Food and Related Myths or Highly Questionable Beliefs

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

M1k3

New Mexico prefecture #1
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
8,487
Reaction score
13,817
Turn them into sock bombs. Could make for quite a formidable weapon. The enemy leaves the battlefield of his own accord…

Get a clown suit and call it a day....

 

M1k3

New Mexico prefecture #1
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
8,487
Reaction score
13,817
Heating honey makes it poisonous.

I just heard that one recently and was so baffled I did a little googling and turns out a lot of people believe it.
How do these people deal with crystalized honey? Throw it away? 🧐
 

Jovidah

Vocal amateur
Joined
Jan 8, 2016
Messages
3,121
Reaction score
3,056
Location
Netherlands
I think it's really important to realize that a LOT of the myths; even in this thread, do have a grain of truth in them, or at least stem from something that made sense at one point.

For example:
-I can totally see how 'cold water boils faster' is at least linked to the Mpemba effect - which is similarly counterintuitive.
-Letting meat rest on the counter before cooking can actually have utility in that you lose less heat when tossing it in the pan; this can lead to a better outcome, especially on crappier pans and consumer level stoves.
-Wooden cutting boards CAN be very unsanitary if improperly utilized and maintained.
-Adding salt to yeast might actually kill it, but only in higher concentrations; which might happen if you're for whatever reason keeping just the salt and yeast together in the same bowl during mise-en-place.
-Heating honey doesn't make it poisonous but at high enough temperatures will kill pasteurize it; whether that's a good or a bad thing is up for debate.
-A lot of food rules, recipes and preparations made more sense in the past when food safety wasn't as good as it is now, and certain ingredients were very different from how they are now. Sifting flour for example was far more mandatory in the past when it was a more regular occurence to find small insects in the flour.

There's also a lot of common ones where the explanation might be wrong but the advice is generally sound, for example:
-Searing meat doesn't 'seal in the juice' but it does lead to a more flavorful end-product.
-Oiling pasta MIGHT make sense if you just leave the pasta to sit in a bowl or something after draining.
-You don't need liters of water to boil pasta, but the reason it's recommended is that it often makes the process more idiot proof and easier to make timing recommendations.

And I do actually think sharper knives are safer. Because with a sharp knife I barely use any pressure... and the knive goes where I intend it to go. Whenever I cut myself the cuts are small, superficial, clean and heal fast. On the contrary with a blunt knife I put far more pressure, the knife tends to not go where I want it to and there's a far higher risk of stab injuries, cutting myself since the knife went somewhere I didn't intend it to, and there's far more pressure behind it so whenever I hit something the damage tends to be worse.
 

Jovidah

Vocal amateur
Joined
Jan 8, 2016
Messages
3,121
Reaction score
3,056
Location
Netherlands
Oh and I think knives actually can make you a better cook - but only when going from garbage to decent. Because it means I cut faster, cook faster, and as a result am willing to use ingredients and preparations that would otherwise be inaccessible to me. I use far more fresh produce than I otherwise would.
Having trash knives and 0 knife skills really can be limiting and implement a ceiling.
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2018
Messages
2,294
Reaction score
6,591
Location
Richmond, VA
I gotta object to this one @ian.
Add oil to pasta water to prevent sticking.


Adding a few drops of oil to pasta water breaks the surface tension up a little and will help prevent the starchy water from foaming up and boiling over. Maybe not that important at home. But makes a huge difference if you are cooking 25 pounds of pasta at a time in a 40 gallon steam kettle. I used to keep a squirt bottle of olive oil right beside the kettle so that I could squirt the foam when it started forming.

Adding oil to cooked pasta immediately after it is shocked cool is the best way to prevent sticking.
 

ian

Refined, yet toothy
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2017
Messages
5,818
Reaction score
12,138
Location
Boston, MA
Ya, that makes sense. It's the sticking explanation I was talking about. Like Jovidah mentioned, some of the myths are more incorrect explanations than bad practices.
 

Jovidah

Vocal amateur
Joined
Jan 8, 2016
Messages
3,121
Reaction score
3,056
Location
Netherlands
- Putting a potato in soup will absorb excess salt.

- Chicken has to be cooked to 165F.
Actually the potato thing will work to some extent simply because you're adding volume. The solution to pollution is dillution!

The chicken thing also isn't entirely without merit or good reasons. For a long time - and this is probably still the case in some parts of the world - significant amounts of poultry meat were infected with stuff like salmonella, campylobacter and other nasties that you really don't want to ingest. There was a similar thing going on with pork (trichinosis).

The 165F became the idiotproof gold standard in both cases because it killed enough of it fast enough that it's hard to screw it up. You can reach the same effect heating at lower temperature but this would usually require quite long cooking times and there'd be a lot of margin for error.
 

