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What are some ways to cook food so it tastes good?
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wingmark
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:30 am    Post subject: What are some ways to cook food so it tastes good? Reply with quote

Hi,

I eat WAY too much fried food & am afraid it's gonna do some serious damage in the long run. So I want to find a healthy alternative. But I still want to enjoy the food I eat. Is there a different way to cook it? Can I buy it from the store? Also, what's a healthy dessert & beverage to go with this meal?

Regards
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Talk about a wide-open question.

In a phrase, Wingmark, good cooking consists of using good techniques to manipulate good ingredients. That and developing a sense for how flavors work together.

All you really need do is learn new techniques and you can cook thousands of great tasting dishes. Once you're versed in technique you won't even need recipes.

Cooking techniques fall into several catergories, one of which is frying (which, btw, when done properly does not pose health hazards for most people). But there's frying, and their's frying. The techniques would include sweating, sauteeing, pan frying, and deep frying.

In a similar vein, try using some of the techniques from other categories:

Moist heat: steaming, poaching, simmering, braising, boiling.
Dry heat: Searing, grilling, broiling, baking, roasting, smoking.

Each of these techniques brings it's own characteristics to the food. It's not a question of one being better than the other. They're all good. It just depends on your goal.

For instance, you can fry chicken, you can poach chicken, and you can roast chicken. All three will be flavorfull. And all three will be different. All three will produce great meals. But you have to know how to fry, how to poach, and how to roast.
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nessa



Joined: 28 May 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also there is a few choices for a healthier oil. Instead of the traditional used oil there is also olive oil. Many people use virgin olive oil opposed to extra virgin olive oil because it has a higher smoke point.
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Last edited by nessa on Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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deniseka



Joined: 16 Aug 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stay away from deep fried food. As a matter of fact, a good oven that can broil the food the last few minutes after baking it, can get very similar results to pan fried food (meat), with benefits of using no oil whatsoever. triglycerides depression quotes
Try it, it will surprise you. Very often it's even more delicious compared to the fried version. With that said, unless you have high cholesterol problems, eating healthy is more about eating the right stuff, in contrary to not eating the wrong stuff. While some things are better avoided, it's far more important to consume enough fruits & vegetables, than cutting other things.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

deniseka---very well said! Though I've never become competent with the broiler, sigh.
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stay away from deep fried food

Why?

I am not being facicious. One of the great myths of our time is that deep frying is inherently unhealthy. Such is not the case.

True, deep frying improperly (which mostly means at too low a temperature) can result in soggy, oil-saturated food, which is neither healthy nor appetizing. But properly fried foods do not pose any sort of health hazard to most people. And they do not---contrary to popular mythology---appreciably add to either oil consumption or calorie counts.
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deniseka



Joined: 16 Aug 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I''d like you to educate me how you make deep fried food that does not add to oil consumption.
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The key word there, Denise, is "appreciably."

When done properly, as soon as you immerse the food in the oil an impervious barrier is produced. This prevents the food from absorbing the oil. Any oil remining when you remove it from the fryer is on the surface. Most of that is removed when you drain the food (which, btw, should be done on a rack, not on paper towels).

The result non-oily food that is crisp on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside.

a good oven that can broil the food the last few minutes after baking it, can get very similar results to pan fried food (meat), with benefits of using no oil whatsoever.

I also disagree with this comment. Broiling certainly can create delicious, crusty food. But it bears neither a visual nor chemical relationship to frying. Tasty? You betcha. But it's distinctly different from frying, particularly when done as a final step after primarily cooking the food another way.

All that aside, my basic point is simply that the idea that fats and oils are inherently unhealthy cannot be supported on any level. Not for most people.
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deniseka



Joined: 16 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being a fried food fanatic, I've moved to baking & broiling. It took me a while to learn using the broiler properly for some damn close results and it's possible to do with meats. Doesn't work as well with vegetables, but it's still delicious, so who cares? Smile
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

but it's still delicious, so who cares?

Precisely! If you enjoy food prepared a certain way, that's the only thing that should matter.

What I do care about, however, are falacious claims made to support a position. Often enough these things sound right, even if they aren't, and get repeated as gospel.

The food world is full of them. Just a few that come to mind:

1. That frying is inherently unhealthy. It's not!.
2. That organically grown food tastes better. It doesn't!
3. That salt is an unnecssary and unhealthy ingredient. It is necessary from a taste point of view, and, for most people, is not unhealthy.
4. That popular nutritionists know what they're talking about. They don't, most of the time. Which is why they do 180s every couple of days.

One of the problems; perhaps the problem is that these, and similar arguments, are often used to buttress part of a larger argument. Once the claim is debunked it puts the entire argument in jeopardy.

For instance, there are many great reasons to grow organically or to choose organic foods. But if you claim that they taste better, when they don't, it puts all those good reasons in harm's way.

There's nothing wrong with healthy eating. But it needs to be real. As a result of the numerous erroneous claims made by healthy-eating proponents, the bulk of Americans just don't pay any attention to such claims at all.

It's the opposite of Hitler's big lie theory. What happens is if you lie often enough, and loud enough, your entire position loses credibility. [/b]
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW!!!!
I would never have thought of bringing Hitler in the kitchen...as an example concerning the "erroneous claims made by healthy eating proponents".!!! Poor proponents...
WOW!!!



