Amps and Food (Second Installment)

Bread and Wine

(See the First Installment for a general explanation of what I was up to.)

I found that when I changed the topic from one sensory input to another, it revealed the silliness of some of the posted questions (and answers.)  I decided to run with the concept.  This time I created a fictitious series of thread responses to the varied questions.  

I crack me up.

I keep reading about people putting “salt” on their food. They claim that it makes it “taste” better. Has anyone tried this?

-Salt is good; I use it on my steak and my corn and it tastes better. Salt is great!

-How can adding salt to food make it taste “better.” The most it could do is make it taste “saltier,” and I’ve tried salt and found it to be pretty nasty. Why anyone would want that on their food is beyond me. I even tried it on some food: ice cream, chocolate (which I LOVE and also know a lot about) and coffee, and it just made them salty. You can put it on your food if you like, but it’s not really doing anything but making it saltier; not better. Don’t believe the hype!

-I’m a chemist and I work with “salt.” Actually there are lots of chemical compounds that are salts, but the common one people try on food is Sodium Chloride. It has a melting point of 801 degrees Celsius. Now, I don’t know what you are eating, but I seriously doubt that it ever reaches that kind of temperature. At the much lower-temperatures where food is cooked (or eaten – which is probably even cooler) the “salt” wouldn’t have a chance to melt and combine with the other compounds. These people are fooling you – what they claim is impossible. They want to taste it, and so they think they do.

-I’ve been putting salt on my steak for years. I like the way it tastes. I bought a whole pound of it at the grocery store. If you can’t taste a difference you must have a taste bud impediment.

-If you believe you can taste the difference, you probably will. After you spent all that money for a full pound of salt I’m sure you think you do. Has anybody taken the time to do a double-blind test on salt? I have never seen such a study, probably because they know that it’s BS. They’re afraid you’ll find out the truth.

-Well, if it makes a difference, you should be able to measure it. The tongue is notoriously unreliable as a measuring device. Someone should get the right instrument (I think a yardstick would work, or maybe an oscilloscope) and show the difference in taste. We can build test gear that’s much more sensitive than the human tongue, and then we can disprove this once and for all. Meanwhile, the “salt sellers” won’t get a penny of my hard-earned dough.

-“Salt-sellers,” good one. You crack me up.

Some people have been talking about subjecting food to heat in order to make it “better” or “tastier”. Has anyone tried this? What has your experience been like?

-Food should come from the store ready to eat. If the grocery stores are trying to sell you inferior food that needs treatment before consumption then they are ripping you off.

-Actually, cooking food can make it softer, easier to chew, and more flavorful.

-Heat making food more tender? Yikes. If it’s softer after just a few minutes of heat, what does that mean? It will keep getting more and more tender until it just falls apart . It would be like chewing fluff.

-You are crazy. The same flavor is in the food as before. Heat has no flavor – how can it “add” flavor to the food. I’ve studied heat, and heat is made of degrees and that is all. You can’t “taste” degrees. I think that you taste a difference because you want to believe it. Someone is getting rich selling you heat and you are buying it.

-Believe it or not, one store near me recommends that you heat some foods to a certain temperature before consuming it.

-Why would I bother to heat the food to some high temperature? I can’t eat it when it’s that hot, and I just have to wait for it to cool down to be able to put it in my mouth, and then it’s just like it was before. Why waste the time?

-What store is that? They must be ripoff artists. Why are they selling food that is inferior? I think we should tell everyone! If I spend nearly eight bucks for chicken, I want it to be edible. How can they sell food and expect you to have to work on it before you can even eat it. All of the “Big Chain” stores near me have tried that nonsense and they don’t get any of my business anymore. Bastards.

-I don’t cook my chicken, and I like the way it tastes and chews. You guys are fools and should shut up and eat your food.

-I add heat to my food and it does make some food taste better. But there are different kinds of heat and you have to be sure you get the right kind. There is “gas” and “electric.” Gas is better because it is real heat because it is fire and fire is made of heat. Electric heat is just fake heat made from electrons and it can’t possibly make food better. Plus, they sell you the electricity. Fire is free!

