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Rule #1...always...

As a heavy juice consumer, I know you speak the truth.

1 day ago
Isolda in General Topics

Frosting a frozen cake?

I've done this. Make sure the buttercream is very soft if the cake is frozen, because the frosting will freeze a little as it touches the cake and you want to be able to spread it evenly. Since you've already done your crumb coat, you should have an easy time frosting it.

Nov 12, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking
1

TUMS at a dinner party?

This is somewhat off the subject, but I actually serve a bowl of individually packaged lactase pills whenever I have people over for tea. My friends think it's funny--sugar, stevia packets, and lactaid pills get their own dishes--but some partake of them. Lots of people my age (50s) seem to be a bit lactose intolerant, especially if they're of non-European descent. When my daughter has friends from her college home on break, she offers them gummy vitamins with breakfast.

Perhaps in a few years, I should add Tums to my array of condiments?

Nov 12, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Browned/Burnt/Overcooked Eggs - yum?

I'm pretty sure "purist" just means "how it's done in the western hemisphere." I have several middle eastern cookbooks that call for cooking egg dishes solid. And the egg in tamago sushi is always cooked thoroughly.

And yes, I like my omelets slightly brown. It's not a crime if that's your preference.

TUMS at a dinner party?

You didn't call attention to her stomach issues. She did. She had no intention of discreetly medicating, or she wouldn't have put the tums on the table. She wanted attention and she got it.

I bring lactaid pills in my purse or pocket to every meal. I doubt anyone sees me take them, and that is as it should be.

Do guests' "do not eat lists" get you down?

It's not the lists, it's the entitled attitudes some guests have. If you've got an allergy or a special diet, bring it on. You may not be able to have everything I serve at this meal, but you will find something yummy to eat. Please be gracious.

Cocktail Party for Charity Etiquette

I go to parties like this all the time. The invitation always says clearly that it's a fundraiser for X charity. That way, people know what they're in for and can choose to decline if they feel pinched or don't like the charity.

The rule seems to be that if it's just a party, then it's a party, but if it's for a charity, the invitation should say so clearly so that no one is blindsided or put in an awkward position. If it's the latter, there is nothing wrong with having a box for checks.

Nov 07, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

When a favorite restaurant is ruined - what do you do?

I'd say goodbye. Telling the owners won't help, as they're probably already doing the best they can, and it's just not enough.

Nov 07, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food
1

First trip to Wegmans: What should I get? [moved from Boston board]

I've been to the Burlington Wegman's twice, so I'm not an expert, but the only things that make it worth the trip are the meats, cheeses, and wines. They have a good selection of these three things (as well as microbrews and liquor). Buying your booze where you buy your groceries is pretty awesome for New England.

The bakery looks great, but is really average in quality. Everything I tried was just so-so (and we are carb fiends, so we bought a lot of stuff on each trip!), and every single label I read revealed the presence of things like tetrasodium EDTA and other preservatives that tend to bring down the quality of baked goods. Really, what's wrong with flour, butter, sugar, etc.?

The produce was shiny and beautiful, but you can get the same for less right down the street at Market Basket. My biggest complaint is the redundancy in stock (you can find milk in three different places) that make the whole store just a bitch to navigate.

In short, I'll go back when I'm having a dinner party and need some good cheese, wine and meat. But I'll still need to go to Wilson Farms for the bread and will definitely make my own dessert!

Nov 07, 2014
Isolda in Chains

how long have you had your......

A little piece of the plastic latch just came off of my circa 1994 Cuisinart. I am so delighted! A full break/kaput/self-destruct is surely right around the corner! It works for now, but I need ideas for replacements. Any thoughts?

Oct 28, 2014
Isolda in Cookware

Ladies, Stop With "Getting Out My Aggressions"!

I think it is because very often, we are holding in our rage precisely because our culture doesn't find it acceptable for women to pound or throw things. Everyone gets angry and only letting it out by subterfuge isn't always enough to vent that anger.

I'm not saying that whacking dough or smashing chocolate is more about letting out anger than getting the job done, only that it can be one way of accomplishing both tasks! ;)

Oct 26, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food
1

What turns you off about restaurant restrooms?

Poor ventilation, general filth, and lack of supplies (tp, soap, paper towels or a hand dryer).

Oct 20, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food
1

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

As others have pointed out, restaurants have their reasons for not taking reservations. And I have my reasons for not going to places where I know I'll have to wait. There's enough good food out there....

Oct 15, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

Not harsh, but the rise in food allergies isn't explained by "weak" genes getting passed along.

Oct 15, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

"Natural" color stains?

Well, saffron is great if you're wealthy!

Oct 10, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Only a Chef Can Ruin Mashed Potatoes

I did that with some cauliflower. It was delicious.
My son, who is the pickiest eater alive, thought the potatoes had gone rancid.

