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John Francis's Profile

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CH has changed - WHY?

I'm seeing the same, and I'm seeing all the threads in my profile as unread when only two or three should be. Apparently this is working as designed - see mselectra's explanation. Talk about high-handed. The forum management should not have hit us with this change but should have kept the previous setup as the default, with the new "pagination" as an option. Better, they should have designed "pagination" to retain the crucial read-unread distinction, which they have not.

Can the 3 billion people in Asia get separate forums by country?

How many posts a day are added to the current four boards for that part of the world? Unless the traffic is so heavy that keeping up is very hard, there's no practical need to split them up.

Dec 12, 2014
John Francis in Site Talk
1

Six inch vs 8 inch cook's knives?

If you want a 6" knife, buy one. I like the Wusthof "utility" or petty 6" knife; not terribly expensive and it holds an edge very well. But I wouldn't be without a full-sized chef's knife either, at least 10" long (mine is longer), not only for cutting larger vegetables etc. but because the added mass of the knife makes using it less effortful. As for a knife block, perish the thought - they always include knives you don't really need and often omit a knife you want.

Dec 12, 2014
John Francis in Cookware

McDonald's Burgers Ranked Worst in the U.S. - Cutting Menu Items

<< reader poll by product testing organization Consumer Reports released in July found McDonalds burgers ranked as the worst in the U.S. >>

Amen. The worst I've ever had, anyway.

Dec 12, 2014
John Francis in Chains

NYT The Future of Food

Even if "we" means just those who read his article in the NY Times (and here), it's a waste of "our" time.

Do you eat this way ... appetizer with entree simultaneously?

First appetizer, then main course. Always. I don't do tapas.

Dec 05, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

Christmas - Influenced by Thanksgiving or not

Very little difference except for the desserts. :-)

Dec 05, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

NYT The Future of Food

Futurology bores me. Things seldom work out as the Alvin Tofflers say they will. Who could have predicted, 35 years ago, the communications technologies that ordinary people now take for granted and depend on - personal computers, access to the Internet, the World Wide Web, cell phones, smart phones, social networks? Seamus Mullen is surely wrong in at least some of what he predicts, but even if he's right, so what?

Best pot/pan (or cleaning technique) for low & slow scrambled eggs?

If you use the nonstick pan only for low and slow cooking, there should be no problem with the coatings. Really, it's the right tool for that job. I've been using a T-Fal nonstick pan for several years now and it's still slick as can be.

Dec 05, 2014
John Francis in Cookware

Dedicated Sous Vide Board?

No. Not enough posts about this specialized kind of home cooking. For comparison, the Trader Joe's Yea/Nay thread for the first two weeks in November on the Chains board has nearly 350 posts, yet there's no need to create a special Trader Joe's board.

Nov 24, 2014
John Francis in Site Talk

What type of cuisine do you NOT like?

Mexican and Tex-Mex.

Nov 17, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

Metallic twang from carbon steel blades

Never heard of that. "Whang" is a noise, as with "Whang in the gold," so it's perceived by the sense of hearing, not the sense of taste. :-)

Nov 11, 2014
John Francis in Cookware

Enough televised cooking competitions!

Not head to head with a tight time limit. When the cook has as much time as he/she needs and is not under the artificial and insane pressure of the TV cooking shows, that's a different matter. The TV cooking competitions make cooking into a kind of athletic event, which it is not.

I enjoyed the original Japanese Iron Chef because it was so hyper and funny and crazy and, well, alien. Not really about cooking at all. Like those Japanese TV shows in which the contestants submit to the most unspeakable and degrading stuff to win a few Yen. The adulterated imitations of Iron Chef made for American TV have no charm for me at all.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - November 2014 [Old]

I like the apple one well enough, and expected more of the cranberry bar. Chacun a son gout.

Nov 09, 2014
John Francis in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - November 2014 [Old]

NAY - This Cranberry Walks Into a Bar. Full name: This Cranberry Flavored With Other Natural Flavors Walks Into a Bar. Ingredients list: Cranberry Filling (Brown Rice Syrup, Sugar, Cane Syrup, Apple Powder, Glycerine, Modified Food Starch, Water, Cranberry Juice Concentrate, Pectin, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Red Cabbage Extract for Color, Sodium Citrate)...

