Cool Tools 2: Cooking is a Science

Making great soup is truly a science  – you have to consider the temperature, number of ingredients, and pressure to which they are exposed. It took some serious science to develop the perfect balance of flavor and nutrition in our all-natural soups. Our Soup Challenge finalists will content with this first hand when their soups are judged on both taste and a formal nutritional analysis of their recipe.

Cooking is a scientific art form that relies on the basic building blocks of chemistry, biology, and physics. The more you know about these fields, the better your cooking will be. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to make soufflés, but all those high school chemistry labs you slept through might have been more useful in the kitchen today then you thought then. Don’t panic, we aren’t going to suggest you re-learn the periodic etc. But by simply adding a few science savvy cool tools to your kitchen arsenal, your cooking will be Bill Nye approved in no time. 

Bamboo Kitchen Scale ($25 via Amazon) – http://amzn.to/15l91oY

Some of us don’t like to measure things when cooking and often use the excuse of dirty measuring spoons. It’s a bad habit, but plenty of us are guilty as charged. However, there really are times when you really should measure out an ingredient. And, if you’re going to measure, measure the right way – the surest way to measure is with a scale. This simple and elegant bamboo scale measures all kinds of ingredients, is easy to clean, and easy to use.

OCD Chef Cutting Board ($25.99 via Think Geek) – http://bit.ly/LdDutx
When a recipe reads “potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick” do you really know how thin that is? Do you want to know what that is without whipping out a ruler? Well your day is saved thanks to the OCD Chef Cutting board. With precise markings burned into the beechwood surface, you can slice, dice, and julienne to your meticulous little mind’s content. And, while your chicken noodle soup might not really need carrots “sliced on the bias exactly 5mm thick” your knife skills will definitely improve for all the effort.

Cook’s Illustrated The Science of Good Cooking ($24 via Amazon) – http://amzn.to/XmOo8I
One of the latest publications from America’s Test Kitchen, The Science of Good Cooking is the new “It” book in geeky gastronomic fusion.  This book will teach you the basics about heat, proteins, salt osmosis, oil temperatures and delve into some higher IQ science with concepts like starch interactions, alcohol evaporation, and the chemistry of leavening. In essence, this book packs the whole big bang theory relating to the kitchen into 504 pages, weighing 4lbs.

iPad Chef Sleeves ($20 via Think Geek) – http://bit.ly/YC5M6u

Sauce stains and butter smudges on a well-worn cookbook are a sign of “kitchen cred”, but it is never good to get flour in the corners of your iPad. That’s a serious kitchen foul! To prevent these issues while maintaining the use of your device for easy access to recipes and cooking how-tos: the iPad Chef Sleeve. These sleeves are made with sealable touchscreen-sensitive plastic and are reusable! So no matter how many times you have to make and remake Grandma’s fudge recipe, you’ll feel safe in the knowledge that your precious iPad is secure from boiling sugar splatter.

Thanks to the inspiration you’ve received from all these new cool tools, this time next year you might be cooking on Bunsen burners and storing your ingredients in Erlenmeyer flasks! Well, probably not but it can’t be coincidence that both fine chefs and great scientists wear white coats. Come back soon for the third post on “Cool Tools: Foreign Finds.”


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