40
votes
8answers
21k views

Why wait for water to boil?

I've always heard that you should wait for water to boil before adding pasta/perogies/vegetables/etc. What is the reason for this? Is it because it reaches boiling point faster? If so, why?
40
votes
7answers
6k views

Why do some foods taste better the next day?

Many people think that certain foods, like lasagna, many stews and hearty soups, tomato sauce and so forth taste better the next day. My question is, is that really true, and if so, why? The ...
39
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the difference between baking soda and baking powder?

And can I use one in place of the other in certain recipes?
39
votes
12answers
19k 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 ...
38
votes
11answers
85k views

How long can I keep eggs in the refrigerator?

To keep eggs useful and healthy, what is the average time I can keep them in refrigerator? Can I freeze, and re-use them after melting, or will they be useless or not healthy to eat?
38
votes
12answers
13k 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 ...
38
votes
17answers
3k views

How to Store Fresh Herbs

What is the best way to store fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro? I find I have about the same luck with them whether they are left in a plastic bag or I put them in a cup of water.
37
votes
6answers
19k 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 ...
37
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. ...
37
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
37
votes
13answers
481k views

How to quickly and safely defrost chicken?

What is the safest, quick way to defrost chicken? Microwave? Running water over it?
36
votes
2answers
5k 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
6answers
26k 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 ...
35
votes
5answers
46k 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?
35
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
35
votes
4answers
80k 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 ...
35
votes
19answers
224k views

Is it bad to cook frozen meat without waiting it to be unfrozen?

I wonder if it is bad to cook frozen meat (chicken, fish, beef,...) without waiting it to be unfrozen? Sometimes, I realize I forget to take meat out of my freezer beforehand, when I am too hungry ...
35
votes
1answer
2k 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. ...
35
votes
3answers
10k 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 ...
35
votes
2answers
5k 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
8answers
9k 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 ...
34
votes
11answers
7k 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 ...
34
votes
12answers
50k 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 ...
34
votes
6answers
5k 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?
34
votes
5answers
9k 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
20answers
90k 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
8answers
22k 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
10answers
39k 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 ...
33
votes
14answers
6k 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
7answers
53k 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 ...
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
158k 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
6answers
9k 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 ...
33
votes
5answers
8k 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?
33
votes
2answers
19k 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
10answers
140k 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
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
199k views

How much juice is in a lemon?

A lot of recipes call for the "juice of a lemon". I keep a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge as this is easier, cheaper and more convenient than buying lemons all the time but my problem is I never ...
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
28k 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
15k 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
6k 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
45k 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
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 ...
31
votes
8answers
31k 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
7k 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
9answers
166k views

Does ceramic non-stick cookware “fail”, and if so, how?

I've heard of pans with ceramic non-stick surfaces; it seems some reports on internet say they may "fail" in about 6 months. How can these pans "fail"? Do ceramic-coated pans require ...
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
11answers
32k views

How do you cook a steak like those found in fine steakhouses?

I went to a 5* restaurant once, the steak was unbelievable. You could cut it with a butter knife, it was fat and juicy, pink in the middle, great stuff. When I cook it at home, I seem to just slice ...

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