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Forrest Addy
12-14-2009, 06:12 AM
There was a recent post on bachelor cooking that. As a life -long bachelor I followed the thread wth interest but without posting. Since then I've spent a some time musing on the topic of single serving food prep and why machinists who because of their technical mind-set mght not be well served by mere recipes and how-to's betreft of "whys" and alternatives.

I'm a watcher of Amerca's Test Kitchen on PBS and find the set-up to preparng the dishes and the informative cut-aways to be of more interest than the actual cooking part. Food prep as science; a worthy study.

Then I ran acros this. The title alone should be an attention grabber:

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/toc.php?sort=date

BWS
12-14-2009, 06:24 AM
Get a cpl old #3 cast iron skillets,get "users" not collectors.If the bttms aren't slick as glass,clean them and then hit'M with some 220.Season well,crisco is a favorite.These are the workhorses for single servers......you eat out of them as well.BW

Your Old Dog
12-14-2009, 07:04 AM
Thanks Forrest. I have a late developing interest in cooking but know little about it. I read this page thru and like that they explained "why" you do what you do. I will make some use of this site.

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/recipe/122/Beef-Stroganoff

I once read a brief article on the building of a sandwhich. They said to think of butter as a gasket sealer to keep the bread from getting soggy, drying off the tomato and things like that.

ckelloug
12-14-2009, 10:34 AM
See Alton Brown's show on the food network. The episodes where he doesn't beak out the chemical structural formulas for what's happening in the pan are few and far between. He also has a good episode on seasoning cast iron skillets.

hojpoj
12-14-2009, 10:54 AM
See Alton Brown's show on the food network. The episodes where he doesn't beak out the chemical structural formulas for what's happening in the pan are few and far between. He also has a good episode on seasoning cast iron skillets.

This.

As an engineer, I'm much more interested in the 'why' than just the recipe itself. Learning the fundamentals lets you mix-n-match to make recipes better. If you're adventurous, you even try to make up new stuff (particularly for streamlining meals to stay flavorful, yet easy to make and clean up).

Admittedly, my go-to meal is a spinach wrap. Easy to clean up (just the knife and cutting board), and easy to eat.

Frank Ford
12-14-2009, 11:03 AM
YOD -

That's a good looking Beef Stroganoff recipe. I've been making something about like that for years, and I call it "Beef StrongEnough," for lack of a better name.

Only significant difference is that I use a LOT of Shiitake mushrooms. Those guys can take serious cooking and reheating without becoming gelatinous, and they have a great strong flavor. Even though we always have fresh ones in the markets around here, I go to the Asian markets to get dried Shiitakes - they have a more intense flavor.

I make up big caldrons of soup, sometimes adding to it during the following days or weeks. You can keep the stuff "fresh" by bringing the entire pot to boil every few days. I'm still eating the big turkey soup I made last month. Last night I added a blast of fresh chopped jalapenos, and it really woke up. . .

Pete F
12-14-2009, 11:07 AM
Two books:

The Curious Cook: More Kitchen Science and Lore (http://www.amazon.com/Curious-Cook-More-Kitchen-Science/dp/0020098014/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260806431&sr=8-1)

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen (http://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/0684800012/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1)

The first one is a really good read. The second will tell you way more that you want to know, in case you are curious about why certain cheeses smell the way they do (hint: don't be).

-Pete

aostling
12-14-2009, 11:29 AM
Two books:

The Curious Cook: More Kitchen Science and Lore (http://www.amazon.com/Curious-Cook-More-Kitchen-Science/dp/0020098014/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260806431&sr=8-1)

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen (http://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/0684800012/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1)

The first one is a really good read. The second will tell you way more that you want to know, in case you are curious about why certain cheeses smell the way they do (hint: don't be).

-Pete

I have the second book. For the curious, here is part of its sidebar on cheese aroma:


An aversion to the odor of decay has the obvious biological value of steering us away from possible food poisoning, so it's no wonder than an animal food that gives off whiffs of shoes and soil and the stable takes some getting used to. Once acquired, however, the taste for partial spoilage can become a passion, an embrace of the earthy side of life that expresses itself best in paradoxes. ... the Surrealist poet Leon-Paul Fargue is said to have honored Camembert cheese with the title les pieds de Dieu -- the feet of God.

[edit] We're not talking about Velveeta here.

HSS
12-14-2009, 03:57 PM
I have the second book. For the curious, here is part of its sidebar on cheese aroma:


An aversion to the odor of decay has the obvious biological value of steering us away from possible food poisoning, so it's no wonder than an animal food that gives off whiffs of shoes and soil and the stable takes some getting used to. Once acquired, however, the taste for partial spoilage can become a passion, an embrace of the earthy side of life that expresses itself best in paradoxes. ... the Surrealist poet Leon-Paul Fargue is said to have honored Camembert cheese with the title les pieds de Dieu -- the feet of God.

[edit] We're not talking about Velveeta here.

