Why You Should Be Using Your Phone's Contacts to Save Recipes

Techa Tungateja/iStock via Getty Images
Techa Tungateja/iStock via Getty Images

Smartphones do a lot to make cooking easier. Instead of scouring your cookbooks for a specific dinner recipe, or guesstimating the oil-to-vinegar ratio of a perfect vinaigrette, you can look up the information in seconds without leaving your kitchen. But things become a lot less convenient if you have to wash your hands every time you want to use your touchscreen. As The Kitchn reports, there is a way to use Siri to pull up recipes hands-free—and it involves an app you already have on your iPhone.

Food writer Adam Erace recently revealed his trick for organizing recipes in a tweet. Instead of using a dedicated app like Pinterest, Erace creates new contacts in his phone for his most-used recipes. The title of the recipe is saved as the contact name, and details like ingredients, measurements, and ratios go under the contact notes.

It may seem disorganized to save your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe next to your best friend's phone number, but the method makes sense. Every recipe you file in your contacts is sorted alphabetically and easily searchable. But the biggest benefit is that they're accessible through Siri. If your iPhone's hands-free voice activation is enabled, you can activate the virtual assistant without touching the home button. Just say "Hey Siri, show contact meatball" and it will pull up the recipe on your phone while you're handling the ingredients. Erace uses it for basic cooking information like grain-to-liquid ratios, but any recipe that's in your rotation can work.

Hacking your contacts list to make your next meal is one simple way to use technology in the kitchen. Here are some more examples of the ways tech can make cooking easier.

[h/t The Kitchn]

What's the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

iStock
iStock

For carbohydrate lovers, nothing completes a Thanksgiving meal quite like stuffing—shovelfuls of bread, celery, mushrooms, and other ingredients that complement all of that turkey protein.

Some people don’t say stuffing, though. They say dressing. In these calamitous times, knowing how to properly refer to the giant glob of insulin-spiking bread seems necessary. So what's the difference?

Let’s dismiss one theory off the bat: Dressing and stuffing do not correlate with how the side dish is prepared. A turkey can be stuffed with dressing, and stuffing can be served in a casserole dish. Whether it’s ever seen the inside of a bird is irrelevant, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong and should be met with suspicion, if not outright derision.

The terms are actually separated due to regional dialects. Dressing seems to be the favored descriptor for southern states like Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, while stuffing is preferred by Maine, New York, and other northern areas. (Some parts of Pennsylvania call it filling, which is a bit too on the nose, but to each their own.)

If stuffing stemmed from the common practice of filling a turkey with carbs, why the division? According to HuffPost, it may have been because Southerners considered the word stuffing impolite, and therefore never embraced it.

While you should experience no material difference in asking for stuffing or dressing, when visiting relatives it might be helpful to keep to their regionally-preferred word to avoid confusion. Enjoy stuffing yourselves.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

The Reason You Should Never Rinse a Turkey

jax10289/iStock via Getty Images
jax10289/iStock via Getty Images

There are many misconceptions surrounding your Thanksgiving turkey, but none is more dangerous than the turkey-washing myth. Raw poultry can contain dangerous microbes like Salmonella, and it's not uncommon for home cooks to rinse their meat under cool water in an effort to wash away these pathogens. The intention may be admirable, but this is a worse turkey sin than overcooking your bird or carving it before letting it rest. According to AOL, rinsing a raw turkey with water is more likely to make you and your dinner guests sick than not cleaning it at all.

When you wash a turkey in the sink, there's no guarantee that all of the nasty stuff on the outside of it is going down the drain. In fact, the only thing rinsing does is spread potentially harmful microbes around. In addition to getting bacteria on you hands and clothes, rinsing can contaminate countertops, sink handles, and even the surrounding air.

There are three main ways to lower your chances of contracting Salmonella when dealing with raw turkey: Thaw your bird in the fridge, minimize contact with it before it goes into the oven, and give it plenty of time to cook once it's in there. For the second part, that means setting aside time to pat your turkey dry, remove the excess fat and skin, and season it without handling anything else. To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, wash your hands frequently and wash the plates, knives, and other tools that touched the turkey before using them again. You should also cook your stuffing outside the turkey rather than shoving it inside the cavity and creating a Salmonella bomb.

Once the safety aspect is taken care of, you can focus on making your turkey taste as delicious as possible. Here are some tips from professional chefs on making your starring dish shine this Thanksgiving.

[h/t AOL]

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