Time For Something Different

I like to cook. I enjoyed this.

It’s true that the easiest way to make your food taste better is to add fat and salt to it. I’ve done it and been impressed with the results.

But I think there are a few more complex things that I feel like I’ve learned that seem to work.

1. Cook it longer and undercook it.

A paradox! Sorta, but it’s important to present these things together. Cooking does something amazing to strong flavours; it blunts them, softens them, makes them harder to pick out but ‘complex’ to the palette. But don’t overcook. Overcooking destroys texture, which is a seriously underappreciated quality to food for us amateurs. Solve the contradiction by finding foods that can take a beating from the heat.

2. Rest food after it’s done.

I noticed that the stuff I cooked tasted better at seconds. Something happens when food sits for 5 minutes.

3. Don’t use water.

There are lots of alternatives, believe it or not. For instance, never throw away the ‘juice’ from canned food. Cook the rice in it! Canned tomatoes are best for this. Use wine, use beer. Seriously!

4. Oh, yeah, and never cook with fresh tomatoes.

They’re tasteless garbage. Michael Smith taught me (from his show) that canned whole tomatoes are cooked (once) right after being picked, while chopped tomatoes are cooked twice. ‘Fresh’ tomatoes are NOT fresh, but ripened en route. Ugh.

5. Cook with Canola Oil. Only.

I read something recently about how all oils all taste the same after they’ve been heated. This means your super-expensive olive oil tastes just like cheapo canola when coating your frying onions. Don’t throw away the nice olive oil, though, just put it on later with minimal heat.

6. Except. Butter does taste different.

And better. Cook with butter when you can.

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