Cooking Issues Transcript

Episode 250: The Curious Cook, Harold McGee

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hi there I'm Greg from Coppell. Com to check out our unique collection of everyday reusable products designed to help you do more with less c u p p o AAA sessions radio for thousands more

7 to 1/2 in the studio as usual

Lopez how you doing everything good and of course in the booth we got Jackie molecules that Jack is going to be sad time for cooking issues because good news for you you're going to go out on tour pretty soon right I am yeah there's a lot on the horizon for me right now but if you're on tour that means that you're not going to be in the booth well you know

they'll be the ghost of Jackie molecules I'll be in I'll be in London I'll be in the east of England somewhere little town Ipswich then I'll be in Paris and I think Barcelona and Iceland yeah me too excited about that when the My Little Pony shows in like the weirdest places in Iceland stuff that'll be fun to which I think I'm shamelessly plugged on the show before but that's record that I produced I play with her live and we're hitting the road so what's up with the two two two what's the meaning of the two to too well let's see her birthday number is too that's just where it starts and then we have this thing where we would always send each other screenshots when it was 2:22 p.m. on the phone back and forth just as a kind of like whatever thing

it's some weird like numerology it's like an angel number of divine collaboration kind of thing or something so I don't know if they're all these Quinn sentences with with the twos so just the record itself is 22 minutes and 22 seconds long by chance to make slime with like 21 minutes and 40 seconds and I was like I'll be damned if isn't 2222 it was close enough you know the show in the studio will be the week of the 24th so I don't know what day would that be the 19th or something June 19th and be a sad day

oanda me more stars mostly not for me in the back of provided by Peter Kim the director of the Museum of food and drink coming off of his I'm sure you wanted some food vendor because he just finished year in the spring benefit shoot for CBS Sunday Morning in Chinese take out box look yourself up for the meeting

no I think that was a yes or yes I'm your lawyer day is coming back okay I'm going to come in late 2016 recipient of what was the exact so at least has taught us everything about the science of deliciousness if you haven't already purchased on food and cooking cooking and gone on bookfinder and also purchased the Curious cook-off

someone else's used bookstore that do that now stop listening to us and go by that right now

yeah I should really do something about that shouldn't have to go Revisited this is more about Jess experiments you can write literally like a two-paragraph a den and being like this is no longer a hundred percent what I think but this is how I went through the experiment at that time is still be useful for people know it's true I met someone at Booker and Dax recently and she said that her I think was her mom had just had a virus and it knocked out her olfaction and the doctors you know said that they might come back on the percent and it might come back partially it might take weeks it might take months and I told her that I know someone you Harold had a similar similar problem and so I just thought I'd

have you on that talked about kind of what that was like especially for someone who you know his food is such a big part of their life and kind of how you made it through it and kind of what the weather there was any sort of thing you could do to help yourself out while it was going on and I think you might remember it because it was a couple of years ago when we had just finished lecturing at Harvard and I was coming down to New York City to participate in a country ham tasting where the whole point is to taste the notice qualities in like a week or ten days before I came out to Harvard I just woke up one morning made a cup of coffee and realized I couldn't taste like coffee or I couldn't smell it and that was scary because I'm in the middle of writing a book about smell

so I have a friend who was at the time the director of the monell chemical senses Center in Philadelphia the center that specializes in Payson and I wrote him immediately in the bed what do I do about this then he basically said that lots and lots of people over the course of their lifetime do lose their sense of smell for a. Of time that it's happened to him and that there's really nothing that specialists in the field can do to help or to comfort you there's just no predicting when can I come back and hang out so he said just relax and try to enjoy the other qualities foods and I did that

and what I found I did find it my my interest in eating really declined you know it's the smell is such a big part of it that I would not see the point of working really hard to make something nice for dinner anymore so what I did end up doing though is just noticing that when when you can't smell food then the other qualities become that much more important so I found that if a food was under salted or if the meat was kind of you know tough and dry and not very interesting that I just made that particular dish really on a pig leg and I just didn't want to eat any more of it so

