Everything you ever wanted to know about cooking, but were afraid to ask, part 7 'G', from Game to Gum
Not a competition, game is animals that are sourced from the wild.
There are two categories of Game, furred & feathered.
Ironically game supplies are often farmed nowadays; for consistency of supply.
They are sourced from the wild, just reared in captivity.
It is the diet & lifestyle of game which gives it it’s characteristic flavour & leanness. Game is game because it is wild...
Game is usually cooked underdone; because it is game & lives in the wild & has predators, it is usually pretty lean.
Lean meat is usually undercooked to rare or medium to prevent the meat from drying out too much.
Some old school recipes include leaving a bird, or small animal, a hare etc; to hang, with its gut still inside it, until it is so tender the head falls off! Mm nice!
It is however considered normal to hang larger animals such as deer, gutted for up to 2 weeks... Preferably in the bush, under the tree they were shot.
Big game is not usually hunted for the table, more trophy status, lions, elephants, giraffes, don’t make for great eating; they conform more to the entertainment model of Game.
Is a member of the onion family, it is often described as a herb, but not fit the true definition of herb, i.e. it is not a leaf.
All parts of the garlic plant may be utilised, the bulb most commonly, but the stems can be used as a spring onion.
Garlic has an unenviable reputation, yet it is almost as old as civilisation; garlic has been used for millennia, both as a food and as a medicine.
It has strong antiseptic properties & is known as a cure-all.
Personally I think that, given garlic’s propensity to adversely affect the odour of your breath, it’s because people stay well clear of you, thereby you are less likely to get their germs.
Roasted garlic has a completely different flavour.
The reputation of parsley to reduce the garlic breath syndrome is unfounded.
Perhaps temporarily; but garlic may be absorbed through the skin, a garlic clove in your shoe will result in ‘garlic breath’ & parsley won’t help you.
Garlic is converted to hydrogen sulphides by the body & that is the odour which is released from the respiration process, not from the stomach.
Careful frying, or sweating, don't burn your Garlic, if you are cooking with Onions and Garlic, cook the Onions first, or the Garlic will burn.
How to peel Garlic 101… Take a bulb, smash it with a flat bottom pot, simple job then to peel them. Different cuts for different dishes, most call for crushed, sliced or whole Garlic.
To crush Garlic, the traditional way; is to chop it, then add some rock salt and grind it to a paste on the board. A Mortar & Pestle will do the same thing, just don't forget you have already added salt...
Roast Garlic changes flavour and consistency to a whole new level, cut the tops off whole bulbs, cover with oil, then braise in oven until soft, squeeze the puree out, blend and pass, and keep the oil. Confit Garlic if you like?
I had a Chef once would deep fry whole cloves of Garlic, then puree them, skins and all… Kinda worked, but dunno about Garlic flavoured fried foods…
Garlic’s not for everybody, so don’t smear it on your steaks etc, personal I detest raw garlic, hate it when people slip it into my food, don’t notice for a few hours, then it’s Garlic burps all day long….
Another thing I really detest is preserved Garlic, the stuff the sell in plastic tubs or jars. It's UHT treated, and has preservatives; biggest of all, it doesn't taste like fresh Garlic. I don't rate restaurants that use this, I can taste it in my food and it's awful.
Pretty easy to mince your own Garlic, especially when you can buy that peeled Garlic from China, Blend it up with some oil, pack it in oil...
You can use local Garlic, as I do at home, so many ways of peeling Garlic; as I said above, smash it!
Take a clove and slip it into your garden, under the roses; apparently it deters aphids.
Apparently, I've got roses, and Garlic, and Aphids. I've also got lady bugs; think they come for the Garlic flavoured Aphids?
Not the Car Company; Genetic Modification. The difference being Genetic Modification actually works!
GM/GE is different from taking a cutting from a lemon tree and grafting it onto an orange, or crossing a spotty dog with a wooly dog to get a spotty wooley dog, ‘cause they still dogs!
