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Author Topic: How not to mess up common foods  (Read 84 times)


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How not to mess up common foods
« on: July 26, 2020, 01:31:42 am »
Not everybody likes the same foods. That's fine. However, sometimes people miss out on a delicious food only because they have never had it served right, and therefore don't realize it is supposed to taste much better and differently than that. That's not so fine.

I'd like to start a thread where we explain the delicious way to serve common foods that you have seen served un-deliciously.

1) Pancakes, Waffles, or French Toast

Most people realize that these breakfast foods should be served with syrup. (It's best to use 100% maple syrup, but it won't ruin it if you don't.) But many people apparently have never looked at a bottle of syrup, because the picture shows you what goes on under it: butter.

Leaving out the butter will just ruin the whole experience. I love this stuff, but I don't even want it without butter. Also, when I say "butter" I mean real butter (the salted kind--unsalted butter is for cooking, not serving food), not margarine or other counterfeits. Granted, a substitute is better than nothing, but it's likely to be the difference between yummy and okay.

Parents, even if you're raising your kids on a low fat, high sugar diet you owe it to their futures to serve this to them right, at least occasionally, and make sure they know how it's supposed to be done. Otherwise they're likely to just stop eating it entirely in their adult life.

(Tangential Healthy Suggestion: Use 100% whole grain flour or bread. Nowadays it's not hard to find a style (or make it) with a softer texture, and you'll improve your nutrition by leaps and bounds if you never buy non-whole grain flour again. (Tangential Tangential Advice: Don't use that as an excuse to refuse cookies and cake when offered.))

2) Toast

How can you mess up toast? Well it's actually pretty easy. Hopefully most people realize that the best toast is relatively lightly toasted (not a dark brown), so we won't go into that part. You can top toast with jelly, jam, preserves, honey, or other things. But what you put on the toast first, before you add those, is...butter! (Again)

As egregious of a sin as leaving the butter off of pancakes is, leaving it off of toast is simply unpardonable. With the exception of going for a cream cheese experience, there is almost never a normal use case for toast that shouldn't start with butter. I will pass just as hard on butterless toast as butterless pancakes, and I'll mentally judge you more for it.

(Tangential Healthy Suggestion: In addition to 100% whole grain and real butter,  use a 100% fruit spread with no added sugar, rather than jams and jellies.)

3) Breakfast and Dessert Accompaniment Beverage

Juices are great as a first serving, breakfast appetizer, or stand alone beverage, but when you finish that bit of buttery, syrupy waffles, you want to wash it down with one thing: milk. I'm not going to get into the various fat content in milk, other than to say that skim doesn't count. I'm not even sure it's better than no milk, except in rare situations. Nuff said about that.

Milk is what you drink with sweet foods. It's that simple. You do not drink something sweet with a sweet food. If you've been doing that and never knew better, go out and try it today. I don't know how many times I've been at a gathering that served cookies and other sweets, and the only beverages available were water or something sweet. In that case, the healthy choice of water is the better choice. But also in that case the enjoyment of those treats is going to plummet 53%-70%. Better to wrap it up in a napkin and take it home where you can have it with milk.

(Tangential Quasi-Healthy Suggestion: You can make desserts healthier by using whole grain, but you'll likely need to be more adventurous than just 100% whole wheat. I'm planning to experiment on a donut recipe at some point. Also, other little tricks like using the good dark brown cane sugar (or honey in some recipes), can help a bit. But don't kid yourself. This isn't health food, it's dessert. But if you buy white flour for dessert and end up using it for pancakes, that's a good sign to stop buying white flour and start trying to make a whole grain dessert flour mix.)

4) Eggs for Breakfast

There are many ways you can make eggs, and only a couple of ways to mess them up. Unfortunately those ways are enormously common, and have led to many people not thinking they like eggs because they haven't had them done right.

The secret to good eggs is a delicious molten yolk. Now, many people have been deceived into thinking egg yolks come in two varieties: cooked and raw/runny. This pernicious lie would be equivalent to thinking steak only comes in rare or well-done, and would have the same effect on that person's access to deliciousness. We shall dispel this myth now. Egg yolks should neither be fully cooked, nor in a raw and runny state. Instead, you are aiming for a molten lava consistency. To experience this, go to a restaurant and order your eggs "over-medium". Not "over-easy". Of course, you can get eggs done right in a variety of ways (poached is my preferred method), but this way will have a high likelihood of getting it done correctly. (If the experience is not delicious, the restaurant screwed it up. Try again until it is delicious.)

You will need: egg with medium cooked yolk, properly buttered toast, salt, and a fork

Directions: (When your egg arrives, you will only have a minute or so to do this before the egg starts cooling and the deliciousness starts draining away, so be quick.) Lightly salt the egg. With your fork, slice an opening into the yolk, such that it reveals the golden treasure without it flowing out (yet). Now dip a corner of that buttery toast into it, and then eat that bite of toast.

If that was not a uniquely delicious experience, something went wrong.

Try to get as many of those dips as you can (there won't be many!), and then it doesn't really matter what you do with the rest of the egg and the remaining toast. Deliciousness achieved.

Scrambled eggs are also perfectly acceptable--preferably in an omelet or pan fry of some sort. Don't forget the salt.

What isn't good is just throwing the egg in the pan and cooking the egg into hardness without scrambling it in. Neither the hardened yolk nor the white taste good by themselves, and mixing them together does not duplicate the flavor of cooking them scrambled.

5) Popcorn

"Delicious" might be pushing it when it comes to popcorn, but there is definitely good popcorn and not good popcorn (we're not discussing variants like caramel corn, just regular popcorn). Good popcorn has plenty of two things: salt and (real) butter. That's it!

While it's possible to put too much butter on popcorn, few have ever succeeded in doing so. The trick is making sure to get some on each kernel. After you've done that, then you salt it. While you can easily get too much salt, you can just as easily get too little. You might have to experiment with a few batches to find the right amount.

(Tangential Healthy Note: Sure, you are loading on salt and butter, but the kernels themselves are nothing but whole grain, so overall this is going to rate healthier than it seems--and with real butter it's going to be more natural than microwave popcorn with mysterious chemical seasonings.)

I've had experiences meeting unfortunate souls who were never taught proper food morals regarding those ones above, and therefore missed deliciousness, and were skeptical of trying it when it was proposed to them. But I'm sure there are others. Most likely there are foods that I don't like because I'm doing them wrong. And that is definitely unfortunate.

So help me out here and tell me the delicious ways to serve common foods, lest I suffer in ignorance!  ;D
The following users thanked this post: Sparky, Palmon


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Re: How not to mess up common foods
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2020, 05:14:15 pm »
Enochscion, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the "right" <rolling eyes icon> ways of making things. Here is the right way of making pierogies.

First, you must get at least one whole onion, cut it into both small and medium length pieces, and carmelize the onion pieces gently in butter in an iron cast skillet.

Then, the pierogies must be browned gently in butter in the same iron cast skillet in which the onions were browned.  Flip the pierogies periodically so that they get equally browned on both sides. Be sure to watch them carefully so that they do not burn. (Of course, I'm referring here to hand-made pierogies that have never been frozen. If you must use the frozen variety, such as Mrs. T's pierogies, cook them in a pot of boiling water first to get rid of the frozen-ness, and then do the delightful browning that will occur in a properly seasoned cast iron skillet.)

Next, dish the pierogies onto plates, slathering them with copious amounts of carmelized onions, and put a wee dollop of sour cream (or more if you must) on top.  Then let the feasting begin.
The following users thanked this post: Palmon, Enochscion


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