Sandeep Kumar

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Archive for the ‘Food-Cooking’ Category

Why Does Popcorn Pop?

Posted by Sandeep Kumar on September 1, 2010

Popcorn can be credited for being one of the most lovable snacks of our times. Watching a movie without popcorn is half the fun lost. But despite of its being such a common time-pass the world over, few people know why popcorn pops. It’s not a complicated mechanism but a simple one in which the main role is played by water or moisture. Each popcorn kernel consists of a small amount of water inside it, surrounded by a soft layer of starch which is further encircled by a hard outer covering. When it is heated and attains a temperature of approximately 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which equals 232 degrees Celsius, The water inside the starchy layer gets converted to steam and starts expanding and builds up pressure against the outer hard layer. When it can no longer contain this internal pressure build-up, the kernel explodes with a sound of a pop, the moisture is depleted as the trapped steam escapes and the inner core of starch turns inside out. The tasty white sponge-like outer part of the popcorn after it pops is the same inner layer of starch. And there you go; the delicious snack is ready to be served. Of course with a “POP”.

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Who Discovered Rice?

Posted by Sandeep Kumar on August 22, 2010

Rice was first cultivated by Asian farmers around 3000 BC. There are two versions to the story about who were the first to grow rice – the Indian farmers or the Chinese farmers? The first version says that the Indian farmers were the first to find rice growing in the wild around 3000 BC and later begin experimenting with it, leading to its being farmed. The other version suggests that it was the Chinese who first learnt the paddy system and perfected the art of growing rice in fields which not only saved water but also killed the weeds. This also happened in around 3000 BC. The same technique to grow rice is being used today.

RiceRice has been cultivated in Africa since 1600 or 1700 BC around the Niger River delta and present day Senegal. It is known as Oryza glaberrima (African rice). It is said that the rice was introduced in Europe by the returning armies of Alexander the Great.

Rice is a major source of carbohydrates and proteins for more than a billion people around the world. China and India are still the leading producers of the grain. Rice is a staple for more almost half of the Asian population and there are a lot of ways to cook it. Rice is chiefly boiled and eaten in India while in some other nations, the grain is first ground into a powder and then noodles are made from them. There are still more than 120,000 varieties of rice grown throughout the world.

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Who Invented French Fries?

Posted by Sandeep Kumar on August 19, 2010

Who Invented French Fries?

Both the Belgians and the French claim themselves to be ones who invented French fries. French fries have got a long history in these countries. The Belgians claim the people in the valley between Dinant and Liege used to eat fried fish from the local river. Around the year 1680, the river froze in the winter and the locals couldn’t fish. They cut potatoes lengthwise and fried them in oil to accompany their meals. Thus the French fries were born.

The French use the name “pommes de terres frites” for French fries. Honore Julien, a French chef, whose manuscript, which comes from the 1800s expounds on how to make fried potatoes. The rest of the world learnt about the French fries from the French and that is where the name ‘French fries’ originates from. Belgians, however, argue because French is also an official language in Belgium, ‘French’ in ‘French fries’ refers to the French language and not France. The name ‘chips’ is more common in Britain and Commonwealth nations.

French friesFrench fries have a number of variants, most common include: thick cut fries, steak fries, jojo fries, curly fries, crinkle fries, shoestring fries and oven fries. The French equivalents are pommes pont neuf (thick cut fries), pommes allumettes, pommes pailles, pommes gaufrettes etc. The health-risks associated with French fries are well known. They contain harmful fats and are a major cause of obesity in the developed world, particularly the United States. There are companies which are trying to woo customers by claiming that their French fries are safer. Instead of using normal oil, they fry chips either in canola oil or peanut oil or something similar which would pose lesser health risks.

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