Quite so, but, one would wonder about the aroma of Limburger cheese. Where can that smell possibly come from on a food that has not yet been digested and eliminated.

aostling
12-14-2009, 04:09 PM
Quite so, but, one would wonder about the aroma of Limburger cheese. Where can that smell possibly come from on a food that has not yet been digested and eliminated.

I'll let you know. After Christmas in Oslo I will be traveling in Northern Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium, i.e. in the old Duchy of Limburg. I won't rent a car, but will go from town to town as the mood strikes, by train I guess.

I have no German, but am trying to master how to say excuse me (entschuldigen Sie!) prior to trying my questions in the Queen's English. They may not understand this in the towns.

I'll probably subsist on street food, and will look for markets selling bread and cheese. There could be dozens of varieties I've never heard of before.

Evan
12-14-2009, 06:39 PM
I'm not comfortable with the abreviated form "Entschuldigen Sie" as it can be interpreted to mean "Excuse You". The complete phrase is "Entschuldigen Sie mich, bitte", literally, "Excuse You me please." The You is in Formal form and "mich" is informal showing your contrition.

Among friends or in a theatre you can get by with simply "Entschuldigen, bitte"

Another useful term is the semi slang form of "Watch Out! or Wake up!" Which is " Pass Auf!!". It will not be mistaken for anything else and is easy to say. It's what you would say if somebody was about to step in front of an oncoming bus.

Carld
12-14-2009, 08:32 PM
aostling, I would think bread, cheese and wine a good meal and then finish it off with a good German beer. ;) :D

aostling
12-14-2009, 08:36 PM
Among friends or in a theatre you can get by with simply "Entschuldigen, bitte"


Evan,

I'll adopt your suggestion, which sounds more sensible. I guess it is pronounced without the fervor that those phrases punctuated with an exclamation mark require. I didn't see how I could pull that off.

Who was that comedian from about 25 years ago who was noted for his "well excuuuuuuuse me!

Evan
12-14-2009, 09:07 PM
Another tip for pronouncing German: All letters make a sound with the only exception being "h" when within the body of the word. At either end it is sounded.

This especially includes a final "e" which is almost always silent in English and is always voiced as a short e in German. There are a very few loan words that don't follow the rules but otherwise the rules in German have virtually no exceptions. R's are rolled, often enough to spit on your surroundings. :D A good word to practice rolling R's is the name Bruce.

Pete F
12-14-2009, 10:13 PM
Who was that comedian from about 25 years ago who was noted for his "well excuuuuuuuse me!

Steve Martin.

-Pete

Paul Alciatore
12-14-2009, 11:41 PM
Steve Martin.

-Pete

I thought it was Jackie Gleason.

agrip
12-15-2009, 02:03 AM
I think some side character on Jack Benny.
Not Mary or Dennis Day or Jerry Calona sp?

Ag

Pete F
12-15-2009, 02:15 AM
Well, now you've gone and made me look it (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1684540,00.html) up:


But when people finally did get it, around 1976, they couldn't get enough of it. He had platinum comedy albums and a million-selling single (King Tut). He played to arenas of 20,000 people. As David Letterman once noted, "I think that's a record for a stand-up comedian in peacetime." Saturday Night Live's audience jumped by a million viewers when he was on. His phrases "Well, excuuuuse me!" and "wild and crazy guys" became schoolyard mantras. Steve Martin was the comic as rock star. And then he wasn't. He stopped cold in 1981 to concentrate on movies and never went back to stand-up comedy.


I've always found him a bit annoying. Plays a good banjo, though.

-Pete

gmatov
12-15-2009, 02:23 AM
Ignore the smell of the cheese. Taste it. Savor it. If you don't like it, that is well. To not try it is worse than not eating squid because you couldn't THINK of that.

The more aromatic the cheese, usually, the better the flavor of it. They did not learn to age cheeses for years to make an inedible product.

I think the Wisconsin Cheddar in my Sunday paper is 75 years old. Selling for 500 per pound. Got better and better, the longer it aged.

I like ripened cheeses. Never ate Limburger. One story I have read is that a Wisconsin cheesemaker took a curd meant to be Limborger and pressed it in a mold with a brick, couple pounds pressure.

Compacted the curd, made a dense cheese with a good taste, still with a bit of the sharpness of the Limburger. Well ripened, I love it.

Got a g'son, 4 1/2, who will eat any cheese I bring to him. He loves them all. Chunk Romano, cut him some, he will gnaw at it. Blue? Loves it. Asiago, Fontina, gimme. I don't like Asiago. Sour.

Funny is his 6 YO brother will eat nothing but the plastic wrapped processed cheese food. Mother loves sharp cheeses. Dad hates anything but Velveeta.

Hell, the 6 YO won't even eat String Cheese, and that, Mozzarella, is about the blandest crap anyone has ever eaten.

