Health 105: How To Cook So You Don’t Kill Yourself

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Demographic Likelihoods Of Various Ailments

Cooking isn’t hard, it’s just a matter of trial and error

  • The experience of cooking should be enjoyed as its own part-time job
    • Generally, most men fail to see enjoyment in it, and it’s to their loss
  • Try out different ideas to see what works
    • Most of the best recipes ever known are made from a shortage of resources
    • Check out Great Depression Cooking to see an extreme example
  • You don’t need to be a professional chef to understand what you need to survive!

Educate yourself on what you can use

  • Pay attention to the shelf life of the food
    • Listen to what your common sense tells you
      • Generally, a cold and dry environment will give a longer shelf life and a warm and wet environment makes food go bad faster
      • Most food’s expiration date will indicate a “sell by” date, not when it is best by
        • Generally food that is past code is still good for recipes as a secondary part of it
      • Don’t bother refrigerating foods that don’t require refrigeration
  • Don’t thaw meat at room temperature, instead use a cold-water bath changed out every half hour to avoid excess bacteria growth
  • Cook with the correct oils for the recipe
    • Each oil has its own purpose
    • Some are very flavorful and some are bland

Most people are afraid of either under-cooking or burning their food

  • Once the food has pervasively reached the temperature of boiling water, it is sterile
  • On the other end, after you turn off the heat the food will still cook from the heat that radiates inside the food
  • Most badly made food is simply cooked at the wrong temperature
    • Too Hot – well-cooked outside but almost raw on the inside
    • Too Cold – flavors don’t develop and aromas don’t fully open up
  • There are simple tricks to resolve all of this
    • Try all the burners without anything on them and watch them as you crank up the heat
      • Don’t try to save time by cranking up the heat, it will be more likely to burn
    • Use more than one burner
    • Frequently stir the food
    • Don’t walk away from the cooking area or try to multitask
    • Make sure there’s enough water in the pot, since burning only happens when the water has evaporated

Pay attention to the limitations you have

  • Since you don’t have all day, separate the cooking into batches
    • Work assembly-line style to prepare the ingredients quickly
  • If you have a small kitchen
    • Cook and bake ahead of time if you’re making for several people
    • Place all the items for cooking in easily accessible locations
    • Keep a surface area open for whatever miscellaneous thing you will naturally forget to plan for
  • Observe the weather
    • A blisteringly hot summer day is the worst time to start the oven
    • Cold days allow cooking the opportunity to save on heating bills
  • Keep things clean and in working order
    • Try to use the two-bowl method to manage waste and washing dishes
      • One bowl for scraps and garbage to throw out all at once
      • One bowl for dishes to soak to washe all at once
    • As you are finished using items, clean them to avoid an end-of-cooking massive pile of dishes to do
    • Don’t mistreat pots and pans
      • Do research to find out what is best to clean each cookware surface
      • If you’re using cast-iron pans, do not clean them with soap and water, since the built-on “seasoning” is what makes cast-iron taste great
        • To clean cast-iron, pour in some oil and a handful of kosher salt, then scrub the salt into the pan with an old rag or paper towels

Be safe as you cook

  • Be careful around heat
    • Keep the containers of oil far from the heat source
    • Try to tie down or not wear loose clothing that could get caught on the heat source
  • Use knives properly
    • Grip the handle with the 3 back fingers and pinch the neck of the knife with the pointer finger and thumb
    • Keep it sharp
      • Dull knives are the cause of most kitchen injuries, get a sharpening steel or stone (or just use the bottom of a coffee mug)
      • if you don’t want to keep sharpening it, research buying a good-quality knife
    • watch a video to see a proper forward slice, back slice, tip-down rocking and chopping

Make it a memorable experience

  • Reach out to friends and family for ideas
  • Read recipe books for new things to try cooking
  • Try out different spices and seasonings to invent your own cooking style
    • Generally, the more fat and sugar in the food, the easier it is for the food to not taste bad
  • After about 30 consistent meals, you will know your way around the kitchen!

There are a lot of ways to improve your skills, and one way is to get better utensils

  • Divide food into working components better
    • Graters will shred into consistent smaller pieces
      • Nutmeg grater, ginger grater
      • Box grater, zest grater, microplane grater, rotary grater
    • Presses push food through it to make it into a new form
      • Potato ricer
      • Pasta mill
      • Food mill
      • Citrus press, garlic press
      • Nutcracker
    • Grinders tear apart items into smaller pieces
      • Pepper grinder
      • Mortar and pestle
      • Wheat grinder
      • Spice mill
    • Blades cut food in different ways
      • Clam knife, fish knife
      • Bread knife
      • Santoku knife, chef’s Knife
      • Paring knife
      • Mezzaluna
      • Meat knives – cleaver, boning knife, slicing knife
      • Cheese knives – soft cheese knife, parmesan knife
      • Scissors – kitchen shears, poultry shears
      • Slicers are special knives for specific situations
        • Cheese slicer
        • Egg slicer
        • Mandoline
        • Cheese plane
        • Fruit divider
        • Wheels – pastry wheel, pizza wheel
    • Strainers separate out food from other parts of the food
      • Handheld strainer
      • Salad spinner
      • Sifters – drum sifter, sugar shaker, sifter
      • Scoop colander, colander
      • Chinoise
      • Fat separator
      • Spider
  • Manipulators allow you to change the food into other things
    • Openers – can opener, bottle opener, corkscrew
    • Spoons/spatulas
      • Spatula
      • Slotted spatula
      • Rubber spatula
      • Fish spatula
      • Turner
    • Pastry tools are specifically for bread product preparation
      • Cookie cutter
      • Rolling pin
      • Pie weights
      • Pastry blender
      • Pastry bag
    • Whisks – balloon whisk, flat whisk
    • Basting – meat baster, basting bulb
    • Mashers – meat tenderizer, potato masher
    • Tongs – salad tongs, metal tongs
  • Containers allow food to be stored, eaten and manipulated in a civilized way
    • Food Storage – canisters, plastic containers
    • Bowls – batter bowl, mixing bowl, prep bowl
    • Scoopers/servers permit transferring food without having to touch with hands
      • Ladle
      • Wooden spoon
      • Ice cream scoop
      • Slotted spoon
      • Melon baller
      • Spaghetti server
      • Serving fork
      • Serving spoon
      • Cake server
  • Measurers permit guidelines about foods when making recipes
    • Temperature measurement – candy thermometer, meat thermometer
    • Volume measurement – measuring cups, measuring spoons
    • Weight measurement – digital scale, scale
    • Time measurement – egg timer, kitchen timer
  • Protection allows safety and wellness with preparing food
    • Heat protection – pot holder, oven mitt
    • Cutting boards – prep cutting board, butcher block
Next: How To Get To The Right Weight