Key Concepts

Sources of Water

In the classic Le Petit Larousse Illustré from, a French-language encyclopedic dictionary from 1905, is a vegetable recipe called Vichy carrots. It is one of the classic examples of cooking with water.

The carrots are traditionally cooked in Vichy St Yorre Naturally Sparkling Water. The spas at Vichy became popular in the 18th and 19th centuries when people would take the waters for medicinal purposes, and it was only a matter of time before the water was also used for cooking.

  • Two large carrots, sliced on the diagonal
  • Very high naturally carbonated water, such as Vichy Catalan, Gerolsteiner, Pedras, ...
  • Salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 20 g butter
  • 1tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Put all the ingredients, except the parsley, into a pan and cook over high heat until the carrots are done, and the water/butter mixture forms a glaze. Add the parsley.

Water also makes a huge difference in cooking just about anything. Think of pasta. Chlorinated or softened water will alter the taste of your pasta. If you steam a fish, imagine what smelly tap water will do to it. Boiling a soup with tap water will increase all the bad taste in the water as the clean steam will escape and the bad taste concentrates. Good quality water is also essential for baking. Chlorinated water will have a noticeable effect on your baking as it affects the dough. Sourdough is especially sensitive to chlorine and won't turn out well if chlorine water is used for baking. In addition to the bad taste, chlorine hurts enzymes in the rising dough.