods for. 119 chicken. 84 color of flesh. lean. quantity of. 88–89. 285 Food. 283 Food preservation. 204 sifting. 22. See also Freezing foods Food processors. 42 Flash point of oil. keeping warm. 245–46 Foreshank. 93–94 yellowish tint to. 236 fruits. beef. 238–39 bread. 170–71. warm-water. 236. 169 shellfish. 89 fresh. river-caught. 239 fish. 51 Free-range chicken. 125–27 fish. avoiding. 157 Food storage. 81–82 cold. 92 from polluted waters. 242–43 . 90 myoglobin in. 114 cheese. 247–48 mercury in. 187 Flank. 217 chicken. 82–84. 92 glycogen in. 236 subclassifications of. quantity of. 80–81. tail-cut meat. 212 gluten in. 80–81. 207 soft wheat. 205–6 in starch-thickened sauce. 204 in cakes. 305 shelf life of.vs. 94–95 sushi-quality. 167–70 types of. 85–86 chemical additives in.

248 Garlic. See also Deep-frying. 142–44 Gas grills. 41. 239. Panfrying with clarified butter. 56. 264 Heat. index Glass pots and pans. hanging. 258 Graham flour. deterioration of. hybrid. 209. 176. 73 Greens. 224–25 Heartburn. 63 Hanging game. 273 Gelatin. 285–86 Glucose. 29–30 induction. 18. 144. 19 radiant. determining. 248 Hangovers. 19. . 224–25 Hardwood charcoal. 24–25. 136 Grease fires. 42 food safety precautions for. 8 heat-generating modes. 109 Halogen cook-tops. 139. 261 Half-and-half. 50. 27 increasing. 160 vegetables. 212 freezing. 175 refrigerating. 28–29 halogen. 265 Goiter. 56. 213–14 Glasses. 242–43 fresh. meat. 31. slicing. 14. 146 Frogs. 259. cont. in baked goods. 19 Ham. 136 heirloom vs. 24. 136 Frying. 29 convection. 252 Hamburger. beef for. 41–42 flare-ups while. 245–46 sweeter part of. 242–43. 151 wax coating on. 43 Grinding meats. 265 Glutamate. 277 Gluten. 242 Freezing liquids. 43 Grills. 150 sex of. 197 Grease splatters. 88–89. 154 Grilling compared with broiling. 134–35 mealy. feeling of. 8. 73. 174 . 95. 114–15 drying food surfaces for. See also specific fruits carotene in. 270 Game. 181. 239 sauces. 247–48. 206. 244–45 salted foods. 140 definition of. 210 Glycogen. 25 ripening. 37 presalting foods for. 69. 134 dried. 24 Headaches. 37 Fullness. 205 Grapefruit. 20 Gas ranges. 147 pectin in. 63 Grinding wheels. 262 Fruits. 137 citrus. 40–41 Freezing foods. salad. 250 weather conditions and. 2 color of. 41 Gas ovens. 19 heat conductivity of pots. 140 cellulose in. 156. 157 Gribiche sauce. 87 Fructose. 28. 4 Growth hormones. effect of. 20 Gastric ulcers. 240–41 refreezing. 25. 151–52 storing. for cooking food conduction. 240 French fries. unsticking. 72–73 Gums (thickening agents). 19. 171.306 .

