Conduction Principles and the Experienced Cook
If you want to rest secure in your knowledge that your dishes are as delicious as they could possibly be, you'll need more than just a good recipe and quality ingredients. While those two aspects certainly go a long way toward creating high-quality meals, there's another step involved.
You must contemplate the thermodynamics of cooking.
To grasp the basics, we begin with the three most basic cooking methods.
Conduction is when heat is transferred to the food by direct contact with the heat source.
Convection is when heat is carried to the food by a fluid such as air, water, or oil.
Radiation is the transfer of heat by direct exposure to a source of light energy.
Depending which method you choose, you could drastically alter both the flavor and consistency of your dish.
Take a potato, for example. Through conduction, you could crisp some thin slices up in a pan. Through convection, you could fry them in oil. Through radiation, you could bake them in an oven. Each method accentuates a different aspect of the potato's natural flavor and texture.
In the end, then, there really is no "best" cooking method. There's only the best one for the specific meal you are trying to prepare.
You may want to ask yourself, though, if you favor one to the exclusion of the others. If so, you could be depriving your diners of the full scope of your skills.
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Posted in: Cooking Tips & Recipes