No wonder there's hardly any cranberry flavor, even if there were more of the filling than there is.

Enough televised cooking competitions!

I agree. Cooking is not a competitive sport, and Iron Chef and its successors have nothing to offer the home cook. I guess people must watch these things or they wouldn't have proliferated, but I don't.

Gifts for a timid cook

It's tempting to load up on equipment, expecting that it will make cooking easier. But maybe what she really needs to build her confidence is a fool-proof cookbook so that she won't fail. For this I recommend Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything." He leaves nothing out - quantities, timings, hardware, processes, the works - where many general or basic cookbooks are approximate or just assume you know.

What's more, he provides a lot of variations on basic recipes so that when you know how to cook peas, you have a dozen ways to transform them into new dishes with one or two additional ingredients, from herbs and spices to miso. This gives the cook the idea that she can create new dishes too.

This is not just standard American cuisine. Lots of oriental and other nonstandard dishes that don't require a dozen ingredients from specialist stores.

Nov 07, 2014
John Francis in Cookware

Believe It Or Not...ISO of Good Eats in Times Square Area...

This isn't what you're asking for, but when I'm in that area I often stop at Delta Grill for gumbo, jambalaya, or a po' boy. Unpretentious and not expensive.

Nov 07, 2014
John Francis in Manhattan

Browned/Burnt/Overcooked Eggs - yum?

I usually do omelets until they've browned a bit - more flavor. Jacques Pepin makes both classic omelets and "rustic" (i.e. browned) omelets, and if he can, then so can I and so can you. :-)

Nov 07, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

Why drink chicken soup when you are sick? What so special?

It just works - Jewish penicillin. :-) I suppose we don't talk about consuming beef soup or vegetable soup because they don't work. As for pork soup, need I say more?

Nov 05, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

Is it real honey?

I suppose anything is possible, but do you have any reason other than the price to suspect it? There are packaging laws; what does the list of ingredients say?

Nov 05, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

Is it disappointing for you not to eat turkey or ham on Thanksgiving?

No. I like Calvin Trillin's idea - spaghetti carbonara. :-)

Nov 03, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

Do you really eat less food if it’s higher quality?

No.

Nov 03, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014 [old]

Nay - the Uncured Turkey Cranberry Apple Sausage. On my tongue it had no special flavor, but as chinchi says its price is special at $1 more than TJ's many excellent chicken sausages. Frankly, that tipped the balance for me from Meh to Nay. Sorry!

Oct 25, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014 [old]

Like I say, I'm quite happy with TJ's British muffins, and in a pinch with Thomas's, so I don't need to try to hunt down another alternative.

Oct 24, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014 [old]

The TJ's whole wheat British muffins, my usual, are pre-split. Don't know about the other flavors.

Oct 23, 2014
John Francis in Chains

A Chef's Life, season 2

And yet she somehow manages to run a successful restaurant in a very unpromising locale, overcoming even a fire that burned her first restaurant there to the ground, and with a husband whose artistic work as a painter may be good or not so good (we never see it) but can't contribute much to the household income. Clearly she has what it takes, whether or not we who watch her on TV like it. Since somehow we're talking about personalities rather than her very distinctive and interesting take on southern regional cuisine.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014 [old]

I've never heard of Bay's English muffins and never seen them in a store (I'm in New York City). Bay's store finder includes some food stores I shop in, but their muffins aren't stocked in the branches near me. Anyway, I'm quite happy with TJ's British muffins, and in a pinch with Thomas's, so I don't need to try to hunt down another alternative all over New York.

Oct 22, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014 [old]

Yea - Organic Multigrain Bread. Flavorful, dense textured, enough fiber, a fine sandwich loaf. One of the few such at TJ's these cays that isn't soft and full of air.

While I'm at it:

Yea - British Muffins (various kinds). They're English muffins, of course, with a little more flavor than Thomas's white or whole wheat, for a little less $$$.

Oct 21, 2014
John Francis in Chains
1

Bought these copper pans from the charity shop, what's inside them?

All I could do is search on the Web, so I'll leave that to you.

Oct 19, 2014
John Francis in Cookware