37
votes
12answers
16k views

Why should I soak beans before cooking?

Every recipe says I should soak beans in water overnight before cooking. Why? I did some experiments. I have tried soaked and unsoaked beans from the same batch. There was no difference in cooking ...
36
votes
6answers
16k views

Why does my food turn out poorly using an All-Clad Stainless-Steel Fry Pan?

I have an All-Clad frying pan, the precise one shown below: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005AL5F I made this purchase out of curiosity after reading about the benefits of this professional ...
36
votes
2answers
4k views

What is it about boring, normal ketchup that makes it “fancy”?

Ketchup, at least in the USA, is about as boring as a condiment can possibly get. It's hard to imagine anything "fancy" coming out of a tube like this: Why, then, is it frequently called "fancy"? ...
36
votes
3answers
7k views

Why do tomatoes get so hot?

Ever noticed how certain foods seem to get a lot hotter than others? I almost never burn my tongue or mouth... except on tomatoes; Pizza sauce, tomatoes in panini sandwiches or spaghetti sauce. ...
36
votes
6answers
21k views

When I'm separating egg whites, how much does it matter if a little yolk gets in?

I was separating egg whites today and one of the yolks broke and contaminated my bowl of whites. I started from scratch, but I'm wondering if I really needed to; would a tiny bit of yolk (say, 1/8 ...
36
votes
9answers
172k views

Is there a problem with defrosting meat on the counter?

I generally defrost meat on the kitchen counter. A friend of mine suggested that this was dangerous and suggested that I defrost meat in the refrigerator. I am no biologist but it seems to me that as ...
36
votes
6answers
3k views

Why do we use so much water to cook spaghetti?

Every time I cook spaghetti in a regular pot, I get the feeling that I could save litres of water if the pot had been created with spaghetti cooking in mind. This is especially true when I only need ...
36
votes
13answers
429k views

How to quickly and safely defrost chicken?

What is the safest, quick way to defrost chicken? Microwave? Running water over it?
35
votes
2answers
214k views

How do I know if food left at room temperature is still safe to eat?

If I left food out of the refrigerator for some period of time, is it still safe? If I left it out too long, can I salvage it by cooking it more?
35
votes
2answers
4k views

What does a healthy cast iron skillet look like?

I've read plenty about how to restore and season cast iron, but I have no clue whether any of the old cast iron I've inherited could benefit from this. Is healthy cast iron black? or should it be ...
34
votes
5answers
38k views

Why does a brown paper bag speed ripening?

I often see this technique suggested as a way to speed ripening. Why does it? Also, is there any data available on how fast it ripens comparatively?
34
votes
6answers
3k views

What does “natural” actually mean?

More and more I see "natural" or "all natural" labels on the slightly-cheaper alternatives next to "organic" products, and I find it somewhat confusing. I know that (for example) tofu does not occur ...
34
votes
12answers
11k views

Should I refrigerate eggs?

I've read a lot of conflicting advice on whether it's advisable to store eggs in the refrigerator. The case against seems twofold: (1) that eggshells are porous, and eggs can take on unwelcome ...
34
votes
5answers
7k views

Pasta: Simmering Water or Rolling Boil?

I recently got into a surprisingly heated argument with a friend about what level of boil you should cook your pasta at. He (an engineer) argued that the heat transfer would remain the same regardless ...
34
votes
19answers
64k views

Caffeine content of cold-brewed coffee: higher or lower than hot-brewed?

I recently rediscovered the joys of cold-brewing coffee. (One level cup of rough-ground beans, 4-1/2 cups of cold water, steeped overnight and strained, produces a rich coffee concentrate. A shot or ...
34
votes
1answer
1k views

What does “do.” mean in old recipes?

I'm reading through a book of cocktails from 1865 and I often seen the measurement for a given ingredient listed as "do.". What does this mean? Examples: 40 1/2 ounces of roast and ground cocoa. ...
33
votes
14answers
5k views

Nonstick cookware or not?

