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6th sense cooking, plus how we use the others

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
have you ever noticed how often we just "know" when something is cooked? Or when its Done? Or when it sounds right?

For example :- While browning steak mince and onions for a bolognese, It sizzles away nicely for a while, then, if you've overloaded the pan you can hear the sizzle lower by at least an octave. Now its threatening to boil instead of brown. Time to rush to the rescue, as theres no way boiled meat and onions is ever going to taste right. Nor can you make it right once the damage is done.

Dont you just know when the kitchen smells right. When the cake has to come out of the oven in the next 2 minutes

On the audible thread, There's a Northern English recipe. Newcastle ish for what Americans might call an English muffin...Singing Hinnies. The Scone-type cakes are cooked on a griddle and as they cook, they whistle slightly.to show they are nearly ready....Just as a by- the- way, In the North country, children are called hinnies. So the story goes ,that when the kids are asking mum if they're ready yet, they are told, "Not quite, they're just singing hinnies"

I often find that my 6th sense tells me when something is right or wrong. Maybe it's practice over the years, or maybe one can simply "tune in" to the process in hand??
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #2 of 22
Yep.
And then there's the internal timer, when you head to the oven seconds before the timer goes off, because "you just know".
Also, general kitchen awareness, strong peripheral vision.
I can be concentrating on a task, and involved in a conversation, and I'll adjust my stance for someone to get by me, often long before they get near me...meanwhile the person next to me is oblivious and bumps the passerby.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #3 of 22
the ballet of the line. can always tell when you got a new dancer.

I have often opened the ovens at jobs and pulled out food just in time. not because I knew there was anything in there, but I knew there was something in there:crazy:
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #4 of 22
I'm not so sure it's a "sixth sense" so much as an acute sensitivity of the original five. :p That, and unconsciously paying attention to them -- and to the passage of time. We may not realize that we're doing it, but we are. Some of that can be learned, but you have to be sensitive in the first place and open to learning. There are people who just never learn -- we've all worked with the one who needed to bring a timer in to work to keep track of the stuff on the grill -- and had a heart attack when there were more dishes working than timers available :rolleyes:. In other words, it's teachable, but not everyone can learn it.

ETA: Gunnar, I just noticed your sig line: Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons... for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup. Reminds me of an old Mentos ad, with a dragon looking at a knight and saying: "Soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside." :lol:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
...Or there's the Newbie who's suddenly lost and you instinctively know he/she needs help quick
...Or the one you just dont totally trust to follow protocols and you pounce at just the right time to put things right.



I've woken up in the middle of the night to check on the meringues. I just knew the gas oven was working harder than usual and i was right. It was on the lowest setting, but even that was too high
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #6 of 22
As my hearing impairment grows ( Ménière's disease - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ), I find I have to look more closely at the dish and smell more attentively. It's not as good as hearing it all but there are workarounds.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 22
I think we cook best when we rely on our senses and not on our precision measures. It's an old beef i have with the school of digital scales and instant-read thermometers.
Take jam. If you ever tried to blindly follow a recipe for jam that uses an instant read thermometer - you'll see that sometimes the jam may well not be anywhere near done when it reads the correct temperature, and other times may be overdone. It's because we cook, not with precision ingredients, but real, living organisms, like fruit and vegetables and pieces of animal. These are never the same. (Or when they are, like supermarket cello-pack tomatoes, they;re tasteless and hardly can be considered food). Each fruit, veg, meat is different to begin with, with a different dna, different environmental conditions and different moment of life span. Back to the jam, depending on the particular breed of whatever fruit it is, the level of ripeness, and maybe other factors, you may have to cook longer or less. How can you say exactly how much to cook it? You do get a sense, though, from the thickness of the bubbles, the way it feels when you pour it, the taste when yuou cool it a bit etc.

I always noticed, right from when i was big enough to boil water or heat canned soup as a kid, that something was about to boil because hitting the inside of the bottom of the pot with a metal spoon would go from clang to clop (I guess because tiny bubbles would form on the base of the pot, as the liquid was about to boil and muffle the metallic sound). You don;t need a thermometer for that.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Digressing slightly, How does mood effect the end result?

Cooking a treat when i'm suddenly in the mood, usually results in great success.

Alternatively, being under pressure to produce something can often result in a dissaster. Just 'cos of my frame of mind
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #9 of 22
I appreciate when my wife cooks for me.
Heck, I appreciate when anyone provides me with food.
But the one bit of advice I gave her was to never cook when she feels rushed.
The end result is never as good as otherwise.
I think mood definitely affects how you cook, both good and bad.
But surprisingly, I don't always get the same result with the same mood.
I've cooked angry where everything seems to go wrong, and then again, I've had some amazing nights cooking angry.
Sometimes it puts me into a zone, an autopilot, where all I'm thinking about is what angers me, and my body does all of the cooking without the aid of my mind.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #10 of 22
We are all acclamated to cook with our touch, & sight, but in the future everyone will be cooking with exact time and exact temperature (now dont all start screaming I am talking commercially) It is the sous-vide style of cooking. I keep seeing more and more of it in different places. Another thing is freezagrill a grill like machine that when you place something on it freezes instantly. Its all the near future.Reminds me when I was a kid there was a great movie named Soilent Green some of you older guys may remember it.
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post #11 of 22
I concur with mood affecting cooking.

