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Oddball Cooking Techniques: Ideas?

  • s

I'm working on an article for a children's magazine: strange and unique cooking methods. Car engine baking and dishwasher steaming will definitely be included, but I'd also like to get in some traditional and/or chef-specific techniques. (I'm not necessarily looking for weird -foods-, but more specifically weird ways of applying heat.)

Any ideas, Comrades?

Overall wackiness is the key, rather than culinary inventiveness: sure, -I'm- fascinated by slow-roasting fish in a low oven, but I think 12-year-olds will be unimpressed.

A million thanks to all.

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  1. I don't think this has ever actually been done, but what about frying eggs on the sidewalk?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Jeremy

      I bet you really could fry an egg on the hood of a car that had been standing in the sun. Be sure to use a "soft" spatula to remove it to your plate! pat

      1. re: pat hammond

        "Be sure to use a soft spatula"

        Be sure to wash your car's hood first.

        1. re: Jeremy

          How about solar cooking in a foil-covered cardboard reflector? I am sure I saw an article or book chapter about this in my youth.

          1. re: Sirina
            t
            Tom Meglioranza

            Years ago, I think I saw the Frugal Gourmet make a deli sandwich, wrap it in MANY layers of plastic wrap, and then sit on it for a half hour or so. If I recall correctly, his claim was that the compression and his own body heat helped meld the flavors of the sandwich. The idea of someone's butt-heat radiating through my lunch is a little disturbing to me, but kids might be into it.

            1. re: Tom Meglioranza

              Yeah. But especially the frugs. Yechh.

    2. m
      Mary Niepokuj

      Well, a lot of chefs use a propane torch for things like caramelizing the sugar on a creme brulee - and I myself have used one to hasten the cooking of a frittata (not a success). And I think I once saw Julia Child use a blowtorch to cook a cheeseburger on the David Letterman show years ago...

      The only other thing I can think of is that I've read that Mongolian nomads used to make yogurt by putting milk in a sack and fastening it under their saddle - the horse's body heat would do the rest.

      Hope this helps - this sounds like a fun topic!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Mary Niepokuj

        There was a guy in New Orleans that cooked EVERYTHING with a blowtorch. I was the chef at a restaurant that he started and there was a glass room that he cooked in. I do not remember his name, sorry.
        Tom

        1. re: blueschef

          Er...you worked at this place as a chef and you remember neither his name nor the name of the restaurant?

          1. re: Jim Leff

            i worked in the building. he was not there anymore. we turned the room into a wood burning grill with a giant rotis. did some nice food on that! I never worked with him.

      2. This isn't odd to most of us, but it might be news to kids: "cooking" fish in acid, such as in seviche.

        1. My dad says that his parents used to make a sort of applejack by putting a paper bag full of cut apples and sugar on the radiator.

          1. How about a traditional New England clam bake? Dig a big hole, drop in a bunch of glowing coals or very hot rocks, put gravel on top, put a sack with lots of clams, fish, sausage, potatoes, onions, stuffing, etc. on top and bury the whole thing for half a day.

            There's a similar thing the Portuguese do in the Azores-- wrap stuff in foil (not sure what they used traditionally) and bake it in volcanos. Do a search on the Azores and you'll get more info. It's a regional speciality, but it's probably done in other places with active volcanos.

            And what about the making of oddball ingredients? There are traditional foods that are buried underground for months like spice mixtures (there's one in particular that I can't remember the name of right now). For some reason, I think manioc flour goes through some kind of burial or fermenting process, too. And I think breadfruit is mashed and let to to sit in holes in the ground for a long time. And then there's more common things like 1,000 year old eggs, foo yee, preserved lemons, etc.