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Secret Food Myths - Let the De-Bunking Begin!

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Secret Food Myths - Let the De-Bunking Begin!

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niki rothman | | Sep 10, 2007 03:59 PM

Oh, I dunno...I'm just in one of those piss and vinegar moods. Can you relate? There are so many food myths that just drive me crazy. But I'm just going to start with my top pet peeve and YOU can list your own personal secret food myths that you deep down would love to shout to the world and DEBUNK. Don't be afraid...confession is good for the soul!

OK, here goes. My number one ripe-for-debunking myth is about pasta cookery. MYTH - In order to make good pasta you have to use about ten gallons of furiously boiling water and you MUST salt the water because the pasta will never absorb salt after cooking. Well...big surprise. The pasta comes out just great cooked in water that is just at a mere simmer when you add the pasta and you do not have to use a huge amount of water either. the pasta comes out just fine - al dente, delicious, wonderful - if you only use a couple of quarts of water for a half pound dry pasta - just stir it and all will be well. And finally, why waste all that kinda pricey sea salt salting the water - your pasta will be just as delicious (better, in fact!) if you salt the cooked pasta when it's fully cooked, or hey...don't salt it at all. Because, if your sauce is good, it's got all the salt you're going to need already, and if you HAD salted the water you might throw off the flavor profile of your oh so carefully prepared sauce and maybe wind up with an oversalted mess.

Myths - our cooking is littered with them. This is something I've been thinking about a very long time (I do cook a lot of pasta) and it took courage to share it, because many people are going to disagree. But it's a big time saver - and you'll never oversalt again. Asian noodles, to my knowledge, are not cooked in salted water, are they? And I bet a lot of other chowhounds have other secret little pet peeves about other received wisdom with which they secretly disagree. I'd love to hear them.

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