High-altitude cooking

Calgary rests 1,048 metres above sea level. This high altitude results in low air pressure, which makes cooking a wee bit longer than I’m used to. I honestly forgot about this when I moved here, so the first time my hard-boiled eggs came out soft came as a surprise. Back in Vancouver, I had it down perfectly. I thought I was losing my touch.

So, to spare you from cooking gaffes in front of company or the sound of own your voice screaming, “What did I do wrong?!”, here are some tips on how to cook at high altitude:

  1. Thaw food before cooking. Thaw food to make sure it cooks thoroughly when tossed on the pan or grill. Note: Even if you don’t live in a high-altitude city, do this anyway! Why wouldn’t you? Too lazy? No excuse.
  2. Increase cooking time. Since cooking takes longer in this environment, increase cooking time to compensate.
  3. Increase cooking liquid. Lower atmospheric pressure decreases the boiling point of water, so liquid evaporates faster and food may dry out faster.
  4. Grill over lower heat. This prevents food from drying out and burning.
  5. Use a meat thermometer. It’s easy to overcook meat, so use a meat thermometer to ensure proper internal temperature.

Good luck. Have a good meal.