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Host gifts for challenging hosts

I'm the difficult family member.

I can hear my houseguests breaking into a cold sweat two states away in advance of visiting me.

I'm not lying when I say it's the thought that counts. I'm also not lying when I say I've given away a lot of host gifts I've received (food I don't eat, designs I don't like, clothes that are too big) after graciously accepting them.

If you want your gift to be both appreciated and kept and used, this always works for me: potted plants, fresh cut flowers, framed photos of you or your kids (not your pets!) if we're family, a bottle of wine that you are willing to open and drink to make yourself comfortable while visiting, something creative that you make yourself. Or just bring yourself. No gift required.

Tipping at Starbucks when buying bananas

If the barista carries the banana out to my car for me, then I might consider a tip.

Do you hold Grudges against Restaurants? And for how long?

If any service establishment (restaurant, store, doctor's office, dry cleaner, etc. ) gives me bad service, I MAY give them a second chance. After that, I'm gone for good unless there is a drastic visible change in the business like a new owner.

The list of places that have gotten the gone for good treatment from me is too long to list. I will happily take my money to a business that gives a damn.

Is this considering holding a grudge?

Mar 26, 2015
taos in Not About Food

Stew Leonards...an ongoing debate

What does mercury taste like?

Mar 26, 2015
taos in Southern New England

What's in your cookware collection?

Is this interesting?

All-Clad MC2 (older style) -- cookware store moving sale
- 2 quart? saucepan
- 4 quart saucepan
- 3 quart? saute pan

All-Clad Stainless Steel -- cookware store moving sale
- 10 inch frying pan

Cuisinart Tri-Play Stainless 1 quart saucepan -- amazon.com

Calphalon 12 quart Hard Anodized Stock Pot (old style, made in USA) -- gift

No name 2 quart copper sauce pan -- yard sale

Lodge Cast Iron 10.25 inch skillet -- local hardware store

Le Creuset 4 1/2 quart enameled Dutch Oven -- factory second at TJ Maxx

Cheap old pressure cooker -- yard sale

Mar 26, 2015
taos in Cookware

LATECOMERS FOR DINNER

Had a similar problem in my family. Solved by telling them dinner is 1-2 hours earlier than it actually is.

Tipping at Starbucks when buying bananas

Why do baristas need my tips?

Mar 26, 2015
taos in Not About Food

Tipping at Starbucks when buying bananas

nothing

Poll: Favorite everyday glassware?

Everyday glassware are heavy 16 ounce beer glasses. They're good for everything from sparkling to fresh juice to thick smoothies.

http://www.amazon.com/International-L...

Mar 25, 2015
taos in Cookware

$15 hr min. wage x zero hours =?

Hah. Fast food chains don't care about putting people out of a job.

Mar 25, 2015
taos in Not About Food

$15 hr min. wage x zero hours =?

I don't see any substantiated facts in the Hot Air blog or anything it links to that proves Seattle restaurants are closing because of new higher minimum wage.

Restaurants, even profitable and popular restaurants, close all the time.

As for computerized menus, these have been available for many years. Most restaurants still find that having a live waiter and server adds to the experience for customers and ultimately is worth the investment.

Mar 25, 2015
taos in Not About Food

Pot racks - yes or no?

I love a pot rack and have had one in my last two kitchens. It frees up space in the cabinets and makes it easy to grab a pot without moving other stacks of pot and lids out of the way.

The pot rack is not, however, used for cast iron pieces. They're too heavy to maneuver up and down from the rack.

Mar 25, 2015
taos in Cookware

Why remodel a kitchen and put in an electric range?

Of course you can create a superb meal on electric. No one is saying you can't.

Most people, however, find it easier to cook with gas because the temperature is easier to regulate.

Mar 25, 2015
taos in Cookware

Why remodel a kitchen and put in an electric range?

I rented for 12 years in a house with a gas stove and oven. There was no problem getting insurance.

Mar 25, 2015
taos in Cookware

Why remodel a kitchen and put in an electric range?

Because they don't cook and remodeled the kitchen based on how it looks, not how it functions.

Mar 25, 2015
taos in Cookware

Seasoning a Stainless Skillet?

The process you describe is not seasoning.

Seasoning is the process of baking fat onto the surface of a pan. The fat is permanently stuck to the pan. You have to heat the pan to a very high temperature and burn it off or use a strong solvent to remove the seasoning

What you are describing is coating the surface of the pan with oil and then wiping off the excess. Your pan will have non-stick properties because of the thin film of oil left, not because it's seasoned. You'll also be able to remove this seasoning by washing with soap or water.

