Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Remove your brain before cooking

if you are one of those who invades the vegetable patch to get the wherewithal to create a minestrone masterpiece, or plunge into the icy waters of the local rill to catch what you need and then scale, pare and fillet it before dropping it into your bouillabaisse, if, as I say, you are one of those, what follows is not for you.

Because I belong to the other lot, the ones who buy it in black plastic trays with a film lid that you pierce before popping the whatever into the microwave, or which you remove before putting into a preheated oven.
On a baking tray.
Or not.
The baking tray itself to be preheated.
Or not.
And you put the tout ensemble in the middle of the oven.
Or in the top.
And if your instant gourmanderie is frozen, you cook it straight from frozen.
Or you don't.
In the latter case you defrost it thoroughly for a minimum of twelve hours. I like that "thoroughly". Is there a way of defrosting that is merely approximate?

My beef is this: I can see no rhyme or reason in this preheated/not-preheated, middle/top,
defrost/not defrost dichotomy. And no-bloody-where, if you will pardon the tmesis, can I find an explanation for these variations on a theme. Not even in Wikipedia, heaven help us.

I will leave you to digest this before I come on to my next mystery tour: use-by dates.


AdamF said...

Fun blog, you have a new reader. :)

On the topic of hot/cold/top/middle/bottom well I might be able to help you there. Some items of food require a (relatively) low temperature at first to begin the process. Take for example a self-raising pizza - you place this in a cold oven so that the yeast does its work before the oven gets to 'baking' temp and kills the yeast. If you put it in a preheated oven, you get a rock hard, flat pizza that looks nothing like it does on the box.

Similar line for top/middle/bottom. Cast your mind back to physics lessons - heat rises, so naturally the hottest part of the oven is the top. However electric ovens have elements at the top and bottom, so while some products will withstand this close heating, some will not. Those that can (i.e. chips) get reduced time at the top. Those that cannot (e.g. roasting joints) get longer in the centre.

There! You learned something today. ;)

Found your blog at the directory btw.

Old Scrote said...

I am in awe, AdamF. I hate when a perfectly reasonable explanation challenges a perfectly unreasonable prejudice.
Thanks anyway!