Originally Posted by mumu
Joy of cooking says roasting is a special type of baking. So I don't understand ..how any one can say they are the same. Why is it if some one says roasted potatoes, and baked potatoes you know the difference ? They are different.
As we cook, we learn things by the experience. We try to share information with others, and recieve the same. In order to convey what we know, or obtain what we want to know, we rely on common definitions for words.
In all human experiences, there is jargon, or, words peculiar to the subject or field. Someitmes the jargon is not conveyed correctly, and can become so commonly misused that it becomes a new, accepted deffinition, especially by regional variations.
For instance, goulash is a dish that originated in Northern Europe, and was basically a mutton stew. In the Great Region where I live, goulash means mildly seasoned macaroni with tomato and ground beef. Sometimes, onion and sweet peppers are added. In my home town, few people know what real goulash is.
In the same manner, a dish of potatoes that have been washed and cut into chunks, seasoned with salt and other dry seasonings, and drizzled with oil or butter, then cooked in an oven to produce a lightly crisp outer layer is known as roasted potatoes. Potatoes left whole are called baked potatoes. This a commonly agreed convention.
But, many restaurants and people in general refer to potatoes that have been wrapped in foil before cooking in the oven, as baked potatoes as well. In truth, these are steamed potatoes. That doesn't matter though, because if you said steamed potatoes to most people, they would envision potatoes that were cooked, peel on, and in chunks, in a covered steaming basket over boiling water.
We all choose to believe what we want to believe. In cooking, there are so many similar cooking techniques that the lines between many of them become indistinguishable. Roasting and baking are exactly the same thing, from an engineering point of view. Food is placed in a hot, dry environment, where air is used as medium to transfer heat into food. Radiation also transfers heat energy into the food. That energy first heats the outer layers of the food and moves inward by conduction between the outer, hotter layers, to the coolerm, inner layers. And it doesn't matter what kind of food we are talking about, unless it's a fluid. Different forces are at work there.
Baking and roasting are truly the same thing in the scientific sense of the words. But in the cullinary sense of the world, they have accepted meanings that may differ from one region to another.
There are so many examples of cooking terms that have been altered due to simple ignorance. Bruschetta is a classic example. It originally reffered to bread that was dipped in first pressed olive oil, and then toasted over an open flame, to test the quality of the olive oil. I now see jars of bruschetta on stor shelves, and they are toppings for toasted bread, espiecally Italian or French loaves that have been cut in half, lenghtwise. The meaning of the word has changed for most people, especially in North America. Indeed, the original meaning is lost to most people on this continant.
Me, Ill go with the idea that baking is usually used with things made with flour, or to be made into a desert. Roasting will be for more savory things, other than breads or pastries.
There simply is no hard and fast rule for those terms.
Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North