My Sous Vide Machine Makes Me Better Than You - Digest - Los Angeles magazine
 
 

My Sous Vide Machine Makes Me Better Than You

Don't agree? I'll sous you

Illustration by Tim Bower

I truly do enjoy your adorable Hollywood Hills cookouts, with your meats charred on the outside and, depending on pure luck, either raw or charred on the inside. It’s like visiting an ancient civilization, where the idea of technology is to push on hot meat, push on various places on your palm, and observe, “Feels same.”

But when I walk into your kitchen today and the cooking options are limited to the stove and the oven, I get sad. You’re reduced to a 1950s homemaker desperately repairing the failed temperature and time guesswork with Saucy Susan and mayonnaise. My meat, meanwhile, is cooked perfectly because, like any thinking person, I have a sous vide machine. I can make the chicken wings from Picca, the pork belly in Lukshon’s ramen, or the octopus at Ink. I don’t. If I want those, I just go to the restaurants and order them. But unlike you, I technically could.

I can attach my new $200 Anova immersion circulator to a large pot of water, program its digital screen to 60 degrees Celsius, use my $125 FoodSaver V3460 to vacuum the air out of a bag containing a flatiron steak and some herbs from my backyard garden, and allow it to cook uniformly to that temperature. While you continually poke and peer and smell in fear, I can let my steak sit in its 60-degree water bath for nearly forever, permitting me to walk out of the kitchen and use my hand for much more useful things. Later I can open the bag and quickly sear the meat to achieve the Maillard reaction. Possibly with a Searzall attached to a blowtorch, partly to make me feel less nerdy after the Celsius thing.

Yes, my food often comes out strange looking or raw, with an odd texture. And I admit that since I cook meat at a gentle, low temperature, I’m risking food poisoning. Admittedly it takes me 45 minutes to poach an egg, which seems to annoy the type of people who have to leave in the morning for a job—but I can tell guests I cooked their food sous vide. I am a molecular gastronomist, whereas you are a fire cooker or an electric cooker or, at best, a magnet cooker. And I am sad for you.          

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