Does Espresso Contain More Caffeine Than Regular Coffee?

does espresso contain more caffeine than regular coffee

It depends. (You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?) A direct comparison is complicated by the fact that there is no such thing as “regular coffee.” We have all had everything from vending-machine dishwater to truck-stop battery acid. Even at home, there are so many ways of brewing coffee that no generalizations … Read more

Why Is Coffee Bitter and Where Can I Find Coffee With Less Acid?

why is coffee bitter and where can i find coffee with less acid

Acidity often gets a bum rap. Maybe it’s because of all the television commercials for drugs designed to control heartburn and acid reflux. But the acid in our stomachs (hydrochloric acid) is thousands of times stronger than any acid you’ll find in coffee. It’s only when the acid gets out of the stomach, splashing up … Read more

Why Does Blowing On Hot Food Cool It?

why does blowing on hot food cool it

As we have all learned from experience when the etiquette police were looking the other way, the cooling of hot food by blowing on it works best with liquids, or at least with wet foods. You won’t substantially diminish the heat of a hot dog by blowing on it, but hot tea, coffee, and soup … Read more

Why Does Frozen Food Get Freezer Burn?

why does frozen food get freezer burn

Freezer burn” has to be one of the more ridiculous oxymorons going. But take a good look at that emergency pork chop that’s been in your freezer much longer than you ever intended. Doesn’t its parched and shriveled surface look as if it had been seared? The dictionary tells us that seared doesn’t necessarily refer … Read more

Why Does Hot Water Freeze Faster Than Cold Water?

why does hot water freeze faster than cold water scaled

The hot-water-freezes-faster paradox has been debated since at least the 17th century when Sir Francis Bacon wrote about it. Even today, Canadians claim that a bucket of hot water left outdoors in cold weather will freeze faster than a bucket of cold water. Scientists, however, have been unable to explain why Canadians leave buckets of … Read more

What Does Empanada Mean In Spanish and How Are Empanadas Made?

what does empanada mean in spanish and how are empanadas made

In Spanish, empanada means “breaded,” derived from pan, meaning bread. But that’s a bit misleading, because in Latin America today an empanada is a filled pastry, almost any kind of pastry made from flour or cornmeal and filled with almost anything imaginable, but usually with meats or seafoods of some kind. We might call them … Read more

What Is the Best and Fastest Way To Defrost Frozen Foods?

what is the best and fastest way to defrost frozen foods

You come home after a hard day’s work. You don’t feel like cooking, and you can’t face the hassle of going to a restaurant. Where do you turn? To the freezer, of course. And like a crowd of football fans, a little voice in your head begins to chant, “DEE-frost! DEE-frost!” Scanning your frozen assets, … Read more

How To Grill Vegetables In the Oven

how to grill vegetables in the oven

Outdoor grilling is great for meats and fish, but grilling most vegetables can be a problem. Put them on the grate and they tend to fall through into the fire; put them on skewers and some parts will burn while others steam. Roasting vegetables in a hot oven is a lot easier. It results in … Read more

What Is the Best Type of Fire For Grilling: Charcoal or Gas, and Why?

what is the best type of fire for grilling charcoal or gas and why

The answer to that question is an unequivocal “It depends.” You can make burned-on-the-outside, raw-on-the-inside chicken equally well over charcoal or a gas flame. As in all cooking, what matters is how much heat the food ultimately absorbs; that’s what determines its done-ness. Grilling infuses the necessary amount of heat by subjecting the food to … Read more

Does It Ever Really Get Hot Enough To Fry an Egg On the Sidewalk?

does it ever really get hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk

It’s unlikely. But scientific opinion has never been known to discourage people from trying to prove an age-old urban legend. When I was a kid in The Big City in the days before air conditioning, at least one newspaper would cook up an egg-on-the-sidewalk story sometime during the “silly season”, the dog days of summer, … Read more

Why Does It Take Such a Long Time To Reduce a Stock?

why does it take such a long time to reduce a stock

Evaporating water sounds like the simplest thing in the world. Why, just leave a puddle of water standing around and it evaporates all by itself. But that takes time, because the necessary calories won’t flow into the water very fast from the room’s relatively cool air. Even on the stove, where you’re feeding lots of … Read more

