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cooking terms
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pj
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:34 pm    Post subject: cooking terms Reply with quote

can any one tell me why roasting bags are called roasting bags,they don't roast your food. Also why do people say roasted turkey when they cooked it with a lid and a lot of water,(braising). Learning cooking terms,so any help welcomed.
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sq3
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:07 am    Post subject: terms Reply with quote

good question...maybe some one can help
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 999
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the claim for "roasting bags" is they keep moisture in while allowing the contents to brown. it's a "marketing" term - I suppose it refers more to use than a technical description.

like "trash bags" - you don't trash the bag (well, in the end you do....) you put the trash in the bag. similarly, if you put the roasting bag in the oven, one could say you're roasting the bag (along with it's contents...)

roasting a turkey / poultry in a "roasting pan" usually involves taking the lid off toward the end to brown the bird nicely. overcooked poultry does dry out; hence the lid.
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pj
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:28 pm    Post subject: cooking terms Reply with quote

Could you tell me what method this would be.. I put a turkey in a roasting pan with a lid and put water in it half way up the pan at 350..would this be braising? And if I did chicken pieces in a pan with water up the sides of them at 350 and no cover what method would I call this.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 999
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

first, as you've read in other places, cooking terms can be lacking a 100% precise "everyone agrees on" definition. famous chefs disagree, especially those who write books, and especially those with outsized egos.

>>I put a turkey in a roasting pan with a lid and put water in it half way up the pan at 350..

interesting idea. add some more water until covered and with good temp control you've got sous vide.... I take it this is a theoretical exercise? I've never heard of any method calling for that.

When I do turkey / chicken in the oven - roasted / baked - whatever - with or without lid, I do not add any liquid at all. some liquid comes out of the bird; if simultaneously roasting vegetables, some liquid may come out of those.

I can imagine filling the turkey pan half full of water could well be a disaster. the water will not boil, so the lower part is cooking at less than 212'F, the upper part - you know, the bit that dries out the fastest... is cooking at oven temp and I kinda' doubt the two bits will be done at the same time. besides, we stuff our turkey and half floating in water would likely make for really soggy stuffing.

so back to the question:
some of the basic options:

pan fry / saute: done with minimal amount of liquid in the pan.
the liquid is usually a fat - but for example you can saute scallops in a non-stick pan with zero added water and zero added fat.

boiling / stewing: the to-be-cooked-thing immersed in water.

between "no liquid" and "immersed in liquid" is "braising"

there is no single set in stone universal agreement about how much of the thing to be cooked should be covered by water to be labeled "braising" - half way up, quarter up . . . the basic principle is to ensure a lot of moisture / humidity surrounds the food - that's the "wet" vs "dry" mentioned in numerous posts.

and it gets worse: poached eggs, coddled eggs, poached fish . . .

if you followed the links you've had some very good info on baking and roasting.

if you are serious about cooking, learn about the dish and how it's prepared because taking every word in a direction or recipe as literal as the "bag doesn't roast" is not going to work out well.

and the next thing you'll need to learn is to throw away the clock and learn how to tell when things are "done" - but that's for later.
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pj
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:32 am    Post subject: cooking terms Reply with quote

if you google startribune thanksgiving recipe. You will find what I said about having water up sides....I meant 1/3 way up.
so it something people do. Your turkey is steamed this way.
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yocona



Joined: 18 Mar 2011
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Food Dictionary on epicurious.com is a useful on-line reference for culinary terms.
http://www.epicurious.com/tools/fooddictionary
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Dilbert



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I steam poultry and vegetables every week. in a basket type thingie suspended over the boiling water, the food being subjected to live steam.

half or one third submersed in water does not meet my concept of "steaming"

which effectively reinforces the point everyone has been telling you - stop with the letter-for-letter interpretations and learn to cook. you will never learn to cook by reading and analyzing recipes. stop over-thinking things - start doing things - it'll come.
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pj
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:09 am    Post subject: cooking terms Reply with quote

WHO IS EVERY ONE? Just for the record I am cooking things.Just wanted to have a better understanding on the terms . Told to come to this forum for help. Every one who is expr.now I am sure when they started asked questions too.

