Salt Won't Help Your Water Boil Faster

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Salt Won't Help Your Water Boil Faster

As they say, "a watched pot never boils" (actually, that was Benjamin Franklin). If you want your water to boil faster, just add some salt. Right? Nice try, but no: the notion that salt boils your water faster is an old wives' tale. Not only does it not help, it hurts, since salt actually has the opposite effect on boiling water.

The Maillard Reaction Is What Gives Grilled Meat Its Flavor

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The Maillard Reaction Is What Gives Grilled Meat Its Flavor

There's a reason why bacon doesn't taste as good microwaved as it does fried, and why chicken doesn't taste as good boiled as it does roasted. That reason is the Maillard reaction, a phenomenon that takes place when denatured proteins and sugars meet temperatures of around 300-500º F (150-260º C) and combine, making meat turn brown and taste absolutely delicious. The reaction was named for its discoverer, French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard, who first wrote about its browning effects in 1912. His discovery didn't gain immediate ground in kitchens, however. It wasn't until the 1940s that people understood the connection between browning and flavor, and even then, most research was performed on how to avoid the reaction because the flavor changes were considered undesirable. Eventually, scientists were able to analyze the many thousands of aromatic and flavor compounds the Maillard reaction can produce, not only in grilled meat but in bread, coffee beans, and other foods that get more flavorful as they turn brown. These compounds include pyrazines, which lend a roasted flavor; alkylpyrazines, which impart a nutty quality; and acylpyridines, which have a cracker-like aroma. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

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Key Facts to Know

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    The Maillard reaction is named after the French chemist Louis Camille Maillard, who first described how sugars and amino acids combine to create numerous flavors. 0:33

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    Here are some examples of the thousands of different flavor compounds created by the Maillard reaction. 0:45

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    Humans may have evolved to enjoy these compounds because of the evolutionary benefits of cooking meat. 1:21

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Grilling

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Common Mistakes To Avoid When Grilling

Grilling isn't quite as simple as throwing meat on until delicious smells fill the air. Because grilling can be more complicated than it looks, there are plenty of common mistakes people make when prepping for a barbecue. One common misconception is that cooking on a dirty grill can add flavor to the meat. But, no. All that does is dirty the meal. Another common theory is that if the flame is hot, the meat is ready to go on. But this isn't necessarily the case. Though the fire feels hot on your hand, the grates on the grill may still be cool. This heat you feel is infrared heat, and not the conductive heat which will better help cook the meats. To prevent this, preheat your grill for about ten minutes before you begin cooking on it. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

Are Mushrooms The Food That Can't Be Overdone?

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Are Mushrooms The Food That Can't Be Overdone?

Making a delicious meal usually requires precise cooking times, as the line between overcooked and undercooked foods can often be quite thin. But that's not the story when it comes to the mushroom. In fact, it's virtually impossible to overcook a mushroom. To get a better understanding of this, you have to look at the cellular structure of the food. The cell walls in mushrooms are made from a polymer called chitin. Chitin, unlike the protein found in vegetables and meats, is heat-stable, which means it isn't easily altered or destroyed by too much heat. Translation: no matter how long you cook your mushrooms, they'll almost always turn out with a tender and palatable consistency.

The Tovala Is Not A Microwave-It's A Smart Oven

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The Tovala Is Not A Microwave-It's A Smart Oven

Though it looks just like a microwave, the Tovala is much more than that. The Tovala is a 26-pound smart oven, and has been described as the "Keurig of food." This device aims to be your own robotic personal chef. It scans barcodes of prepackaged meals, which informs the machine exactly how to prepare the specific meal correctly. But it's not limited to the prepackaged meals - this smart oven can also steam, broil, convection, and bake your own food. The CEO and founder of Tovala, David Rabie, claims the machine is "more efficient and it's healthier" than a microwave. The meals that correspond with the Tovala will cost between $10-15.