HumbleHomeCook

Whiskey for my men. Beer for my horses.
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
4,463
Reaction score
8,805
Location
PNW USA
Actually the potato thing will work to some extent simply because you're adding volume. The solution to pollution is dillution!

The chicken thing also isn't entirely without merit or good reasons. For a long time - and this is probably still the case in some parts of the world - significant amounts of poultry meat were infected with stuff like salmonella, campylobacter and other nasties that you really don't want to ingest. There was a similar thing going on with pork (trichinosis).

The 165F became the idiotproof gold standard in both cases because it killed enough of it fast enough that it's hard to screw it up. You can reach the same effect heating at lower temperature but this would usually require quite long cooking times and there'd be a lot of margin for error.

Unfortunately I can't find the link right now but there's a study out there that shows just how quickly all the bad stuff dies on a temp gradient chart. You don't have to maintain a 155 temp for long at all, like seconds. I don't remember exactly.

Yes, 165 is foolproof but and people who are concerned should do what think is best but I believe it's all dead already.
 

ian

Refined, yet toothy
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2017
Messages
5,818
Reaction score
12,138
Location
Boston, MA
Actually the potato thing will work to some extent simply because you're adding volume. The solution to pollution is dillution!

The "potato trick" is to put the potato in the soup whole, let it sit or cook a while, and then take it out, thinking that it'll leach out all the salt. Probably does take out some small amount of salt, as well as desirable flavors, and makes the soup a bit starchier. Thumbs down.
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2018
Messages
2,294
Reaction score
6,591
Location
Richmond, VA
Here are a few I encounter often:

Raw chickens should be rinsed.

Metal can never go in the microwave.

It is best to pour grease down the drain.

Veggies should be coated in oil before roasting.

You should leave the root end of the onion on to help hold it together when you cut it.

Extra lean ground turkey is healthier than extra lean ground beef.
 

WildBoar

Home cook, knife accumulator
KKF Supporting Member
Founding Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2011
Messages
5,386
Reaction score
2,021
Location
NoVa (US)
-Oiling pasta MIGHT make sense if you just leave the pasta to sit in a bowl or something after draining.
Works okay if you don't need a sauce to stick to/ soak into the pasta.

(I should qualify this -- the negative effect is when you have a drop-in strainer so you pull the cooked pasta out through the oil layer, and enough oil is used to cover the top of the water (yes, I have seen people do that).
 
Last edited:

HumbleHomeCook

Whiskey for my men. Beer for my horses.
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
4,463
Reaction score
8,805
Location
PNW USA
Here are a few I encounter often:

Raw chickens should be rinsed.

Metal can never go in the microwave.

It is best to pour grease down the drain.

Veggies should be coated in oil before roasting.

You should leave the root end of the onion on to help hold it together when you cut it.

Extra lean ground turkey is healthier than extra lean ground beef.

I have a microwave at work specifically for melting metal. :)
 

Xunzi

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 2, 2019
Messages
108
Reaction score
56
Location
United Kingdom
Isn't the knife safety thing a case of - "less likely it will happen" but "much worse outcome when it does happen?". As a parallel - I've used a straight razor for a long time - I always found the warnings of nicks exaggerated - actually, I used to get nicks more often with cartridge razors since I'd sometimes had to push those dull blades with force - on the other hand, I once messed up and I almost cut off the tip of my finger with the straight razor...
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
56
Location
Chicago
But here is one that is actually correct: stirring a ground meat mix in only one direction creates better protein extraction and binding. It's a bit like gluten development in bread dough: the idea is to align the strands parallel to each other.
Yeah I'm calling BS on this one until I see some science to back it up (I didn't see any studies after a quick Google search). I believe you are referring to the process of creating a forcemeat "protein mesh" which has nothing to do with aligning muscle fibers parallel to each other. The protein mesh is a matrix of salt, water, fat, and protein that is created when salt solubilizes protein in the muscle cells during mixing.
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
887
Reaction score
1,210
Here are a few I encounter often:

Raw chickens should be rinsed.
...
Huh. I've been doing this one routinely. It seems to take off a thin layer of scunge I can both smell up close, and feel with my fingers, and gets blood out of the inside (important for the kind of clean tastes one wants in Cantonese dishes). Why should I not do it?
 
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
353
Reaction score
733
Location
Singapore
Before adding oil, it’s important to preheat the pan, so the pores open.

Before adding oil, it’s important to preheat the pan, so the pores close.


 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 17, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
56
Location
Chicago
-Use a honing rod "re-aligns" a bend knife edge instead of sharpening it. I believe the science of sharp thoroughly debunked this one, but the myth is still ubiquitous.

-cooking meat on the bone adds flavor to the meat. Serious Eats debunked this one awhile ago.
 
Top