201–2. 230–31 Jelly. 273 Lacto-vegetarians. 246 High altitude baking at. 160 serving. 2 storing. 262 Lactose intolerance. 52 Kosher salt. 3 Herbs. 287–88 Hydrogenated fats. 21 High-carbon stainless steel blades. 260 Japanese Kobe beef. 209 Knives blade alloys for. 3 High-density lipoprotein (HDL). 1. age of. 3–4 scratches on. 5 stains on. 1. 272. 219 freezing water at. 160 freezing. 1. removing. 271 Kitchen accidents. 202–3 Lecithin. 140 Ice. Heat diffusers. for treating burns. 160 Homogenized milk. 104–5. 193 High-fructose corn sugar. 154 separated. 19 Infant formula. 154. 160 recipe for. 91 Java coffee blend. 307 Labels. safety of. 6 sharp. 9. 30–31 drinking water at. 8 Heirloom produce. 2. 208 Honing knives. 272 Intoxication. 1–2 sharpening. 31 pressure-cooking at. 105–6 Insulin. in pots and pans. 2–4 chopping with. 194–95 Hydrogenated vegetable oil. 7–8. 285 Lacto-ovo vegetarians. 171. 282 Kneading bread dough. 224 Iodine flavor. 203 baking powder. 134–35 Henckels knives. 120–22 Ice cubes. 5 types of. 100 Iodized salt. 180 . floating ability of. rinsing. 4–5 slicing with.index . 156. 272. growth. 6 dull. 2–3 buying. 185 Hollandaise sauce curdled. 112 Lamb. 4. 77 Lead poisoning. dangers of. 203. 5. 5–6 Kobe beef. 177–78. in shrimp. 175 Kidney damage. 72–73 Hot spots. 157 keeping warm. glued. 1. 156 . 261 Hydrolized vegetable protein (HVP). 278 Ice cream. 1–2 handles on. causes of. 160 storing. 282–83 Ice cubes. 158–60 related sauces. 225 Induction cook-tops. 4–5 Hormones. 223. 254 Leavening agents. 261 Hypercarotenum. 11 Hunger. 258–59 Irish moss. 6 dull. 220. 104 Honey. 204 baking soda. See also Yeast air and steam. 160 ingredients in. 204 boiling point at. 273 Lactose. 52 Japanese restaurants.

45. 44. in meat. 65 touch test for doneness. determining. 240–41 ground. 194–95. 78 London broil. 253 Meat. 45. 54–56 amino acids in. signs of. 258 Macadamia Cheese Soufflé. 156. Pork. loin-end chops. 154 Maltose. 44. 189–90 thawed. 253 searing. effect of. 157 Lemons. 65–67 degrees of doneness. 60 Lemon juice. 96 classification of. 59–61 commercial tenderizers for. 253 blade. 23. 54 marbling in. 68 Maltese Falcon Custard. 77 aging process. 262 Marbling. 96 buying. 44. 99 cooked. 76. 193 Lysine. 60 cooked. 49. 23. 58–59. 65–67 moist-cooking methods for. 23 minutes-per-pound charts for. 68–69 storing. 95–96 dead. See also Beef. Roasts. 95–96 flavor of. 236. 97 cooking. 261 Marinades for “cooking” raw fish. 62 marinating. 97–98. 44 tenderizing. 47–50 near bone. 54 dry-cooking methods for. 44. 56. 247–48 tender cuts of. 72 overcooking. 45–46. color of. 56. 45. color of. 240–41. 57–58 pickling effect of. . 72 internal temperatures for. 192. index buying. 50. 58–59 connective tissue in. 63 hormone-infiltrated. 235 shellfish. Steaks age of. 279–82 Maillard reaction. 94 claws. 250.and right-handed. 95 overcooking. 76. 97–98 live. 50–54. 62 Margarine. 141. 35. 247–48 smoked. 185 Mayonnaise. 136 Lobster bacteria in. 243 carving and slicing. 56 rubs for. 78–79 vinegar in. 50. 58 salmonella in. 91 meat. 72–73 ink stamps on. storing. 65 toughness of. 13. 45. 165–66 Maltese sauce.vs. 49. 258 bacteria in. 49 cooking times for. 44 freezing. 95.308 . 154. 55. 57–58 microwaving. 243–44 thermometers. 70–71 shrinkage of. 63–64 . 71–72 seasoning. 45 slaughtering of. flavor of. 55. exposure to bacteria. 95 killing. 53. 243 thawing. 48–49 rigor mortis in. 60–61 Low-density lipoprotein (LDL). 44. 157. 54 myoglobin in. 50–54. 44–45 oxidation process in. 96–97 left.

