Smoked Salmon in a Box and other strange stuff…

There used to be (maybe still is) a newspaper column on Thursdays in my former local paper called "News of the Weird" that was filled with little tidbits that were….well, weird.  After 2 weeks in the U.S. watching 'Food Network' TV when I had the chance plus 2 – 9 hour flights reading science magazines I have collected my own little list of the strange, the interesting, the unexplained made clear, the…  Anyway, mon mari is tired to death slowly losing interest in my fascinating stories so I thought I'd share a few here. 
Smoking salmon in a cardboard box.  Don't have an expensive smoker?  Make one.  Start with a big cardboard box, poke a couple of sticks through it to lay the salmon on, put an electric hot plate in the bottom (make a little trap door in the side so you can tend it), put a metal pan full of sawdust on the burner, cover it with foil that has holes poked in and Voila! A smoker.  Honest!  I saw it on Alton Brown's show "Good Eats", my favorite Food Network show and the only one that I almost always learn something from.
Searing meat does not seal in the juices.  I have known this since I read McGee's book "On Food and Cooking", but, my hero, Alton Brown, did an experiment to prove it: 2 steaks, one seared, one not, then baked until each reached a specific temperature.  The seared steak had a weight reduction of 19% after cooking.  The non-seared had 13% reduction.  The conclusion:  Searing causes greater loss of 'juices'….but it does make it taste soooo much better – that is why we do it.
The 65-degree egg.  From what I read, this is all the rage in France….apparently it hasn't hit the Vendee yet.  I read about it in "Discover" magazine.  The premise is that you bake your eggs rather than boil them (when cooking in the shell).  Because you are heating the egg only to the temperature necessary to cook it to desired doneness rather than boiling the crap it at 212F (100C) the end result is a tender, perfectly done egg – 65C for soft, 67C for medium, 70C for hard, etc.  Of course, one does need to bake them for at least an hour (since the oven temp is set they cannot be overdone, even if left in overnight) and one does need to know the correct temperature of one's oven.  This one apparently does not know that.  Always ready to try something that requires little or no effort I popped 2 eggs in the oven as I started dinner last night – nice to have with our asparagus starter, I thought.  About an hour later I took one out, confidently cracked it to peel (I have such faith in science!), and got very hot but still raw egg all over my hands, counter, floor, etc.  In retrospect I needed to have done several things:  Have the egg at room temp not fridge temp to start; have the oven pre-heated or leave them in longer than an hour; check my oven temperature to see how accurate the reading is; not be so stupid as to give the (untested) egg a good whack with a knife as I walk across the kitchen…that last bit is particularly important.  Anyway, I turned the oven up to 70C and left the other egg in another 30 minutes.  It was a perfectly done soft-boiled egg…but too late to have with our asparagus starter….timing is a consideration. 
Darwin Awards  These have nothing whatsoever to do with food – I just think they are a hoot…and (back to the original theme) weird.  The awards are given to people who improve the human gene pool by removing themselves from it, preferably before procreating, normally awarded posthumously….Okay, I sometimes have a sick sense of humour…

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