Will a Pot of Water Boil Faster If You Put the Lid On?

will a pot of water boil faster if you put the lid on

As a pot of water is heated and its temperature goes up, more and more water vapor is produced above the surface. That’s because more and more of the surface molecules gain enough energy to leap off into the air. The increasing amount of water vapor carries off an increasing amount of energy that could … Read more

How Long Does It Take To Boil Water At High Altitudes?

how long does it take to boil water at high altitudes

The elevation at La Paz runs from 10,650 to 13,250 feet above sea level, depending on which part of town you’re in. And as you are aware, water boils at lower temperatures at higher elevations. That’s because in order to escape from the liquid and boil off into the air, water molecules have to fight … Read more

How Does Cutting 3,000 Calories Equal To Losing a Pound of Fat?

how does cutting 3000 calories equal to losing a pound of fat

Not being a nutritionist, I asked Marion Nestle, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University. “Fudge factors,” she said. First of all, the actual energy content of a gram of fat is closer to 9.5 calories. But that would only make the discrepancy bigger. The fact is … Read more

How Much Energy Is a Calorie and Why Do Calories Make Me Fat?

how much energy is a calorie and why do calories make me fat

A calorie is a much broader concept than just heat; it’s an amount of any kind of energy. We could measure the energy of a speeding Mack truck in calories, if we wanted to. Energy is whatever makes things happen; call it “oomph” if you wish. It comes in many forms: physical motion (think Mack … Read more

How To Boil a Live Lobster

At the fish market, select one lively, tail-flipping, claw-raising lobster per person. You pick up a lobster by grasping its back, behind the head. If it droops when picked up, forget it and come back another day; it’s not fresh. Take the lobsters home in a container that allows lots of breathing space and keeps … Read more

What Is the Best Way To Cook a Live Lobster? Boil It or Steam It?

what is the best way to cook a live lobster boil it or steam it

To find an authoritative answer, I went to Maine and interviewed several leading chefs and lobstermen. I found two distinct camps: the staunch steamers and the passionate plungers. “I plunge,” defiantly declared the chef at a well-known French restaurant. He plunges his lobsters into boiling water laced with white wine and lots of peeled garlic. … Read more

Why Are Mussels the Best Type of Seafood Ever?

why are mussels the best type of seafood ever scaled

Mussels are nature’s fast-food gifts from the sea. They are beautiful to behold in their ebony shells, decorated with concentric growth lines. They cook almost instantly (they’re done when their shells pop open) and are very low in fat and high in protein. Their texture is meaty, and they taste of the sea, a little … Read more

What Is the Difference Between Clam and Oyster Shells and Shrimp and Crab Shells?

what is the difference between clam and oyster shells and shrimp and crab shells

We call them all shells because they are worn on the outside, but when we talk about “shellfish,” we’re including two totally different classes of animals: crustaceans and mollusks. Among the crustaceans are crabs, lobsters, shrimps, and prawns. Their shells are horny, flexible plates of hinged “armor.” The top covering of a crab or lobster … Read more

Do Live Clams Need To Be Cleaned Before Cooking and Eating Them?

do live clams need to be cleaned before cooking and eating them

They should be, but they really don’t have to be. That step is often skipped. As they arrive from the ocean or the fish market, live clams generally need to be purged. When they were snatched from their snug little beds in the sand, they pulled in their siphons and clamped their shells together tightly, … Read more

What Is the Easiest Best Way To Open Live Clams?

what is the easiest best way to open live clams

Almost as much human resourcefulness has been expended on shucking clams as on opening childproof medicine bottles, but with far more injuries. People have seriously recommended everything from hammers, files, and hacksaws to execution in the microwave chamber. But brute force is entirely unnecessary, and microwave heat can seriously compromise their flavor. To open clams … Read more

Are Clams and Oysters On the Half Shell Still Alive When We Eat Them?

