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cabbage head
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:54 am    Post subject: corn Reply with quote

if i wrap corn in foil and put it in the oven ,would the proper name be steamed corn?
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1626
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given our previous discussion on the strict definition of the term "steamed" what do you think?

Steamed corn would require an external water source that is boiling and the liquid water does not touch the corn.

Cooked in the oven like that can be described as either foil-baked corn or foil-roasted corn. I prefer the term foil-baked over roasted because generally vegetables are roasted without covering. (In actuality, I probably would use either - I'd probably say "corn baked in foil".
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cabbage head
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i know from what u said before....i wouldnt say its steamed ,but from different places on the web..... people say this is steaming bec. of the moisture from the food being trapped. So i was thinking of the wrapped baked pot, in foil where people say this is steamed. But from what u have said it is just baked. I guess my confusion is when u make food and use the moisture from the food for steam, u call it or should say baked corn for example,but others call it steamed corn. If i were to call the baked item ...example ...baked potato wrapped in foil as baked potato, others say and there are web sites (a lot of them) that say a wrapped potato is not baked but steamed. i think i said this right. Just like lasagna covered its baked but people also say cover tightly so it steams and is moist . (steamed lasagna),also crock pot cake .... i say would be baked but i been corrected and been told no its called steamed cake. sorry so long,but confused.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1626
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't worry about the confusion. It's only natural given how people are imprecise with the language they use (I often fall into that trap, but I try not to when I'm writing for Cooking For Engineers or post here). In everyday language, we're a lot more flexible in language than the response you would get when you ask here. When you ask here, "is this steamed corn" the answer is without a doubt, that is not steamed because the act of steaming has a strict definition. This is almost as confusing to people outside of the US learning about our volume measuring system which mainly comprises of cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons which are names of everyday objects which can and do vary in size dramatically. In the same way there is a difference between:
to steam (formal cooking technique)
and
steam (generic word in English language)

So, the corn wrapped up tight so moisture doesn't escape is not steamed (technique) but is actually steaming (generic meaning) in its own juices which have turned into steam (generic meaning). The cooking process used, however, should not be referred to as steaming (technique) even though the end result is extremely similar to corn that has been steamed (technique). The people who say that because the end result is almost as if it was steamed (technique) and therefore the dish should be called steamed (generic) corn aren't entirely wrong as the end product seems like it is better described as steamed (generic) since that is the texture and result that you get. But, established convention in describing foods is that if a technique is an adjective before the name of the food, then you are describing the preparation and/or cooking process. In this case, to say steamed (technique or generic) corn, the consumer, buyer, or eater will assume it has been steamed (technique) and that would be incorrect.

In common language, I don't care much if people use the wrong word to describe the food - saying steamed corn at a dinner party isn't going to get anyone riled up (unless I'm in a particular mood and a guest at the party). However, I would never condone the use of "steamed corn" in a recipe, cookbook, or other resource about cookery unless it was referring to the technique of cooking over a boiling source of water.

Does that help? (Basically, I just told you that those people who you say said steamed are wrong and tried to explain why they were wrong.)

P.S. I agree that a covered lasagna (however soggy it may end up) is baked. A steamed cake would only be called a steamed cake if moisture (external to the cake batter) were injected into the oven/cooking device (many bakeries do do this and many Chinese bakeries actually do cook with steam). Your example - not steamed, even if the end result may be similar to steamed.
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 325
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael, can I scald milk using my espresso steamer? Big smile
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cabbage head
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you, very much for your help and explaining this.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1626
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Cooley wrote:
Michael, can I scald milk using my espresso steamer? Big smile

Big smile

And now, I'll actually answer the question! In theory, you should be able to scald milk using an espresso steamer as long as you can run it long enough to raise to temperature to scalding (what is that? 85C or something?) I think you aren't supposed to do that because microfoam won't form once milk has been scalded or something like that. I'm not a coffee expert - in fact, only started drinking and getting interested in the last 9 months or so.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1626
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cabbage head wrote:
thank you, very much for your help and explaining this.

No problem.
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cabbage head
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

have you any thoughts on this author or even the book?
Professional Cooking, College Version
Wayne Gisslen. I have been told this would be very helpful to me.
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cabbage head
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the author is wayne gisslen.
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cabbage head
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

my computer for some reason is messing up....sorry to send this again, but the first one never wrote everything i said. that book i mention you can look at the insides....if u get a chance please look at page 69 (steaming) ....i know what u said. But here is author who is saying this? I was told this was a good book to learn from .....the terms of things? But know i am doubting this? thanks
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1626
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No problem. I've read the 5th edition of Professional Cooking but unfortunately no longer have it. I think I was able to find the paragraph you were referring to on page 71 of the 7th edition where in the 2nd definition he says that steaming also refers to food cooked in tightly bound packages so that the food inside is steamed. Again, this depends on how strict you want to be at defining terms and techniques. I've very strict in my definitions (or try to be) to reduce confusion as much as possible. I do slip up because it's hard not to use conversational English to make the site accessible and easy to read, but it also pays off to be exact when running a site like this. Gisslen's definition #1 is the strict definition of the technical term for steaming and his definition #2 straddles that of the generic conversational term. My argument is that if you said steamed fish, almost every chef or cook in the world would know you referred to a fish cooked over boiling or simmering water and cooked by the high temperature water vapor. If you said pouch-steamed or pouch baked fish, almost every chef would know that you meant en papillote. You would be hard pressed to find any chef that would understand what you meant if you said steamed fish (meaning in a pouch but not saying it) as they would immediately think in a steamer/rack over boiling water. As a technical definition then, at least for the purposes of this site and my audience, steaming means that one thing.

You're going to encounter this a lot, actually. There's an argument over how much a dash is vs a pinch (a dash is 1/8 tsp while a pinch is 1/16 tsp but some people say both are 1/16 tsp), what barbecue is (barbecue is slow cooked meat over indirect heat; cooking vegetables in this manner or cooking meat over direct heat on a grill are not barbecue, but there are many who will call it that anyway), etc. Roasting is a great term and I've given lectures on this topic as well as the one possible reconstructed history of the evolution from roast (open fire / rotisserie) to roast (oven) to roast (the cut) to pot roast (pot roast which is a braise) to chicken pot roast (a braised chicken in a pot!).

As an engineer and someone who writes a site that tries to help people learn to cook and succeed at recipes on their first try, I like it when words and descriptions are unambiguous. You're asking the right questions though - understanding the various ways people use terms (correctly or incorrectly) will help you understand what's going on in more and more recipes. You'll find that people involved in cooking and writing recipes are usually not exact in their language and that can lead to confusion which is why experience is so important in understanding what people are saying or trying to say. For example, now, you'll probably understand all sorts of scenarios when people use the word steam and what follow up questions to ask to understand how they are using the word.
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