5-minute presentation on food: what would you want to hear?

I’ve signed up to do a 5-minute presentation on something foody for a group of acquaintances. The people range from vegan to complete carnivore and everything in-between. Some folks care about food, some eat only for sustenance. 5 minutes is not a lot of time.

I can wax poetic about many different food topics for much longer than 5 minutes, but what I’m trying to find is a topic that 1) can be explored in a short amount of time and 2) will appeal to a wide variety of people. Some ideas:

  • How to make a quick-but-good vinegarette

  • How to properly season with salt & acid

  • How to make a really good cocktail (this is a no-brainer for me, but I’m hesitant as there are a number of non-drinkers.)

I’m not thrilled about any of these ideas, but all would work. What else? What do you want to know about food/cooking?

Meat done-ness and how to know temps without poking meat with a thermometer every 30 seconds. And the importance of resting!

A run-down of cheeses and what goes with what, what melts well, what is a good value, and when you can use basic stuff or when you should splurge.

Quick fixes for when you are out of an ingredient or when you mess something up.

Mayonnaise; the practical science behind emulsions in the kitchen.

Natural food remedies for common ailments.
What to eat for heartburn. What to eat for a headache.
Diarhea, constipation, for a good nights sleep, to wake you up, etc.

Under-used spices and seasoning mixtures. Then cocktails!

This one and the proper use of salt and pepper sound practical and applicable to the whole group.

A general guide to ratios. How much salt per ounce of meat/grain/etc. How much baking powder per cup of flour. That kind of thing.

The trinities, perhaps?

Should be useful for everyone, since it teaches how to recreate the flavor of a wide variety of cuisines, and most of them are vegetarian.

Creative field dressing techniques. The “squeeze” method for rabbits. The “stomp-and-pull” method for pheasant.

One of the best things I have ever heard about food came from a local celebrity chef who stopped by a garage sale I was holding.

He explained to me how different cultures take different approaches to creating complexity in cuisine. France, for example, draw on lots of complex base ingredients- things like stocks and wine. These naturally create complexity even with some recipes.

Vietnamese cuisine (his speciality) uses simple ingredients that hit all of the basic flavors- sweet, sour, salty and savory. So you may have sugar, vinegar and fish sauce in one dish. The trick is to get all of the notes.

Americans are big on texture, and we will sacrifice taste to get it. China appreciates texture even more, but they have a wider appreciation for chewy and slippery textures. Indian food, on the other hand, privileges taste above texture.

Anyway, something like this would require some research, but is a fascinating way to look at things.

Another option, if you have time, is to try an experiment. Try fasting, or drinking Soylent, or eating like a pre-schooler, or eating all of your meals in reverse order. Whatever. Then report put your results, interweaving some of the history of whatever subject you are talking about in to your narrative.

Maybe something like the history of a particular fruit/vegetable with something interesting about it? I would find that interesting even if it were about melons or something else I don’t like.

I’d demo a quick and easy recipe that would be fun for everyone to sample (say, guacamole, with alcoholic and virgin margaritas preprepared for accompaniment.)

Yeah, or how to clean a fish or milk a goat.

Chicken in a funnel.

There are vegans in the audience.

I like the spices/seasoning suggestions.

Terrible idea. I never have an appetite after I do acid.

Me too.

How about some novel approaches to veggies that a lot of people hate?

I think seasoning would be a good topic since it’s basic and universal in that it applies to anyone who prepares and eats food. But why limit it to only salt and acid? Add in herbs and spices to give it a wider scope and give it a little health twist by offering options to those watching their sodium intake.

An easy, one pot, yummy, vegetarian meal to feed your family one night a week. Just slide it right in there. Getting people to toy with a vegetarian diet, and eat meat one less time a week. A positive for everyone’s health, a positive for the family budget, a positive for open mindedness toward vegetarianism/vegetarians in general, and one less animal slaughtered.

If it’s easy, and it’s yummy, it’s one small thing every family could do. Everybody might not do it, but it will make everyone think, I’d wager!