The Hood as a Tool

My kitchens over the years have been pretty equally divided between having hoods and not. I’ve treated them as smoke, odor and grease alleviators. But lately, I’m appreciating hoods’ ability to help draw off steam more quickly.

Today’s macaroon batter is a good example. Risotto is another. I’m coming to the conclusion that most preps that need drying, thickening and otherwise reducing benefit from faster extraction of steam. Likewise with frying and saute. Now I find that if I don’t have a hood, I end up blowing, opening windows, even setting up a side fan.

I’m curious if other Onions look at their hoods as an evaporation aid…


I’ve probably made at least 10 lbs. of caramelized onions in the past few days for a variety of uses. Slicing the onions under the hood totally prevents the stinging onion eyes, even though it isn’t a stable place to put the cutting board to avoid slipping.

When I had to grind 5 lbs of fresh horseradish for our big family Passover Seder, I learned quickly to place my grinder and bowl under the hood with it on high which made it somewhat tolerable and that sucker can move some air

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I never thought of that! To stop your cutting board from slipping, put down a dish towel and set the cutting board on top of that. Or even a piece of silpat would do.

I usually burn a candle when I cut up onions. And I try to keep my knives as sharp as possible. That hopefully creates less tearing of the cells, which release that eye watering gas.

Definitely, especially if you are in a more enclosed space. But I like to keep in good practice and keep the hood on. If anything, the steam is an irritation.