The Food Lab's all about clearing up culinary misinformation; separating the old wives' tales from the old wives that keep telling them.
So here are the six most common and egregious food myths I commonly encounter, and the truth behind them. You can use this information to either improve your cooking, or to sound like a pompous windbag at your next cocktail party.
1. Moist Cooking Methods Give you Moister Results Than Dry Cooking Methods
It makes sense, right? Cook meat in a moist environment (braise it, boil it, simmer it, steam it), and you'll end up with meat that's moisture if you cook it in a dry environment (roast, saute, grill, barbecue, broil, or fry). Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. The amount of moisture that a piece of meat retains is pretty much only related to the temperature it is cooked to. Basically, under a microscope, a hunk of meat looks like a bunch of liquid-filled straws bound together into bundles. The straws are filled to capacity with liquid when the meat is raw. As it cooks, the walls of those straws contract, squeezing liquid out of them—whether or not they are in a moist or dry environment.