Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Cold is the new heat

No, really. The New York Times said so. And I thought beets were the new spinach.

Evidently the new must-have appliance is the Antigriddle by PolyScience, which freezes things instead of cooking them. Kind of like a freezer, but not. Now you too can have ice cream pancakes for breakfast. Or something like that. Although the Antigriddle page on Polyscience's website is currently broken, I'm sure every household will soon have an antigriddle parked between their microwave and the toaster.

No article on cold cooking or freezing would be complete without mentioning the Mpemba effect, of course, whereby hot liquids were observed to freeze faster than cold ones. I'm not going to go into it again folks, but wrap your heads around it, it's a fact, Jack.

What about making the simple act of making cool things cooler? The trick to that, evidently, is salt. (And you thought it was ice. Ha!) Ice water, my friends, can only reach 32 degrees--you know, water's freezing point?--and still be liquid, which limits how fast it can cool something down. Salted water, for molecular reasons I am definitely not going to go into here (read the article for the details), has a lower freezing point, so it gets colder without getting solid, meaning it can cool things down faster. According to the NYT, a warm bottle of wine in a regular ice bath chills in about 30 minutes, while in a salted ice bath it chills in about 15 minutes. Nice!

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