General Discussion

What are your favorite kitchen myths?


General Discussion 197

What are your favorite kitchen myths?

MartinDC | Dec 1, 2006 12:57 PM

I tend to be a very skeptical person. And that skepticism extends into the kitchen. Cook's Illustrated magazine attempts to deconstruct traditional approaches to recipes and improve upon them.

Here's my myth, and I know I will get A LOT of opposition. But hey, it's Friday, and time for a little controversy.

"Food always tastes better the next day"
"Because the flavors have time blend together"

Not so, in my opinion. We *perceive* it's better for reasons based in biology. There is a part in the olfactory part of the brain that desensitizes us to odors when they are present for an extended period of time. Most people are aware of that from experience. And since the sense of smell is an important factor in tasting food, if your brain is "asleep" to the very compounds in the food you are cooking because you have been exposed to the aromas during the cooking process, chances are you will not experience the full flavor of the food when you sit down.

The next day, the cooking smells are gone, and your brain has forgotten the odor. When you heat up the food, you can now taste all of the flavors that were added. The food did not actually improve. Only your ability to taste it.

How many times have you had guests to dinner, who *raved* over the food, while you found it bland and uninteresting? How many times have you overseasoned food because you were using taste as a guide? If you can make the main dishes a day in advance, then you will enjoy the flavors as much as your guests.

In commercial kitchens, or homes equipped with strong exhaust fans, much of the strong odors are removed while the food is cooking, and chances are you will not be desensitized as much.

Any more myths?

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