my feeling is it you know investing in the idea that it's going to come back at some point and you have to keep yourself healthy in the meantime and reasonably then what you do if you're cooking for yourself or if you're cooking for someone else who has this problem is just to make the food as appealing in all its other aspects as possible and hope that means the seasoning that means that I found myself using lemon juice and lime juice a lot more than I would have in the past I like crunchy things and really smooth silky things but stuff the kind of dried out my mouth you noticed that didn't do it for me anymore

it is kind of peculiar but you know I'd I live in California there's a lot of pictures around all the time and so I was trying to you know eat my oranges I get my vitamins and I noticed one day when I peeled my oranges and then it took me a few hours to get around to eating it I got distracted by something else you know how the the skin around each segment dries out and it turns out if it dries out enough instead of being chewy which was not something that I was interested in without any sense of smell it becomes really crisp and then you get this kind of birth so flavory when you bite into it that made eating oranges something as simple as eating oranges much more interesting to me like I'm more of a clementine kind of assault

tangerines clementines things like that but it also works for navels and then I discovered that the mfk Fisher actually wrote about this no decades and decades ago she was living in France she said she wasn't getting she didn't have the money to eat spectacularly well but she found it if she left a man to peel the Mandarin oranges left it on her radiator until it dried out she got that wonderful release of flavor anyway so it's the little things like that I found could make a really big difference and then I also am a believer in the idea that you know that the more effort you make the more you kind of make your olfactory system think that its expectations are high for it. It'll come back faster so I would just really concentrate on trying to smell things even when I wasn't really gay

and I don't know if that makes a difference or not but at least you'd you have the feeling that you're again making an effort exercising the system even if it's not responding the way you wanted to yet some people know at the beginning this wasn't like oh I have a stuffy nose this is like nose clear knocked out the right like knockout have no other symptoms if I'd had a head cold then sure gets kind of makes sense with my sense of smell is a little impaired but I had to had no other issues whatsoever just just realize one day I was drinking my coffee and I wasn't tasting coffee

well do ya no tiene kind of partial way I mean potato chips because of their their salt can actually potato chips sea salt and vinegar potato chips that was a really hammering my taste buds and Crispy Crunchy piece of it was really wonderful to that was heard of my my go-to you know just to get calories because I really wasn't interested in and eating did you do any of the texture only kind of famous dishes like a bird's nest or any of that stuff no hopefully you will not have the chance to do it again slowly or or

or even longer than that I mean it was several months before it came back and then one day as I say you know I would try to make an effort to smell things I would just kind of snort trying to get the air rushing through my nasal passages harder and one day I just noticed that there seems to be a little bit of a hint of flavor I think it was again in my in my morning cup of coffee and it would then to the go away and I wouldn't get anything at all and I was thinking well maybe I'll loosen ated it and over the course of several weeks it slowly came back to the point where I didn't have to snort are you I would actually get it just by breathing do you want it she have a question that you probably have some answers

another 10-15 minutes or so and so are you and Harold

how's it going how's it going I was wondering if there's any way to me cream on turnable

uncharitable or unturned at all

Hunter Noble well starting with homogenized cream helps that makes it a lot harder but I think it would still you know if you if you went at it hard enough it would still it would still turn I mean I mean if you were to dope it with

