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Old 09-04-2008, 12:33 PM   #1
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Flavour and or nutritional damage through cooking process

I'm concerned about the effects of the cooking process on flavours and nutritional value. In some cases, the cooking process is obviously considered beneficial in its alteration of flavours but it other cases not. On a tin of baked beans for example, the label often instructs end-user not to boil as this will impair the flavour. Which are the vulnerable and which the invulnerable flavour components?

I have a friend who cooked a great sauce with chicken, comprising of a little oil, ginger syrup, something called "ketjap manis" which I think is a Thai or otherwise Asian thing and strained tomatoes. He was reducing it through vigorous boiling and I had not expected it to be a enjoyable as it was. I've always evaporated water away relatively slowly, preferring to simmer and stir for fear of damaging my precious flavours (and treasured nutrients).

I should also point out the potential toxic conversions that can occur when some chemicals or chemical mixtures are exposed to high temperatures. I think I've read that the carcinogenic potential of some food components can be increased through some cooking process.

What are your thoughts on all this?


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Old 09-04-2008, 02:35 PM   #2
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Do you think maybe you worry too much?
I think if you are eating foods that are heathful in nature, and not junk and fillers, worrying about what could be bad about the good foods could drive a person to starvation.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.....
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:43 PM   #3
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I'm more concerned that the baked beans people have to instruct users not to boil canned baked beans!
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:55 PM   #4
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balance is important, i say.
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:51 PM   #5
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You are trying to micro manage your diet. That in itself is probably more damaging than just eating healthy foods and not junk and not worrying about the minor details. Worrying will cause you more damage.

Lets say you eat some veggies. We all know veggies are good for you. Does it really matter if you lose 5% of the nutrients because you cooked it one way over another. The answer is no. Your body does not need optimum nutrient absorption. If you get some nutrients out of the veggies then you are doing fine.

Don't stress the small things and you will live longer.
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:57 PM   #6
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There are a lot of cases where cooking actually increases the amount of nutrients that are available to the body for absorption - cooking changes their chemical makeup to a form that is more easily absorbed. The lycopene (an antioxidant) in tomatoes and the calcium in spinach and other dark leafy greens are two examples. In addition, cooking kills pathogens that can make you sick or kill you, and it makes some foods softer and therefore easier to eat and digest.

But yeah, lighten up and enjoy your food Eat a variety of foods in moderation and you'll be fine.
The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again. ~ George Miller
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:00 PM   #7
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What are your thoughts on all this?
I wish I had time to think about such things!!

Have a shot of Bourbon...relax.....Have Fun & Enjoy your food.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:43 PM   #8
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Okay but what about flavours? When I'm frying diced potato, are there certain things (paprika, oregano etc) that I should add later so as not to reduce the flavour?
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Old 09-05-2008, 08:27 AM   #9
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Basic Rule of Life#1:
Don't sweat the small stuff!

Basic Rule of Life #2:
Everything is small stuff!

When it comes to adding spices and herbs to foods that are cooking, I follow the basic rule. Fresh herbs go in last, along with salt. Dried herbs and spices go in towards the start of the cooking process, so they can be caramelized.

As for reducing liquids, I see no advantage to slowly reducing it. I want to reduce that liquid as fast as possible. Usually that means I've got the heat cranked as high as I can. Sometimes, when I'm reducing things that can easily scorch, or if I'm busy doing something else, I'll have the heat on a medium-high setting, to give myself a little more time.
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Old 09-05-2008, 08:47 AM   #10
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Please re-read all of the above posts. They have great advice and I agree with them all. You are worrying waaaayyy too much. Cook your food the way you want it, eat it and enjoy. I've been cooking and eating cooked food for 68 years and I'm NEVER sick and certainly don't suffer from malnutrition. Don't worry, just eat. Just because someone writes an article in a book or magazine doesn't mean they know what they're talking about. Half the stuff you read is plain nonsense. As the Italians say "MANGIA."

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