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Food Smoking: A Brief Description of Methods and Implements

Food smoking is one of the most ancient methods of preserving food. It was common to smoke fish due to the quick rate of decay that the meat goes through. It's very common with indigenous tribes along the U.S. coast. Initially used to kill the harmful microbes that taint meat and other food, the use of smoke has expanded to also create unique flavor varieties depending on fuel and smoke application.

There are basically two camps to using smoke: hot smoking and cold smoking methods. Hot smoke cooking uses the heat and smoke together to cook and flavor the food at the same time. Hot smoking is usually around 170 degrees Fahrenheit and combines the heat from water steam that is in the wood with the general radiated heat from the incinerated material. The wood is often dampened a little to produce the copious amount of smoke that is needed. Additional cooking usually is needed to kill any remaining bacteria.

Cold smoking on the other hand, is smoking meat under a low heat. The smoke, in essence, will draw out the moisture in the meat, which is a facilitator to spoilage. The smoke needs to be separated from the heat source to cool, so when the smoke cools it can be directed onto the food so the drying can occur. Some common cold smoked meat is beef jerky and smoked ham. However, after the smoking of the meat is done there needs to be further curing such as brine injection or a cure mix, usually containing salts.

Wood Smokers for the Common Cooker

Beef jerky you buy at your local grocery store is usually from a huge warehouse of hanging meat set under a controlled climate system. However, there are some small smokers the average person can buy on the market to duplicate it. Both hot and cold smoking can be done by combination smokers for instance. For cold smoking they have an external smoke source, often referred to as a fire box that can control the smoke temperature. If one were to invest in a domestic smoke house system, you can usually get it small enough to be easily transported, like a small beverage fridge.

As mentioned before, the flavor can be altered by the type of wood that is used. Hickory wood and Apple wood are some wood flavors that can be used. It can vary by region too; Hickory is commonly used on the U.S. east coast, Alder is more popular in the Northwest.


African Food Offers An Adventure For The Palette

NYC offers a festival of food for flavors that come for from all around the globe. With influences from every culture the diverse offering s of the "Big Apple" can make any meal a feast for the senses. While there is a tremendous amount of Italian-American cooking and Asian cuisine in NYC there is a representation of food and culture from almost every country on earth. As an example there is a restaurant that caters to the authentic foods found throughout each region of Africa. Although African pastries are not commonly known to most Americans they are a delicacy that rival anything produced in the typical kitchen of an American home.

For truly authentic African food NYC residents can choose from a selection of meat dishes that can be found on the "Dark Continent." Although the animals that are eaten in Africa differ from what can be found in the US the spices and seasonings of the beef and poultry deliver the traditional flavors and textures that are created in African cooking.

Although he has been gone for many years now, my father enjoyed traveling throughout Africa as he fulfilled assignments with his work when I was a teenager. Journeying to each region of the continent my home has some of the artifacts that were collected and given as gifts to my father as he went from the south to the east, west and north countries of Africa with his work.

Developing a great love of the people and of their heritage my dad enjoyed spending time in Africa and sharing meals with the people that he encountered on his travels. He and my mother have eaten bison, antelope and water buffalo and even warthog while they were in Africa but my father's sweet tooth was always leaning him toward the desserts that are offered by his hosts.

With the same seasoned dishes that can be found in the North, South East and West African countries there is something for every palette available from the restaurant that provides African food catering to NYC residents. Blending different dishes from each part of the continent or sticking to one particular country's fare the African food NYC enjoys is authentically prepared and served to guests that are enjoying a rare treat.

With all of the cultural diversity that is found in NYC it is refreshing to be able to find the flavors of the world that can take a person on a culinary tour of some of the more interesting and unusual places on earth. For anyone that has an adventurous appetite for truly delicious foods that offer meats and seasonings as well as fruits and vegetable dishes along with desserts there is a real treat waiting to be sampled in the African food restaurants that deliver a remarkable dining experience.


Safer Cooking with Stainless Cookware Sets

A lot of people may not know this, but there are actually some types of cookware sets that are not safe, and even dangerous to use for cooking. Just last year, studies have come out that cooking wares covered with Teflon and other non-stick materials were highly associated with various medical conditions. This is the very reason why more and more people are now returning to the good old stainless sets for cooking.

Stainless cookware is actually made out of different kinds of metals - such as chromium, molybdenum and nickel. These are generally stable metals that will not release harmful substances, even when heated. So if you are planning to buy cookware today, here are a few of the best benefits that you can get out of stainless cookware.

Stainless steel, as mentioned before, is a very inert metal. The material is very versatile, durable and relatively easy to heat up, making it one of the best choices as a cookware material. There are actually various weights of stainless cookware sets but the surgical steel is considered to be of superior quality.

Stainless steel can also create a non-stick, scratch-resistant surface which are the very same features found in Teflon cookware. There are now a variety of good quality brands selling this kind of stainless cookware in the market, all for you to choose from.

Aside from that, the material is also known for its durability and efficiency in cooking. Stainless steel is very resistant to dents and scratches, even with everyday use. Stainless steel cookware can also produce equal heat distribution over the pan surface, making cooking easier, more effective and even shorter at times.

Stainless steel is a very versatile metal. This means that it can be subjected to wide variety of chemicals and physical conditions without compromising its integrity. It does not react with any kind of acid or base used in cooking, which allows you to cook all sorts of dishes without having to worry about anything else.

One other very good option is the copper cookware sets. Copper cookware give out the same even heat distribution and are also very quick to heat up. However, copper cookware can also leak out residual amounts of metal into the food, which is the reason why most of them are overlaid with tin or stainless steel. These stainless cookware sets are highly preferred by chefs and cooking experts for making sauces and sautes.

Stainless steel cookware is also very easy to clean and maintain. Stains can easily be removed by soap and water and are dishwasher friendly. However, the downside to this material is that can produce a metallic aftertaste once the food is placed inside the cookware for too long. To avoid this, you can simply take out your dish right after cooking and place it in a separate, covered container to keep it warm.

Given all these advantages, stainless steel pans and cookware are relatively better choices compared to all the other cookware material in the market. So the next time you go out shopping for cookware, make the healthy choice and start getting back those good old stainless cookware sets.


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