Food & Drink Debunking six classic cooking myths that seem like must-follow rules

07:01  13 april  2018
07:01  13 april  2018 Source:   Toronto Star

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Follow Us. Grace Shield evenly poised after first day. Jamaica Observer April 11, 2018, 10:36 a.m. Morung Express April 11, 2018, 9:43 a.m. Debunking six classic cooking myths that seem like must - follow rules .

Debunking six classic cooking myths that seem like must - follow rules . Thanks to some testing — some casual and some scientific — many old wives’ tales are now being debunked .

Do you add oil to your pasta water, or rinse chicken before cooking? Well, stop. There’s no need! We rarely know the reasoning behind many of these cooking imperatives, but we follow the rules because we don’t want to ruin dinner. Thanks to some testing — some casual and some scientific — many of these old wives’ tales are now being debunked. The best part? Busting these myths means cooking will be faster and less hassle.

1. Add oil to pasta water or it will stick.

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Debunking six classic cooking myths that seem like must - follow rules . Thanks to some testing — some casual and some scientific — many old wives’ tales are now being debunked .

Debunking six classic cooking myths that seem like must - follow rules . Thanks to some testing — some casual and some scientific — many old wives’ tales are now being debunked . Busting these myths means cooking will be faster and less hassle.

Myth. Pasta sticks to itself because of the starch released during cooking. Simply stir pasta often while cooking and it won’t be sticky. While we’re on the subject, never rinse pasta unless using it for a cold salad. But do add salt to the cooking water and be generous; it’s the only chance you’ll get to season the actual noodles, and otherwise any sauce will taste flat.

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2. Sear meat to seal in its juices and keep it moist and tender.

Myth. There’s no “sealing in” — unless you dunk the steak in concrete! We sear steaks to build flavour — get the pan or barbecue exceedingly hot before adding the steak, and it will develop gorgeous browning on both sides. That brown stuff is exceptionally delicious (and good-looking), but does nothing to “seal in” flavour or juices.

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For steaks to be tender, buy better cuts such as rib-eye or striploin, and for them to be moist, don’t overcook them and make sure to rest the steaks for 10 minutes before serving.

3. Salt eggplant or it will be bitter.

Myth. For years I obeyed the instructions of every cookbook and chef out there and dutifully let eggplant sit, generously sprinkled with salt, for an hour before rinsing it and cooking it. One day I was in such a rush that I baked my eggplant without pre-salting it. Guess what? Not bitter. After researching the science behind the myth, I can confirm that eggplant isn’t bitter. Yes, it has its own lovely pungent flavour, but why would you want to take that away?

Sprinkling eggplant with salt and letting it sit for an hour actually doesn’t reduce its bitterness at all, Claire Tansey writes.© Vince Talotta Sprinkling eggplant with salt and letting it sit for an hour actually doesn’t reduce its bitterness at all, Claire Tansey writes.

4. Remove the seeds of a hot pepper to reduce its spiciness.

Part myth. The spicy stuff is actually in the white membrane that connects the seeds to the pepper; the seeds become a little spicy just by association. If you really want to reduce the heat of a hot pepper, make sure to trim out the white parts too.

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5. Wash raw chicken to make it safe to eat.

Myth, and a dangerous one at that!

Chicken does not need to be washed. If there’s anything on the skin of a chicken, it will get cooked off in the pan or oven. In fact, when you wash a chicken, there’s a lot of splattering water, which means your sink, countertops and anything else in the way can get contaminated with raw chicken.

6. Plastic cutting boards are cleaner and safer.

Myth. There have been extensive scientific tests on this one, and experts have proved that plastic boards are harder to clean and hang on to nasty germs much more than wooden boards. Wood is also tougher than plastic and isn’t as likely to get all covered with cuts. Plastic boards get cut into easily; tests have shown that those germs don’t come off, even with bleach.

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