You can’t cross a zebra with a dog because they are different genus, or species, or kind as the bible puts it…
Once upon a time, in a land far far away, this practice was widely followed by ancient evil. They had Chimera, as seen in folk lore, half horse half man, half dog.
You see there is a spiritual being that is a rebel, and wants to corrupt the pure bloodline of the human species, kind of an ‘up yours’ to his master.
You can only get away with that stuff for so long, until the boss comes out with His big hose and washes away all the shit!
Genetic Engineering is not the answer, so what if we can manage a species change by genetic modification. Doesn’t mean to say we should! We are unleashing a plague upon the world, no one can say what these organisms are going to interact with and what effects they are going to have down the line, on the ecosystem, or, on us?
Everything in this world has been created correctly, the entire ecosystem is finely tuned and balanced. There are so many variables to this, it is beyond possibility that random evolution is valid.
GM is not the answer to the world food shortage, being able to manipulate food to grow in changing climatic conditions is not just keeping up with nature, giving evolution a bit of a boost.
There is plenty of food in this world to feed everybody, some just can’t afford it!
There are many countries around the world now banning GM foods, burning crops, people protesting.
I think people don’t want what they don’t understand. But who cares what they want, as long as theirs money to be made, they’ll just keep the population in the dark.
Recently there was a civil lawsuit; some ‘greenies’ trying to force labelling of ingredients.
Imagine that, having to state a product contained GM food? Well the food manufacturers In question spent the gross national product of a small nation opposing this! They just want us to trust them with our lives, and those of their children.
Don’t trust anyone who says their product is ok, especially if they are saying so themselves…
If you’re anti GM don’t eat anything with oil in it, chances are pretty good that canola is GM, also look for corn products, corn syrup, soy, any grain or cereal, especially from the good ole’ USA where they can do whatever they like, cos they got the bomb. (ref Denis Leary)
Don’t go looking for non GM on the label either, not every country is required to list the origin of their crops.
The companies that own the rights to GM seeds are pretty protective of their intellectual rights, they frown upon any unauthorised use & keep a pretty tight rein on who has what. If their seed escapes onto a neighbouring farm, they can sue that farmer for growing their copyrighted crops.
Gelatine; Is a setting agent, used in cookery to set a range of products, pretty handy as it dissolves hot, and sets cold.
It might surprise you to learn where Gelatin comes from… As previously stated, from my experience in the meat industry, every last scrap of ‘product’ (the unfortunate meat donor); is used, except the ‘moo’; or the ‘baa’ or the ‘oink’…
Gelatine; sometimes known as Gelatin, is a protein derived from Animals, it is a meat based protein; you do not get Gelatin trees!
Elastin is a connective tissue found throughout the body, skin, muscles, tendons, cartilages, & bones; AKA Collagen. Most frequently cited in cosmetics…
Gelatine is basically refined Collagen.
It’s usually found ground, as a powder, or as sheets; and Gelatin is found in lots and lots of products, cosmetics aside, Gelatine can be found in Gummy lollies, marshmallows, Ice cream, Yoghurts, and obviously in Jellies.
How it gets there is another story…
Hoofs, or hooves? Skin, bones, any scraps of meat, sweepings of the floor; all get boiled up in massive cookers and the Gelatin is then evaporated.
Likely candidates are; Cows (bulls especially), sheeps, pigs, and horses!
A couple of tricks when using Gelatin, first, do not boil it, or add it to boiling water; it is a protein and will denature or clump if the water’s too hot.
Chef approved method, sprinkle Gelatin on cold water, in a bowl, set that on top of a pot of boiling water (en bain marie) and wait for it to dissolve.
Careful adding it to cold foods, like a cheesecake made with Ice cream forexample; the Gelatine sets into strands almost instantly.
Gelatine sheets are good, take required amount and dip it in warm water a minute, take it out before it completely dissolves.
A lot of recipe’s don’t specify Gelatin sheets, or powder. Further complicated, sheets are graded and you might not have AAA+ where you live, so you need to translate powder to sheets, and variances between sheets.
