Rebut the food conventional wisdom

Fresh-squeezed orange juice tastes no better than the jug of Tropicana I can get at the supermarket, dammit.

And you?

But it doesn’t.

I much prefer dried pasta to fresh.

Fresh produce (fruits/veggies) is a crap-shoot. IF you are in the right region, the produce is local and it’s at the height of the season, you’ll surely get the best peaches, melons, apples, tomatoes, corn, berries. But unless all of those factors are in play, you’re much better off, money-wise and taste-wise, going with frozen.

I’m with Gruntled.

Tropicana is heads and shoulders above juice from concentrate, but it’s still a lot more acidic than fresh-squeezed.

Dried and fresh pasta are two different things; one isn’t meant to be “better” than another any more than chicken is “better” than fish. It’s comparing apples to oranges.

Here’s mine:

Garlic squooshed through a garlic press is just fine. Don’t tell me a press is a tool of the devil. Unless you’re a professional chef who dices vegetables many hours a day, or you need to hold the cut garlic for more than ten or 15 minutes before cooking it, a press is faster than dicing it yourself and works just fine.

And I can’t tell the difference if I remove the green sprout from the garlic, either. I know it’s supposed to be bitter. But it isn’t.

I never bother to salt my aubergine before cooking, and I don’t think it makes any difference.

I can believe it’s not butter.

Velveeta “cheese” has a place in the world. It’s not the best, or even in the top ten list of, cheese in the world, but it has a few useful applications.

Moving thread from IMHO to Cafe Society.

Doorstop. Bookend. The other bookend. Concealed weapon. Replacement for missing fireplace brick.

I’ll agree on veggies, or for any fruit you’re going to cook anyway (in a pie, say), but freezing fruit destroys most of the texture.

My turn: While it’s possible that genuine vanilla might taste a little better than imitation, there’s no way that it tastes enough better to be worth fifty times the price.

It’s perfectly okay to wash your cast iron cookware with soap and water.

This I’ve gotta disagree with. It tastes enough better to be worth five hundred times the price.

Velveeta definitely has a place in the world. Sometimes nothing else will do. Just don’t go confusing it with actual food, and eating it often.

I like most of my vegetables fairly crisp, but asparagus is best when you roast the hell out of it.

Fancy salt is nonsense. Salt is salt, especially if it’s going to dissolve (e.g. will be used in a sauce). Sometimes you want coarse salt for a special application, but ordinary table salt is almost always indistinguishable from sea salt, French grey salt and other concoctions intended to separate food snobs from their money.

I agree with kathmandu that dried pasta is usually better than fresh. So do most professional cooks, who use dried pasta except in certain applications (such as ravioli).

Canned tomatoes are better for cooking than fresh except for the few months when tomatoes are in season.

Salt doesn’t make beans tough. I don’t know where the so-called food experts got the idea that it does.

There’s no need to let meat rest before you serve it; it does nothing to make it juicier (that’s determined before you take it off the stove/grill – if it’s dryed out in cooking, waiting won’t make it moist.)

The same for the fear of cutting into a piece of meat to check for doneness.

Related – a meat thermometer is just a crude guide to checking if something is done. Cutting into the meat gives you a much more accurate idea.

Finally, salt doesn’t “bring out the flavor” of anything – it just makes things salty. Think about it: Pepper makes things taste like pepper. Sage makes things taste like sage. Cinnamon makes things taste like cinnamon. Salt makes things taste like ____________.

If you like the salty flavor, fine. But don’t pretend you’re tasting anything other than the salt.

Good grief, dude. First Alien and Gattaca, then Mad Men, now this? Salt blocks perception of bitter flavors, thereby bringing out the sweetness in food. It’s not just a salty flavor: it actually has an effect on the other flavors in the food.

(Sorry to pick on you for other things–it just seems to me that this is part of a pattern).

Yeah, I have to disagree with the “there’s no reason to let meat rest” idea too - there is a good reason, and it does let the juices redistribute, resulting in a better experience. If your meat is always dry dude, you’re overcooking it. Use the meat thermometer, already.

Indeed–here’s a cite with the underlying chemistry.

Washing mushrooms will not make them soggy, and is a lot faster and easier than futzing around with a brush. They’re mushrooms, not Instant Martians.

When making vinegared and sugared sushi rice, it works just as well to put the vinegar and sugar in the rice cooker with the rice before you start cooking it. And it’s a lot easier than trying to mix vinegar and sugar into sticky cooked rice.

Searing meat does not “seal in juices”. Juiciness in meat is a function of doneness. Searing meat does, however, add flavor.

I disagree. It’s easy to see why you want to rest meat. Cook two steaks. Immediately after taking them off the heat, cut into one. See that big puddle of juice that leaks out of it onto the plate?

Let the second steak sit for 5 minutes, and do the same. See how there’s no juice? The muscle fibers have relaxed and allow them to absorb more moisture, thus the tasty juice stays in the meat instead of pooling on the plate.

Yes, cutting will show you how done the meat is. As mentioned above, it’ll also allow the juices to run out of the meat. On the other hand, an insta-read thermometer is inexpensive and accurate, and can tell you the same info without having to pull the meat off the heat and cut into it. Much easier IMO.

Wrong again.

Unlike all the other substances you mention, salt alters food in ways other than simply adding flavor. It’s a chemical, and not only enhances flavors but also can be used to preserve food.

From Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking”: