Monday, January 5, 2009

Getting Started

For someone who cooks regularly, I know surprisingly little about it. For example, I have no idea why onions turn brown and delicious when I cook them for a few extra minutes, or how a sticky blob of dough transforms into seitan when boiled for an hour. There is something magical about cooking, but should it be so mysterious? Are unburned cookies really just luck?

I have one month to unlock the secrets of cooking and baking. It's called Winter Term. Every January students at my college disappear from campus to undertake internships, service trips, and fascinating projects. This year, my last, I decided to stay put and learn more about vegan cooking. In doing so, I hope to improve my results in the kitchen and to start creating my own recipes eventually.

To begin my project, I wanted to spend a week simply learning about different cooking methods (parboil vs scald vs poach, and so on) and how common veggies like broccoli, onion, and potato act under different temperatures. How do these raw veggies become soft, palatable food?

Future weeks will explore baking, decoration, sauces, and mock meat. Stay tuned (if anyone's actually out there)!

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