What exactly is in McDonald’s french fries?
July 17th, 2014
09:15 AM ET
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Mickey D's uses varieties like the Russet Burbank, which have a nice oval shape and just the right balance of starch and sugar. Excess sugar can cause a fry to have brown spots where it's over-caramelized, leaving a burnt taste and deviating from the uniform yellow-arches color. Just in case, the spuds are blanched after slicing, removing surplus sugar.

Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate
Taters can turn a nasty hue even after they're fried—iron in the spud reacts with the potato's phenolic compounds, discoloring the tissue. The phosphate ions in SAPP trap the iron ions, stalling the reaction and keeping the potatoes nice and white throughout the process.

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Filed under: French Fries • McDonald's • What's In That Dish • Wired

Sticking red wine in the blender - for science
September 24th, 2012
12:15 PM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

The other day, I felt the time had come to Vitamix some Bordeaux. Any reasonably sane person, of course, might wonder why. After all, the Vitamix (or at least the Vitamix Professional Series 750) whizzes its razor-sharp steel blades around at 24,000 rpm, which is fast enough to liquify pretty much anything. You could toss a license plate and some pool balls in there and end up with a smoothie; a weird one, but a smoothie nonetheless.
The reason I decided to frappé my French red, though, was to check out the idea of “hyper-decanting,” which is the inspiration of Nathan Myhrvold, ex–chief technology officer of Microsoft, all-around mad-scientist foodie and author of the monumental (meaning it weighs 50 pounds) book Modernist Cuisine. Myhrvold’s idea is pretty straightforward: Ordinary decanting - i.e., pouring your wine into a decanter - achieves its benefits because the wine is exposed to air. Blending it intensifies the exposure, and thus the benefits.
Before we get to the results, I should answer a basic question, which is: “Why the heck decant a wine in the first place?”

Stuffpuppies. Stuffpuppies! STUFFPUPPIES!
November 22nd, 2011
09:03 AM ET
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There's a Chekhovian theatrical trope that asserts that if a gun is introduced in the first act, it's got to go off by the third. The culinary corollary: if you're employing hot, bubbling oil to cook your Thanksgiving turkey and there are any other technically edible substances around, you've gotta end up deep frying most of them. Just embrace your destiny.

Behold the Stuffpuppy - an orb of textural pleasures progressing inward from crunch to sponge to pillow. It's the turducken of the sides world: a cloud-soft core of buttery mashed potatoes, swaddled in savory stuffing (or dressing - your call), crusted in crushed potato chips and fried to sublimity. To bite into one is to gaze upon the naked face of Thanksgiving and tremble in ecstasy.

Plus it's really, really, REALLY fun to throw random stuff in the fryer.

Deep-fried indoor turkey – for science
November 24th, 2010
08:00 PM ET
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Around this time last year, a colleague who was long on culinary passion and short on storage space offered me a brand new Butterball Digital Electric Turkey Fryer, that claimed to be suitable for use indoors. I am, if nothing else, not the least bit risk-averse when it comes to big cooking projects and somewhat of a glutton for peril.

And, quite frankly, I've gotten a tad fed up with some media's seeming obsession with making people panic that if shopping benchmarks aren't achieved by a certain point, all will be lost, family will disown you and your dog will regard you with a mixture of pity and disdain.

I set out to prove that one can indeed be birdless, mid-afternoon and have a company-worthy turkey by early evening, and that deep-frying doesn't have to spell disaster - if you exercise appropriate caution.

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