I am looking to replace my >10 year old Calphalon nonstick cookware. I can see the nonstick surface coming off the pans, and am starting to worry about how much of that is getting into our food. I ...
33
votes
8answers
8k views

Why is there cow cheese but no pig cheese?

I have always wondered what there is no cheese made from other milks other than cow, goat or sheep. Are they not suitable for humans? Do they taste bad? Is it even possible to make dairy products with ...
33
votes
6answers
4k views

What should I look for in a good, multi-purpose chef's knife?

If I want to buy a good multi-purpose chef's knife, which characteristics should I look for?
33
votes
14answers
9k views

How to clean mushrooms?

Some people say cleaning with water removes the taste from mushrooms. But if I don't use water the mushrooms will carry a lot of dust. Do you have any techniques for cleaning mushroom so I don't ...
33
votes
15answers
138k views

Does active dry yeast really expire?

I was cleaning out my spice cabinet and deep in the back I found two packages (e.g., six envelopes) of active dry Red Star yeast that expired in March 2009, 15 months ago as of writing this question. ...
33
votes
8answers
21k views

How can I make bacon powder?

I want to make bacon powder, I assume the means cooking all of the fat out without burning the meat. Is this right? if so how should I do this? If not what should I do? How should I turn the bacon ...
33
votes
5answers
7k views

How do you ensure a tortilla keeps all its contents when making a burrito?

What's the best technique to tuck or close the tortilla when preparing a burrito so that it doesn't come undone when it's time to eat?
32
votes
10answers
31k views

Does ginger have to be peeled? If so how?

I noticed that many recipes that call for ginger explicitly call for peeled ginger. When I use ginger I don't bother to peel it. As it is almost always minced fine the tiny bits of papery peel are ...
32
votes
10answers
112k views

How to fix food that got extra salty?

I imagine this depends on what the food is. With spaghetti, you can add water or change water if you detect it on time. But what about grilled meat? Or a tomato sauce?
32
votes
6answers
3k views

What's the right way to hard boil eggs?

I find I always have trouble scaling the amount of time the eggs should be boiled, cooled, etc. for different-sized batches of hard-boiled eggs. I've heard a variety of "folk lore"-type rules for how ...
32
votes
11answers
40k views

Is there a magic ingredient that keeps ice-cream soft?

I have bought a electric ice-cream churner, I have tried so many different flavours, different recipes, used alcohols. Have read previous questions and a don't believe that leaving ice-cream out to ...
32
votes
4answers
63k views

What's the difference between a cupcake and a muffin?

I was debating with someone today whether what we were eating was a cupcake or a muffin, but realized we didn't really know the difference. So what's the difference between a cupcake and a muffin in ...
32
votes
14answers
4k views

How to peel hard boiled eggs easily?

This is one of the most annoying duties in the kitchen, for me. What are yours tips and tricks to peel hard boiled eggs easily?
32
votes
6answers
7k views

Why are there so many different pasta shapes?

Do the different pasta shapes serve any purpose, or are they just for fun? Some difference appear to be cultural (lo mein vs spaghetti), but there are so many different syles of Italian pasta, is ...
32
votes
3answers
9k views

Why do you have to rinse rice?

I'm interested in learning to make my own sushi. Every guide I have read has stressed that the rice has to be rinsed thoroughly. The bags of rice I generally buy say not to rinse the rice in order ...
32
votes
3answers
1k views

Theoretical: why there's no gradient of doneness in bread?

I was always wondering, why there's no gradient of doneness visible on the cuts of bigger breads. For example: This one was made in the baking form, it has a thin visible crust, but after that the ...
32
votes
2answers
10k views

Why is 180 degrees C so common in recipes?

Is there any particular reason 180 degrees Celsius is so commonly called for in baking, roasting, deep frying?
32
votes
2answers
24k views

Why is some metal safe to use in a microwave, but others not?