Oct 10, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Only a Chef Can Ruin Mashed Potatoes

I happen to like a lump or two, just as a reminder that I'm eating real potatoes. I'm scarred forever by my mother's habit of using the kind that came in a box. Now that was some fine glue.

But her excuse for the box mix was that she came from a rice culture (Cajun) and potatoes just didn't count as a proper starch.

Oct 10, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Russo's and Wilson Farms

Just wanted to add that if you are shopping at Wilson, don't use their lots. Park on Mass Ave and then walk up Pleasant or across their back employee/vendor parking lot. You'll save time (as much as half an hour) and burn a couple of extra calories.

Oct 06, 2014
Isolda in Greater Boston Area

How are your corn tortillas doing?

If you have a Whole Foods near you, you may be able to find tortillas without the vegetable gums in the refrigerated section. (All the shelf-stable tortillas have all kinds of additives, I've found.)

My homemade tortillas (masa, water, salt) fry up nicely and stay crisp. Whether they would be crisp the next day, I can't say, because we usually eat them all!

Oct 06, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

Russo's and Wilson Farms

Wilson is packed this time of year, but you can still get in there on a weekend if you go early. It is to be avoided entirely the week before Thanksgiving, though.

Oct 05, 2014
Isolda in Greater Boston Area

Kouign-amann (Breton cake) in the Boston area

The only place I've seen them is frozen, at Trader Joe's. You have to defrost them overnight and bake them yourself. They're not very good, though, so hold out for the fresh if you can find another source. Maybe MA France in Lexington?

Oct 05, 2014
Isolda in Greater Boston Area

Ground turkey for tacos and chili? Is it any good?

If I have to eat ground turkey to prolong my life, I guess you can have those extra years back. I'm sticking with my somewhat shorter beef-filled life.

Oct 05, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking
1

Terra Cotta Bear and Brown Sugar

I solve the problem by baking a lot.

The Downside of Sharing Recipes...

I usually warn people when sharing a recipe for a baked good that if they don't follow all the instructions, it will fail.

Of course, this sometimes intimidates people. Last year, I was in charge of the food for an event at my son's high school in which the junior class puts on an afternoon tea for the seniors. I gave the simple recipes (lemon cheesecake bars, supernatural brownies, and scones) to my baking volunteers, but one of them was so freaked out by the Supernatural Brownie recipe that she decided to use Ghirardelli mix instead. We had more than enough of the scratch brownies, so didn't need to use hers, but I did get a good laugh later on.

Sep 30, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Party Early Birds

I think Puffin was suggesting a humorous response to people the hosts felt comfortable with.

Sep 19, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

My son has a peanut allergy. He has carried an Epipen since he was in 5th grade. I never asked the school to ban peanuts, because I knew, as your doctor friends told you, that he has to actually eat the peanuts to get a serious reaction. Touching peanut residue generally just caused a rash. Itchy, yes, but not deadly.

The main issue for little children is that if they touch something with peanut residue on it, then put their hands in their mouths, they can have a serious reaction. The solution to this is not banning allergens, but proper and thorough cleaning of surfaces. Our school had a peanut free table in the lunchroom, and this was cleaned with disposable paper towels, rather than the nasty rags used for all the other tables. Kids who ate peanut butter were required to wash their hands thoroughly after eating.

Precautions like this are much more effective and less disruptive than banning everyone's allergens, which could result in a backlash where no one takes a real allergy seriously.

Sep 19, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food
1

Wheat/Dairy Free Wedding Guest Ettiquette

If I were in your situation, I'd look up their registry, send a nice gift within my budget, and politely decline the invitation. This is the most gracious, and least obtrusive way to handle the situation. By declining, you will avoid any food worries and preserve a good relationship with not only the bride, but the rest of your co-workers as well. Because if you even hint at needing accommodation for your diet, you will be gossiped about and regarded as rude.

Help! Why do my potatoes stay hard ( RAW ) in the slow cooker / crock pot?

It depends on the potatoes. I have a recipe that calls for Yukon gold potatoes to be cut into eighths and then nuked 7-8 min until the edges are translucent. Then you wrap them in foil and grill for 10 minutes, or roast for 25 minutes.

Sep 03, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

Sending food back, what about the rest of the diners?

If your allergy is severe, you should have laminated cards made up to hand to the server. I have used these for my son's nut allergies. Cooks take these more seriously than a verbal request, and we've never had to send anything back.

For common allergies (peanuts, shellfish, eggs, etc.), there are several sites where you can order these, but they are easy to make yourself.

Sep 03, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

When is blind baking appropriate?

I've got a silicone shield that you can adjust to fit different sizes. Not as easy to use as the metal ones, but it does work.

Aug 09, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking