s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: F is for food (which looks better than yours)

Monday, June 09, 2008

F is for food (which looks better than yours)

My dad has this ability to make his food look better than anyone else's. I don't mean in terms of cooking — although he's a pretty good cook — I mean that somewhere between the pan and the plate, his food ends up looking like it came out of a magazine spread.

If we're eating, say, mashed potatoes and green beans, we all end up with got a glop of mashed potatoes and some drippy green beans while he has a fluffy mashed potato mountain with a perfect butter pat slowly disappearing into a melted butter lake which gently breaches the starchy dam to drip down the side of the mountain into the green bean foothills, while a generous sprinkle of black pepper floats in the lake or lands on the mountainside. (He has a fondness for pepper which could rival that of the Duchess from Alice in Wonderland.)

He has a variety of techniques at his disposal, but temperature seems to play a big part, especially in terms of getting butter or syrup to just the right level of viscosity. (We're both temperature eaters, although I don't put ice cubes in my milk because I don't like the watery milk which invariably results.) Oh, and I should add that his meals don't just look better, they generally taste better, too. The best thing, though, is that if you ask very nicely, he may be willing to fix you a plate, too. (Hold the pepper, please!)


At June 09, 2008 3:06 PM, Blogger Olympus said...

I want to be good at that.

At June 09, 2008 4:19 PM, Blogger Trevor said...

For me it's always been an issue of how long it takes to prepare food like that. I have no patience when it comes to food.

At June 10, 2008 3:01 AM, Blogger Betty Edit said...

There's someone else who puts ice in their milk? I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one.

At June 10, 2008 1:54 PM, Blogger ambrosia ananas said...

Wow. That sounds so good.

At June 16, 2008 6:49 PM, Blogger Julia said...

My recommendation for the milk problem is a Piet Hein drink cooler from www.thinkgeek.com. Here is the product description:

Your tasty beverage is warm, so what do you do? Reach into the freezer and grab an ice-cube or three. Plonk. Swirl. Cold again. But, as you circulate through the crowd, body-heat warms your drink.

The ice melts, and you're left again with a warm, and now watered-down, beverage. This is neither stylish nor efficient. At ThinkGeek Labs, we're all about science, so we experimented.

We gave Timmy, the ThinkGeek lab monkey, a highball of a tasty amber colored beverage. Instead of ice, we gave him the Piet Hein Drink cooler, a hunk of highly polished super-ellipsoid stainless steel, stuck it in the freezer for an hour, and dropped it into Timmy's drink. Plonk. Swirl. Cold again. We watched as he mingled through the party.

The drink remained cold - colder than a similar volume of ice could make it. It stayed cold longer... MUCH longer, and didn't dilute the drink. The magic behind this is a liquid core of a top-secret substance that freezes solid and releases its cooling mojo slowly. And talk about style! The shiny metal egg in his drink turned lots of heads and instantly made him the center of attention.


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