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Turned Vegetables -- why bother?


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Leave it to the French to create a shape that intensley bores some and fascinates others for the simplest of preparations.

Correct, and the most famous case in point:

gallery_23913_670_6867.jpg

:biggrin::biggrin:

"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler
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Chefzadi -- you lost 20 lbs because you couldn't get baby vegetables that you liked?  :laugh:

Er, at least that's what I understood. :laugh:

hardy har har :laugh: It's mostly the cheeses, pastries and halal sausages that I miss along with a whole bunch of other stuff. The free range chicken just doesn't taste the same as a Volaille de Bresse. Even the bread. I have a really high metabolism and I play soccer. I need a calorically dense diet to maintain my weight.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Turning vegetables also leads to a lot of wastage. This, I loathe unless the scraps are diligently collected. For the staff meal, perhaps?

I've noticed that even during the winter months, a simple vegetable potage is no longer on menus. I remember when my wife would take a melon baller to a large potato and we would sautee the little balls to the delight of company who would always ask where we found such perfect little potatoes and if they were a bitch to peel. The other three fifths of the potato would go into the next day's soup.

I'm laughing so hard, I'm crying. :laugh:

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Does no one else see the parallel between turning and the multitude of techniques that make up haute cuisine? One can start with almost any facet and question its necessity. But in the end, it is the composite that charms and is worth both price and therefore effort.

re waste: make broth. :biggrin:

eGullet member #80.

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Does no one else see the parallel between turning and the multitude of techniques that make up haute cuisine?  One can start with almost any facet and question its necessity.  But in the end, it is the composite that charms and is worth both price and therefore effort.

re waste: make broth.  :biggrin:

I think all knive skills, turning or otherwise, is about symmetry...or as Francophobes will tell you, anal retentiveness. I like symmetry. Symmetry rocks. Have you ever scratched your left cheek three times because you had to scratch your right cheek thrice. And you scratch your right cheek thrice because you do everything three times? Yea. Welcome to the club. Enjoy your turning.

re waste: at home, yes. you wont believe the amount of edible stuff that goes into the bins. especially at the higher end places.

when I was studying at the cordon bleu(this is London), one of our chef instructors would actually instruct us NOT to bin the scraps. 'i am going to use it to feed the staff', he'd say. I dont know if they really used that stuff to feed the basement staff or it was a subtle message to avoid waste. maybe a joke? I hope it wasnt a joke because I always..ALWAYS..packed all the scraps, the prepared food that I almost never got to take home and sent it to the basement. whatever it was, I have become very conscious of the stuff I bin and wastage.

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Chefzadi -- you lost 20 lbs because you couldn't get baby vegetables that you liked?  :laugh:

Er, at least that's what I understood. :laugh:

hardy har har :laugh: It's mostly the cheeses, pastries and halal sausages that I miss along with a whole bunch of other stuff. The free range chicken just doesn't taste the same as a Volaille de Bresse. Even the bread. I have a really high metabolism and I play soccer. I need a calorically dense diet to maintain my weight.

NOW, you are just showing off.

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. . . .

re waste: at home, yes. you wont believe the amount of edible stuff that goes into the bins. especially at the higher end places.

. . . .

Julia Child always insisted nothing went to waste in a French kitchen. I knew a stagiaire at a top NY French restaurant who told me in all seriousness that her challenge was to take an irregularly round object such as a potato and dice it in perfect cubes with no waste. :biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I think the most succinct answer was given up thread...we do it because McDonald's doesn't. It's fiddly, time-consuming work which requires a fairly decent amount of skill. It's utterly impractical in the restaurant setting, where labour needs to be tightly controlled in the interest of coaxing as much profit as possible from a set of extremely difficult constraints.

We're showing off, in short.

I would take vigorous exception to the notion, expressed repeatedly upthread, that tourneeing is practical in the sense that allows the vegetables to cook uniformly. That is correct, up to a point, but it's an important point. The vegetables will, uniformly, be *cooked unevenly.* It's a simple function of the shape. The tapered ends will cook faster than the thicker middle. No way around it, unless you know a way to par-cook the middle of a 2 1/2" piece of vegetable.

Now some may argue that the difference in textures between, say, an al dente middle and a fully-cooked end add interest to the dish. That may well be the case. In practice, however, the end result is almost invariably soft middle/mushy ends, or nice ends/hard middle. Neither of these is especially agreeable, to my mind.

I've done 'em...can't avoid it, in cooking school...and I've even done 'em at home... but tourneed vegetables have no discernible practical advantage, to my mind. If you wanna show off your knife skills, give me some perfect brunoise. If you want your vegetables to cook uniformly, show me perfect dice. Seven-sided footballs, however mystically satisfying, don't impress me on a plate.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Now some may argue that the difference in textures between, say, an al dente middle and a fully-cooked end add interest to the dish. That may well be the case. In practice, however, the end result is almost invariably soft middle/mushy ends, or nice ends/hard middle. Neither of these is especially agreeable, to my mind.

A puree is good to suit your tastes.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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  Seven-sided footballs, however mystically satisfying, don't impress me on a plate.

Mystic satisfaction should never be underestimated.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I think the most succinct answer was given up thread...we do it because McDonald's doesn't.  It's fiddly, time-consuming work which requires a fairly decent amount of skill.  It's utterly impractical in the restaurant setting, where labour needs to be tightly controlled in the interest of coaxing as much profit as possible from a set of extremely difficult constraints.

We're showing off, in short.  . . . .

If you want your vegetables to cook uniformly, show me perfect dice.  Seven-sided footballs, however mystically satisfying, don't impress me on a plate.

Not dice at all. The corners overcook far too quickly, and then the edges. Spheres are the best, if not perfect shape. In addition they offer the satisfaction or mystique -- your preference -- of having no beginning or end. Two dimensional or planar shapes are also good, even if they enter the third dimension at warp speed. Potato chips are a good example.

Actually the fact that it's difficult to do was at one point as much a reason as any other, but today McDonald's may not turn their vegetables -- does McDonald's serve vegetables? -- but as was noted, frozen vegetables come already turned with no further talent needed by the most imcompetent caterer. That's as good a reason for haute cusine to find another form to set it apart.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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With regards to the link gus_tatory provided, if you were really going for beauty, skill, esthetics...those round potatoes in square cages have it all over tourne. So does the cored piece stuffed with batons of some other vegetable. That was a cool link!

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I don't claim to be a culinary historian...But.

I imagine that the tourne first came into use when freshness of vegitables was not what we know it as today. So what do you do with a vegetable that has been around a little too long? You tourne the muck off of it and serve it. The tourne was probably borne of conservation of marginal vegetables, as opposed to the waste of fresh vegetables.

I can't say that I like or dislike them on a menu. It is all context. They can be precious with one dish on occaision, and pretentious with other dishes.

As for seven sides...odd numbers seem to apear more natural for presentations. Even numbered sides would appear contrived, oddly enough the contrivance is to use seven as to not appear contrived. Leave it to the French.

If their food couldn't taste better than the Italian's, then perhaps they would try to make it look better.

Edited by RETREVR (log)
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