Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Give me one answer of a cooking practice or recipe that should have been obsoleted by economics or technology and yet persists to this day because of tradition.

I am specifically interested in knowing of a particular popular cooking practice or recipe that is no longer practical and should be updated. For example if beef bourguignon were made with shredded beef out of a food processor but chunkier vegetables, you might reduce the cooking time and it would still have the satisfying connotations of a knife-and-fork type of dinner that gives you the taste of pinot noir. Same taste, still need a knife, less hassle, quicker. For a recipe to be "equally good" presumes that the taste, texture and aesthetics of the modified recipe are as satisfying albeit not the same as the original.

Obvious examples are canned ingredients, pre-washed lettuces or salad greens (cheaper than your time is worth), or the use of a microwave or liquid nitrogen to substitute in a certain part of a larger recipe. I am interested in a less obvious update that ought to be considered where tradition is still holding sway.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by TFD, rumtscho, Aaronut Jul 31 '11 at 12:49

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I like the topic of the question. However, it hurts our guidelines by both being a poll and being too broad to answer. So it should be closed. The second part is easy to edit away. Can you think of any wording which will change its poll nature and make sure there is one definite answer? – rumtscho Jul 31 '11 at 7:08
As for the "too broad to answer" part, you already make the statement that the new recipe should be "equally good", but still seem to give too much playroom. Especially your example: in fact, a hamburger tastes equally good as steak, but they are practically different recipes. – rumtscho Jul 31 '11 at 7:14
I made edits that hopefully improve. "Equally good" is meant as a high standard. – H2ONaCl Jul 31 '11 at 11:02
Hi broiyan. Please see our FAQ and particularly the part where it says You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Even the edited question has very vague criteria and states examples which seem to be largely a matter of opinion ("cheaper than your time is worth"), and it's not clear what problem, if any, this solves. Also, expect people to react negatively when you phrase your question as an order ("give me X"). – Aaronut Jul 31 '11 at 12:49
And they didn't say please! – TFD Aug 1 '11 at 2:54

According to McGee, you can make spaghetti with far less water than usual. I think this answers all the above premises. :)

share|improve this answer
At first I thought you were joking but this is a great answer because there is probably little detriment to quality and yet probably substantially less energy consumed. Some of us might not mind the extra stirring. I usually start with cold water and have no complaints. – H2ONaCl Jul 31 '11 at 9:17
If you are looking just for food myths, there are plenty of them (do you salt your beans while cooking or after?). But this isn't obsolete, because the technology of cooking pasta in a small amount of water was available at the time the cooking in a large amount of water caught on. – rumtscho Jul 31 '11 at 9:52
Large pots of water can be obsolete for the economic reason. Knowledge that small pots of water work out fine is an improvement on the technology of cooking. If you read the article it sounds like large pots of water is the tradition so it would be less water that would have to catch on. – H2ONaCl Jul 31 '11 at 10:54
If a food myth is harmless then it is not going to have any economic effects and so it would not answer the question. More substantial food myths might. – H2ONaCl Jul 31 '11 at 10:56
easy: all the hypersalted and dried fish products like bacalao or stockfis should have been made obsolete by refrigeration. But then, what starts out as a necessary practice to preserve a precious resource soon becomes a "cultural necessity" in its own right. – Walter A. Aprile Aug 1 '11 at 16:50

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.