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What Are Some Cooking Myths that Don’t Help?

What Are Some Cooking Myths that Don’t Help?

It’s true to say that we all have some cooking techniques or use some cooking method that we thought helped with the flavor and aids our culinary skills. Well there are plenty of cooking myths out there that just need to be blown apart. This answer found in Quora helps to blow away some of those things we believe that simply, aren’t true. What are the cooking myths that are not real?

Here’s whatJonas M Luster, an experienced chef, has to say about it –

” Some of the more common ones:

You can not “sear meat to seal in juices”

This is a TV-chef myth. It comes up all the time on the telly, which doesn’t make it any more true. In fact, the act of searing the outside of meat actually makes it more porous and therefore more likely to give off juices under pressure. This pressure does not have to be manual, the mere exposure to heat forces the muscle (almost all traditional cuts are muscles) to contract and therefore expel juices from the item.

You can’t stop those juices, but you can work with it. Searing at great heat and then finishing your meat at lower heat, letting it rest for a while after cooking and before serving, preserves the second-largest amount (top for that is still Sous Vide cooking) of juices.

    You don’t have to keep whipping cream or it “falls apart”

    I am guilty of that myth myself. Always the strict and fun-removed cooking instructor I want my students to sweat some. But the truth is, when whipping egg whites or cream, stopping in the middle and picking it back up a few seconds later (when that arm gets too heavy) doesn’t make your whip fall apart. If anything, it helps by allowing the structure to set and firm up a little. Just don’t remove your whisk, leave it inside your liquid at all times, and restart at medium speed, not at full bore.

    Speaking about myths, you don’t need a special whisk for stuff. The whole idea of whisking is integration of air into a liquid – get the one with the most spokes, cheap or expensive, and if you still find yourself having issues use two whisks at once, you’ll see the insane difference.

      “Crowding Pasta” is OK in 99% of all cases

      My mother believed this one to be true, too. Plus those idiot TV cheflebrities with vaguely Italian names who think that a grandfather from Rome and a vacation in the 80s makes them “Italian” keep perpetuating it. Unless, and that’s really the only time, you make your own, 100% semolina (it’s not a good mix to begin with), pasta and do not rest/dry it, you don’t need to fill a huge pot with lots of water for some product. As long as all of the pasta is covered, crowding is never an issue. Add enough salt to make it, as my Italian chef always said, “taste like theAdria“, NO oil (never, ever), and bring to a light, not rolling, boil. And, voila, perfect pasta every time.

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        Bonus: No, it’s perfectly OK to buy your pasta

        A foodie myth. Apparently, I am told, only home made pasta is worth it. Well, that’s a myth. Good bought pasta contains exactly the same stuff you’d put into it. Unless it’s ravioli (in which case you have to make it yourself to get stuff inside), buying pasta is completely acceptable and done anywhere and everywhere. Yes, that includes Michelin-starred places.

        Clarification:Barilla and other durum-extruded pastas are different from home made pasta in contents and taste. They’re not worse or better, but different. When I refer to store bought pasta it’s the stuff you buy at a pasta shop, not a supermarket.

          Salt and Yeast – not as incompatible as you think

          Cooking school myth. “Don’t put salt on the yeast, you’ll kill it”. Active dry yeast, double-rise yeast, all those kinds, don’t get too bothered by salt. If you are using bakers-loaf yeast (the alive kind in a block), salt can act as a desiccant and implode your yeasties, but if you bloom or add into dough just the packet yeast everyone else uses don’t worry about salt touching it.

            Pasta does not (should not) be rinsed

            THAT one is one persistent myth. Many people I know seem to like to cook their pasta, then shock it. And that, firstly, doesn’t stop the cooking process as quickly as one would assume, and – secondly – washes off all that nice starch covering the outside of the pasta. This, in turn, leads to thinner sauces, lack of sauce-pasta adherence, and to a drying of your pasta. Cook until 80% doneal dente,then just remove and let stand and finish cooking while you set up the sauce.

              Adding salt doesn’t make your water boil faster

              Adding salt actuallyraisesthe boiling point of water. The amount of salt we add to cooking water, however, is way too low to make a discernible difference to the things cooked in it. Salt seasons food, it acts hygroscopic in some cases, and in the case of pasta it actually counteracts some of the starch cohesion while cooking.

                Santoku knives aren’t worth it

                Get a chef’s knife. Buying Santoku doesn’t make you more sophisticated or for better cuts. French knifes (the slightly curved blade kind, known as “Chef’s Knife”) work like saws – one slices them across the surface and the blade’s miniature ‘teeth’ cut through the product. Santokus work like axes – by pushing apart the cut. For this to work, Santoku have to be insanely sharp, thin, and be made of extremely good steel. Such technology does not come at a $200 price.

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                Stick with a chef’s knife, it’s better.

                  Lard is healthier than you think

                  Lard has less saturated fat, more unsaturated fat, and less cholesterol than an equal amount of butter by weight. It also contains no trans-fats while Margarine and Shortenings do. The “Lard is bad for you” myth was started by the hydrogenated vegetable oil producers who wanted to push butter and lard off the shelves to make room for their chemical crapola.