Did I veer off topic? Cheese was mentioned. At least 3/4 of your sensory perception of "flavor" is olfactory. If you have no sense of smell, nothing will taste as good to you as one who CAN smell. If you sniff, rather than snort a plate of Limburger, you might find that it is more palatable than if you snort it.

Example. Some years ago, in a shop I worked in, stopped at an Italian store, bought some Provolone, loaf of bread, my lunch.

We all went out on assignment, came back to eat, Italian guy says "Who **** in here?" I picked up my bag, opened and told him to smell, "Look, Joe, aged Provolone." "Ohhhh, that smells GOOD!!!" Stank till he knew it wasn't toejams.

There is no accounting for taste. I like ripe cheese. You like Velveeta. I like smoked meat. You like bland stuff. I like beef. You like chicken, and ONLY the breast meat. 50 years ago the breast meat was used for "chicken roll", cheap luncheon meat.

How well they can play us. Wasted chicken parts are today the PRIME product.
What asses we are. Buy anything they tell us is THE thing.

Cheers,

Geoprge

Pete F
12-15-2009, 02:34 AM
From On Food and Cooking:


The bacterium that gives Munster, Epoisses, Limburger, and other strong cheeses their pronounced stink, and contributes more subtly to the flavor of many other cheeses, is Brevibacterium linens. As a group, the brevibacteria appear to be natives of two salty environments, the seashore and human skin.

In other words, the reason some cheeses smell like your armpit after a day in the shop? Same bacteria. I said you didn't want to know.

-Pete

Forrest Addy
12-15-2009, 03:07 AM
Here's another possible factoid you may not want to hear as you partake of fresh apples, crusty bread, and Camembert cheese. In the winter, Camembert was ripened in a pit of manure starting with the fresh stuff. After manure aged after several weeks the cheese is dug out, ready for human conumption. Naturally the cheese was heavily wrapped or barreled to prevent contamnaton from the manure. The manure pile happens to be a most warm place well suited for ripening cheees in winter when the snow flies. Thrifty Norman French farmer are quick to sieze on resources that cost them nothing to use.

This was told to me by a cheese snob at a tasting party I had to get dresed up for to attend.

I later read in Hemingway who recounted the practice during a road trip through the country. Can't remember the title but it was in one of his earlier autobiographical stories.

gmatov
12-15-2009, 10:34 PM
Forrest,

I take issue with your post. Show me another reference. All I can find is this:

Crottin de Champcol - This is a simple pasteurized goat cheese from the Loire. (Did you know that “Crottin” in French means dung as in manure? The explanation is that old “Crottin” gets harder and browner and tends to look like horse dung or dung in general.)

Cheeses are aged in less than ambient temperatures, in Europe, many in ancient caves that maintain temps of about 50 Deg. F. In the US, I would think they are aged and cured in coolers of about the same temps.

Warmth causes the butterfat to sink out of the cheese. Curing cheeses needs be overturned on a schedule that the Cheese Maker has learned through the ages, else they dry as the butterfat pools at the bottom. They become inedible, tasteless, as the butterfat is the most important quality of the cheese.

That is why the very best cheeses are those with double or triple "creme", more butterfat. They have the smoothest texture on your palate. Fats are important in taste and texture.

You will never get an American style processed cheese food slice to weep butterfat left out on the countertop. It will simply dry out. A good cheese left on the countertop will pool butterfat in the plastic wrap. THEN, it will become inedible.

All cheeses are made by microbial action. Penecillium Roqueforti for Bleu, and I think the same or another strain for Gorgonzola. Candida, the same that your wife might get, for Brie and Camembert. The white mold.

I got into making cheese a few years ago, but most of mine became Feta. I cannot make the cheeses I love the most, which are sharp cheeses, mostly Bleu, Gorgonzola, REAL Brick, GOOD Cheddar, even good Brit Stiltons. Glouchesters. Manchegos. I have to go to the Strip, the importers 20 miles away to afford what I like, and I buy about 5 to 10 pounds per trip.

Else I have to go to the local vendors who charge thrice the price for the same product. Only cheeses I buy locally are the week's special. Aged Asiago or Fontinella, faux Fontina, for 4 bucks a pound.

NEVER eat cheese straight out of the fridge. It will NEVER taste as good as it does at room temp. It may be softer, fall apart as you try to pick it up, BUT, it will never taste better.

Cheers,

George

Forrest Addy
12-16-2009, 03:52 AM
Merely repeating what was told me and I didn't bother confirmng it. That the American Way whether it's miracle cures, cheese, or politics.

Doc Nickel
12-16-2009, 04:50 AM
Obligatory Monty Python (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3KBuQHHKx0) Sketch link.

:D

Doc.

Your Old Dog
12-16-2009, 07:22 AM
................Last night I added a blast of fresh chopped jalapenos, and it really woke up. . .

That amounts to what some Southern chefs refer to as "staging the flavor". It works great. Hold back a small bit of ingrediants to to add to the soup before it's finished for a bolder taste. It works for me !