Sometimes you couldn't give and **** and it ends up mediocre.
Angry can get you great results or really c*** ones - 2 extremes.
Happy makes for delicious food.
Rushed cooking can be a failure or brings a new dish to the table!
Distracted - well, some bits are good, some bits terrible - unless you're really good and can crank it out regardless.

The sixth sense - as has been said, some of its the five senses totalled. Just learning to listen to those senses, being aware and knowing how to respond to them is paramount.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #12 of 22
Never heard of it, so I must not be old.





I don't like Charlton Heston movies anyway.
:rolleyes:
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #13 of 22
"Soylent Green? How does it taste?"


"I hear it varies from person to person":rolleyes:
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #14 of 22
Standing downwind of the BBQ pit and knowing a log is needed for the fire because the smell of pork fat vaporizing on the bottom of the pit has changed. Timing everything so it gets done at the same time at a BBQ (BBQ pork and beef gets done when it wants to!)
post #15 of 22
Tastes like "people". Great movie. The original Soylent Green with the unforgettable Charleton Heston was one of the classic all-time great movies.

Has anyone actually recently sat down and thought about how lucky we have been us "old people" who lived through the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 21st Century?

How long do you think this "abundance" of food is going to last? Organic farming which was growing at something like 20% a year, is now one of the fastest downsizing industries around.

Without the conspicuous consumption of the pre-2008 economic disaster, people had the cash and the propensity to build elaborate kitchens, eat elaborate rare hard-to-find foods, eat at outlandishly expensive restaurants, and the audacity to brag about it in Bon Appetit.

We're staring Soylent Green right in the face, and nobody (but a few of us oldsters) even has a clue.

Bob Dylan said "Watch out kid, they keep it all hid!"

Someone, said, "Those who forget history are bound to repeat it".

One day soon, we'll not even be able to afford the power/energy to "talk" to each other on forums such as this. We'll be like Mr. Edward G. Robinson, bicycling his way to powering a single light bulb in his shared apartment.

Overwhelmed to get "real beef" (which everyone who saw the movie knows was black marketed human steak), a wilted single stalk of celery, some brandy (cognac maybe), and an apple! WOW!

So, enjoy this musing about smoking tenderloins, and wondering about garlic in oil, and botulism, and food poisoning (can't get poisoned if you can't get food), and which overpriced piece of pseudo restaurant type residential dual powered range to buy to remodel our new kitchens so we got something marketing people have led us to believe is commensurate with all those great food items we're still (some of us anyways) able to afford.

Kind of pessimistic?

To each his own.

doc
post #16 of 22
I have solar panels so connecting to the internet won't be a problem :lol: It is amazing how much of your own food can be grown in a small area, even on a patio in buckets. I had 5 tomato plants in half a 55 gallon drum and they produced more tomatoes than I could eat.
post #17 of 22
Doc! great annology . In one way your correct because today we have Deactivated Animal Sterol, as an ingredient in pet food . We are not far behind, and it is staring us in the face.
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post #18 of 22
When I cook for a week, usually every burner is on as well as one or both ovens......so a multitude of dishes are going in different stages. A timer is set for one oven when a pie crust or cookies are baking.....
when the exhaust fan is on it's more difficult to smell pots on the stove, I didn't realize how much I rely on smell for timing until the exhaust fan was turned on.

I'll adjust my stance for someone to get by me, often long before they get near me...meanwhile the person next to me is oblivious and bumps the passerby.
__________________


After many years, it's still flummoxing to have the males in my family work in the kitchen......they are not in tune to those around them and more often than not stand right smack in the middle of working routes.:rolleyes:

Self determination and self motivation are the most important qualities one brings to a kitchen. JMTPC
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #19 of 22
Thanks, ED! The only positive thing to look forward to for me is to get me one of those pieces of "furniture" as featured in the movie. Run out of food? Ya can always eat the furniture! :)

doc
post #20 of 22
Right you are Doc. Just give me Mayo or catsup with mine:lol::D
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post #21 of 22
i guess i'm old - i remember being totally grossed out by the movie. :eek:
evn thinking about it now gives me the creeps. thanks ed.
post #22 of 22
Old? movie was 1973!:D Edward G Robinson & Charlton Heston, Chuck Conners i JUST LOOKED IT UP.
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