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The Mechanics of Cooking

Posted: Wednesday August 6, 2008
By Before foods are cooked, and often after they are cooked, they are subject to a number of different procedures: peeling, slicing, chopping, kneading, folding, mashing, and more. Without a good understanding of these terms, cooking can be a difficult matter. And without some practical experience in these mechanics, cooking would be a chore. Even the simple task of us icing a vegetable is not the first time you try it. Let's take a look at some of these procedures: Mixing The process of mixing consists of stirring two or more ingredients in a bowl or saucepan by moving them around with a spoon or a fork. A fork can sometimes produce a lighter mixture than a spoon which is more likely to mash the ingredients. Blending Blending consists of mixing thoroughly, without beating, by stirring well until all the ingredients are mixed. It is best to use a wooden spoon of the proper size. This term is also used to describe the action of an electric mixer or blender. Whisking Whisking is the process of agitating the ingredients with a light rapid motion. This causes foods such as eggs and cream to incorporate as much air as possible during its mixing. The wire whisk is normally used for this although an electric mixer can be used as well. Folding This term describes the process of combining air-filled ingredients, such as beaten egg whites or cream, with a heavier batter. This must be done very carefully so that none of the air is lost from the whipped ingredient. Folding is usually done by using a spatula which makes it easier to cut through the air-filled ingredient without flattening it. Beating This is the kind of mixing in which ingredients are completely blended together so that each of them loses its individual identity to become part of the whole. A rotary hand mixer or electric mixer can be used for this type of mixing. An electric blender can also be used. Mashing Usually, mashing refers to cooked foods such as potatoes, but we also use it for crushing a garlic clove with the flat side of a knife to release the flavor of the garlic more quickly in cooking. Grinding Though grinding is more often used for grinding coffee in modern times, it used to be a term that was used more often for grinding wheat or spices with a mortar and pestle. You can also grind meats with a meat grinder. Cutting Cutting is actually a general term used for cutting different types foods. "Cutting" is usually used when a food is cut into chunks before cooking. The different types of cutting are slicing, julienne, sliver, dice, shred, and mince. All of these terms can describe the mechanics of cooking. Most meals cannot be cooked without using at least one of them. So, knowing these terms and practicing the use of them will help you get your meals to the table quicker. Visit and subscribe to "Learn Home Cooking Tips" to receive our new report, "Freezer Cooking for One" as our gift. Article Source: