Everyone has their own way of doing things in the kitchen, whether it’s the way they never thaw anything on the counter, only in the fridge; or the way they only use hot water to wash dishes, or always rinse before parking the dirties into the dishwasher. And most are finicky enough, where even when fully-well intentioned guests offer to help with the dishes, the kitchen-mistress declines. Usually because strangers in the kitchen will park the dishes and pots in the wrong place, which is a hassle to hunt down afterwards.
In my case, I don’t want to be bothered with having to double check anything after the fact, in case I need to re-wash something, because it wasn’t done to my exacting standards. I got screwed when my cousin did a slap-dash job of washing the broiler pan, and it wasn’t til two weeks later when I discovered that I had to apply a lot more elbow grease to truly scrub the sucker free of the oily chicken juices that had two weeks to marinade itself to my pan. Grrr. When I say stay out, I mean stay out. (I won’t even go into guests who bring bottles of wine when I’ve expressly told them not to bring anything. Well, of that particular crime, I’m also occasionally guilty.)
Anyways I was an interloper in my aunt’s kitchen today. The usual Chinese mother syndrome kicked in: for 10 adults and 2 toddlers, she cooked enough to feed 20. “Take the leftovers home, so you’ll have something to eat without cooking this week.”
I washed dishes, and seeing that she was running low on containers for leftovers, took some of the ones that were still damply draining on the dishrack, and started filling them up. I wasn’t sure which, if any of the dishtowels were clean. I think she was a bit surprised that I hadn’t wiped them dry first. So my question #1 is: if the air-tight container is clean, but wet, isn’t it still OK to put leftovers in there and stick it in the fridge? Or is there some sound scientific/hygienic basis that dictates you wipe the container dry before filling it up?
Likewise I was chatting with a couple of friends about making chicken stock. Sometimes I bring it to boil on stovetop, and then transfer to the electric crockpot to let it simmer when I’m alseep. “But what about skimming the scum?”
I’ve always been rather lazy about hovering over the simmering stock to skim, plus you invariably lose stock along with the scum.
So question # 2: Why do people skim scum off stock? I assume the conventional argument for skimming the scum is aesthetic. Perhaps the flavor of the stock will be different, between it being clear vs. murky. My justification is that more nutrients stay in the broth if you don’t de-scum. And since most of stock is used to mix into other cooking, or drinking myself, the visual is not that important.
I scored big time at my aunt’s today: I got to bring home the head and the 4 legs of the roast suckling pig. Which means the next five pots of rice congee I make are guaranteed to be superlatively flavourful. Pot # 1 is tonight’s supper.
On a completely different note: how many people out there know/remember “Bionic Woman”? I refered to that in a piece of writing for my workshop and almost no one knew what I was talking about?