Posts Tagged ‘cooking techniques’

When I learn a thing, I like to know the why of it.

It’s not enough to know that something is the way it is; I want to know why it is the way it is. This did not serve me well my study of mathematics since, when I got down to basic axioms and postulates, the answer to why was often: just because.

It’s one of the reasons mathematics and I have had such a rocky relationship.

It’s also why I have a love/hate relationship with recipes.

Recipes tell me what to do, but not why I should do it. Don’t get me wrong; recipes are great as a way to capture a particular dish, but in the end, they teach me little more than a procedure. I can follow each step to perfection and create the best whatever-it-is, but if I mess something up, or if it’s a cool day, or if the humidity is high, and the dish turns out wrong/different/bad, in the end, I do not know why.

I’ve read a lot of books on cooking, and though they’ve tried, none of them have successfully taught me the elusive why of the culinary arts.

Until now. (more…)

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There are some times when life opens up the box in which you’ve been thinking since…since you’ve been thinking. Last week, that happened to me. It wasn’t earth-shattering or life-changing. It was a small, simple idea about a small, simple thing. I love moments like that.

Last week, I wrote about consommé and received a comment from my friend, Iron Chef Leftovers, over at the Cheap Seat Eats blog. He mentioned how his stock never got cloudy because his stock never boiled.

When I read that, I guffawed. Literally. I guffawed. Reason? Because no matter how assiduously I oversee my stock while it’s coming up to the simmer, and no matter how much attention I give it during the long process, it always comes out cloudy. Even when I succeed in keeping it below the boil, there’s always a cloud of particulate matter in the stock.

But this is beside the point, and this was not outside the box of my current thinking. The thing he said that stopped me mid-guffaw was this:


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