This might be a more scientific question, but it relates to cooking and I thought it was interesting. I just made my lunch which was a microwavable bowl of chunky soup. The directions said: ...
31
votes
11answers
13k views

How to succeed with making omelette

Sounds simple but I seem to fail every time, that is it turns into scrambled eggs instead. How do you make it so that you can flip it over both without it breaking and before it burns?
31
votes
7answers
5k views

How to test that a knife is sharp enough?

As per the question - how to I test that a knife is sharp enough? And/or, how do you know when a knife needs sharpening? Edit: Yesterday I attempted (I feel quite successfully) to hone my knives ...
31
votes
8answers
42k views

The secret to hash browns / home fries / breakfast potatoes

I have never been successful in making pan-fried potatoes àla the American diner. It seems like such a simple concept, but they never turn out right! Usually undercooked & oily, with some parts ...
31
votes
6answers
9k views

How do I pick a watermelon at the supermarket?

Lately, every watermelon I bring home form the organic section of the supermarket has not been sweet.  Among the small, seedless varieties, I try to pick the densest. How do I know if it is ripe?  Can ...
31
votes
3answers
6k views

Why should I “rest” meat after cooking?

I often read in recipes that I should "rest" meat after it has been cooked but what does resting the meat actually do?
31
votes
12answers
2k views

Digital recipes storage? [closed]

What works well for storing recipes digitally? Software and web solutions are both welcome. For me, the ideal solution would accept recipes from different sources (copy/paste, or email) in any ...
30
votes
6answers
797k views

What temperatures should I keep my refrigerator and freezer set at?

For a refrigerator, if it's cooler, items like milk and meat last a bit longer. However if I set it close to freezing then some items start showing frost on them. What temperature should I set my ...
30
votes
9answers
47k views

What's the secret for Chinese fried rice?

I see a lot of recipes for fried rice, but never seem to be able to give the gorgeous lightly browned color (and therefore flavor) to my rice. This is before adding soy sauce or anything else. Is ...
30
votes
7answers
44k views

When boiling water, why start from cold?

A question about probably the most mundane subject in cooking: boiling water. For cooking techniques where you drop ingredients in simmering or boiling water - such as for vegetables, pasta, many ...
30
votes
8answers
24k views

When you cook spaghetti, do you add olive oil to the boiling water?

Many people (at least in Germany) think that Italians add olive oil to the boiling water for spaghetti. However, Italians tend to tell the opposite (from my experience). So, can you please state ...
30
votes
4answers
3k views

Is there any truth to the idea that you shouldn't multiply seasonings when multiplying a recipe?

I often hear cooks discuss that idea that if you are multiplying, say, a recipe for 4 to be a for 32, that you shouldn't multiply some herbs, spices, or salt. I've never understood any reason why this ...
30
votes
1answer
5k views

What is the difference between a prawn and a shrimp?

Are prawns and shrimps the same thing or are they different? Basically, I think they're the same but one of my friends was arguing that they're similar but definitely not the same thing and they ...
30
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the purpose of creaming butter with sugar in cookie recipes?

I got distracted while assembling the dry ingredients for a cookie recipe and added the sugars, which were supposed to be creamed with the butter first. Fortunately, the sugar was added last and I was ...
30
votes
4answers
50k views

Should I peel kiwifruit?

What should I do with the kiwi peel? I've got no problem with its taste and feel and eat them whole when I'm by myself. Is it in any way bad for my health?
29
votes
9answers
6k views

What is the point of a salt mill?

Salt mills and pepper mills often come in pairs. I understand the purpose of the pepper mill: It breaks open the pepper corn and releases the aroma. But there is, to my knowledge, no such thing as a ...
29
votes
6answers
48k views

Frying Oil Reuse

What are some guidelines or rules with regard to filtering and reusing (vegetable/canola/sunflower) oil that has been used for deep frying? Is it safe and acceptable under some circumstances to ...

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