Sous vide machines aren’t haute cuisine, they’re Millennial crockpots — and that’s why they’re perfect

A poker face is among the many qualities I was born without, so when I opened the package Anova Precision Cooker Nano About 14 months ago, I’m sure my visibly confused mug would have given an enthusiastic “wow, uh… thanks!” What was I supposed to do with this stupid thing? It sat in a kitchen drawer for the better part of a year.

Don’t get me wrong here: I love to cook. My dear friends who buy me what looks most like some sort of food sword are almost pathologically good gift givers. But I had two completely wrong ideas fighting for space in my head.

I grew up looking at it from one side Good foodand Alton Brown’s axiom “no unitaskers!” still echoes like a skull. My limited understanding of sous vide suggests that its primary use case is satisfying those in search of perfection. reverse frying. Frankly, steak doesn’t do much for me, and unless I’m making it for a partner, it’s rarely something that graces my kitchen. It was a totem of carnivorous vanity, and I wanted no part in its rituals.

I also associated sous vide techniques with the intimidating, molecular gastronomy-style cuisine that is usually a fool’s errand for home cooks. Dry ice smoke infused with rosemary. Alginate sauce spheres. That kind of thing. Look for the cook temperature and time listed in the reference tables Serious food feel like calculating lathe operations more than making lunch? Did my proteins need to be cooked medium-rare to meet my main goals of “eat things that taste good” and “don’t starve”? Oh my god, I should have bought one of those vacuum sealers cambro to cook things! It quickly became a culinary albatross around my neck.

By now, dear reader, you’ve probably guessed the gist of this story: I’m an idiot. Not only is a sous vide machine none of these things, it’s actually the perfect tool for someone like me who cooks up a big batch of something on Sunday and grazes on it throughout the work week. Sous vide is just a pan for Millennials.

“I can buy a real baking pan for $40,” you might say. Oh, you sweet misinformed angel, we don’t need any more of that trifle. Yes, they both empty the burners on the stove to cook hotter food. But having granular control over temperature means you don’t have to worry all day that what’s cooking on the counter is actually safe to eat. It’s also impossible to burn your apartment with sous vide, so I feel more comfortable letting it run for a few hours while I’m at the gym.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’re someone whose executive functions aren’t always working at peak performance (couldn’t be me!). Mazel tov, you experience a sous vide perk that will feel like cheating: just put the marinade in the bag. Instead of dirtying a pan and waiting 6-12 hours to even start cooking, I was amazed at how well the flavors spread out of the Ziploc. A couple of sliced ​​chicken breasts in soy sauce, sake, mirin, oil, the usual ginger and allium mix, and some juice from the pomelo I’m sitting on? Mwah. delicious.

Even better, it doesn’t add any extra time or effort to sous vide bulk cooking, so I made two bags of the aforementioned chicken and froze one. When I’m having a depressed week and don’t feel like cooking, I thaw it out and shred it for a salad.

To be clear, no, I didn’t need to buy a bunch of cambros – a standard stock is just fine for me. Ziploc bag and some understanding of displacement also eliminated the vacuum sealer. Using one of these is within the reach of almost any home cook.

That’s not to say you can’t have top programs. I’ll probably use this temperature accuracy to reliably cook soft-boiled eggs when I get the courage to try tonkotsu ramen. Some people have even put them to the task of making cheese, of course I’ll probably make homemade saag paneer at some point. Why not. But for the most part, my Anova is used every three to four weeks for relatively mundane things that keep me alive and fairly healthy. Thanks again Mark and Meg, I owe you dinner soon.

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