Wednesday, November 20, 2019

‘Ear Me Now! Why Is Sound Crucial To Cooking?

Today, The Weekend Gourmet's correspondent is sharing the importance of a cook's sense of hearing to determine when their food is properly cooked. Of the five senses, hearing is sometimes overlooked when it comes to ensuring successful cooking! This article may contain affiliate links.
person cutting vegetables with knife

Most people typically only consider a handful of senses important when cooking a meal; touch, taste, smell, and sight. You need to be able to feel to cut ingredients, use cooking utensils, and feel the texture and consistency of certain foods. You need to be able to taste and smell to ensure your food tastes and smells great...and sight is crucial when you’re trying to cook ingredients to beautiful perfection. What about hearing, though? While most people would ignore this sense while they cook, hearing can provide a range of important information! This post will explain why.

Hearing Heat
The idea of hearing something like heat won’t sound right to many people. In reality, the conditions inside a pan can often be determined by the sound it's making. For example: if you are frying an egg, you will hear a lot of popping and sizzling if you have the heat on too high. This is particularly important when you’re frying, although it can also apply to boiling and roasting. Therefore, it's well worth keeping your ears open next time.

Sound-Based Cues
A lot of foods can simply be left to cook once the recipe has been started -- and you won’t need to do much to make it delicious. Other meals, however, might take a little bit more finesse. This can mean listening for subtle sounds that give you an idea of how far your dish is from completion. For instance, if you're cooking something like popcorn, you’ll need to listen for the pops slowing down. While this is a simple example, there are plenty of other ingredients that provide information via the sounds they make, making it even more critical that you listen to your food.

Safety Sounds
While most people would notice trouble long before their cooking becomes dangerous, sound can be a tell-tale sign that things are going wrong. A fire alarm may sound like tinnitus, but this doesn’t mean that it should be ignored! Smoke can look very similar to steam, so a lot of people fail to notice when their food is burning. Food itself can also make sounds that will let you know it is dangerous. For example: oil continues to sizzle after food is removed from it, while potatoes expel air when they are nice and hot. This gives you plenty to listen out for when trying to determine whether or not your food is safe to handle.

The senses you use while you cook can be an incredible tool! Many of the best chefs in the world ignore recipes, timers, and other tools -- instead choosing to use their intuition to decide when food is ready to serve. Of course, it will take some time to build this ability -- so you should probably use a cookbook until you’ve mastered the meals you make.

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