273 Mercury. 274 Menstrual cycle. 116. 98 Myoglobin in calves. repelling. in seafood. “stir clockwise” rule for. 277 Muscles. 216 Mussels. 232 fat-free. 118 Mollusks. 108 curdled. 106 condensed. 45–46. 48 Nectarines. 102–3 skim. 259–62 Nuts. 217 Mold. on bread. 193–94 . 189 buying. 100–101 Mono-unsaturated fats. 87 in meat. 172–73 Mosquitoes. 49 Microwave ovens. 193 Nonstick kitchenware. 94. 103 homogenized. 17 Nitrogen-packed chicken. 104–5. 102. 207 buttermilk. 141. 266. 108 chocolate. 232 allergy to. 17 Nitrite salt. 154 MSG (monosodium glutamate). 44. 47 in chicken. 105–6 lactose intolerance. 184. See also Fat(s) all-purpose. 105. 107. 94 Oil(s). 86. 106–7. 102 scorching. preparing. 46 in fish. 156. 230–31 Moist-heat cooking. 104. 109 heating. 236 surface film on. 223. 73 Nitrogen dioxide. 75–76 Nondairy creamers. 255. 103 nonfat dry. 65–67 . in breads. Medications. 109 sour. 286 Mocha-java coffee. additives on. 192–95 Mornay Sauce. 107 soy milk. 208 Mold. 10–11 Nutrition labels. 106–7. 90 Meringue. 129 Metabolism. 104 for infant formula. 112 sticking to pan. 108 canned. 98–99. 103 unpasteurized. 102–3 storing. 253 scalding. buying. 112 low-fat. 268–69. 23–24. 212 Octopus. 27 Milk adding to tea. 271 Mushrooms. 175 Nitric oxide. 105. 107 microwaving. 108 pasteurized. 309 Mixing. 164 raw. 94. 287 Mousseline sauce. 53. 105–6. human. 104. 189. 104 proteins in. 268–71 Metmyoglobin. 266. 253 whole. 106–7 Minutes-per-pound cooking charts. 189 in baked goods. 181. 179. 112 in breads. 45. on cheese. 106–7 fat percentages in. 111 drinking from carton. See also specific methods Molasses.index . 47–50 National Livestock and Meat Board. 50 Nitrites.

242–43 Oolong tea. 104 Pastry flour.310 . 188. 278 Pasteurized beer. . 197–98 rancid. 13 in quiches. 199 storing. 142–43 storing. 195–96 Olive oil. 193. 161 Okra. 147 Pectin. 15 breaded foods. 139. 199 Omega-3 fatty acids. 193. soggy. 182 Peppers. 235 Pie crusts. 193. 199 polyunsaturated fats in. 136. extinguishing. 180 Pasta. 194. 240 Pancakes. 175 Peppercorns. 102. 222–23 Pasteurized milk. 199 contrasted with fats. 196 Omelet pans. 182–84 Pickling foods. 199 olive. 93 Pan-frying best pans for. 231. 193–94. 216 slicing. 197 hydrogenated. 140. 194 Pan-broiling. index Orange juice. 38 Pan juices. 170 Pâte feuilletée. 197 flash point of. 196–97. 206 Pastry white wheat flour. 70. 215 Pin bone sirloin steak. 256 Oranges. 182 Oil(s). 211 Peaches. 194. 175 Peanut oil. 175. 198 reusing. 141–42. blind baking. 174. 2. 13 Onions affinity with wine. 100–101 Palm kernel oil. 215–16 Pie shells. 197 prolonging life of. 1 Pasta. 261 mono-unsaturated fats in. 136. 199 in emulsified sauces. 17 gas-fueled. for absorbing salt in soup. 199 temperature of. 142 interaction with aluminum. See also Electric ovens exhaust from. 38–39 description of. 150. 245 Oven thermometers. 197 fires. 193–94 Palm oil. 196 deteriorated. See Pots and pans Papain. 143 flavoring dishes with. 98. 197. 197. 151. 35–36 Oysters. 197–98 saturated fats in. 147. 176 Oleic acid. 198 taste of. 94. 199 refrigerating. 245 tear-causing gas in. bell. cont. 220 chopping. 194 odor of. semolina flour. measuring. 71. signs of. 155 fire point of. chili. 232 . 210–11 Pans. 36–37 uncrowded pan for. 142–43 cooking. 199 Olestra. 193–94 smoke point of. 233. 194 preheating. 139 Peppers. 20 inserting hands into. 188 for deep-frying. 66 Ovens. 136. 198 -in-water emulsions. 197 Pears. 220 Pink peppercorns. 51–52 Pineapple. 58–59 Paring knife. 189. color of.

