Food and cooking are things that can raise a lot of questions. While we’re of the belief that the only “dumb” questions are the ones you don’t ask, there are some that people are generally a bit embarrassed to ask.
Today, we’re looking at some of the food questions that, for whatever reason, you may have never asked out loud and serving up the answers. In the kitchen, as with the rest of life, knowledge is power!
Asparagus — any way you cook it, it’s likely going to be delicious. Whether it’s roasted, fried, wrapped in bacon, served with hollandaise sauce, broiled, boiled, or sautéed, the outcome will likely be outstanding. But there’s one joke that follows asparagus around. It’ll make your urine smell funny. It’s true, but what causes this unfortunate olfactory phenomenon?
Asparagusic acid contains sulfur, well known for its rotten egg smell, and this is where the famous asparagus pee smell comes from.
The change in smell is caused by a substance called asparagusic acid, which is only present in asparagus. Asparagusic acid contains sulfur, well known for its rotten egg smell, and this is where the famous asparagus pee smell comes from. As you urinate, the sulfuric compounds from the asparagusic acid evaporate quickly, producing that smell that reaches your nose. The effect can last up to 10 hours, though longer is possible. Funny enough, not everyone will experience asparagus pee — only between 20 and 50 percent of people will. It’s enough that the vegetable gained this reputation, though.
The worst part about cooking is the cleanup. There isn’t the fun, technical aspect of cooking. There isn’t the joy of eating. It’s just kind of a chore. To cut down on how much needs to be cleaned, sometimes it may be tempting use the same cooking utensil throughout the process. If you’re cooking meats, it can mean using the utensil to put raw meat in the pan and take it out. Is this safe or can it make you sick?
Technically, you do run a small risk of cross-contamination by using a utensil that has touched raw meat to handle it throughout the cooking process. Any bacteria on the raw meat can transfer to the utensil and then to anything else it touches afterward. This is also why you should use different cutting boards for different ingredients. But, it’s a small risk. The risk is largest if you’re touching raw meat and then touching cooked meat or an ingredient that won’t be cooked.
To be safest, you should have a utensil for handling raw or cooking meat and one for cooked or mostly cooked meat.
If you’re handling currently cooking ingredients, the heat will likely kill most bacteria transferred from the tool to the cooking meat. To be safest, you should have a utensil for handling raw or cooking meat and one for cooked or mostly cooked meat. Another option is to place the raw meat in the cooking vessel with your hands, wash them, and then handle the ingredients with a utensil after that.
Many of us have heard of the five-second rule that claims food that has fallen on the ground is okay to eat if you pick it up before five seconds has passed. The belief is that bacteria hasn’t had sufficient time to infect the food and make you sick. But is there any actual truth to this? But what does the science say?
The research pretty conclusively shows that food can become contaminated in less than five seconds if it’s dropped.
If you’re a five-second rule believer, sorry to disappoint. There is next-to-no truth behind this “rule.” The research pretty conclusively shows that food can become contaminated in less than five seconds if it’s dropped. The risk can vary based on where you drop the food (a counter is probably safer than the floor) and how clean the surface is, but the risk still exists because you can’t see what pathogens are there. It’s advisable to at least wash or cook any dropped foods you’re able to before eating them or throwing away anything you can’t, just to be safe.
● ● ●
So, there you have it! Do you have any burning food questions you want us to answer? We don’t consider any questions too obvious. If you’re curious about something, we’d be more than happy to look into it for you. Just send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and your question could be answered in a future article!