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Six Kitchen Myths That Deserve Debunking

Reference #: 1,455
Submit Date: 19 Feb 2008
Browse Category: kitchen myths debunking
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Country of Remedy: USA
Remedy Source: folklore
More Links about this Remedy: http://www.http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/19/six-kitchen-myths-that-deserve-debunking/index.html?hp
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Browse: kitchen myths debunking

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Source: http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/19/six-kitchen-myths-that-deserve-debunking/index.html?hp

Six Kitchen Myths That Deserve Debunking

By Mark Bittman

After all is said and done, do seeds turn tomato sauce bitter? Does cold water boil faster than hot? Does a warm lemon produce more juice than a cold one?

Old-style chefs and cooks grew up learning “truths” from their teachers and mothers, who’d learned them from theirs … thus the “old-wives tale” thing. These

days, we’re a little more empirical, but there are still a lot of questions out there.

But listen, if your grandmother told you that baking powder lasts forever (soda does, powder doesn’t) far be it from me to try and convince you otherwise. But

let me at least disabuse you of a few myths that I hear far too often. And feel free to add others but try, please, to be accurate.

1. “Searing meat seals in the juices.”

Nope, sorry. While searing does create more flavor, both in the browned meat and the pan juices, it doesn’t actually “seal” the juices in.

2. “Never wash mushrooms; they’ll absorb the water.”

Here, it depends what you mean by “wash.” Mushrooms are made up mostly of water, and they are porous — but they’re also grown in dirt, which can stick to them,

and you really don’t want to eat dirt. To clean mushrooms, rinse them - don’t soak them - and don’t worry about a little water.

3. “Don’t add salt to beans before cooking or they won’t soften.”

Been working on this one for 20 years, and I think I can safely say that the salting only changes the texture of the beans because it changes the way they

absorb water. But the difference—a little grittiness and breaking apart, which is largely determined by the type of bean anyway—is relatively subtle. Seasoning

the beans is far more important, and one of the best Italian cooks I know insists that beans be salted during soaking or at least from the start of cooking.

(And her beans are delicious.) So salt whenever you like.

4. “Putting an avocado pit in the guacamole keeps it from turning brown.”

God I love this one. Actually, the pit will block the air from turning the guacamole directly under it brown, but then again so would a rock, and the exposed

guacamole will still color. Use plastic wrap and you should be fine. (It is true that you can help an avocado - or almost anything else - ripen, by putting it

in a brown paper bag with a banana.)

5. “The fastest way to bake a potato is in a microwave.”

No. You can steam a potato in a microwave. Or, most accurately, soften one through magic little rays. But you won’t get a baked potato without dry heat.

6. “All the alcohol burns off when you cook with wine or spirits.”

While you won’t get drunk off a red wine sauce, all the alcohol doesn’t cook off. If you simmer for hours, most of the alcohol does go away. But if you simmer

for 20 minutes, up to 50 percent of it can stick around. (If you flambe, only a little bit of alcohol burns off.) And even less alcohol escapes during baking,

because the booze has to work its way out of the batter. Not always a bad thing, of course

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