I mean it's not what it's 70 roughly 70% water 6666 T56 number between 60 and 70% water in the cream that you have so you could probably boil that a little bit extract out some of the water or take pure water hydrate some sort of like some sort of thick in her and maybe that would help protect it in the way that in the way that starts prevents yolk from from curdling when you when you cook it I don't know how old is anything like that could help like sterically hindered the the fat lamb rating or no just putting enough either hearing material in there to get in the way of the globules touching each other that's that would that would probably be it probably turn the entire

sing into a fluid gel right if you wanted to and then if you did that I wonder whether or not I wonder whether or not you could prevent it from I mean the texture would be weird it wouldn't be cream but you might be able to stop it from having the ability because the individual I think that the particles that you would have you know how big the fat globules are like Harold like will I gonna like roughly micrometers Avenue a micrometer have no idea

okay so the limits of your tongue are roughly 20 right which means that if your fluid gel particles are somewhere between the order of 10 and 20 right you should be able to lock a number of fat globules inside of the particles in the fluid gel and maybe prevent them from agglomerating because they they'll just be kind of Trapped up in something that stays as a coherent unit that's just a complete guess right out of my right out of my behind I've no idea but it says something to try you know what do you think Carol is this any this reasonable or no coming up the temperature for the constant movement is going to affect those are so like fluidity of the fat in it at all and that was my only concern.

fishing or something stabilizer but you'd have to worry about you have to worry about whether it's still going to flow fluidly or not fluid gel will flow fluidly if it's low enough fluid gel but I think that the let the lower the concentration on the fluid gel the more it's a regular liquid with some particles in it that are stabilizing it versus particles with some liquid around them you know but again this is your ear stretching way back on my memory banks for how to dork with things

yeah I figured out what happened to Daniel David and have a seat there's a question good episode 250 today that's good Peter Tim Cook have a question on and it's written this way Jerusalem for artichokes

coffee jokes at the gastrointestinal poisoned her friends by feeding them quarts of mildly cook Jerusalem artichokes and like a salad for Matt at a picnic she knew bathroom around anywhere like going to happen in their guts in the air within the next couple of hours the reason she knew is because she done it to herself so you know what I just posted Chase Oaks and clarified butter when we cook them a sticky white scum floats to the surface that's my next band sticky whites come it's so sticky

Sweet Sticky and delicious here's a question do you think this scum could just be purified concern quotes Harold and starch like anyone that may keep describes playlist causing abdominal discomfort before risking dinner service the guards David in Ottawa okay what did you can get there protein in butter I know in your inulin is really soluble in water and that's why you know you say boil them in a big pot of water after you let him age for a while but you guys got any thoughts on this Harold mystery inulin man

other than anyone mean proteins and you know surface-active materials especially enriched in stuff that's going to cause trouble. They're like 20% or something crazy like that right there like an Excel forms can in certain circumstances form of gel I didn't realize it was in butter set two different that they are doing and butter to it that the top is probably water-soluble stuff expelled from the church right has like one can tolerate a certain amount of this garbage. It's a soluble fiber and soluble fiber so you can't Digest

the definition of fiber I think basically is that you can't digest it right that's really don't have to be fibrous doesn't have to be a fiber as long as it's only cuz I just said in my mind now I'm thinking The Sandlot whenever I say fiber fiber store in there anyway

point being that it goes into your gut and then the microbes in your gut they can digestive stuff just fine they produce a whole boatload of gas and there you have it right when you get to it the less of a big dose that your gut microflora get in the more you can handle it when you say that's true Harold beam flashlight that you're feeding is that it's the benefit of bacteria that are especially fond of inulin and fruit the fans and things like that and they're all the bugs in our God apparently the ones that are doing us the most good most of the time so I actually think that you know throwing a few slices of Jerusalem artichoke into your daily

your daily diet is probably a really good idea bacteria that they'd open to Jamie Lee Curtis's. Jamie Lee Curtis's feminine poop yogurt right I don't know about that Activia right why can't you can't men also benefit from this is is there some sort of agenda know from the bacteria stoped yogurt to make you poop is there a is there an actual difference between the genders in the

what do yogurt does to your body when it clearly did not study this really nobody knows have you seen the Kristen Wiig imitation of Jamie Lee Curtis pooping herself on Saturday Night Live worth worth a watch and you're not used to it is when you really going to have the hammer comes down on your right the more likely that is is using wood using chicory root which also is extremely high in inulin for making tablets for the Museum of food and drink and originally we were worried about the dose level of soluble fiber that these are anyone these folks in beginning so Peter graciously ate about 15 times as many pills as the average gas could hold the consumer what happened to you