are clams and oysters on the half shell still alive when we eat them scaled

You’re on vacation at the shore, right? Seafood restaurants abound. Many have raw bars, at which hordes of heedless hedonists are slurping hundreds of luckless mollusks that have been forcibly demoted from bivalve to univalve status. It’s only natural to be squeamish about chomping on a creature so recently relieved of its shielding shells and, … Read more

Why Is Caviar Served With a Special, Fancy Spoon Made of Gold?

why is caviar served with a special fancy spoon made of gold

One can imagine several reasons. Merchants assume that anyone who eats caviar regularly is an easy sell. Caviar deserves it. And least romantically, there is a chemical reason for it. Caviar is the roe of the sturgeon, a huge, dinosaur-era fish with armored plates instead of scales. The sturgeon lives primarily in the Caspian and … Read more

Where Does Imitation Crab Meat Come From and What Is Surimi Made Of?

where does imitation crab meat come from and what is surimi made of

Surimi is fish flesh that has been minced and fabricated into crab-and shrimp-like shapes. Developed in Japan to utilize the waste scraps from filleting and to exploit some of the less desirable fish species caught in the nets, it has gained a foothold in the United States as a low-cost alternative to the real things. … Read more

Why Does Fish Go Bad So Much Faster Than Other Meat Like Beef?

why does fish go bad so much faster than other meat like beef

People put up with fishy-smelling fish because they’re probably thinking, Well, what else should it smell like? Odd as it may seem, though, fish needn’t smell like fish at all. When they’re perfectly fresh, only a few hours removed from carousing around in the water, fish and shellfish have virtually no odor. A fresh “scent … Read more

Why Does Fish Cook So Much Faster Than Other Meats?

why does fish cook so much faster than other meats

Meats, like wines, can be either red or white. Beef is red; fish and shellfish are generally white. Salmon are pink, rosé, if you like, because they eat pink-shelled crustaceans. Flamingos, if you care, are pink for a similar reason. In the kitchen, we soon learn that white fish flesh cooks much more quickly than … Read more

How To Make the Perfect Chicken or Turkey Gravy Every Time

how to make the perfect chicken or turkey gravy every time

There are three important things to remember when making gravy: Combine and cook equal parts fat and all-purpose flour. Whisk in the right amount of broth to the consistency you like. Simmer gravy for a total of 7 minutes. The standard proportion for gravy is 1 part fat, 1 part flour, 8 or 12 parts … Read more

How Do I Use the Drippings From a Roast Chicken?

how do i use the drippings from a roast chicken

No. If you have to ask, you don’t deserve them. Pour off the fat, scrape the rest of the “ook” into a jar, and ship it to me by overnight express. Seriously, this stuff is composed of marvelously flavorful juices and gels, and it would be a crime to feed it to your dishwashing machine. … Read more

Where Does the Foamy, White Scum When Making Chicken Soup Come From?

where does the foamy white scum when making chicken soup come from

The stuff is coagulated protein, held together by fat. While it won’t hurt you, it won’t taste good and it’s best to remove it on purely aesthetic grounds. When protein is heated, it coagulates. That is, its long, convoluted molecules unfold and then clump together in new ways. What happened was that some of your … Read more

What Does Marinate Overnight Mean In a Recipe?

what does marinate overnight mean in a recipe scaled

I’m with you. Why overnight? Are we to believe that daylight somehow interferes with the marinating process? What if it’s only two o’clock in the afternoon when we arrive at the critical point in the recipe? How early can “overnight” begin? If we do leave it overnight, must we proceed with the recipe the moment … Read more

Why and How Does Brining Make Meat, Poultry, and Fish Juicer?

why and how does brining make meat poultry and fish juicer

Brining, soaking meat, fish or poultry in a solution of salt in water, is far from new. Surely, at some time in maritime history, someone discovered, accidentally, perhaps?, that meat that had soaked in seawater was juicier and had better flavor when cooked. How does brining work? What does a bath in salt water accomplish, … Read more

How Is Meat Like Ham and Fish Preserved Without Refrigeration?

how is meat like ham and fish preserved without refrigeration

Meats don’t spoil because they’re “cured,” which is a catch-all term for any process that inhibits bacterial growth, even at room temperature. But hams can be bewildering. How are they cured? Are all hams salted? Smoked? Do you have to soak them? Cook them? There is no single set of answers to these questions because … Read more