11 for baking. 146 green-tinged. 14 crepe pans. 212–15 boiling water in.index . 64–65. 261 Puff paste. 100 Pregnancy. freezing. 239 trichinosis from. 64–65 leanness of. 12 seasoned. See Toxins Polyethylene cutting boards. 92. precautions for. 6 Polyphenol compounds. 12. 271. 9–10 glass. 12 rusted. 145. 251–52 Pot-roasting. 259–62 Pressure-cookers. 131–32 Poisons. 211 Pyrex. 74. 13. 141–42 discoloration in. 145 storing. for baking. 8. 24 multi-ply bottoms on. 11–12 nonstick. 8 tin. 8. 73. 9. 12. 8. beef. 8 warping of. 147–48 Porcelain. 14 enamel. 64 raw. 14 woks. 285 removing glued label from. 8. 269 Prescription medications. 144–45 vitamins in. 8 skillets. for frying. 13 silver. 273. 239 ham. 247 Prime rib. 146 types of. 32 carbon steel. 227–28 Polyunsaturated fats. 8. 21. 12 copper. 255. 8. 32–33 in microwave ovens. 64 overcooking. 136 Poaching liquids. on cutting boards. 13 cast-iron. 257–58 Pots and pans aluminum. 8. 245 types of. 8. 145–46 pan-frying. 249–50 hot spots on. 145. 12 sauté. for salads. 8. 18 Protein. 258. 311 cleaning. 14. 285 reseasoning. 14 . 8 deseasoned. Plums. 179. 8 hot. 192–95 Popcorn. 73. 51 Propane gas. 8. 144 interaction with aluminum. 287–88 Prunes. 262 Potatoes for absorbing salt in soup. 145 boiling. 12. 146 piercing. 14 removing cooked flour from. 10–11 porcelain. 16–17 Pottery. 13 anodized aluminum. 15 stainless steel. 145 types of. 12 earthenware. 70 Potassium sorbate. 15 scratches on. 252 internal temperatures for. 274 Preservatives and additives. 213–14 heat-conducting efficiency of. 69. 14 Pork bacon. 14 pottery. 251–52 salt pork. 144. 180 baking. 144. 7–8. 9. 14. 141 frying. 11 lids sticking to. 11. 13 mashed. 13. 50. 254 Prawns. 9 Corningware. 144. 8. 13 . 10.

68 racks for. 157. sea. 33. 70 resting period for. 33–34. 137. 279–82 Maltese Falcon Custard. 168–69 Rubs. 68 “slow. regular. 175 Radiant cook-tops. 117 Hollandaise Sauce. 67. 139. 147 -cured bacon. 172–73 Vinaigrette Sauce. 69–70 checking temperature of. 132 interaction with aluminum foil. 19 Radiation cooking. 246 Rémoulade sauce. 180 reducing. 67 shrinkage of. 158–60 Macadamia Cheese Soufflé. index room temperature. 180 in salted butter.312 . 179–80 in egg-poaching water. 125. 161–63 Salads. 28. . 68 Roasts basting. 41 cooking time required for. 34–35 Rock salt. 87 Salmonella bacteria. 208 chemical name for. 197 Salad dressings. serving. 37. 258 Roasting. 67–68 in covered pan. 33. 241 iodized vs. 73 for curing foods. 68 surface temperatures of. 180 rock vs. 35 chuck. 3. See also Roasts compared with baking. 68 in uncovered pan. 266–67 Quiche. 177. 34 braising. 30 in bread making. 58 Rust. beef. 165–66 Mornay Sauce. 162–63 Reduction sauces. 180 Round. 40–41 Radiation leakage. 68 frozen. 67 internal temperatures for. 258–59 kosher vs. 52 crust formed on. 154 Rice. 255 in corn-boiling water. 25–26. 271 effect on taste perceptions. 180. 147 in weight-loss diets. 157 Salmon. 262 Safflower oil. See Electric ranges. 271 in boiling water. 68 carving. 235 dehydrating effects of. 154 Saccharin. 51. 178 in athlete’s diet. 153 Refrigerators. 33–34. 113 seasoning with. 194. 36 compared with broiling. 24 Ranges. 34 shrinkage during. 50 oversalting. 180 nitrite. cooking. 255. 216 Quinces. 70–71. 253 Salt in airplane food. 69–70 . cooking. 13 Sabayon sauce.” benefits of. 70 Maillard reaction in. 262 in commercial soups. 52 browning. 68 marinating. 180 table salt. Gas ranges Recipes Clarified Butter. 12. 57–58 removing from oven. 61 Roux. braising. in soup. plain.