stack of magazines and handles levels are for inulin and figured that even if a small child ate a hundred of these they probably still be okay so and I indeed was all right so here's a question I have for anyone that's ever thought about this so deal with inulin a lot anyone anyone and it basically launching fructose and launching fructose I just get that out of the way so Agave do some more jokes

but my point is has anyone made a distilled spirit with Jerusalem artichokes like a super long bake like you do for a guy they for a guy vaping and then make them into a liquor never heard of anything like that Harold anyone rather Northern clients rights not a southern vegetable isn't it like isn't it can I grow it here smash them out and do some distillation but anyone out there I'm sure someone in the cooking issues world is this just a kind of lunatic who's tried it and so like you know let me know but I think we could have a new distilled Spirit on our hands would you call that

Jay Jay Chou Jay Parker Jay Sean wicker the native of one of the few food items that come from North America part of North America remember Mexico is North America people tend to be flavor differences between different someone someone

we should probably have like a someone who's done a lot of the stealing of raw materials do it first so that we can go get rid of the control of this person just doesn't know what the hell they're doing with the installation the old school way actually cook it until it until you get sugar and then fermented rather than you can just hit it with enzymes and then I also like a inulin breakdown I was looking up today really really wrap it at low PH right but the fact that matter is you have to get below about PA for before the hydrolysis of inulin to fructose is very rapid at normal cooking temperatures and who wants their Jerusalem artichokes to be you no more tar than a tomato

Isaac in olestra myself seriously heavy jacket do you remember me ever talking about olestra you do because you've hurt you work with me in the real life and we talked about it on are nothing wrong but there are many things wrong with olestra like they find fat soluble vitamins so you have to dope yourself with them to the wise you poop out all the fat-soluble vitamin but as long as you're using a solid olestra it's not going to run out of your behind without your knowing

Ellie and the shadowman remembers and they tasted greasy in fact that I have said this before on are they had to develop a hot air curtain to blow the outside layer of fat off of the potato chips to reduce the grease in it because you're not supposed to fry potato chips and hydrogenated fat not for health reasons for Taste reason it doesn't taste right in the same reason that you're not supposed to fry a donut and a liquid fat because it doesn't taste right it tastes greasy you like a greasy donut Daniel Harold greasy greasy donut

hey actually I don't know another question that you might have done some work on this is from

I got a bread baking question in particular it's about the tangzhong Rue that is used to make into a bread recipe to make fluffy bread and I will talk about here is like the water rule or you pre make a roux and then you mix it into the bragging about this Daniel but don't I don't I don't bake much so that is really fluffy following this or no so just so you know what that the basic premise here let me see if I understand in the past I play with adding some milk into the bread to make it softer as well how does history affect the bread versus just using milk in a recipe and preliminary research on the webs show stuff about super hydration thanks for

such a good podcast nice and by the way this is from Berkeley California Lopez Jackie molecules and Peter sandwich Aficionado camso Peter you get the shot on this as well so basically what they think is made of fruit flavor club for okay and before you take a portion of water typically it's about 5 to 1 so about 5 part water 1 part flour and it's usually not that large amount of the water but the water and you cook it like you're making a roux however the traditional it was like oh keep it to exactly 65 degrees Celsius right and so I made I didn't have a chance to make red but I made one that I took the 65 on the. And one that I

see that the difference is you're partially when you take it to 65 you're partially pasting partially swelling the stars but you haven't completely gotten all the sarge full evening swallowed water and paste it out yet right and so what you're really doing is just adding a boat ton more water to the bread than you can do any other way the same because if you would added that much water to it without pre-cooking it you'd like structure the Water by pre swelling the starch gives you enough structure to form the bread and allow it to cook properly without it