What Is the Best Way To Skim the Fat From Soup and Stock?

what is the best way to skim the fat from soup and stock

Recipes tell you to “skim the fat” from soups and stews as if it were as easy as peeling a banana. Supposedly, you just grab a spoon and scoop off the layer of fat without removing any of the underlying solids or liquids. But the word skim is a scam. For one thing, it’s hard … Read more

Why Do Bones Make Soup, Stew, and Stock Taste Better By Adding Flavor?

Dem bones are an essential ingredient in making a soup, stock, or stew, every bit as essential as the meat, vegetables, and seasonings. Their purpose may not be obvious, however, if we think of them as hard, nonreactive mineral matter. Yes, their structural material is mineral: calcium phosphates, to be specific. But calcium phosphates don’t … Read more

What Does Prime Beef Mean and Where Does Prime Rib Come From?

what does prime beef mean and where does prime rib come from

USDA Prime is indeed the finest and most expensive grade of beef. But we have all at one time or another been subjected to a $5.95 (salad bar included) slab of tough, dry “prime rib” rimmed with vulcanized-rubber fat that clearly deserved to be stamped “USDA Inedible.” Is there some misrepresentation going on here? Not … Read more

Why Is Ground Beef Dark On the Inside But Bright Red On the Outside?

why is ground beef dark on the inside but bright red on the outside

A freshly cut meat surface isn’t bright red; it’s naturally purplish because it contains the purplish-red muscle protein, myoglobin. But when myoglobin is exposed to oxygen in the air, it quickly turns into bright, cherry-red oxymyoglobin. That’s why only the outer surface of your ground beef is that nice, bright red color that we generally … Read more

People Just Love To Eat Meat and Fish

people just love to eat meat and fish

We humans are an omnivorous lot, with teeth and digestive systems well adapted to eating both plant and animal foods. But animal rights activists notwithstanding, it’s an undeniable fact that in our society, meat and fish are most often the center of the plate, the star players in our main dishes. Of the virtually unlimited … Read more

Why Are Hominy Grits Made With Lye When It’s Corrosive?

why are hominy grits made with lye when its corrosive scaled

Delve into the intriguing world of hominy grits, unraveling the mystery behind the use of lye in their production and the unique culinary process that transforms corn. Key Takeaways: Explore the traditional method of using lye in hominy grits production. Understand the chemical reaction that occurs during the nixtamalization process. Gain insights into the historical … Read more

How Toxic Are the Eyes of a Potato?

how toxic are the eyes of a potato

Not as dangerous as some well-meaning friends who spread scary stories. But there is a small grain of truth to the story. When potatoes were introduced into Europe in the second half of the sixteenth century, they were suspected of being either poisonous or aphrodisiac or, an intriguing thought, both. (What a way to die!) … Read more

Why Do Some Potato Chips Have Green Edges and Are They Safe To Eat?

why do some potato chips have green edges and are they safe to eat

Those chips were sliced from green-surfaced potatoes, and they therefore contain small amounts of toxic solanine, which is not destroyed by frying. It’s okay to eat them, because in order to experience any ill effects you’d have to eat so many bags of chips that you’d turn greener around the gills than they are around … Read more

Why Are Potatoes With Green Skin Toxic and Unsafe To Eat?

why are potatoes with green skin toxic and unsafe to eat

It’s not green because it’s unripe; potatoes are ready to eat at any stage of growth. And they’re not flaunting the green because they’re a traditionally Irish food. The green color is Mother Nature’s Mr. Yuk sticker, warning us of poison. Potato plants contain solanine, a bitter-tasting member of the notorious alkaloid family, a group … Read more

Where Does Vinegar Come From and What Is Vinegar Made of?

where does vinegar come from and what is vinegar made of

Vinegar has been known for thousands of years. No one even had to make it in the first place, because it actually makes itself. Wherever there happens to be some sugar or alcohol lying around, vinegar is on the way. Any chemist will tell you without a moment’s hesitation that vinegar is a solution of … Read more

