Even in this day and age where we have modern technology and scientific processes, people are still somehow inherently superstitious. Sometimes it’s a matter of clinging on to old traditions that were handed down to us that we consider canon. Sometimes it’s merely trying hard to replicate the very same conditions that got us lucky at doing something.
The kitchen is no stranger to its fair share of traditions, myths and old wives’ tales to make food cook better. This is particularly true due to the traditional attachment that the kitchen has being the place we spend with our parents or our grandparents as we were growing up. As family recipes were passed on, so were a bundle of extra advice that isn’t really necessary nor is it scientifically proven.
This list takes a look at some of those kitchen myths that have been debunked by science and experience.
- A really sharp knife can cut you more easily
It is true that a knife, whether sharp or not, can cut you very easily if you don’t handle it properly and if you’re not careful. I mean that’s what a knife was built for, it’s a kitchen tool designed to cut through meat, bone, vegetables, fruits and if you’re not careful fingers. A really sharpened and well-maintained knife will not make it more likely to cut yourself because when you look at it at the microscopic level, the steel is more focused on one point instead of being scattered, which is what happens to blunt knives. Also a sharp knife cuts easier and quicker making the likelihood of exerting too much force and slipping is significantly lessened. More on knife edges here.
- Searing your steak seals the juices in
I can see where this comes from. In battlefields when you need to seal an open wound that is massively hemorrhaging blood usually it’s painfully done with fire using a burning hot rod. This closes the wound and seals your “juices” inside you allowing you to live provided you survive the infection. While it is proven in medicine, remember you are dealing with a dead piece of tissue that is no longer functioning. The juices are excreted from the muscle and they will escape one way or another through the porous material. Searing meat is still important though because it creates that crust and appearance that makes steak oh so appetizing!
- Steak cooked medium or rare can make me sick
Bacteria and microbes in beef cannot penetrate the cow’s muscle. That area is a no man’s err no bacteria’s land for them and because of that they dwell on the surface of the meat. The handling and exchange across different raw meats further exposes the cut to more microbes on the meat. Before you gross out and decide never to eat again, take comfort in the fact that temperatures of 145 degrees Fahrenheit are sufficient enough to kill off all the bad guys and render your food safe for consumption. Indulging in the extra pleasure that is the pink of a nice medium steak is not hazardous to your health.
- Salt will help boil your water quicker
The chemical composition of salt will not make your water boil faster at all. When we make homemade ice cream, recall how we add salt to the ice to prevent it from melting right away and accelerating the freezing process. That’s because salt has an effect that reduces heat and thus in this case reduces the boiling point of water. While it isn’t anything significant, it could add more minutes and cause you to burn more energy to get your water up to boiling point.
- Microwaving ruins your food’s nutrients
Yes this heating method is fondly called “nuking” your food because it does it in an instant manner and its advisable not to put any body part in it for fear of radiation but that doesn’t mean you are exposing your food to nuclear waste. In the first place, nuclear fuel, which causes nuclear waste, is prohibitively expensive, rare and impossible to handle with household tools. Secondly, this heating method uses microwaves to agitate the molecules in the targeted food item and heats it up from within. This makes the heating time extremely short uses little to no liquid as possible. These conditions do not qualify for wasted nutrients and as a matter of fact, is even healthier than boiling your food as that washes away those nutrients.
Those are just 5 among many more in the Book of Mythology: Kitchen Edition. Do you know anymore kitchen myths that aren’t true and have hindered the efficiency of your cooking style? Let us know what these are.