31 Sirloin. 262 . 153 thickening. 185–86 Seaweed-derived thickeners. 15 Sautéing. 192–95. 154 with eggs. 1. 177 sugar. 37. 50 Short loin. 199 Smoked meats. 51 Short plate. 94. 12 Sea salt. 194. 10. 102 Scallops. 260 Self-cleaning ovens. 50. 197. 79 marinating. 182–84 cooking wines. 50. color of. Saturated fats. 161 recipe for. 188–89. 63 Skillets. 12. 253 Shish kebab. 178–80 temperature effect on. 278 Serving dishes. beef. 162–63 Sauté pans. 197 Shellfish cutting across the grain. 236 subclassifications of. 78–79 mercury in. 174 with pectin. 177–78 for leftover dishes. See also Emulsified sauces Mornay. 313 taste perceptions of. 95.index . 170 Smell. cooking with. Shellfish subclassifications of. 15 Sleep-inducing foods. 171. 155. 9. 100 Silver pots. 5–6 Slurries. 288 Slicing foods. 178 vinegar. 172–73 reduction. 5–6 Slicing knife. 90 overcooking. 168. 178 chilies. 181 peppercorns. 94–95 tough. 275–76 Smoke hoods. 161 preparing. 182 reseasoning. 261 Shrimp. 71–72 Seasoning pots. 8 Simmering. 167–73 vinaigrette ingredients in. 180 Seafood. 156–61. on pots. 17 Smoke point of oil. 185 wines. 63. at high altitude. sense of. 157 non-emulsified. 2. 94 Soap. 163–66 with gelatin. 123–24. 102–3 Scratches. 13 Seasonings for airplane food. 6 Scratches. 97. 153. 261 Sodium bisulfate. 261 Sauces. 177. 177 MSG. 184–85 . See also Fish. 284 Sodium benzoate. 180 soup bones. 68–69 Smoking foods. 78 storing. recipe for. 94–95 Searing meats. 98–99 Scorching butter. 94. 175 with starch. 171. 176 with cooling. 185–86 herbs. 70–71. 78–79 Sherry. 51 Shortening. 51. causes of. 177 salt. 187 spices. 236 Snails. beef. 283 Sesame oil. for cleaning dishes. on knives. 196–97. 186 Shingella bacteria. beef. 114 Scorching milk. 17 Semolina flour. 36 Scalding milk.

179–80 for freezing fruits. 219. 257 Spoons. 3 Stainless steel pots. 186 as cold remedy. 260 Soft drinks. See also Sugar artificial. See Electric ranges. defined. 180. 263 types of. 185 Taste. 90–91 Sweat. 129 artificial sweeteners. 184 in candy. 53. 262 Sorbitol. bones for. 234–35 Soy milk. 242–43 high-fructose corn sugar. 7 Squid. 272 effect on taste perceptions. white. 184. 255 Sourdough bread. . 197 Soybeans.314 . 262 in breads. 259 dehydrating effects of. 52 Stewing. 194 Superstainless steel blades. 62 round. 60–61 marbling in. 207 Sous vide. 51–52 cooking methods. 2. 227 Sucrose. 286 Stir-frying. 79. 256 Steer. 112 Soybean oil. 167–70 Steaks “bloody. 185.” 45 brushing butter on. 190 buying. 77 “Stir clockwise” rule. 253 Staphylococcus aureus. 33. wooden. 177 Spinach. 63 slashing fat in. 254–55 salty. 265 sucrose. 94 Stainless steel blades. 184. 71 sirloin. 11 Staphylococcal poisoning. 258 Spices. perception of in airplane cabins. 187 adding sherry to. 236 as source of energy. Macadamia Cheese. 278 Soups adding bones to. 262 for breads. 9. 272 effect on insulin. 70 flank. 174 Stomachaches. 42 . 2–3 Sushi-quality fish. 220. 262 Soufflé. 178 Sodium caseinate. 226 Sorbic acid. 51. 262 Sulfur dioxide. 185 in pancakes. 262 Sunflower oil. 184 tooth decay from. 279–82 Soufflés. 78. 61 seasoning. 264 Stove-tops. 15–17 Stock. preparing. 194. 8. Gas ranges Styrofoam cups. 208 Sweet’n Low. 138. 185. 262 Sodium citrate. 210–11 for preserving foods. 60–61 Steaming. 253 Starch-thickened sauces. 51. 262 Sugar adding to whipped egg whites. 218 Sweeteners. 260 Sodium chloride. 60–61 London broil. index slicing. 208 brown vs. 262 Sodium propionate. 260 Sodium nitrate.