Why Does Lasagne and Spaghetti Eat Holes In Aluminum Foil?

why does lasagne and spaghetti eat holes in aluminum foil

Yup, your lasagne is actually eating holes in the metal. (No reflection on your cooking.) Aluminum is what chemists call an active metal, easily attacked by acids such as the citric and other organic acids in tomatoes. In fact, you shouldn’t cook tomato sauce or other acidic foods in aluminum pots because they can dissolve … Read more

How Does MSG Enhance Flavors In Food and How Is MSG Made?

how does msg enhance flavors in food and how is msg made

It certainly does sound mysterious that these innocent-looking fine, white crystals with no really distinctive taste of their own should be able to boost the inherent flavors of such a wide variety of foods. The mystery lies not in whether MSG really works, nobody doubts that, but in how it works. As is the case … Read more

Why Does Vanilla Make Food Smell and Taste So Good, But Tastes So Awful From the Bottle?

why does vanilla make food smell and taste so good but tastes so awful from the bottle

Vanilla extract is around 35 percent ethyl alcohol, which has a harsh, biting flavor. Whiskeys and other distilled beverages contain even more alcohol, of course (usually 40 percent), but they are lovingly produced by time-honored flavoring and aging processes that soften the harshness. “Pure vanilla extract,” in order to be labeled as such, must be … Read more

What Is Sour Salt and Where Does Sour Salt Come From?

what is sour salt and where does sour salt come from

Sour salt is misnamed. It has nothing to do with table salt or sodium chloride. In fact, it isn’t a salt at all; it’s an acid. They’re two different classes of chemicals. Every acid is a unique chemical having properties that distinguish it from all other acids. But it can have dozens of derivatives called … Read more

What Is Baking Ammonia and What Is Baking Ammonia Used For?

what is baking ammonia and what is baking ammonia used for scaled

Ammonia itself is an acrid-smelling gas, usually dissolved in water and used for laundry and cleaning purposes. But baking ammonia is ammonium bicarbonate, a leavening agent that when heated breaks down into three gases: water vapor, carbon dioxide, and ammonia. It isn’t used much anymore , if you can even find it, because the ammonia … Read more

How Does Aluminum Cause Alzheimer’s Disease?

how does aluminum cause alzheimers disease

Sodium aluminum sulfate and several other aluminum compounds are listed by the FDA as GRAS: Generally Regarded as Safe. About twenty years ago, one study found increased levels of aluminum in the brains of deceased Alzheimer’s victims. Ever since then, suspicions have been circulating that aluminum, whether in food or water or dissolved from aluminum … Read more

How Is Baking Soda Different From Baking Powder?

how is baking soda different from baking powder

It’s all in the chemicals. Baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda) is a single chemical: pure sodium bicarbonate, whereas baking powder is baking soda combined with one or more acid salts, such as monocalcium phosphate monohydrate, dicalcium phosphate dihydrate, sodium aluminum sulfate, or sodium aluminum phosphate. Now that I’ve warmed the hearts of chemistry fans … Read more

How Is Homogenized Milk Made and What Does Homogenized Mean?

how is homogenized milk made and what does homogenized mean

Some of my older readers may remember milk delivered to the doorstep in bottles. I’ve read about it in my history books. The milk had a separate layer of cream at the top. Why? Because cream is just milk with a higher proportion of butterfat and, because fat is lighter (less dense) than water, it … Read more

Does Heavy Cream Weigh Less Than Light Cream?

does heavy cream weigh less than light cream

Heavy cream contains a higher percentage of milk fat (usually called butterfat, because butter can be made from it) than light cream does: 36 to 40 percent fat in heavy whipping cream versus only 18 to 30 percent in light cream. And, if you’re interested, the heavy cream can contain up to twice as much … Read more

Why Do Ramen Noodles Contain So Much Sodium and Fat Per Serving?

why do ramen noodles contain so much sodium and fat per serving

The ingredients in the noodles and in the package of flavorings are listed separately, so you can easily find out which contains what. The salt (usually lots of it) is in the flavorings. You might not expect the noodles to contain fat, but surprisingly, that’s where most of it is hiding. I know you’ve always … Read more