that's it that's basically what it's doing when you guys agree just from the description I've given that that's what's happening under make something and have the work ability of like a 70 or 80% hydration dough but you could be hydrating it kind of much higher now I don't know what the difference is this is boiled after it's cooled and this is basically so this is boiled and this is the same ratio it's pretty much turn to a gel after it's gone back so that might be a hindrance to the dough and then this here is the 65 degree and that's still more like a thing or or runny they are different they're very different and so my feeling is folks is that

don't bother what you're doing here is your just allow yourself to add more water to the dough. Basically what you're doing and maintaining the same workability that's that's what's happening here there might be some other like fancy dance stuff is happening when it's not fancy damn the bridge but you know canceled and that's basically what's happening anal because we starch is just going to start swelling and pasting at when it hits about 60-65 see so if you just take it off as soon as it goes Super like a 6-foot start to thicken up on you you're going to be good at cuz I really wouldn't worry that much about you note for a long time I don't know whether or not you're working on the fact that it's retrograding to get the extra structure or getting what's called start set back to add extra structure in which case maybe it would make a difference if you heated it longer

is all interesting subject but I'd have to actually bake some bread figure that out and I didn't have time to do that this morning flower in a fat but yeah this is essentially is any rule I cast a slur of flowers so sorry that has been cooked whether it's in a water or fat do you know if the body uses can you can you take guesses on this terminology or liquid added to it to the end and presumably I cooking in fat right is to prevent clumping when you add the liquid in the only purpose of the fat right it's prevent clumping that's all it's doing right is there any other reason for it other than it allows you to evenly heat the flower up to a higher stage of cooking

oh I I bet it makes a difference for the flavor you know even a neutral oil if you're you're going to get reactions to take place that wouldn't happen if it was just right here so different flavor from adding if oil afterwards is also obviously you could do this with non wheat starch is and all sorts of other things as other people have done it experimentation now if you have to if you have to go if you can stay but we got a question Daniel wrote a article on nixtamalization for the serious eats Clinic record okay and you were an article on next Malaysian very kindly actually gave a shout-out to a nautical I've written over cuz I used it heavily for

for those of you that don't know Nick's Malaysian is the process by which you cook you can do it with other brands actually but you apart and Par cook corn in an alkaline environment on the outside of the Corn partially dissolved you partially then rub it change the taste it changes the real at the reality of it originally was designed to allow you to be able to grind corn easily by hand on a stone thing called the Metate but it is the reason that cornmeal doesn't taste like a tortilla in a tortilla taste like a tortilla is the process of victimization is also the the changes that the corn goes through terms of partial cooking of the starch is going back to what we were talking about with this they with this rule everyone to call the bread techniques and the change of the outside of the seed coat into some form of weird hydrocolloid plus the addition of the fat from The Germ because the whole corn kind of a situation all of that together

makes Masa which is what makes an awesome tortilla normally it is a pain in the butt to make it was your secret I know what it is I'm so asking you to ask cuz it's here is grinding the corn properly and you can try food processor but that comes with its own challenges mainly that in order to get everything in the food processor to two spins efficiently enough to grind it to a point we conform tortillas you have to add too much water to the mix and then you have a then you have a Masa that's that's far too wet and almost bordering on a batter type consistency the calmest that so then basically

adding adding some masa harina masa harina back in which is which is the store-bought convenience product of of of of mice of it what are they do they they they try it somehow and turn into a flower production line where they have like continuous basically nixtamalization goes to a so tank then they then they think I don't know I think they dry it and grind it I don't think that they'd Harold do you know I don't think that they'd I don't think they wet grind it and then and then dry it I think they dry it and then grind

