Overheard at Aspen Food & Wine

June 23 2010, 9:38 AM
Each summer, the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen brings together an impressive roster of food celebrities, and this year was no exception. Last weekend, participants attended workshops by such luminaries as Mario Batali, Thomas Keller, and Rick Bayless. Here, a sampling of the wisdom dispensed: - Salt is a seasoning, but pepper is a flavor. Thus, salt enhances flavor, while pepper changes it. - It’s better to taste cheese with bread than crackers. The texture and toastiness of crackers can interfere with the flavor of cheese. - If you’re boiling octopus, drop a wine cork into the hot water. It helps cook the octopus in less time (which keeps it tender). - A little acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) works like salt to enhance the flavor of food. - Sheep’s milk cheese is the only cheese that "sweats." Sweaty cheese is good---it means the cheese has warmed up and the flavors are more pronounced. - Never crack a raw egg on a hard edge (like the rim of a bowl). This introduces shell bits and bacteria into the egg. Instead, crack it on a flat surface (like the counter). - Animal fat, despite all the negative press, is actually good for you. Fat is used by the body to fabricate hormones, strengthen bones, boost the immune system, and take in calcium and other vitamins. Plus, fat satisfies, making you feel full sooner.