Net Food Digest
This Week on the Web
Why do you add that pinch of cream of tartar or dash of vinegar to the egg poaching water? You've just done it because somewhere along the way you learned that the addition of one of these acids helps the egg whites hold together. For most cooks, however, the way these acids work remains a mystery.
Understanding culinary chemistry can make a great deal of difference in the kitchen-a fact easily learned by such kitchen blunders as the accidental teaspoon of baking soda when the recipe calls for baking powder. For the Inquisitive Cook, Anne Gardiner and Sue Wilson have put together a web site, that does a magnificent job of "demystifying the chemistry of cooking," while teaching cooks some pretty nifty techniques, grounded in good science, that will make your steaks more tender, your bread dough rise to utter perfection and keep that pot of beans from cooking to mush.
Users can post questions as they pertain to several devised categories, including: any of the five food groups (plus chocolate), Tools of the Trade, Miscellaneous and Who Knows? It's worth scrolling through the various categories if you want to learn some pretty interesting things about food preservation, chemistry, sanitation or simply why things happen that the recipe didn't tell you about.
Katherine Withers Cobbs is a San Francisco freelance writer , editor and designer who recently worked on Time-Life Asia's "Quick & Tasty Series -Books and Video" (Time-Life Asia, 1996) and the upcoming "Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration" series (Time-Life Books, US, 1997).
The Inquisitive Cook