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Chris Amirault

Contentious Claims

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Thank you so very much for joining us here on eGullet. I daresay that you have legions of admirers here, including myself -- and we're not all CIA grads!

You have researched, discovered, and/or wrangled an astonishing amount of knowledge about cooking that has transformed how many of us think about the food we prepare. Of all of that knowledge, what have turned out to be the most contentious claims? Are there any at which most people, to your surprise, still routinely scoff?

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And my thanks to all of you!

I wouldn’t really say that anything has been contentious, because with cooking above all else, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! Or as another post says, cooks are pragmatists. A lot of people, professionals included, still believe and say that searing meat seals in juices, but when they think and talk through what each of them has seen in every piece of meat they’ve seared and served, they change their minds.

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but hal, wouldn't you say that a well-seared steak (provided it is finished carefully) seems more juicy? this seems to me to be the case of answering a specific question entirely accurately, while there is another larger question that, for cooks, still needs to be answered. searing creates the browned flavors and aromas that are so delicious and get the digestive juices going ... and since studies have shown than a a great portion of what we preceive as "juiciness" in meat is in fact saliva-based rather than intrinsic to the meat itself, it would seem to make sense to say "searing makes meat taste juicier" even while we all now know (thanks to you) that searing does not literally seal in the meat's juices.

(edited to say this is not an attempt to be contentious)


Edited by russ parsons (log)

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contention is a good thing! Yes Russ, that's what I say in the longer paragraphs I give to the subject in the book. But this is essentially trying to rescue a misleading saying by tweaking its meaning. Searing meat makes it tastier. But the saying suggests that as long as you sear the meat, you can do what you like and it'll still be juicier. A seared well-done steak will be tasty and mouth-watering, but it will still be dry. So I think we should just keep juices out of it, so to speak.

Of course I know this is futile. It just sounds too good.

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