Let me tell you something about cooks, bakers, chefs and the like; the good ones are deified, as if they possess magical, nay supernatural, powers.
Aunt Margerie makes the most heavenly pies!
Sister Mitchell really knows how to make a great mint brownie.
Uncle Paul bakes awesome chili!
But why do we attribute such majesty and voodoo to those who produce eatable goodness?
One of the problems is with recipes. They are inaccurate and fundamentally flawed. They don’t tell the whole story.
For one, they usually measure with volume, and not mass, which are two very different things.
My friends wife (who runs a site devoted to chocolate chip cookies) says the difference between a GREAT cookie and a mediocre one is in the “heaviness” of the scoop of flour. A heavy 1 cup contains much more flour than a light handed one.
So, all those who have tons of recipe books, now you know why you still can’t make good food.
And then we have ovens, which are notorious for cooking unevenly because of hot spots and for not telling the correct temperature. The point is, we aren’t using science. And to make things worse, if you’ve tried a recipe and failed, you’re likely to think that you just don’t have the cooking equivalent of a green thumb.
Rubbish. I know this is going to be hard to take, but here’s the truth: cooking isn’t art– it’s science.
It’s time for more accuracy in cooking. It’s time for precision and standards in the kitchen.
Fortunately, there are a number of individuals and groups who have noticed this problem and who are attempting to remedy it:
I’ve even registered a domain “nerdscancook.com” in anticipation of more focus on the culinary sciences by the staff here at RBDN.
Yesterday afternoon my brother called:
“What are you doing for Thanksgiving,” he inquired.
“I’m going to cook a turkey,” I replied.
“No you’re not. It takes 3 days to thaw a turkey; if you haven’t bought it by now it’s too late,” he claimed.
“We’ll see,” I challenged.
That night I went to Kohlers and purchased the following:
- 11lb turkey
- meat thermometer
- O’Douls non-alcoholic beer
- sea salt
- black pepper
- canola oil
Then, following the instructions on these three sites, I thawed the turkey in hot water, created a spice rub, filled a pan with near-beer, put butter in the turkey, spiced it up and placed it in the oven at 325 for 3 1/2 hours. Then… TAH DAH! Perfect turkey just in time for Thanksgiving.
See? No magic needed.
Had I been a more thorough Googler, I would have seen this article which shows how you can cook a thanksgiving turkey in fifteen minutes.
So, here’s to greater science in cooking. No more pinches of this and dashes of that. I want grams. Tell me what elevation you’re at and what the pressure and relative humidity are. Use digital laser thermometers to calibrate your stove and digital scales to measure weight. See? Nerds CAN Cook.
Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!