The Common Cooking Myths Debunked for Students
Many people love to cook and eat or do both. While many share the same love for cooking, their level of technique is what sets them apart. Some learned to cook from their parents, while some honed their cooking through self-help books and have continuously improved their technique over time. For those who are working in the hotel, restaurant and hospitality industries, their cooking skills are considered institutionalised where they have received formal training in the culinary arts from an institution.
Learning to cook is considered essential for students as they will soon be attending universities or colleges with dormitory options. If you will be leaving home to attend college, learning to cook now is essential and it could even be your future career. In the learning process, you encounter different techniques and advices from different mediums or instructors. There you will see different techniques based on different cooking styles. Are you part of the population who adds salt to your pasta cooking water? Do you rinse your raw chicken before cooking? Having second thoughts in searing meat?
Cultures around the world all have many different myths. For cooking, the same is true. These myths are traditional and are still around today as they are often believed by non-professional cooks, (such as students) who have yet to attend a culinary school or have yet to come across the information that debunks that cooking myth. Today, we are going to explore and debunk the common cooking myths:
Myth #1: Salt helps in boiling water faster
If you think that adding salt to water will help it boil faster, sorry, but it’s not true.
The truth is that adding salt to water only increases its boiling point, which is the specific temperature that must be reached in order for the water to boil. Basically speaking, the salt will only prolong the waiting time on when the water will boil.
The main reason why people add salt to their water is to season the food being cooked in it and to maintain colour and structural integrity.
Myth #2: Alcohol will evaporate during cooking
It may be easy to assume that alcohol will eventually evaporate when you start cooking with it, but it’s actually not that easy. Alcohol doesn’t necessarily disappear in the meal when cooked. Actually, there are a lot of factors that can affect how much alcohol will remain on your dish. Among the factors are cooking methods, temperature, amount of time, type of cookware.
Myth #3: Meat tenderises when marinated
Definitely, there are acidic components commonly found in marinades that affect the structure of the meat. Some of the common acidic ingredients are citrus and vinegar, which has the ability to change the structure of proteins and loosening its bonds.
But, the truth is that a majority of marinades don’t really go deep enough to denature proteins of the meat. The real purpose of marinating meat is to season it, and not to tenderise it.
Myth #4: Flip meat only once to cook it nicely
Flipping meat is definitely part of the steps in order to cook it evenly, but there’s nothing wrong with flipping meat more than once. Actually, the number of flips and your flipping style have nothing to do with its quality.
When the meat is being cooked, there are two things that happen: first, the muscle fibres contract and expand; the next is that moisture is redistributed all throughout, while some escape. The purpose of flipping the meat is to cook it evenly and get a nice char on both sides. This is based on your preferred doneness of the meat.
Myth #5: Searing meat locks in the juices
Searing means cooking at high temperature over dry heat. When searing meat, it undergoes the chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction, which is responsible for the browning effect on the meat.
When the meat touches the extremely hot pan, eventually the moisture of the meat evaporates, and then the meat will undergo the Maillard effect, resulting in a roasted or meaty aroma and flavour. What’s important is to rest the meat first before slicing to let the meat re-absorb moisture in order for it to become tender and juicy.
Myth #6: Rinsing chicken before cooking
For those who wash raw chicken — and every kind of meat — before cooking only spreads the bacteria to your sink and hands. Think about cleaning that meat and then washing tomatoes afterwards.
The fact is that bacteria will die eventually when you’re cooking the meat, especially when you’ve reached the right temperature for the meat to cook and kill the bacteria in it.
Myth #7: Adding oil to water to avoid pasta clumping
A common technique people do to avoid pasta to clump is to add water. Well, oil can help a little, but comes with a hefty price — pasta cooked with oil will make it oil itself; hence, making the sauce slide and preventing the pasta to absorb the flavour of the sauce. In short, say hello to flavourless pasta.
In order to avoid clumping, what you should do is stir from time to time the pasta during cooking.
Myth #8: Rinsing pasta with cold water to stop further cooking
Ask experts or look at a cookbook; there are foods in need of an ice bath or to be rinsed with water for it to stop cooking. Unfortunately, for people who cook pasta and rinse it with water afterwards to prevent further cooking, pasta is not included in the list.
Actually, pasta doesn’t need to be rinsed with cold water. Aside from it doesn’t have that much carryover cooking, rinsing will prevent it from absorbing sauce and flavour since the starchy coating will be removed.
Cooking is a combination of technique and creativity. If you enjoy cooking and preparing dishes, studying a commercial cookery course in Melbourne today is your first step towards the goal of being a chef. Transform your passion for food into a career and get learn from the experts with MCIE.
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