64–65. 232 water for. for baked goods. 9 in green-tinged potatoes. 178 four basic tastes in. and hearing on. effect of sight. 218–19 Thyroxine. touch. 232 serving. 137 color of. 227 Teakettles. increasing. knives for. 275 effect of sugar on. 276 umami. 144 in lead-glazed pottery. 254 in oven exhaust. 179–80 effect of time on. 189. 285 Temperature for boiling water. 315 Thermometers deep-fryer. 191. 149–50 serving temperature for. 247. 90 botulism. 35 meat. 149 Thawed foods. 35. 30–32 charcoal grill. 275–76 food temperature and. for broiling. 226 green. 216 Tofu (bean curd). 251–52 Triglycerides. 244–45 Thawing meats. 66 refrigerator. 191 Tripoly solution. 66 Thiamine. 212 oven. 227 stains.index . 150–51 sex of. 198 oven. 251–52 Trans fatty acids. 151–52 slicing. 243–44 Thermal shock. 198 instant. 151 in bottom-dwelling fish. flavor of. 252–53 in copper pots. washing. removing. 64–65. 64–65 oil. 43 effect on cooking times. 246–47 . 269 Thirst. 231–32 oolong. 8 Toast. 2 Toxins in apple seeds. 232 black. in Styrofoam cups. 194–95 Trichinosis. 143. 232 strong. 253 trichinosis. 13 mass-marketed. determining. 90 staph. 276–77 Tea acid in. 246 Tenderizing meats. 220 artificially ripened. 149 Tomatoes affinity with wine. 65 oven. 10 Thermal storage bottles. for deep-frying. 227 adding milk to. 276 taste buds and. 40 oven. 277 effect of smell on. 17 produced by bacteria. testing. 254 Tin pots. 262 Thigh fat. 138–39 . 150 cellulose in. 231. refreezing. 37–38. 150 curdling effect on cream. 285 steeping. 111 interaction with aluminum. 231 brewing temperature for. 57–59 Textured vegetable protein (TVP). preparing. 81–82 Turnips. 29–30 for killing bacteria. 228 caffeine in. 249–50 in shellfish. 258 Tin cans.

