'Cooking Issues' on Serious Eats

Cast-Iron Cooking Primer

Heating properties of cast iron (top) vs. aluminum (bottom). [Photograph: Cooking Issues] Over on the French Culinary Institute's Cooking Issues blog, Dave Arnold has created a great cast iron–cooking primer that explains the science behind the cookware, including this great bit that dispels the notion of even heating: The popular wisdom that cast iron cookware provides even heat is misleading. A cast iron skillet placed on a gas burner will develop distinct hot spots where the flame touches the pan. If you heat the center of a cast iron pan, you will find that the heat travels slowly toward the pan's edge, with a significant temperature gradient between the center and the edge. The pan will heat very unevenly... More

How to Get, Store, and Use Liquid Nitrogen: A Primer by Dave Arnold

[Photograph: Cooking Issues] For anyone looking to freeze the heck out of stuff in culinary applications, the FCI's resident kitchen geek Dave Arnold has prepared a primer on liquid nitrogen that covers safety, procurement, storage and handling, and uses. The stuff sounds dangerous, so if you seriously are thinking of exploring its use, you'd be smart to read this.... More

Fold-out Anatomical Chart of a Pig from 1917 Book 'Bacon and Hams'

[Ilustration: Cooking Issues] Mad (food) scientist Dave Arnold, who pushes the limits of cooking technology at the French Culinary Institute shares the best parts of Bacon and Hams, a long out-of-print book, on FCI's Cooking Issues blog. ... the frontispiece of the book had a spectacular fold-out. At the time the book was written, fold-out anatomical charts were a popular feature in medical books. [Author George J.] Nicholls decided to do one of the pig. Brilliant. I've scanned it and converted it to a Flash animation for your enjoyment. As detailed in Arnold's post, Bacon and Hams author Nicholls also included a photo of himself "in Fancy Dress as a Side of Bacon, designed by himself, which took First... More

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