How Do Those Nonstick Nonfat Cooking Sprays Work?

how do those nonstick nonfat cooking sprays work

There is no such thing as a nonfat edible oil. Fats are a family of specific chemical compounds, and an oil is just a liquid fat. Nor do the sprays have to contain a substitute for oil, because, are you ready?, they are oil. Those handy little cans, so great for coating baking pans and … Read more

What Is the Best Way to Dispose of Used Cooking Oil and Fat?

what is the best way to dispose of used cooking oil and fat

While edible fats and oils are ultimately biodegradable, they can gum up the works in a landfill for years. They’re not as bad as petroleum oils, however, which are digestible by only one or two species of bacteria and stay around essentially forever. Small amounts of fat can be absorbed in a couple of paper … Read more

What Are the Smoke Points of Common Vegetable Oils?

what are the smoke points of common vegetable oils

I don’t think you mean boiling point, because in spite of the poetic and sadistic appeal of the expression “boiled in oil,” oil doesn’t boil. Long before it becomes hot enough to think about bubbling, a cooking oil will decompose, breaking down into disagreeable chemicals and carbonized particles that will assault your taste buds with … Read more

How Do They Get Corn Oil Out of Corn?

how do they get corn oil out of corn scaled

They use a lot of corn. Corn is indeed a low-fat food, containing about 1 gram per ear until you slather it with all that butter. But it is by far the biggest crop in the United States, grown in 42 states to the tune of more than 9 billion bushels per year. Nine billion … Read more

Why Does European Butter Taste Better Than American Butter?

why does european butter taste better than american butter

European butter has more fat. Commercial butter is 80 to 82 percent milk fat (also called butterfat), 16 to 17 percent water, and 1 to 2 percent milk solids (plus about 2 percent salt if salted). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets the lower limit of butterfat content for American butter at 80 … Read more

What Is Clarified Butter Used For?

what is clarified butter used for

Clarifying butter gets rid of everything but that delicious, artery-clogging, highly saturated butterfat. But when we use it in sautéing instead of whole butter, we avoid eating the browned proteins, which could also be unhealthful because of possible carcinogens. Name your poison. Some people think of butter as a block of fat surrounded by guilt. … Read more

How Come the Amounts of Fat on Food Labels Don’t Add Up?

how come the amounts of fat on food labels dont add up

All fats fall into three categories. Saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats. I had never noticed the funny arithmetic you mention, but as soon as I received your question I ran to my pantry and grabbed a box of Nabisco Wheat Thins. Here’s what I saw in the Nutrition Facts panel for the amounts of fat … Read more

Where Does Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Come From?

where does partially hydrogenated vegetable oil come from scaled

Oils are hydrogenated, that is, hydrogen atoms are forced into their molecules under pressure to make them more saturated, because saturated fats are thicker, more solid and less liquid, than unsaturated fats. The hydrogen atoms fill in hydrogen-poor gaps (Techspeak: double bonds, which are more rigid than single bonds) in the oil molecules, and that … Read more

What Makes Fats Turn Rancid?

what makes fats turn rancid

Free fatty acids. That is, fatty acid molecules that have been broken off from their fat molecules. Most fatty acids are foul-smelling and bad-tasting chemicals, and it doesn’t take much of them to give a fatty food an off flavor. There are two main ways in which the fatty acids can become disconnected: the fat’s … Read more

What Is the Difference Between Fats and Fatty Acids?

what is the difference between fats and fatty acids

Most of us just don’t know the difference between fatty acids and fats. And there is indeed a difference. Every molecule of fat incorporates three molecules of fatty acids. The fatty acids may be either saturated or unsaturated, and they thereby impart those qualities to the fat as a whole. First, let’s see what a … Read more

Why Does a Recipe Tell Me To Use Unsalted Butter and To Add Salt Later?

why does a recipe tell me to use unsalted butter and to add salt later

It sounds silly, but there’s a reason. A quarter-pound stick of typical salted butter may contain 1½ to 3 grams, or up to half a teaspoon, of salt. Different brands and regional products may contain very different amounts. When you’re following a carefully formulated recipe, especially one that uses a lot of butter, you can’t … Read more

