Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Mr. Wizard 2005
For those of you old enough to remember, of course you already know that on Saturday mornings many years ago, a great man of science named Mr. Wizard would grace our TV sets, instructing us kids on all those wonderful scientific facts we failed to learn during the week, in most instances, due to sheer lack of paying attention in science class. Today as adults, however, we can just as easily turn on the Food Network Channel and see Alton Brown in his own informative showcase called Good Eats, and he'll give you all those useful little scientific tidbits and more, prompting you to say, "Hey...I never knew that!" as well as being a pretty good darn culinary wizard in his own right.
Affectionately referred to at times as part chef, part McGiver, and part mad scientist (once again...all in the name of good fun!) Alton serves up his food facts along with some far more molecular and kinetic facts from boiling water to preparing the perfect bouillabaisse. I'm also presently loving one of his Good Eats DVDs that can be purchased through Food Network.
Here's just a sampling of Alton's list of "Kitchen fiction vs. Scientific facts":
Myth: Storing coffee in the freezer keeps it fresh.
Truth: The daily removal of java beans from the freezer causes their temperature to change. This encourages condensation which, like prolonged exposure to air, degrades the flavor of the beans.
Myth: Putting oil in pasta water prevents the noodles from sticking together.
Truth: Starch released by the noodles as they cook causes them to stick together. Using ample water will help dilute the starch. Oil floats to the surface of the denser water and has little effect on the noodles.
Myth: Washing mushrooms causes them to soak up excess water.
Truth: Even when soaked for 5 minutes, standard button mushrooms retain less than 3 percent of their weight in water. Washing affects them even less.
Myth: Leaving the avocado pit in the bowl will prevent guacamole from turning brown.
Truth: Enzymes in an avocado's flesh become discolored when exposed to oxygen. Leaving the pit in your guacamole keeps only the portion under it green.
Check your local TV listings and don't forget to tune in for Good Eats weeknights on the Food Network Channel.
Also, as promised, I'm pleased to give a shout out here to my good friend, Carrie Kabak, who has been blowing us all away with her fantastic debut novel titled Cover The Butter which hit the bookstores this past June. And, once again, Carrie's coming back with a *second* dynamite offering of strong female characters and all-out good reading titled, Tarts And Sinners.
Good Tuesday, all. Peace.