Good luck with that one, there are conversions available, but there doesn’t seem to be a standard size for a Gelatin sheet; so your recipe for 2 sheets may end up making a dessert you can bounce off the wall…
A good frat party trick is to dissolve bulk Gelatin, then tip it in somebodies toilet! Make sure you give it time to set, the results are hilarious, to a teenager.
You can get Halal Gelatin, so obviously wouldn’t have Pig products in it.
You can’t get vegetarian Gelatin, there’s no such thing, closest substitute is Agar agar which comes from seaweed. Agar has different setting properties, so take care and ood luck, it does not melt the same and the consistency, or strength varies from Gelatin, so take into consideration.
G.I; Aka the glycaemic index. This is a rating given to foodstuffs based upon the release of energy of its ingredients.
Really it’s rated as the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels.
A low GI is preferable to a high GI.
Low GI foods are usually more wholesome, whole foods, cereals, whole grains & the like; anything which has a slow release of carbohydrates in the body.
These are the foods are bodies are designed for, our poor old carcasses are not made to be eating concentrated carbohydrates, the things that are already processed for us, sweets etc.
Athletes will eat low GI foods the day before a race, the energy will be released at a rate that the body can utilise.
Digesting concentrated carbohydrates has a negative effect, the body registers a high blood sugar reading & opens the insulin floodgates, which will contain the peaking blood sugar
& actually leave you feeling more fatigued.
GHEE; Is an Indian term for clarified butter.
Butter is about 98% pure milk fat, the rest of it is water & milk solids.
It is the milk solids, or buttermilk that will burn if you overheat butter.
To prevent this; it is possible to heat the butter, gently. The fat will rise to the top & the milk solids will sink.
The technical cooking manuals suggest gently heating it in a pot & then ladling off the fat...
Well, there’s an easier way, a pound (500g) of butter will fit in a plastic beer jug which will fit in the microwave. Heat it to melt the butter, let it settle, & pour it off. Less hassle...
Food takes on a delicious taste when cooked in Butter, just unfortunate the buttermilk tends to burn easily, so Ghee gives the best of both worlds.
I’ve made thousands of tons of this stuff, but we called it Anhydrous Milk Fat or AMF, same same, milk fat with no water… I worked in a dairy foods processing plant, selling a million tons a year to Mars corp, never did get to meet the Rabbi…
GHERKIN; A Gherkin is a baby cucumber, AKA dill pickles. Like you get in your burgers. AKA Cornichons.
Tasteless little cucumbers that are good to pickle & not much else.
They are known to Americans as dill pickles because they are traditionally pickled with dill.
Cornichons are usually tiny Gherkins, but I have seen full sized Gherkins marketed as Cornichons, just a different name for the same thing.
Gherkins are pretty easy to grow, just pick them when they are small, nobody wants woody, seedy, tough Gherkins; and they all come ready at different times, so have a pickling mix on standby…
GIBLETS; Once upon a time, when you purchased a dead chicken it came with, or without giblets.
The kind poultry farmer would pack a small plastic bag with the poor chicken’s heart, liver & neck.
The idea being these could be utilised in a stock, for the gravy, or in a stuffing.
I don’t think they pack giblets anymore; either they have invented giblet free chickens, or they have found an alternative use for the giblets?
Perhaps feeding them back to the rest of the flock? Or farmed Salmon?
Also, not sure what a Gib is, but a Gib-let, must be an off cut off of a Gib?
GINGER; Ginger is a rhizome, or root vegetable grown or cultivated for its root.
Ginga’s get a bad rap, they are always singled out for attention & ridicule; but not so ginger.
Ginger is revered throughout the world, as a food, as a flavourant & medicinally.
Ginger is available in its natural root state, or dried & powdered. Even western cuisines have uses for ginger; ginger nuts, ginger bread & ginger beer.
Close relatives of ginger are galangal & turmeric, which are also rhizomes.
