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Watch Food Scientist Harold McGee Explain the Magic of Deep-Frying

Okay, it's actually science.

The world's quest to deep-fry everything from entire cheeseburgers to margaritas is rabid and relentless, and for good reason: Fried food, even when it's pretty bad, still registers fairly high on the deliciousness scale. But why exactly — apart from the excessive calories and gallons of oil involved — is deep-fried food so good? In this video from Mind of a Chef, food scientist and author of the highly regarded culinary tome On Food and Cooking addresses exactly that.

As McGee explains, the deep-frying process is really all about dessication, or drying out the food in question; rocket-hot oil causes the water at the food's surface to boil very quickly, and it then escapes in the form of steam, allowing the exterior to achieve optimal golden brown deliciousness. (Pro tip from Dr. McGee: Once the food being fried stops bubbling furiously, it's probably finished cooking.) Now go forth and fry stuff — just be sure your kitchen is armed with a fire extinguisher.