Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Note on Technique

So everyone rants on the French for their high-fat food. Bullshit!

There are two things that Americans (and all non-French, in general) need to learn. Technique counts!

Yes, there's a lot of butter in French cooking. But, there's also a lot of skimming in French cooking.

In order to understand my rather incoherent point, we need to understand a few basic chemistry facts.

Firstly, fat and water do not mix. Secondly, they will mix if you beat them up real fine. This is called a suspension. They haven't really mixed, it's a bit of an illusion. Think vinaigrette!

Anyway, French cooking calls for stuff to be heated on a very low flame after a point. This is very, very important.

The fat and the starch bind and rise to the top, and therein lies the skimming part. This is as true of classic French Onion Soup as of Bombay's Pav Bhaji.

Americans suck at patience, and in this specfic case, the lack of patience translates into fatty food. Heating your food at high heat breaks up the fat molecules, and suspends them into tiny globules into the water.

Anyway, the moral of the story is to enjoy your fat, and then heat stuff real slow (yes, it will test your patience), and skim away.

The French know a few things, and patience is one of them!

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