We have all three growing in our edible garden, easy as planting a rhizome when it shoots, which happens when you leave them in the store for any length of time… Nothing is wasted around here!
Would have been a good idea to mark them, so we know what is ornamental Ginger, and what’s edible.
Ginger is a pain to peel, by the time you trim all the shapes and curves you can lose most of it; the skins pretty thin anyway, so just blend up the whole root, skin and all.
I always keep some pickled Ginger in my home fridge too, for when I get Ginger withdrawls…
Crystallised Ginger is good for Ginger depletion syndromes also. I used to have a recipe; Lamb, Banana & Ginger skewers, Thread them on in that order, the Ginger soaks up the meat juices as the lamb cooks, and also caramelises the Banana. Was a nice dish, but didn't sell well for some reason? Just an odd combo perhaps, but it worked!
GINSENG; Is worth a mention... Ginseng is translated from Chinese to mean panacea, or cure-all. Literally translates to ‘man root’ because of its shape. It is usually forked, like 2 legs.
It is a medicinal rather than a culinary herb.
However it still finds its way into our diet; usually as health supplements, or more commonly now, as energy drinks.
Energy drinks make great claims, but the amount of Ginseng in an energy drink is so small it is called sub-clinical; that is it has no measurable effect.
Look to the amount of sugar & the dose of caffeine for your energy boost.
Ginseng does have a reputation as an aphrodisiac which has been ‘upheld’ by clinical trials, it does put lead in your pencil.
GLUCOSE; Is another sugar, very technical sugars...
But Glucose is a very simple sugar, not meaning it has limited understanding, more that it’s chemical structure is less complicated..
Glucose is ubiquitous; it is the sugar the whole world runs on. Plants produce Glucose as starch from photosynthesis; Starches are converted to Glucose by the body. Brain function is also affected by glucose levels, if you find you are having short term limited understanding, you may very well have a low blood sugar.
See above Glycaemic index...
GLUTEN; Is the protein found in wheat & its derivatives; it’s hardly worth mentioning except to highlight a common food allergy.
Gluten Intolerance is a modern age food allergy, I certainly had not heard of it up to a few years ago.
I think I’ve mentioned gluten intolerance in my spiel on Coeliac.
That is the name given to people who have this disorder.
What many people do not realise is that oats & barley are hybrids of the wheat plant & do in fact contain Gluten.
This rules out such items derived from oats & barley, such as beer& vinegar.
It’s almost a fashion accessory now, ordering Gluten free, I’ve seen orders for ‘Gluten free’, cleaned down everything in sight which may have had flour, made a big fuss, then they go on to order a dessert like it was no deal after all.
Gluten free Pizza bases make me laugh; if you were truly Coeliac, any amount of Gluten would make you sick; so you wouldn’t want to risk your health ordering Gluten free pizza, knowing a pizza shop has flour everywhere…
Different flours have higher or lower Gluten content. Heavy flours, made for bread, pizza dough & pasta have a high gluten content. Gluten is a protein and can be worked to a stringy tough dough. Ideal for bread etc which needs to be strong to hold the air bubbles (CO2 actually, not air).
But cakes, and batters, you want them to be soft, with minimal kneading, so you use a soft, or low Gluten flour.
Gluten free flours; are usually corn, or rice based, but lack the same properties of wheat flour, ie , the Gluten.
Who ever remembers wallpapering; using flour and water as a glue? Glue=Gluten.
GRAVY; Gravy is a sauce, but to be gravy it must be made from the jus of the meat, and cooked in the same pan the meat was cooked in.
This is where the English excel; no good Frenchman can make gravy like an English Housewife.
The Frenchman wants to use wine & mustard & peppercorns, the housewife, she just makes it like her mother did, and her mother...
AChef would never make Gravy, a Chef would make a ‘Jus’, which is pretty much a gravy…
A lot of venues I have observed do not even make Gravy as described. Far easier to open a bucket, mix some gravy powder with water and stir it into boiling water, Voila! Instant Gravy.