                    One does not “caramelize” onions

                    Onions brown, they do not caramelize. For caramelization to occur, sugar has to be present in mono- or disaccharide form. In onions, the amino acids are deprotonated and react with the sugar’s carbonyl group. Why is that important? Well, it’s bad form not to call a spade a spade (onions arebrowned, notcaramelized) and it’s important to cooks since, alas, temperature requirements are different.

                      It doesn’t matter how often you flip meat

                      The “flip once” team and the “flip often” team are both right and wrong at the same time. It does not matter, for even cooking, how often meat is flipped. Most of the internal cooking process works through liquid redistribution as the muscle contracts and expands accordingly.

                      McGee seems to favor “flip often”. He told me three years ago that he was on the fence, leaning towards no difference between the two. Since this seems to have changed (though I still find no difference in my own work), flip often if you wish, either way it won’t harm the meat :)

                        The “heat” is not in the seeds

                        Capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) can be found anywhere in fruits that hold it (yes, chili peppers are fruits), but the highest concentration is actually in the placental layer of the fruit, the white flesh. Seeds have very little of it, actually, the heat comes from capsaicin that adheres to the outside of the seeds when the white flesh is cut.

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                          Baking Soda does nothing for your fridge

                          Baking soda does not absorb bad smells. It’s an Arm & Hammer myth and scientifically false. How would baking soda DO that, anyways?

                            One does not “cook out all the nutrients” when cooking veggies

                            – Bonus: raw vegetables are not better (a major myth, lie, and source of massive income for some charlatans selling ‘raw food’ diet books)

                            Most vitamins are unaffected by heat. Many of the minerals and vitamins in food are, actually, much more completely absorbed in the stomach when cooked beforehand. To re-iterate: raw foods are not, at all, healthier.

                              MSG is NOT bad for 99.9% of all Americans

                              The “Chinese disease” is a myth. A very small number of humans have an intolerance to glutamates (much less than, say, to salts or sugars) and will feel adverse effects. MSG itself, however, is not harmful in the least to most anyone. To “poison” someone with MSG the amount would have to be so humongous, the food would taste like crap and be 90% MSG.

                                Gluten is NOT bad for 99.5% of all Americans

                                In 2005 a few niche providers of gluten free food saw an “in” and started maligning this age-old, completely harmless, substance. Today you can buy “gluten free” dog food, which is as much an abomination as the diet quacks and health food snake-oil vendors who claim that a gluten free diet has any positive effect on people. People with coeliac disease, however, must observe a gluten free diet.

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                                  Alcohol doesn’t “burn off”

                                  Your grandmother’s Rum Cake or that red wine in the sauce won’t get you sloshed, but there’s nothing you can do to food with alcohol in it, short of rendering it inedible, that will remove all the alcohol. Cook without it if anyone in your family has an intolerance.

                                  It violates everything basic chemistry taught us about alcohol, yes. Find a a USDA study I participated in and from which I draw my conclusions here:http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foo…

                                    Marinades or special concoctions do not “tenderize” meat

                                    Neither one permeates the meat very deeply. Don’t believe me? Buy a cheap cut and some “tenderizer”, pour food coloring into the solution, and put your meat into it. A day later cut it open – only a very shallow outer layer will be dyed. Marinades adhere to the outside and permeate into the meat fractions of a millimeter, but they flavor, not tenderize, the meat.

                                    Yogurt based marinades penetrate deeper and do tenderize. In general, still, the old-wife’s tale of marinades “penetrating deep and tenderizing” is a myth.

                                      When you burn yourself (happens to anyone), don’t add ice to the injury or flour or anything else!

                                      Adding ice to a burn will only damage the tissue more (think freezer burn), flour is a bad idea, also. When you burn yourself rinse with cool, not cold, water to stop your skin from cooking, add antibiotic ointment, cover, let heal. See a doctor for anything bigger than 5cm.

                                        “Well Done” meats aren’t inherently safer than medium rare or rare meats

                                        Muscles are great things. One of the cool things about them is their ability to be completely shut off against many food borne illnesses. Most any, close to 99% of all, food borne illnesses are found not in the muscle but – through cross-contamination – on its outside. Once that part of the meat is exposed to the heat of a pan most of them are dead, too. Two caveats: ground meat and, a pet peeve of mine, those “tenderizer” needle stamps. Both will, if it is present, introduce nasty critters into the inside of the muscle or product. If you use ground meat grind it yourself after washing off the outside of the meat with water, working extremely cool all the time. ”

                                          Here’s the link to the original answer

                                          Featured photo credit: chef by seasonal kitchenvia Shutterstock

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                                          Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                                          The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                                          The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                                          At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                                          Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                                          One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                                          When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                                          So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                                          Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                                          This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                                          Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                                          When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                                          Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                                          One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                                          Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                                          An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                                          When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                                          Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                                          Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                                          We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                                          By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                                          Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                                          While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                                          I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                                          You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                                          Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                                          When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                                          Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                                          Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                                          Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                                          One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                                          Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                                          Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                                          This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                                          While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                                          Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                                          Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                                          This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                                          For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                                          Con #4: Unique Distractions

                                          Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                                          For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                                          To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                                          Final Thoughts

                                          Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                                          We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                                          More About Working From Home

                                          Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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