Thursday, November 25, 2010

But is it gravy?

My youngest sister Samantha seems to live off the powdered "gravy" that you get in a packet. I rarely will touch it. It just doesn't taste very good. It's also extremely salty.

Now Alexis Madrigal at the Atlantic addresses the questions of what food engineers have changed gravy from drippings and flour to smooth, sleek and industrial - and lump-free:

You see, the problem with all gravies is that when you add starch to a watery, fatty admixture, the starch has a tendency to clump together. The flour inside the lumps becomes isolated from the mixture. Because the water can't reach it, it never dissolves. Home cooks can prevent this by simply stirring the mixture, but that required "considerable skill," as General Mills' Harold Keller put it in a 1958 patent application.
Madrigal continues to lay out the story of the de-lumpification of gravy. It's quite fascinating.But I still say powder gravy is nasty.