Gotta admit to using this stuff before myself, let’s just call it ‘customer expectations’, and that stuff is consistent. I use it as a base for Pub
Pub style steak sauces, Peppercorn, Mushroom sauces; stock standard pub grub…easy & greasy...
But it's easier to feed the masses with a product they are accustomed to, rather than try convert them to 'traditional' gravy.
GOAT; Ever eaten Goat? Chances are, if you like certain fast food burgers, you have.
100% real beef is a trademark, goat is cheap!
Goats are to all intents & purpose the same as sheep, just leaner.
Goats are easily reared, they’ll eat just about anything, and you can even milk them!
If more western folk became acquainted with the benefits of eating goat, or Chevron as the meat is cleverly marketed, the world would be a better place.
The demand for arable land for farming would decrease; Goats can thrive on land inaccessible to most animals, or people for that matter.
Indeed Goats can easily escape & become feral. Wild Goats can become a problem, stripping areas of natural foliage, the downside of being able to eat anything.
Goats are a staple diet of many eastern countries; it’s not unheard of expat’s buying the occasional Goat from a hunter. I have friends do this regularly, they hunt Pigs and Deer for meat, then Goats as a cash by catch.
“The Indians”, will take as many as they can supply.
Goat meat’s a bit drier than lamb, or sheep, they don’t get the opportunity to become fat like sheep, they gotta keep on the move, keep their wits about them; they playing ‘hunger games’ for real.
Goat’s great in a curry, but not if you are in a hurry. Goat benefits from long slow, moist cooking methods. It’s a tough call to roast a Goat, just not enough fat.
I haven’t had much hospitality experience with Goat, they are a hard sell, call them Chevron, call them Ron Chev, people here just aren’t that into you, Goat!
I have cooked Goat for home crowds; braised in milk, with a few spices seems to work well. Baked long and slow…
GRAINS are the edible seeds of certain plants, usually named cereals, wheat, oats, barley, corn are all grains, so is rice.
These are also all grasses; a seed off a tree is not a grain.
A grain of sand is not a cereal.
Grape seed oil
GRAPE SEED OIL; guess what? What? They can make oil out of grape seed.
It’s high in antioxidants and can be really good for you!
If you can’t afford Grape seed Oil, drop the G and buy Rape seed oil, it’s another name for Canola, but highlyprocessed, and dubiously healthy.
GRAPE; A grape is a fruiting berry of the deciduous woody vines of the botanical genus Vitis.
Yep, they are a berry…
Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making wine, jam, juice, jelly, grape seed extract, raisins, vinegar, and grape seed oil.
Grapes have been with us for 6-8000 years; at least they got that right, no history of evolution from Grapes, they just are…
Grapes and wine have a natural tendancy to go together, the grapes actually have the yeast required to make wine, on their skins. So all you need to make wine is; Grapes…
Vine leaves are pretty handy too, especially if you suddenly find yourself naked, also handy for wrapping food; Dolma’s
Grapes are essential in the manufacture of Raisins, currants and sultanas; they all derive from Grapes
There are two types of grapes, well 2 categories really; Table grapes and Wine grapes. These are broken down into many specific examples, all the wine grapes, black, red, seedless etc.
Wine vines; Grapes for wine, are sweeter than table grapes, but they both go on the table.
I’ve got grapes growing outside, don’t know how old they are, but they got a few miles on them, never did much the first year here, so I cut them back, last year they went crazy, but ripening at different times, ½ the bunch ripe, rest still green…
Grapes are also a medical condition, a pain in the ass apparently…
GREEK; This has very little to do with people of Greece, this is a cook book not an atlas!
Ask for something Greek, and depending where you are you will either get a salad, or sodomised!
I prefer the culinary aspects of ‘Greek’.
A Greek salad is probably not what they eat in Greece; but what some Chef has decided are Greek ingredients...
Okay a Greek salad, usually has; red onion, tomato, cucumber, feta & olives. The first 3 ingredients are variable but the olives & the feta are mainstays of the Greek salad.