No more war, war is bad for your health !
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dory



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Brook,

I do not believe that some deep fat fried food is a problem. Done carefully so that it does not absorb too much oil, and eaten occasionally it is fine. Like anything, it is ok in moderation. However, I think the poster is eating deep fried food almost every day-- probably often from fast food outlets is my guess. The issue is he/she has realized that this is higher fat than other types of food, that the rancid oil often used in restaurants is problematic, or that some types of frying can cause the formation of trans fats. I think if you became the personal chef of whoever posted, he/she would be eating much healthier. I think the issue is like dessert. Eaten occasionally it is fine. Eaten in large portions at every meal it is not so fine.

I think we should recommend a list of good cookbooks to the poster. I will do so when I am not working. Of course Clotilde's book is good and pretty easy. However, there may be books that are more fundamental and teach basic techniques. Has anyone read any of Alton Brown's books? I wouldn't buy one because he is too cutesy for me and also too basic, (also I am now resisting buying books by anyone featured on the Food Network, for very petty reasons) but he might be good for a very beginning cook.

What would other readers suggest as a first cookbook choice?

Dory
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, Dory,

Haven't been ignoring you; just haven't been on line for awhile. Won't bore you with the details, which can be summed up as Put Not Thy Faith In Electrons.

Certainly your points are all valid---except, perhaps, the premise about the OP. My impression was he/she was asking about cooking methods
(s)he could use.

I'm not an Alton Brown fan. I know he thinks he's a wit, but I think he's about half right. And he continually contradicts himself, particularly when there's a commercial reason to do so. But mostly his my-way-or-the-highway makes my teeth ache. Thus, I've never read any of his books.

I notice, too, that the OP has not returned since posting as a guest. So maybe any direct responses would just be spinning our wheels?
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dory



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also have not been on forum for a while. I have been traveling.

I think some people post and then leave if they do not immediately get just the responses they want. However, I am interested in the issue of what we recommend to people who are complete novices in the kitchen.

I also am not a fan of Alton Brown and would not buy any cookbook he recommended. In fact, at this point I detest the Food Network. I feel that it encourages a view of cooking that is:

1. Competitive.

2. Dumbed down

3. Time-based, so people are encouraged to think that good food can be created in minutes of frenetic effort (who has the energy after a long day at work?), rather than a slightly longer time of relaxed cooking. This seems unbelievable to me, but while doing a web search, I found a Rachel Ray (30 min. Meals) recipe for Cocido MadrileƱo in 30 minutes. This is a stew in which a pot roast is braised with chick peas and later veggies and potatoes. The idea of making a pot roast in 30 minutes is sooooo ridiculous! It also makes no sense, because this type of cooking involves 10-15 minutes of active time, and can be cooked slowly while people are doing chores, reading or watching TV (hopefully NOT the Food Network) in the evening.

However, as much as I dislike Alton Brown (my husband has to leave the room if he comes on TV so there is someone who dislikes him more than me) I think he is approachable for people who have never done more than boil water for coffee or tea, and that seems to be the audience the Food Network is going for. Even Rachel Ray has a project I don't totally disagree with, (cooking at home for beginners rather than getting take out) although I find her personality so extremely unpleasant that I would have to leave the room instantly if someone else were watching her. What other resources are good for extreme beginners?

Dory
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>I think he is approachable for people who have never done more than boil water for coffee or tea, and that seems to be the audience the Food Network is going for<

I think you're giving FN too much credit, Dory.

Jaques Pepin once noted that everybody watches cooking shows but nobody cooks. An obvious overstatement, of course. But it touches on the audience FN has targeted---those who consider food and cooking as entertainment, but who have no intention of doing it themselves.

So, yeah, you're right. Anyone who is serious about learning how to cook, or in improving their cooking skills, will not find it at FN. But, if you're only looking to be entertained, then all those contests, and ludicrous time constraints, and unrealistic rules make sense. Superficial culinary travel shows, and those that promote gluttony, and (un)reality shows also are logical grist for that mill. After all, if we're not going to do it ourselves anyway, what difference does it make how silly the premise or implementation!

Even within that context, though, Alton Brown makes my teeth ache. His whole appeal is his schtick. But the last time I was amused by that sort of "humor" I was prepubescent.

What other resources are good for extreme beginners?

Actually, there are many. My own In Your Kitchen cooking school, for instance, is designed specifically for such people. Indeed, many accomplished cooks and chefs lead such cooking classes. And there often are basic cooking classes to be found as part of the adult education programs at many schools. Culinary schools offer special one and two-day classes on specific topics, often led by visiting chefs who are expert in their fields. And, quite often, restaurants and gourmet shops conduct classes on the days they are otherwise closed.

So, it's not really a lack of learning possibilities. Rather there are two significant problems.

First is reaching that beginner audience. From a marketing viewpoint, they barely exist because there are no central venues one can use to reach them. Second, the people who can most benefit from such classes often have time and/or financial resources that prevent them from attending.

And, the fact is, when viewed correctly you can learn a lot from cooking shows. Even those on FN. The trick is to ignore what they are making, and pay attention to how they are doing it.

For instance, I've had more than one novice express concern about their lack of knife skills. Yet, these are people who watch Iron Chef all the time. My question to them has always been, how can anybody pay attention to Morimoto and not improve their own knife work? I mean, here is, absolutely free, a course in knife skills being taught by the master.

Pick a technique and there's somebody demonstrating it, expertly, at FN. You just have to watch for the techniques and let the other crap roll off.
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