Kitchen myths

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Joined Feb 13, 2010
Speaking of meat,

"carving against the grain will make it more tender"

Hmm not so sure about this one either, I have heard it a lot but never been able to actually qualify this myself. To me the meat is either tender or it is not..
Meat is muscle, muscle is made up of many cords (which is the grain). Think of it as a group of ropes. By cutting against the grain you end up with meat that is a collection of a bunch of short bundles of rope instead of a group of a few long pieces of rope. While technically the meat really isnt more tender, it is much easier to chew.
 
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Joined Apr 2, 2007
Thank you, I do understand the principle behind cutting against the grain and yes it does make the meat easier the chew, but it will still be tough and that is my piont. It will not be any more tender just because it is cut in a different way.

Another interesting one on meat, salting before searing will prevent it from browning. I disagree. 
 
5,516
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
There are so many old wives tales pertaining to cooking, one could compose a list 2 miles long. I say if it works for you go with it.
 
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Joined Jul 18, 2000
A lot of things come from experience. I'd rather see someone doing the touchy thing with steaks rather than cutting a notch. Strangely enough, ive known intuitively how long to cook a steak before learning the touch trick. As for cutting with/against the grain with meat, one only has to eat a dodgy casserole or even look at one to know if it is any good. Ever tried to eat a chicken wet dish with badly cut meat?. With regards to beans, the only beans i been told to soak are red kidney beans, especially if they are canned.

My take on the lid on a pot thing, is that you wouldnt be able to time blanching properly if you cant see the product inside, likewise, how hard the water is boiling.

The addition of salt to water increases the relative gravity of the water, and that affects the boiling temperature. One very good example of this is making a caramel. A boiling caramel holds heat well over the boiling point of water, and this is due to density of the liquid.

I have found a good wipedown with vanilla essence and water in a fridge tends to dispell most smells.

I have to admit, Warba, that you are on the money,  in terms of timing how the steak is when it goes out. It also maybe linked to resting.  Anyway,,,,. 
 
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Joined Jan 21, 2011
I heard that having a 500-Dollar knife and a set of Rachel Ray pans will make me a great chef. Is that true or just a myth?    :D
 
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Joined Dec 7, 2010
Water boils at 212', or in my case at 5500' it would be 202'.  

I found a calculator online and typical swings in the barometer easily make a 10' or more difference at my altitude.  
 
5,516
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
Correct altitude makes a difference. In fact thats why almost all baking formulas have to be adjusted.
 
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Joined Dec 7, 2010
And check the barometer before you adjust your thermometer with boiling water.   
 
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Joined Sep 28, 2009
My favorite myth is that pinching your thumb to your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, fingers and poking the fleshy bit of your palm can be used to cook a steak.

I've seen many seasoned chefs try to teach juniors this way (and someone tried to teach me this also).. Yes, it is a good metaphor that as a steak cooks it goes from squishy to stiff to hard.. but to literally compare "touch thumb to ring finger is med-well".. well that's just bunk. I've seen junior cooks standing over the broiler poking their palm, then poking the steak, then poking their palm... 
LOL...i've had guys standing there doing the same thing over the grill.

The feel test has always been my meat tester. I don't use my finger anymore, just tongs. Been cooking meat a long time, i'm pretty confident in my temps.

All the kids use the feel test now that i have working there. I've never had anyone probe a steak while i've been there.
 
 
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Joined Jan 21, 2011
Originally Posted by ChefGord  
My favorite myth is that pinching your thumb to your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, fingers and poking the fleshy bit of your palm can be used to cook a steak.

I've seen many seasoned chefs try to teach juniors this way (and someone tried to teach me this also).. Yes, it is a good metaphor that as a steak cooks it goes from squishy to stiff to hard.. but to literally compare "touch thumb to ring finger is med-well".. well that's just bunk. I've seen junior cooks standing over the broiler poking their palm, then poking the steak, then poking their palm... 
LOL...i've had guys standing there doing the same thing over the grill.

The feel test has always been my meat tester. I don't use my finger anymore, just tongs. Been cooking meat a long time, i'm pretty confident in my temps.

All the kids use the feel test now that i have working there. I've never had anyone probe a steak while i've been there.
 
The first time I saw that was from a culinary student. I'm cooking a steak and I get this hand thing, from her... WTF? Are you doing a DUI Sobriety Test in the kitchen right now? Seriously? Put your effing hand on my skillet and tell me when it's medium-effing-rare. If I ever see you stick a thermometer in a steak or touch your hand like that again you are never allowed to speak to me again.
 
 
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Joined Dec 16, 2010
"Raw green vegetables appear dull because a layer of gas develops between the skin and pigment. Heat releases this gas, and the pigment floods to the surface. But this happens fast, and pretty soon, as the vegetable cooks, the acids and enzymes in the vegetable are released, dulling the green color. At the same time, pigment begins to leach out into the water."

From the section on Big-pot blanching in the French Laundry Cookbook.
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2011
you can see on most steaks. when the blood just starts to come through the top then turn it and wait for the same it will be rare. medium rare leave it a touch longer.. medium let the blood come right through on either side. medium-well and well done are pretty obvious. its easier to see on sirloins than on fillets and if the meats been frozen then defrosted this doesnt always work. thats the method i was taught.
 
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