Lore from On Food and Cooking

by Harold McGee

  • For velvety smooth scrambled eggs, add a splash of acidic fruit juice or vinegar
  • Flip meats on the grill every minute or less to get the best meat texture.
  • To get uneven pieces of fish to cook evenly, slash the thicker areas with a knife and everything will cook at the same rate.
  • Mediterranean herbs from the mint family have the most flavor when dried—oregano, thyme, and rosemary are the most flavorful of all the dried herbs.
  • Do not store bread in the refrigerator: it will go stale faster there than in the freezer.
  • For a thicker tomato sauce, cook the raw purée quickly and close to the boil. A slow simmer makes a watery sauce.
  • To keep brown sugar soft, store it with a damp towel or piece of apple. It will take moisture from there and stay soft.
  • For the most succulent braises and stews, keep the pieces of meat as large as possible. Cut surfaces allow liquid to escape.
  • Copper and silver bowls create the most stable egg foams, not just the copper as previously thought.
  • To tell if an egg is raw or cooked, spin it on its side. If it spins fast and smooth, it's cooked. If it wobbles, it's raw.
  • If you want a nice thick foam of milk on your coffee and don't have an espresso machine, pour cold, fresh milk into a jar, tighten the lid, and shake vigorously for 20 seconds until the contents have doubled in volume. Then stabilize the foam: remove the lid, place the jar in the microwave and heat on high for about 30 seconds until the foam rises to the top of the jar.

Buy the Book!


On Food and Cooking
The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

by Harold McGee
Revised & Updated edition, November 2004
Hardcover, 896 pages, $35.00
ISBN: 0684800012
Reprinted by permission.


On Food and Cooking



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