GRAVLAX; This is a type of Salmon from the gravlax islands...
Not! Gravlax is a Scandinavian dish literally translated as ‘buried fish’. (Grav = Grave)
Gravlax is a fish dish, usually associated with Salmon. It is packed in sugar, salt & herbs, usually dill.
The salting process draws moisture out of the fish, pickling it in the process.
It has the appearance & texture of raw fish, but it’s not.
Technically it’s not cooked, as no heat has been applied, but it has been cured, I don’t know what was wrong with it, but it’s better now!
GREEN; Plants are green, well some are, plant’s with chlorophyll are green. Some plants are not green, but are still called greens…
Salads & vegetables are known as greens, you can buy green from a greengrocer, but I have known many grocers, none of them have been green.
Green is also a philosophy, a green lifestyle, doing no harm to the environment.
GRILL; A Grill can be many things, the decorative section at the front of an automobile, a flat top cooking surface, or a method of cookery.
Road kill; from your grille to ours? (actually it's a Grille with an E, on front of your car)
Funny but Americanos use the term ‘broil’ as Europeans use the term grill.
Even stranger, the term grill, as a method of cookery is to place food under a flame, such as a salamander, where the food does not come in contact with the griller; unlike a grill where the food has contact with the hot plate surface.
GUACAMOLE; Mole’ is the sauce word in Mexican. So a guaca must be an avocado. I don’t really know Mexican, but I’d wager Guaca has some sort of connotation with the male reproductive organs. Avocados just look like giant testicles!
There are many and varied recipes for Guaca-mole’ some with onion, garlic, coriander, but all with Avocado, and I’d say all with lemon juice. Lemon juice to counter the fatty taste of ripe avocado flesh; & also to inhibit the oxidising of the avocado, stop it browning.
GAMMON; Is a name for a slice of ham, cooked as a steak’ it’s pretty obscure, meaning it’s English in origin...
Basically it’s a Ham steak.
If you take a back steak off a Ham-pig, you get Back-gammon!
GOOSE; We all know a goose is a bird right? Traditionally a Goose was what a turkey is now, a goose for Xmas dinner was considered a rare delicacy, on a budget I would think..
A young goose can be very nice, but an old goose can be tough & stringy & dry.
I used to have a dog, her name was Sue, she was a bitch! But she was great at catching Geese, we’d take her out to where a flock? Of geeses lived & let her out the boot of the car.
I’d say “get me a Goose Sue” and she’d jump the fence & run back & forward through this flock of Geeses until she found just the right one, a nice plump young Goose that couldn’t quite fly. Being a Labrador retriever Sue would bring this Goose back to the car unharmed. You'd have Goose for dinner. Later on when I began my cookery career I learned how to bone &stuff geese, and my popularity increased as a result...
Another recent discovery was that a sauce, which was produced for a goose, was also good for a Gander, which is a male goose, and you know, I never bothered to check...
GUARANA; Is an herb native to the Amazon district, the one in South America, not its namesake bookstore...
Guarana has twice the caffeine content of Coffee beans, there it is, the myths expelled, all the energy drinks containing Guarana, all it is more caffeine...
GUMBO; Gumbo is an Americanisation of French Bouillabaisse, a kind of a soup, or it could be a stew, it’s right on the border between soup & stew.
Usually, but not always it can be seafood, crawfish etc, really it can be whatever you want it to be, there are as many descriptions of Gumbo as there are people in China. Usually has Sausage of some sort, and often, almost mandatory is Okra.
I’d better be more specific when I say America, the lowlands of Southern America, the swamps, complete with 6 toed swamp dwellers..
GUMS; Um, gums are what stop your teeth falling out... This isn’t a medical text, so Gums in a culinary sense?
Gum is a product we all know & love, just look to your nearest pavement for a well loved specimen.
Bubble Gum & Chewing Gum are actually, as the name suggests, gum, from a tree.
They are cooked & sweetened & processed, but that’s what Gum is, gum from a tree, or nowadays, rubber, which in itself is a Gum too!