-I heated my ice cream and it tasted the same, just mooshy. If heat makes food mooshy then I don’t want it on my food.

-You people are fools. Here is a picture of my heated food with lots of salt on it. I have been eating for nearly 34 years now and I think I know a thing or two about food, and this is excellent food. You should look at this picture and know that I’m right. If not, I’ll keep posting more pictures until you defer to my gustatory wisdom.

I understand that a local cook just got one of those Wusthof knives. Has anybody eaten food that has been cut with one of these? Is it better?

-I had a steak last night that was cut with a Wusthof, and it was much better than a steak I had last month that was cut with some regular knife. I think it’s totally worth the money.

-What is a Wusthof? {edit – nevermind; I looked it up}

-Fooey. How can a knife make your steak taste better? Now, the question should be, was the steak any thinner or thicker? That’s what knives do. I can make a steak any thickness with a plain kitchen knife and I’ve been cutting steak for years. I’m not going to waste my money on some fancy expensive knife. I’m a skilled cutter and I don’t need it.

-A knife is just a tool – it’s only as good as the cook who is using it. Now, think what a skilled chef could do with a really sharp and well-balanced knife. It makes the food and the eating much better.

-I used to be a mason before I was a chef, and one thing I learned is that you don’t mix the mortar until you’re ready to lay the brick. I think that applies to cooking and needlepoint, as well. Fancy knives? Not in my kitchen.

-Well it’s a poor mechanic that blames his tools.

-You really shouldn’t consider eating unless you have the very best knife and fork. You’ll never be happy stabbing a plain old stainless-steel fork into your food again if you try the solid silver stuff.

-Oh, here we go. Are you eating the fork or are you eating the food? Seriously, the fork just gets it from the plate to your mouth, and then it’s gone. Forks are overrated, anyway. I eat with my hands and I get plenty of nutrition. You must be rich if you’re buying fancy flatware. Silverware? Please.

-Hey, don’t forget all of the eating that Rufus Allen did back in the ‘70s. You have to agree that guy could eat, and he just used a lowly spork. Allen didn’t need silverware to eat, and he did just fine.

-You may eat for nutrition, but there are plenty of us here who are eating for flavor. Don’t rain on our parade just because we want to enjoy our food. If a stainless (or plastic!) fork works for you, or if you even lower yourself to use a “spork” or some other hybrid utensil from a convenience store it doesn’t matter to me. It’s about the food, not about the nutrition (or the cooking or the eating or the seasonings.)

-I saw a guy the other day who ate a LOT, and he ate really FAST, and he was just using his hands. I didn’t ask him if his food was heated or salted, though. But you should have seen him eat! I’ll never be able to eat like that, no matter how much salt or heat or special forks I use. Really, a good eater can eat anything with anything, prepared any way. But until I can eat like that, I’m gonna stick with my silverware. It works for me.

I saw a recipe for a putanesca sauce the other day, and the recipe said to make the sauce a day ahead of time, refrigerate it overnight and then reheat it before serving. Why would they have me do this? Would it be OK to eat it on the first day anyway?

-By cooling the sauce overnight, you allow time for the flavors to blend and merge. You can eat the sauce the first day and it will be fine, but I’ve found that it tastes better after cooling and reheating.

-Seriously? You guys are delusional. There is nothing in the sauce or the refrigerator that is going to magically change overnight. Do you think there are special powers in there or something? All it is doing is getting cold and then getting hot again. That can’t affect the flavor.

-I taste a big difference when I refrigerate the sauce overnight. I can’t really find the words to describe it, but the sauce seems more “together;” almost as if the flavors combine and integrate into something new. The first day, it tastes like separate ingredients.

-Oh, come on. If one day makes it better, then two days would make it LOTS better. And a week would be incredible. And if you could wait a YEAR, well, think of what it would taste like. It would be the best sauce ever. Or maybe it would turn into a neutron star. <eye-roll emoticon here>

Can someone please tell me: what is the best food?

<Too much to copy here. Basically, fourteen postings with contradictory lists of suggested “best” and “worst” foods, rapidly degenerating into profane, “I know you are, but what am I” posts.>

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