Pj
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 999
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"everyone" are the good folks on the other forums. Norm, Squirrel,
Jana, etc.

the first thing to learn about cooking is there are very very few absolutes. I get the impression you are looking for an absolutely ironclad "correct" definition(s)

cooking pork chops vs. cooking a turkey half submerged in water is not going the change "the term for the method"

and browning something "afterwards" - like letting all the water out of the pork chop pan then continue "cooking" to make them turn color due to heat - is a "separate step and method/term" - are you looking for "one single term agreed upon by the whole world" for that combination of techniques?
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pj
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:54 pm    Post subject: cooking terms Reply with quote

Who ???
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1618
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I'll chime in... Unlike chemistry or other sciences, cooking and the continued development of the cooking arts is mostly dominated by people who do not place a high priority on making sure the language is well defined and that recipes are not ambiguous due to language. We try our best here, but even then we are hindered by the past and how these words came about.

One example (before I get to your question on roasting) is the U.S. volume measuring unit of the "cup". When I first started the site, international readers would be confused as to how any American could possibly bake anything because to them a "cup" was a generic term and they had small tea cups and large coffee cups and everything in between. I had to repeated explain than in the U.S. the use of the word cup in a recipe, depending on context, could mean the vessel ("pour contents into a cup") or the unit of measurement ("one cup of oil"). Anyway, that's the weird language territory we are walking around in, so keep that in mind as we talk: roasting.

Roasting. At first glance, this is easy to define. To cook meat (and, later, by extension, vegetables) uncovered in an oven. Is this correct? It seems so, but it isn't the original definition or technique. In fact, modern day roasting simply approximates an older cooking technique that originally held the name "roasting" - to cook meat near an open fire (fireplace, campfire, bonfire, etc.) often involving the meat being rotated on a spit to promote even browning. That definition could be up to debate as well since no one formed an international committee (like those governing the sciences) to codify the meaning of the word. For example, if you just held the meat static near the fire, it would cook through but one side would char. Without a rotating spit, is it still called roasting? There's no one here to answer that question definitively and different people will have different answers. For me, it is still roasting - rotating on a spit is just a good technique to employ while roasting over an open fire... a subset of roasting we call "rotisserie". In this case, we were lucky - there are words to help differentiate the two (but we still don't have a term for roasting without a spit... just saying "roasting" doesn't tell us if a spit was involved or not... so maybe, "non-rotisserie roasting"?). Anyway, back to your question:

Oven roasting (as we should call it, but I'm sure I'll slip and just call it roasting after a while) approximate old school roasting by placing the meat in the oven uncovered. The results are similar to fire roasting, so instead of referring to it as "baking" we call it "roasting". Okay, so far... until the introduction of the roasting bag and other techniques used to solve a problem with oven roasting large poultry. Often, people encounter the problem of dry meat in poultry that has been oven roasted. The absurdly high USDA recommended cooking temperatures (165-185F for different parts of chicken meat selected not for food safety reasons because the authors of the standard felt it was unpalatable to eat pink poultry) result in dry meat. A variety of different techniques used to prepare other meats was borrowed to try to reduce this problem. Covering the roasting pan to bake the chicken, adding liquid to the pan to either braise (I'm not going to touch "braise" or this reply will be twice as long) or simmer the chicken, or (miraculously) baking it in a bag. Traditionally, the families that pioneered the first few techniques would still call it whatever they called before. If they called their first version roast chicken, then they would probably called their covered pot version "roast chicken" as well since they probably weren't interested in the specific nomenclature their technique now fell under. As these methods became popular, the name stuck and only a few people make any attempts to try to rectify them. (Occasionally, you'll see a restaurant try to be very specific on their menu: oven roasted vs wood fire roasted vs oven baked. BUT, more often than not in restaurants, they pick cooking terms that SOUND good and may not necessarily reflect how it is actually prepared. This is an especially useful technique if the chef wants you to remember the flavors of one dish while eating theirs made with a different technique. It's not lying or purposeful obfuscation, it's just another tool they have to mold the dining experience. Unfortunately, it does confuse the vocabulary.)

As for the roasting bag that you asked about and I've mentioned briefly, this was an amazing invention / discovery. If you cook poultry in a special type of high temperature safe plastic bag, then you get the results of an oven baked bird, but the exterior of the bird will still brown! MAGIC! (Even more magical is that it ALSO self-bastes. The condensation on the inside of the bag falls back onto the bird!) It is a cross between oven roasting and oven baking, but what to call it? Technically, they aren't referred to as roasting bags - all major manufacturers refer to them as oven bags because they can be used for a variety of different purposes. What do we call the method of cooking used when, let's say, we cook a turkey in the oven when inside an oven bag? Since we're trying to get the end result of a roast turkey and not a baked turkey, we should call it roast turkey, right? So, that's what we call it, even though it is not in the strictest sense "roasting".