Why Is Freshly Ground Salt Better Than Granulated Salt?

why is freshly ground salt better than granulated salt

Freshly ground salt is better for the people who sell those fancy salt mills and combination salt-and-pepper grinders in so-called gourmet shops. The idea seems to be that if freshly ground pepper is so much better than the powdered stuff in cans, then why not use freshly ground salt as well? That’s a delusion. Unlike … Read more

Why Is Kosher Salt Better Than Regular Table Salt?

why is kosher salt better than regular table salt

Kosher salt is misnamed; it should be called koshering salt because it is used in the koshering process, which involves blanketing raw meat or poultry with salt to purify it. Kosher salt may be either mined or taken from the sea; nobody seems to care. Its crystals, however, must always be coarse and irregular, so … Read more

How Is Sea Salt Better Than Regular Table Salt?

how is sea salt better than regular table salt

The terms sea salt and regular salt or table salt are often used as if they denote two distinctly different substances with distinctly different properties. But it’s not that simple. Salt is indeed obtained from two different sources: underground mines and seawater. But that fact alone doesn’t make them inherently different, any more than water … Read more

Why Do We Have To Add Salt In the Water Before Cooking Pasta?

why do we have to add salt in the water before cooking pasta

Virtually every cookbook instructs us to salt the water in which we cook pasta or potatoes, and we dutifully comply without asking any questions. There is a very simple reason for adding the salt: It boosts the flavor of the food, just as it does when used in any other kind of cooking. And that’s … Read more

How Does Salt Tenderize Meat?

how does salt tenderize meat

Salt tenderizes meat only to a slight extent. If you read further down the ingredient list of meat tenderizers, you’ll find papain, an enzyme found in unripe papayas. That’s what really does the job. All that salt is there primarily to dilute and spread out the relatively small amount of papain in the product on … Read more

What’s So Special About Those Expensive Popcorn Salts and Margarita Salts Sold In Supermarkets?

whats so special about those expensive popcorn salts and margarita salts sold in supermarkets

Chemically speaking, absolutely nothing. They’re plain old salt: sodium chloride. But physically speaking, they’re either finer-grained or coarser-grained than ordinary table salt. And that’s all. The number of specialty salts on the wholesale market is astounding. Cargill Salt, Inc., one of the world’s largest salt producers, makes about sixty kinds of food-grade salt for food … Read more

What Is Salt?

what is salt

Beneath the surface of Hutchinson, Kansas, and thousands of square miles of its environs lies an enormous deposit of a precious rock-like mineral called halite. There, several huge mining operations extract almost 1 million tons per year, and that’s less than one-half percent of the world’s annual halite production. What do we do with all … Read more

What Is White Chocolate Made Of?

what is white chocolate made of

White chocolate is simply the fat from the cacao bean (the cocoa butter) mixed with milk solids and sugar. It contains none of those wonderful, though inauspiciously brown, cocoa-bean solids that give chocolate its unique character and rich flavor. If you choose a white-chocolate-topped dessert to avoid chocolate’s caffeine, bear in mind that cocoa butter … Read more

What Is the Difference Between Dutch Process Cocoa and Regular Cocoa?

what is the difference between dutch process cocoa and regular cocoa

To make cocoa, unsweetened chocolate (solidified chocolate liquor) is pressed to squeeze out most of the fat, and the resulting cake is then ground to a powder. There are several types of “regular” cocoa powder, depending on how much fat remains. For example, “breakfast cocoa” or “high-fat cocoa,” as defined by the FDA, must contain … Read more

Where Does Corn Syrup Come From and How Is Corn Syrup Made?

where does corn syrup come from and how is corn syrup made

I know what you’re thinking. The corn that you bought at the farmers’ market the other day wasn’t really “as sweet as sugar,” as the vendor promised, was it? “Sweet corn” does indeed contain more sugar than “cow corn,” but even in the new sugar enhanced and super sweet varieties it’s precious little compared with … Read more