Posted By: Jafo232 
Sep 4  # 1 of 10
What would you consider some of the myths of cooking? I will start, if anyone cares to add, have at it. :)


I think one of the worst myths out there is "something has to be done this way, and this is the best (and only) way to do it". Like when you have a conversation with people about say, chili. You will hear no less than 100 must do's or must not do's to make it. To me, this is a myth.

If people stuck with the same method of cooking something, nobody would have ever stuck a pineapple on a ham, put chocolate in chili, roasted a pepper on a grill, or even considered a carrot in spaghetti sauce.

I think the only constant out there in the culinary world is that there are no constants. I mean, even the boiling point of water does not remain constant when you factor in pressure, salinity, etc..

I always get a hint on someones cooking prowess when I hear them say "This must be done this way to be a good [insert dish here]".
 Posted By: KYHeirloomer 
Sep 4  # 2 of 10
Only eat oysters in months that have an R.
* * * * *

Don't know as I agree with you 100%, Jafo. In general, yes, you're right.

But, on the other hand, there are named dishes that do need to be made a certain way. Otherwise you are, at best, doing them in the style of XYZ. But if it's ABC and you make XYZ and call it ABC, then we stop communicating.

Example: Right now, in several chain restaurants, variations of Eggs Benedict are all the rage. Well, the fact is, eggs Benedict is a very specific arrangement of ingredients, consisting of an English muffin, topped with Canadian bacon, topped with a poached egg, topped with hollandaise.

So, if I start with an English muffin, top it with, say, grilled chicken strips, then a poached egg, then Mornay sauce and a couple of asparagus spears, I wind up with a very tasty dish. But I really should call it something else, cuz it ain't Eggs Benedict.

So, I think we need to differentiate between styles of dishes (i.e., chile, beef stew, meat loaf) and specific dishes and techniques. Returning to Eggs Benedict as an example, there are several ways of poaching eggs. The only right way is the one that works best for you. Thus, your basic argument is true when it comes to poaching eggs, but not so true when it comes to Eggs Benedict.
 Posted By: Jafo232 
Sep 4  # 3 of 10
Oh I agree with you there. My point is, when someone says, you can only cook a steak well done for it to be a real steak, that is what I mean by a constant.

However, steak tartar is defined in part by using raw meat. Someone cooking up a hamburger patty well done and calling it tartar would be incorrect. Conversely, someone saying the only way to prepare ground beef is to eat it raw would fall into my myth category in my opinion.
 Posted By: Mama Mangia 
Sep 4  # 4 of 10
I don't believe in many "constants" but one thing I do not like - as KY said - taking a popular dish and re-hashing it and trying to pawn it off as the original is a big no-no with me. I love liver and onions - but change from liver to hamburgers and add the onions - and it is not the same dish! As long as people have been cooking there have been those that feel the only way to do it is "their" way or it is not right. Not so. It's like trying to tell a person that they have to boil their water for pasta dishes in a covered stock pot. If you want to wait the extra time it takes to boil your water for pasta in an uncovered pot - fine! As far as I'm concerned - the only "constants" there are in cooking are the ones you put there.

Tell someone to heat their deep fryer to the proper temp for deep frying foods - if they don't want to do it - let them enjoy the taste of oil laden food!

It's like the old saying - you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink!

Give a recipe to someone - let them do what they feel. Each one of us here can take the same recipe and do something different than what is stated in the recipe.

Would we all be making a mistake?? No. We may get some different results and we may also get a few different tastes - it's all in how we do things.

Cripe - I have a family recipe - handed down and handed down - and in the directions - it is stated - "place in red bowl and cover with a towel to let rise". Now what happens if you don't have a red bowl??? You can't make the recipe??? It is quite apparent that the "red bowl" happened to be the perfect size for the results. There may have been other bowls - maybe not many - but apparently the red one worked for the recipe.

But that is the way the recipe was handed down.

(by the way - I do have the red bowl that was handed down and handed down)

Cooking is a wonderful art! There is so much you can do with a recipe. Every recipe written - no matter what it is - can be "worked" your way - never be afraid to experiment.

PS - There are many things that should remain constant - rules for canning and preserving foods, is just one of them.
 Posted By: Jafo232 
Sep 4  # 5 of 10
Quote Mama Mangia wrote:
PS - There are many things that should remain constant - rules for canning and preserving foods, is just one of them.

Actually, it seems those rules change all the time. In fact, if you search the government sites about canning, they tell you not to use old canning recipes.

I agree with most of what you say there.

Are there any other myths out there you guys would like to dispel?