Kitchen Chemistry Short Cuts?

You did ask for Chemistry, although of the kitchen variety. If you want Biochemistry of the TMI variety, I’ve got that.

Cooked eggs are denatured proteins. Stomach acid, as well as containing Hydrochloric Acid, also contains enzymes that break down proteins, denatured or otherwise.

How do you get those enzymes in a usefully pure form? That’s where the TMI comes in. Here’s my best idea for a kitchen chemist’s resources:

[spoiler]The night before cooking eggs, on an empty stomach, drink heavily. Preferably vodka or some other clear hard liquor, no mixers or chasers, other than plain water. Tap is fine, or your favorite bottled water will do, too. Drink enough to get completely hammered, but not so you wind up hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. If you vomit, don’t bother saving it. Feel free to pray at the porcelain altar. You don’t want to save that batch. Just drink a bit more booze to replace what you lost. Go sleep it off.

The next morning, when you are totally hung over, and feeling really sick to your stomach, drink (rapidly, within about 15 minutes or less) about a quart of water, with about 2 tsp of salt in it. Hold it in as long as possible before you yack that up. Collect it in a convenient container (no, not the toilet), as that’s the batch you want to save. It should taste like you ralphed salty vinegar. If not, you’ll have to skip the eggs for breakfast. You probably didn’t hold it in long enough. If it did taste right, coming up, you have a good dose of HCl and digestive enzymes in there. It should work fine.

Cook your eggs normally, then put the (now roughly room-temperature, although if you can keep everything at about 37deg C, it’ll work better) watery vomit into the pan. Leave soak as you eat your eggs. After about 2 hours of soak time have passed, dump out the [del]vomit[/del] enzyme/acid solution, and wash the pan, normally. It should clean up easily if you got enough of the digestive enzymes in your [del]barf[/del] cleaning solution.[/spoiler]
There ya go. Kitchen Chemistry at it’s worst! Enjoy! :smiley:

Ok, I don’t believe I’ve used the phrase in a long, long time. Ready?


(Of course, there are plenty of household/workshop acids you could use instead, but they wouldn’t be nearly so entertaining!)

True, but would they have contained ENZYMES? I could have brought up acids that you can get at the hardware store, but none of them contain the ENZYMES I mentioned!!!

It’s the ENZYMES that make this work!!!


Okay, so you take some TSP, and mix it with pineapple chunks and papaya juice, with a sprinkle of meat tenderizer…
(Do NOT do this! Especially not to your favorite stainless steel pans!)


Personally, I prefer Carbon Steel, like my favorite wok, because you can take your brass-brush bit in your electric drill, and just have at it, to get shit off. Oil it up, properly, afterwards, and it don’t matter what stuck, it won’t rust. Nothing survives the brass-brush drill bit!

Although there’s still the digestive enzymes, if nothing else works! :smiley:

I’m a master soaker. Pots and pans sometime soak for days. Weeks even. Refresh the water when it starts smelling bad. :slight_smile:

Ah but that is hubby’s method. I fully expect to come back from a 2 1/2 day business trip next week to a mountain of soaking dishes.

In which I will drown him.

A well seasoned cast iron pan is my fry pan of choice. Not quite as stick free as teflon but pretty close. Way better than stainless for heat transfer, even cooking and miles easier to clean. I know some think are icked by the seasoning but it is harmless.

Concur exactly. It is explained in McGie (sp?) magisterial book On Cooking (or something like that).

Pay attention to this. I don’t spend any noticeable time cleaning pans after making eggs.

Well, I found that the magical solution is: a couple of hungry dogs! :smiley:

No more scrubbing–just put the pan on the floor and within minutes it will be clean. As a side bonus, your kitchen floor remain much cleaner as well and you never have to worry about crumbs.

As a physics problem, I never understood when I am told to add “butter and oil” first. It works fine until the butter is melted–but that temperature is far lower than I want the oil to be–the oil takes longer to heat up (there must be word for this). Result: hot oil, just browning-to burnt butter (which is perfect in some places, but not in the example here).

Well I used the suggestions of hot pan, warm oil and let it sit today ad my eggs turned out nicely, in my stainless steel pan.

I still reccomend the hubby use the teflon. My cast iron pan is currently seconded for other purposes, but its getting a nice seasonig.

thanks everyone for the tips.

I’m not sure why you’re adding both butter and oil. I use only one or the other.

I don’t bother with butter *and *oil for eggs, because they cook just fine at a temperature below butter’s smoke point, but for something like caramelized onions, I do. The butter for flavor, the oil to raise the smoke point of the butter.

If you melt the butter and the oil at the same time, they become one oily substance, with a smoke point higher than butter and lower than oil. So it doesn’t burn nearly as easily as butter does on its own. That’s the whole point of adding oil to butter. If you need a hotter cooking vehicle than that, then leave the butter out - you’ll miss the buttery flavor, but it won’t burn.

If you’re using butter and oil for *eggs *and it’s burning, you’re using a much higher heat than you need to cook eggs.

Thanks, but I gave up. Rather than being bothered to learn to cook eggs properly, most people posting to this thread would rather spend their time scrubbing. :rolleyes:

Note that the OP responding three posts above your last one mentioned that she did try some of the “improved egg cooking” recommendations, and they worked nicely.

Note also that the OP was asking for improved-scrubbing suggestions not because she’d rather scrub burnt egg than cook eggs properly, but because she is sometimes faced with the task of scrubbing a pan that somebody else cooked eggs in, using suboptimal technique.

So pull in that lower lip and cheer up, your words of wisdom have not gone unheeded.

Is this a good method for cleaning other sticky substances off your pans?

It’s fried protein, ain’t it? Of course, you can skip the vodka with that one. Just thinking about it is enough to induce the required vomiting.


Same here. I use cast iron for almost everything. Broil a chicken in it once or twice, and it is seasoned for life.