As a South Floridian, subject to such hot and humid air that I have started growing gills on the side of my neck so I can breathe out of doors during the summer, I have been advocating for the canonization of Willis Carrier, the individual responsible for inventing modern-day air conditioning. I don’t know if he was even Catholic, but I have blessed his name so many times throughout my life, that he ought to be canonized anyway for his great service to humanity. Saint Willis, has a nice ring to it, no?
As a chef, I have a second recommendation for canonization, and that honor goes to Dr. Bruno Goussault, inventor of the sous vide cooking method. Granted that Saint Bruno doesn’t flow quite so trippingly from the tongue as Saint Willis, but so what? It isn’t for the mellifluous nature of the name that sainthood is granted, but rather for the contribution to humanity. What Dr. Goussault has provided the culinary world is a cooking method whose result is nothing short of spectacular. Imagine being able to cook any meal you desire to a PERFECT level of doneness, and have it retain all the flavor and juiciness that nature intended. This isn’t only what sous vide promises; it’s what sous vide delivers!
Skinless, boneless chicken breasts that reach 165o internal temperature without drying out, and fish filets that attain the perfect balance of flakiness and firmness can only be achieved in sous vide cooking. The basic idea is to take raw meats, seasonings, and sauces and place them in vacuum-sealed bags. These airtight bags are then immersed in a temperature-regulated water bath set to correspond with the particular food being cooked. Sous vide cooking is a slow process as the innermost parts of the meat need to attain the same temperature as the rest, but the food cannot overcook because it cannot get hotter than the water at any time. What’s more, since it’s in a sealed bag, the juices do not evaporate. The result has got to be tasted to be believed.
By the way, and in case you believe you should start a petition to the Pope right now to grant Dr. Goussault sainthood, you can relax. Canonization is granted posthumously and we are still privileged to have him with us. So much the better…