Cooking can be tricky. We're always trying to figure out the exact ratio of heat to water, to oil to food, amongst many other concerns, to perfect our dishes. But before you concoct one more thing, you ought to banish these six myths. J. Kenji López-Alt, whose now publishing The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science
, which is a 1,000-page cookbook filled with all he knows, shares his tips. “Trust evidence, not anecdotes,” he says. “Science is a method of understanding the world around you. It’s about understanding—on a basic chemical, thermodynamic level—what’s happening in your food.”
Myth #1: Use a Lot of Water When You Boil Pasta
“Traditionally, people say to use a lot of water, because you want it at a rolling boil so that the water can come back up to boil as quickly as possible after you add the pasta in,” he says. “If you do a very simple test at home, and get a pot with a quart of water, and another with a gallon of water, and put them side-by-side, the one in the smaller pot will return to a boil faster,” he explains. “Both pots need to regain the same amount of energy to return to a boil, but the bigger pot of water is losing energy faster to the environment than the smaller pot.”
Myth #2: Searing a Steak From the Start Locks in Its Juices
“If you cook two steaks side-by-side, one seared at the beginning or one seared at the end, you’ll see that the one seared at the end will lose fewer juices. If you start it cool in the oven and then sear it at the end, it cooks much more evenly with edge-to-edge colour,” he explains.
Myth #3: Don’t Puncture a Steak with a Fork, Because You’ll Lose Juices
“A steak is not a water balloon,” notes Kenji. “It’s more like a series of tiny water balloons.” This means, though you may puncture the steak twice, you're not exactly opening up all the floodgates.
Myth #4: Don’t Salt Your Eggs While You’re Scrambling Them
The myth says this will make the eggs tough. “After a lot of testing, that’s not the case. If you let your eggs rest with some salt for 15 minutes, they’ll actually retain more moisture. That’s because the salt breaks down some of the proteins and that forms a net that holds in more moisture as the eggs cook.”
Myth #5: Add Vinegar to the Water When You Hard-Boil Eggs so the Shells Will Peel More Easily
“I actually did an experiment. I cooked several hundred eggs and had some people peel them without knowing how I cooked them. I counted the number of defects in the surface of the eggs and found that the number one thing that makes your eggs easy to peel is the starting temperature of the water,” he explains.
Myth #6: Don’t Salt Your Beans While They’re Cooking
Apparently beans will become tough if you do so, but Kenji disagrees. “That’s almost the opposite,” says Kenji. “Salting your beans will actually keep things intact as they cook.”
What do you think of these myths?
Source: Bon Appetit