I'm not sure Sunday like ground posole or something like that like dried yeah that's how they do it I don't know I used to know but it's been a long time as you point out in your article like just buying my second name that everyone gets Quaker also makes one there's a there's a bunch of people that make them and it is a large step above a large step above on buying a pre-made tortillas to heat a tortilla and let it cool down again and then put it in your fridge you have lost you lost the other horrible for frying actually eat

no freaking way no right now they masa harina is you know where Maseca is a ver is good it's much better than a premade tortilla Which most of the Pima tortillas that you are getting our first first insult if they are made with Maseca and the second one is that they have cook them like a week ago and added a bunch of stuff so they can sit basically at room temperature fundamentally molding and its own flag plastic container has a smell like ammonia all of those smells go away when you fry them that's why I don't go to the only chips I use for frying there's no excuse to buy tortilla chips and pretty fried tortilla chips they're not as good

and they're really freaking expensive right unless you need them a lot if you were doing a party and just fill a huge chip bowl for your guac with Dino that's when I start frying it when I do that because like I think about this way you're buying a 20 oz bag of like medium quality tortilla chips is going to run you like for something dollars I think at a store and you could buy one of those like well over let them forget how much the stacks and tortillas are but they're over 20 way over 20 on writing and they're thicker better and they're like a dollar and if so fast and fry them most of my home frying now I have my deep fryer but if you don't home home I do most of my frying and walk a reason is is

oil expansion is a lot less dangerous in a walk because it's constantly increasing its diameter as it goes up so people as long as you don't overfill your walk you have a lot of safety room on oil expansion when you're working and tortillas are the most forgiving thing on earth to fry because all you're trying to do is expel the water and get them crunchy so you boil oil and walk everything I said the back brakes not connect break them individually separated, 6 Fri I'm done like I can crank out in under 20 minutes I can have you know big shopping bag 30 shopping bags full of tortilla chips in a few things at home that I would recommend frying at home is much easier than doing any other way the point is is that asked me to try try this recipe that you wrote in my answer is yes it's like is it worth making you feel like making your own nixtamal

the next small parts not Hearts the grinding it's a pain in the butt Definitely Maybe the hardest part aside from the grinding issue is is just getting the the corn you can't it's not easy it's harder even to grind you can literally try it at home with popcorn it's not as good but it is doable and the endosperm tattoo skin ratio is not is not ideal but to just to try it once you can I've done it the one on Amazon now it's just like a 25 lb bag it's a lot of corn there are there are sources especially think even at farmers markets now we have these people selling what you know they're there their fancy little bags of of green you might be able to find it or ya online sources word I don't know get going to go in on it with a friend and Divya

a large bag that keeps forever as long as you keep in good condition so is it the hard part is really grinding if you try to grind and you can't grind at the right texture in a food processor even would like you know as a Motors about the burnout you can't do it it's just like a nightmare so I think it's an entirely legitimate to do your nixtamalization and then over wet grinder and dope it back with like moss SOI for a like how much months are you hiding back typically it's apparently really depends how much water do you add to the food processor and I was eyeballing it every time because it just didn't seem like it needed to be so precise a different even if I got that precise someone else has different corn it's going to have different requirements so it depends but I would say I'm guessing

maybe you end up its ballpark 1/4 to 1/3 Maseca masa harina and the rest is your freshly needs to realized loss and I tend you get that you really do get that fresh needs to mow flavor even with the addition of the masa harina to soak up excess moisture house a couple things on the way out thank you Harold for coming on the show thank you Daniel Peter I didn't know if he was going to be on that you get a limited edition cooking issues are blue tape keyring their Daniel and this is also hashtag always label you can fill that up at the feet of blue tape and then when you're done with it and this feeling flows up Drive of like a drill bit like a like a filter thing and then you can refill it with tape and you get to go again

rancid and other words don't keep it forever after you've opened it give you ever had that problem anyone anyone like like if you had it for years open it then I take a musty kind of rancid note to it in the flower I mean I like I wouldn't I wouldn't open it and then leave it on your shelf for the rest of time that's good tip on card board it to me and then I pitched it and got and got new I also don't be too quick to add the water in the food processor let it grind and add in small increments cuz a little bit of water goes a long way with me on that guy shirt for sure all right thanks everyone coming back next week with cooking issues

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