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Foil: There will be a simple answer to this.. but I don't know it yet

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by modelmaker, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    The foil you buy has two distict and different sides. One is shiney the other is matt. Why? I can understand that the shinier side will give geater reflection of heat but why does it also have a matt side? Is it more helpful when you wrap things in the freezer?
     
  2. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    But of course, one uses the foil with the shiny side down, so it doesn't glare in the TV cameras!!

    Seriously, shiny side inside for cooking, reflects the heat back at the food. Freezing, dunn, but will check and get back to you.
     
  3. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    Having enjoyed a few moments of fun through which I was able to convince mrs modelmaker she'd wrapped a fruitcake in foil the wrong way round, I remembered this thread and thought it might be time to revisit it.
    So we know that the shiny side reflects the heat, and the matt side presumably absorbs heat better.
    Which means that when wrapping sandwiches, you'd put them on the matt side, but if you were keeping a joint warm, you'd do it the other way round.
    Do you ever consider such things, and if so, what are your top tips for foil?
     
  4. grandelf

    grandelf New commenter

    • First, a brief bit of history. In the 19th century, Thomas Edison invented a phonograph machine, in which a sound-driven vibrating needle impressed grooves into a cylinder covered with a thin foil of the soft metal, tin.
      In the 20th century, tinfoil was being widely used as a wrapping material for foods and drugs.
      By the middle of the century, tinfoil had been replaced almost completely by thin foils of a different metal called aluminium.
      Yet many people persist in calling aluminium foil "tinfoil."
      We chemists get annoyed at things like that.
      Get with it, folks!
      This is the 21st century!
      Now, about aluminium foil.
      Aluminium foil is made by rolling sheets of 98.5 percent pure aluminium metal between pairs of polished, lubricated steel rollers.
      Successive passes through the rollers squeeze the foil thinner.
      Household aluminium foil is so thin (0.0005 of an inch) that the rollers can't handle it without tearing it.
      The final rolling is therefore done on a sandwich of two sheets, face to face.
      The outer surfaces emerge with a finish as smooth as the rollers, while the two face-to-face inner surfaces emerge with a matte finish.
      Hence, a shiny side and a duller side.
      When you use the foil, it makes no difference which side is up, down or sideways.
     

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