Food & Drink: Tenderness in the Kitchen

FOOD & DRINK

Any housewife knows that she can get a tender steak by paying the butcher a small fortune for a fork-soft filet. She can also buy cheap bottom round and use a chemical to undermine its resistance. Chemically tenderized meats are now standard in restaurants and on many home dinner tables, but few chefs or housewives realize that the harmless industrial enzymes that make their meat tender—many of them now marketed in powder form for home use—rank with the subtlest tricks of modern chemistry.

Enzymes are nature's chemical tools; every living cell...

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