"cooked" news and stories
Henderson's fascinating life story was depicted in the recent publication 'Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, from Cocaine to Foie Gras,' a memoir detailing how the one-time cocaine dealer and prisoner worked his way up from prison dishwasher to cook, sparking his dream to one day become a world-class chef.
Overcoming adversity, racism, plus a criminal record, Chef Jeff eventually became one of the top in his field, working in such establishments as Hotel Bel-Air, L'Ermitage, and the Ritz Carlton.
IMDB is showing Cooked as scheduled for 2009, but no further details are available at this time.
Yesterday, I talked about the Cook's Illustrated review of egg white substitutes, which concluded that you are best off working with real, fresh egg whites. The pre-packed, pasteurized egg white substitutes didn't hold up when whipped as well as the real thing. There is one more type of egg white substitute that is known for its ability to whip up, though: meringue powder.
Meringue powder is a mixture of dried, powdered egg whites, cornstarch and gums, which help if bind together. Some powders include sugar, but the majority do not. When mixed with sugar and water, meringue powdered can be reconstituted and beaten to soft or stiff peaks. It can be used to make royal icing, baked meringues, and even angel food cakes, which I have tried with good success. It can not be substituted for egg whites in other recipes, though, only in recipes which call for beaten egg whites. Meringue powders, other than being used for frosting, are best used in recipes where the egg whites would have been uncooked, like in some mousses and sorbets. Keep in mind that meringue powder can have a sort of starchy aftertaste from the cornstarch, so don't reduce the amount of sugar or other flavorings in the recipe you're using unless you want to add another flavor to your dessert.
Starting next month, poultry providers will have to meet a new set of packaging standards for their products. For example, the labels will clearly have to state if the product needs to be cooked. Regulators say that there is a good deal of confusion among consumers, especially over frozen, raw poultry that may already be partially prepared with a stuffing or breading, so the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has devised this label: Uncooked: For Safety, Must be Cooked to an Internal Temperature of 165 degrees F as Measured by Use of a Thermometer. The new labels will be added to all frozen poultry products.
The FSIS is in the process of approving cooking instructions that will accompany all the chicken products, with guidelines that suggest consumers use traditional food preparation methods as opposed to the microwave. "A fundamental part of label evaluation is to ensure that labeling will be understood and followed by consumers," said the FSIS.
I wonder exactly how many consumers are "fooled" into thinking that their raw chicken is already cooked. Are the artificial grill marks and colorings, not to mention breading, so convincing as to actually make people think their raw chicken was cooked before being frozen? Are people so used to buying frozen, pre-cooked meals that the concept of a non-precooked item is foreign to them? I would certainly like to think not. It is possible the the labels will help consumers be more prepared should the bird flu suddenly pop up.