How to boil water
Owl Meat makes his triumphant return to the Dining@Large pantheon of guest posters with this Funtastic Thursday. However, I have to say that I always thought you put salt in the water you're about to boil pasta in for the pasta's sake, not the water's. My bad. Here's Owlie. EL
Boil, boil, toil and trouble
Yes, I used the common misquote of the witches from Macbeth, but it serves my purpose slightly better than:Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
In a confluence of circumstance and grudging open-mindedness, I found myself without my techno-mental exoskeleton. (My PC died a slow death.) After an initial panic attack I used the situation as an opportunity to retreat into myself and shed some layers of habit and hubris. In that spirit I set out to write this post about the simplest task in the culinary realm – boiling water. ...
1 a: to come to the boiling point b: to generate bubbles of vapor when heated —used of a liquid
While I was thinking about this subject, I stumbled upon an episode of MythBusters. The myth posed had something to do with exploding water. Little did I think that I would question the nature of boiling water. You just never know. Take a look at the video. Apparently it is the impurities in the water that cause the familiar bubbling that we recognize as boiling. So distilled water doesn't boil? What? It has always been my understanding that water (meaning pure H2O) boils at 212 degrees at sea level.
Do I not understand the basic nature of boiling? To quote Bill Murray from Ghostbusters (NSFW): "Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!"
I just don't know what to believe anymore. That's good.
The boiling point of water is lower at higher altitudes, say if you move from Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill. We've seen the havoc that this caused for contestants on Top Chef when they cooked in Colorado. The boiling point for water drops 10 degrees at 5,200 feet above sea level. Exactly how did that effect their cooking?
Other water topics that will have to wait:
Does hot water freeze faster than cold?
What is the best method to heat water for tea?
Why do my ice cubes seem to shrink in their trays without melting?
So you think you can boil water? Assume nothing, grasshoppers.
(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)