Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them: and 100 Other Myths About Food and Cooking by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

We're at the end of November already and I still haven't written about two books from last month, not to mention those I've read this month. With a work ethic like this, it's no wonder I haven't had a steady job in nine years. Prepare to read a slew of hurried write-ups over the next few days...

I love this book. It's very informative and often hilarious. The authors breezily run through a series of myths and misconceptions about food, cooking, and diet. They include 25 recipes, which is a good number—easy to skip over (the dishes aren't as fancy as those in How to Read a French Fry, so at least I'd eat many of them, but I'm pretty unlikely to ever cook them).

One night at Rockwell's, my server asked what I was reading. Her follow-up question, naturally, was which shattered myths most surprised me. I hadn't really thought about it, which was obvious from my embarrassingly incoherent answer. Then later that night I read the chapter about peanuts. Most people know peanuts aren't really nuts. For years, my dad couldn't see one without pointing out to everyone that they are legumes. But the authors go a step further and run through a whole list of other "nuts" that aren't. Brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, pine nuts, and almonds are actually seeds, and macadamia nuts are kernels (they also mention coconuts, but does anybody think coconuts are real nuts?). The next time I went to Rockwell's, I was happy to see the same server and redeem myself by sharing this fascinating information. It was new to her, too.

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