The pan and the science

in #steemromania5 years ago (edited)
We shouldn't be afraid of food: we should understand it. Stefan Gates
Today I start a series of articles dedicated especially to cooking enthusiasts and those who want to cook decent food without staying for days in the kitchen. Although culinary art first developed empirically (and many of us cook based on experience), little science will not harm at all. Furthermore, I can say that understanding the processes that happen when we cook will lead to healthier, tasty foods and, why not, to predictable results when cooking. When I'll publish recipes, I'll try to explain in detail the preparation technique and, as far as possible, the physico-chemical phenomena that occur during cooking. For the first article in this series, I will address a controversial topic: food additives.

Source of the original image

What are E's? Are they bad? Or good?

There are substances added to food for several reasons.
They can be preservatives, sweeteners, emulsifiers, gelling agents and so on.
In fact, any substance (authorized) to be added to a food has an encoded name beginning with the letter E and continuing with a three- or four-digit number.
With a simple search on the internet, you will find pro opinion and especially against the use of food additives.
As usual, things are not always what they seem to be. And that for many reasons.
Some of the food additives are substances used for centuries to conserve, sweeten, color or stabilize food.
Many of the substances used as food additives exist or are naturally formed in food during preparation:

  • E621 - MSG, sodium monoglutamate is naturally found in parmesan, meat, fish sauce or tomato);
  • E322 - lecithin, found naturally in soybean and egg yolk;
  • E160d - Lycopene, is naturally found in tomatoes and red fruits
  • E500 - sodium bicarbonate

On the other hand, many of the additives are used to mask inadequate quality products or to make foods more appealing that would otherwise look unattractive.
Industrial food production has led to the development of an entire range of additives to enable long-term preservation, stabilization, coloring or conditioning of the products.

The dose makes the poison

Food additives can also have side effects. We all have sensibilities or allergies to certain foods or substances. This does not mean that everyone must give up certain food.
What would be forbidding peanuts or seafood because there are allergic persons (are among the most widespread allergens)?
Or what would be forbidding the fruit because the ponds contain hydrogen cyanide or completely prohibit the kitchen salt because under certain conditions it works like a poison?
Much more harm makes excess sugar, salt, and fat. But attention! EXCESS!
Each nutrient has its role in the body and the lack of one of them for extended periods of time causes more or less serious imbalances.

Useful advice

  • If you are interested in healthy eating, first give up on processed foods as much as possible. Most potentially hazardous substances appear or are added during processing.
  • Use unrefined ingredients. For example.:
    • Cold pressed oil instead of refined oil
    • Whole wheat flour instead of white flour
    • Pasta from whole flour
    • Brown rice instead of white rice
    • Honey, brown sugar or dried fruit instead of white sugar
  • Cook at home! Choose simple recipes! At least at the beginning. With time you will gain experience and courage.
  • Replace spice mixtures such as Spice Mix for ..." with natural ingredients.
  • Learn to cook food properly and they will be tasty without using "tricks" from the chemistry manual.
  • For enhanced flavor, you can add cheeses, herbs, spices (attention to excesses).
  • Do not be afraid of fat. Flavors are most often found there. This not means to drown the preparation in oil, butter or other fat.
  • Learn how to use wine and beer for cooking. Alcohol helps develop existing flavors.
  • If the meat seems to taste fad, you have just done something wrong with its preparation or the sauce that accompanies it.
  • Use, as much as possible, decent quality ingredients.
  • Avoid products at unbelievably low prices. Such products always have inferior quality ingredients and a multitude of additives to mask this.
  • Avoid products with very long-term warranty. UHT sterilized products are ok.
  • Carefully read the product labels:
    • shelf life
    • the composition
    • the name. Do not buy products like "Xyz with a flavor of ..."
    • Country of origin. If the country does not inspire confidence, why would you buy a product coming from there?

Instead of a conclusion

Rather than demonizing an additive or another, we'd better make sure we do not make excesses and have a balanced diet. Do sports! Modern man spends too much time on the couch in front of the TV and does not make enough physical effort. In addition to food, we may well think about the effects of detergents (containing aromatic molecules, often insufficiently studied in terms of long-term effects), the noxes we receive daily (especially those living in big cities) or the cosmetics we use.

Posted from my blog with SteemPress :

Well written and educative : )

Thanks !

Awesome, looking forward to the series. I try to use as healthy ingredients as possible all the time. I can appreciate you taking the time to put this together, really informative.

Thank you! I hope to have enough time for cooking and writing posts. I have some recipes created by me.

Thanks for the education, it took you long enough to make the courage to write.
You will never find the time to write that perfect ideal article that you think you can write. So you need to start slow and tell us more when you get the time.
You are a good writer and you have a great opportunity to educate us all. I don't actually cook anything. Win some lose some, so I am eating fast-food at least two times a week. Luckily for me that I don't get fat.

I am looking at your recipes with interest :)
Do you also do deliveries?

Thanks for the advice! Fastfood does not necessarily mean bad food. As I say in the article, the dose makes the poison. I do not deliver, but maybe we'll have the opportunity to show what I know about cooking.

I should totally show this to Andrei that whenever he sees 'E's he's like 'EVIL EVIL' -and we end up not buying anything :P

I know what you say. I was just like Andrei. That's why I started to read about the E, to understand what is dangerous and why.

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