If you want non-stick properties from a stainless steel pan, just do this: 1) start with a cold pan. 2) add cold butter or a butter/olive oil mix. 3) heat until the butter just starts to melt. 4) cook your eggs. I do this at least 3 days a week and the eggs slide right out. Then I wash the pan with hot water and soap.

Mar 05, 2015
taos in Cookware

The best thing your school cafeteria served

Everything was horrible. The favorite of most of us was pizza, served often on Fridays. In retrospect it was terrible pizza, reminiscent of a sponge covered with tomato sauce and barely thawed frozen shredded cheese.

Mar 05, 2015
taos in General Topics

What are you lusting after?

A high power hood that vents to the outside to replace the stupid over-the-stove microwave with internally-venting fan that came with my house.

Mar 02, 2015
taos in Cookware
1

4 pieces of kitchen gear

If people are homeless where are they plugging in and using the GF grill?

Mar 02, 2015
taos in Cookware

4 pieces of kitchen gear

3 quart sauce pan with lid
chef's knife
wooden spoon
cutting board

Mar 02, 2015
taos in Cookware
1

Storage Containers For Freezing Food That Are NOT Plastic

I use regular old Mason or Ball canning jars. I don't think they're a special freezer-safe variety. Nothing has ever broken.

I'm guessing the special shape of the freezer variety is to accommodate expansion when liquid freezes. You can get the same benefit by not filling jars too full.

Feb 27, 2015
taos in Cookware

Storage Containers For Freezing Food That Are NOT Plastic

I freeze stuff in mason jars. Just pour the stuff it into the jars and put it in the freezer. It's not canned. It's just using the jars as a container.

Feb 26, 2015
taos in Cookware

plastic butterdish .

Feb 26, 2015
taos in Cookware

Un-impressed with Vitamix

I'm guessing the sharpness depends on the age of the container and its integrated blades and what's been blended in it. Since the blades can't be sharpened, they obviously get duller with use.

I just had my Vitamix container replaced by the factor and I can attest to the sharpness of new blades.

The OP stated that his/her incident happened on the second use, so with very sharp blades.

In any case, I think we can agree that it's not a toy or something to be used without regard to the manufacturer's instructions.

Feb 24, 2015
taos in Cookware

Un-impressed with Vitamix

FYI: On my Vitamix they blades are pretty sharp.

Feb 24, 2015
taos in Cookware

How often do you wipe down the shelves in your fridge?

About once every three weeks unless something spills, I empty out the fridge, wash everything that removable (shelves, bins, etc.) in the sink with hot water and a sponge, wipe down the walls with hot water and a sponge, and then put it all back together.

Feb 24, 2015
taos in Cookware

Un-impressed with Vitamix

If the container were made of glass, people would complain that 1) it weighs too much, and 2) when they dropped it on their brick patio it broke.

If it were made of stainless, people would complain that you can't see what you're blending.

It's a lose-lose proposition.

Feb 24, 2015
taos in Cookware
1

Un-impressed with Vitamix

The Vitamix is a very high-powered machine with a motor that runs at 2 HP and razor sharp blades that spin at up to 1600 RPM.

It's not a toy or something with which you can just toss stuff in willy-nilly, flip the switch, and walk away.

This is why it comes with an owners manual with very specific instructions and pages of safety warnings.

Don't want to read the manual or follow directions? Then blend your ice with a wire whisk.

Feb 24, 2015
taos in Cookware

Dishwasher Detergent, is There an All in One that works?

I've had excellent results with Finish Powerball Power and Free. If the dishes are going to sit in the dishwasher for more than a day before running the machine, I pre-rinse them. Otherwise I don't. I also turn the heat dry off and just open the door when the cycle is done to let the dishes air dry.

Dishwasher is a Frigidaire, not high-end. It's about three years old.

Feb 23, 2015
taos in Cookware

Need a more powerful Vitamix and am considering the commercial model XL 5202

I don't think the problem is the Vitamix.

It's most likely how you are using it. You are not progressing up from slow speed properly, running it too long at one time, and/or not using the tamper correctly to remove keep the contents moving. Read your owner's manual for information.

You also can't compare the Vitamix to over machines. It's like saying "my car runs rough, but my motorboat is fine." They are different products used differently.

The 5202 seems like insane overkill. It has a 1.5 gallon container and on Amazon it lists for over $2000. And if you don't follow the directions for that, you'll have the same problem.

Feb 21, 2015
taos in Cookware