Monday, August 18, 2008

JJNN Monday: Science - 03

Welcome again to JJNN for Monday August 18th, 2008. Today we will be taking about my favorite science.

You know, I have always loved science. I remember way back when I was elementary school and wrote that I wanted to be an astronaut when I grow up. Well, over 20 years have passed since that day I still have not stepped one foot on the moon or even an international space station. Maybe it was the fact that I heard that astronauts have to be physically fit (I have never exactly fit into that category: a certain "pot belly raccoon" nickname from childhood springs to mind) and have to deal with high G forces (I like my internal organs exactly where they are), so I gave up on the dream of becoming an astronaut.

Instead I decided to look into a different brand of science. I wanted to still study about the stars so I had my eyes set on astronomy and physics. I took an advance placement physics course in my senior year in high school. At first I didn't think I could do all of the work required for the course but because of a great (and sometimes scary) teacher, named Mr. Johnston, I stuck it out for the whole year. Because of his teaching style I grew to love physics and all science more.

Long story short, I went to collage and got my degree in physics. But, what does that have to do with today's news story? Well, actually, there is no news story today. I am busy cooking my lunch for tomorrow because there is an English camp for elementary school kids. OK. But, what does that have to do with science? Allot!

You see I said I would be talking about my favorite science, and I am going to. My favorite science is cooking! What's that you say? cooking is not a science? I beg to differ! There are all sorts of chemical reactions going on when something is cooked. For example, when meat is cooked the proteins are denatured and this causes the meat to have a different flavor. Or, when water is put on a burner to boil there are lots of thermodynamical processes going on (things like induction of heat to water changing to gas when it hits the boiling point). These are just two examples, but there are many others. Instead of getting into all of the science (which could bore some people out there) I will just say that there is science everywhere and we should always keep our eyes out for it. When your eyes open up to science there is a whole new world of possibilities that was not there before.

Now, let's get down to business. I decided to make beef stew for lunch. The recipe can be found here. Here is a quick translation.
Beef 500g
Onions 2 medium
Celery 1 stock
Red Wine 750cc
Mushrooms You decided
Carrots 2 medium
Tomato 1 can
Bay leaf
The cheaper the beef and wine are the better the stew ends up tasting actually. The beef should be the type that is usually used in curry and again cheap is good!
Brown the meat and cut the veggies up into big pieces. This will be cooking for a while, so if the pieces are not big the veggies will end up disappearing. We don't want that, do we?
Throw the browned meat, onions, celery, and carrots into a big pot. Pour enough red wine in to just cover everything. Cover it up and let it cook from 30 min to and hour on very low heat. When time is up throw the tomatoes, mushrooms, bay leaf and any remaining wine (you didn't drink it, did you?) into the pot. Turn down the heat as low as it can go (it will burn because of the sugar from the tomatoes, so you have to make sure it is very low) and let it cook for another 2 hours or so. Scoop off the beef fat and you are good to go.

Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 料理(りょうり). It is pronounced ryouri and means cooking. If you want to, you can give that recipe a try. It is easy and the end result is very yummy. I am going to add some starch to mine to make it nice and thick. A thick beef stew is a good sauce for rice in a boxed lunch (I hope).

That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.

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