149. “anemic. 269–70 Water-in-oil emulsions. 185 removing stains with. 174 Vegan diet. 256 Walnut oil. 255 for elderly.” 47–48 Veal bones. 195–96 Vitamin E. 258 buying. 136–40. 190. hybrid. 219–20 for coffee and tea. 157. 219 for quenching thirst. 155. 94 Unsaturated fats. deterioration of. 30–32 carbonated. 236 Utility knife. 134–35 refrigerating. 272. 142. 149 freezing. 256. 161–63 . 257 green. 248 Vinaigrette sauce. 266–67 in weight-loss diets. hanging. 31 hard vs. 151–52 soaking in ice water. 256–57 wax coating on. 136 Vegetarian diets. 195–96 Vitamin K. 157. 72. 161–63 in marinades. 274 natural vs. 218–19 boiling points for. 191 Vegetables. 272–73 Venison. 245. 245 carotene in. 149 sex of. 195–96. 273 Umami. 134 flavor of. determining. 25. 136–37 color changes in. 194 Warped pots. 190. 48. 255. 153 vitamins and nutrients in. 30 at high altitudes. 264 filtering systems for. 273 Vegetable oil. 285 Vinyl chloride. cooking. 220 -based salad dressings. See also specific vegetables acidic dressings for. 242. 157 seeds in. 256 definition of. 253–54 freezing point of. 17 Vitamin A. 255.316 . 257–58 water-soluble. 140. 246–47 Veal. 266–67. 190. 25 salad greens. 195–96 Vitamin B complex. 219 retention of. 262 Vitamin C. manufactured. 139 in egg poaching water. 245–46 thickening sauces with. 276–77 Univalves. 148 storing. 143. 13. . 139. 140 cellulose in. 256. 259–60 Vitamin D. 131–32 in emulsified sauces. index Vinegar affinity with wine. 190. 139 amino acids in. soft. 149 Ulcers. 192–95 USDA. 139–42 cooking. 14 Water body’s need for. 255 in vegetables. 271 fat-soluble. 255–56 supplements. 140 heirloom vs. 195–96 Vitamins daily allowances for. 256 interaction with medications. 190. 155. 227 for easing heartburn. 136 frozen. 1 Vacuum storage bottles. 242 fresh. 161 TVP (textured vegetable protein).

220 sherry. 87 Whetstones. with newspaper. Weather conditions. 109–11 White wheat flour. 263 drinking water for. 201 Yogurt. storing. 270 water weight lost by. 7 Wüsthof knives. 13 leftover. 204–5 Wine aging. 4 Whipped butter. 265–66 Wet aging. 55–56 Whales. 113–14 Whipped “dessert toppings. 51–52 Weight watchers breakfast for. 6 Wooden spoons. 209–10 compressed. 266 slow eating for. 221 foods incompatible with. 200. 220 chilling. 43 Wedge bone sirloin steak. 201 breads. 269–70 post-diet caloric needs. 170. 186 champagne. 221–22 matching with food. 3 Yams.” 110 Whipping cream. 221 alcoholic content of.index . 207. 186 . 136 Yeast active dry. 204–5 Whole wheat flour. 204 refrigerating. kneading. 266–67 weight regained by. 201 testing vitality of. 220 interaction with aluminum. 317 corks. 170. 209 growth temperatures for. 16–17 Wondra flour. use of. 210 at high altitudes. 13. 116–18 . 200. 32. 200 dough. 105. 270 dietary fiber for. 222 cooking. 30. 200 defined. 170 Wooden cutting boards. 185–86 cooking with. 186 Woks. 8.

and a series of epicurean guidebooks to major cities (David McKay). Hillman’s works have been selected by three book clubs. dining. translated into Braille and foreign languages. He has journeyed more than a million miles to more than one hundred countries. Cook’s. The Diner’s Guide to Wines (Hawthorn). He is a Harvard Business School graduate. Hillman’s general background includes the presidency of the National Academy of Sports. He has lectured on television and at universities and been a guest on numerous radio and TV talk shows. The Cook’s Book (Avon). and he has critically rated restaurants for America’s largest newspaper. and travel. and the presidency of the Customer Satisfaction Institute. the Wall Street Journal. the editorship of Quality Digest. His books have been critically acclaimed and earned many honors. shopping and cooking the local way in gourmet capitals (Paris and the like) as well as in locations off the beaten path (from Timbuktu to small villages in China). Altogether. and he maintains one of the most extensive food and wine reference libraries. including The Book of World Cuisines (Penguin).a b o u t t h e au t h o r Howard Hillman is the author of more than twenty books. and named to the “Outstanding Reference Book” list of both the Library Journal and the American Library Association. Kitchen Secrets (Macmillan). he has investigated and prepared thousands of ethnic dishes. Howard Hillman is a culinary explorer who unabashedly loves wining. Great Peasant Dishes of the World (Houghton Mifflin). His Hillmanwonders. a vice-presidency of the American Film web site ranks and describes the top one hundred wonders of the world. Medical World News. and Food & Wine. He has written food and wine articles for distinguished publications such as the New York Times. .

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