flarenut (flarenut) wrote,

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J always gets annoyed at me when I say that, because then she feels compelled to ask me what I'm thinking, and why couldn't I just say it in the first place instead of making a noise designed to get her to ask me a question? Well, because the noise is a reflex, and the thing I'm thinking about is almost always completely irrelevant.

Like tonight, when I looked at the tilapia cooking in the frying pan and said, "hmh".  What I was thinking was, "I have just conceived a completely new, almost fat-free way to fry foods, but much good does that do us."

The problem with frying is that you need a certain minimum amount of fat to get good heat conduction from the pan to the food, but that's usually more fat than you want unless your food is preternaturally flat. In my youth, I had all kinds of ideas about replacing the cooking oil with supercritical fluorocarbons -- which would just evaporate away after conducting high-temperature heat rapidly and evenly, but that turned out to be impractical, as well as potentialy really bad for taste and texture because supercritical fluids tend to be very good solvents. So my latest brainstorm was that you make a pan with an infinitesimally thin layer of flexible heat-resistant polymer, like the 800-degree silicone that's in spatulas everywhere. Then, because that won't play nicely with open flame or red-hot burner, you add a bath of temperature-stable liquid between the top layer and the metal pan to provide both cushioning and rapid heat transfer. The silicone or whateve conforms precisely to the bottom of whatever you're cooking, and hey presto! perfect browning without the fat. Obviously this thing will last maybe two or three uses, tops, and there will still be a little oil needed because the comliant layer can't conform to every microscopic nook and cranny (or if it could, it would really skeeve me out), but I'm sure this will be the future of cooking.

Tomorrow: backyard fusion reactors. No, really. I'm supposed to write an article about them.
Tags: cooking, science, stupid

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