Here's another problem that most people don't realize. It's not the same to ask the question: How do you roast a turkey? (Many answers - some including liquid, pots, bags, etc.) versus the question: What is roasting?

Some people (myself included) have a strict definition of the word "roasting" (I might not be able to articulate it, but in my mind it's very stringent - uncovered, no liquid, oven or fire) but the word becomes more flexible when applied to a specific food or dish because of how cooking evolved over time. To be very strict on definitions means that I have to pretend to not know what people are talking about or correct them:
Person: "I like to put a lid over my roast chicken to keep it moist."
Me: "I don't understand... that's like saying you like to divide to multiply. You mean you like to bake your chicken?"
Not necessarily conducive to conversation when that happens. There are other times when we are discussing specific cooking techniques and comparing them and their differences and then using strictly defined language is useful for everyone to understand what we are talking about exactly. Unfortunately, which one (flexible or strict) is usually determined by context and can be confusing with different people (some people are always strict and others always flexible in their use of language).

One final comment about the whole "steaming" thing. I knew what you meant, pj, about how if you partially submerge and cover a bird, then it will be "steaming" because the upper half will be cooked through heat transfer provided by the steam. Unfortunately, "steaming" as a cooking technique's definition (strictly speaking and not flexible/loose) is to cook something solely through the use of steam - so the ingredient should not touch the liquid at all. Also, strictly speaking, cooking an ingredient partially submerged isn't strictly braising (braising involves a browning step). Oh, how confusing it all is!

By the way, we run our own cooking dictionary here that anyone with an account on the forums can contribute to:
Cooking For Engineers Food Dictionary

Here's our definition of roast.


Last edited by Michael Chu on Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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pj
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:09 pm    Post subject: cooking terms Reply with quote

thank you for taking the time to explain that. That helped me out a lot.
I wish more people would be that helpful. I know a lot of people don't care about some things like that ,but I do.(but believe me there are a lot of people out there who like to know too, but don't have the nerve to ask). Again thanks.
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Diane B.



Joined: 27 Mar 2012
Posts: 29
Location: California

PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael, thanks for that great post.

Quote:
. . . would still call it whatever they called before. . . the name stuck and only a few people make any attempts to try to rectify. . .


I was reminded of that when thinking about making "roasted garlic" heads for freezing just last night. I'd assumed I'd wrap each in foil (with olive oil) after topping, or perhaps put all in a covered pot/etc in the oven, then realized I'd be steaming the heads instead of roasting them.

I'd thought pics I'd seen of cooked foil-encased garlic heads (or ones cooked in those terracotta "garlic roaster" thingies) looked caramelized on the top, and with the papery skins browned more heavily at the top, so assumed they'd been dry-heat roasted...have to look up more pics now to see if that's true. Or perhaps the oil creates that browning if it's there, or just the length of cooking time, or both?

Hmmm... looks like most do have the browning, some don't.
https://www.google.com/images?q=roasted+garlic+heads+foil

P.S. Just went to check out the food dictionary here... clicking on the C link brings up entries for K words?
.
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Michael Chu



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

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Diane B. wrote:
I was reminded of that when thinking about making "roasted garlic" heads for freezing just last night. I'd assumed I'd wrap each in foil (with olive oil) after topping, or perhaps put all in a covered pot/etc in the oven, then realized I'd be steaming the heads instead of roasting them.

(Because this thread is about what words we use and when, I'll say the following...) In the strictest sense it isn't steaming because there's no source of steam (no water being boiled to produce the steam). When a food cooks in the steam created by it's own juices, it's technically not steaming.

Having said that, I totally know what you mean and with garlic you should have it covered or wrapped in foil or else the heat of the oven will dry it out. The garlic will still brown and a caramelization of sorts does occur even though there is excess moisture. Normally, moisture will prevent the browning of foods because both the Maillard reaction and caramelization occurs at temperatures higher than the boiling point of water, but the browning of garlic is neither one of those reactions. I'm not actually sure what is going on when garlic cooks, so I should probably find out at some point.


Diane B. wrote:
P.S. Just went to check out the food dictionary here... clicking on the C link brings up entries for K words?
.

Thanks - I've fixed that. The dictionary was a little confused because it thought the first "c" word was cabbage-turnip which redirects to kohlrabi...
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