sockii's Profile

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Are food allergies really hereditary, or is my SIL overly cautious?

I don't have kids but plenty of my friends do. And through them I have gathered that - allergic history or not - shellfish and a great deal of seafood in general is currently off the table while pregnant and then while breastfeeding. It's pretty much common advice these days, is it not? And not just because of allergies but because of toxins/other bad stuff that could be passed along. So no, I don't think SIL was being unreasonable asking for a portion without seafood. Perhaps she could have asked in advance what the menu was going to be, but given it's the holiday season plus the illness in the family issues you're talking about, I imagine there's a lot of stress going on and this should be a pretty minor point to squabble about.

(I do share a garlic intolerance with my father, for what it's worth.)

Dec 24, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

"Extra Virgin" on Cooking Channel

I enjoyed the earlier shows actually filmed in Italy, but when they moved to America? Not so much at all (and I've only made one recipe from their site/blog and it was a total failure, so. Not all that hyped at this point.)

Dec 21, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

Lunch near Macy's...it's complicated

And those "upgrades" are dubious. About the only thing I've ever had there and thought was worth coming back for was the Bloody Mary.

Dec 21, 2014
sockii in Philadelphia

Restaurants not having websites only Facebook

Yep. People who are familiar with website design and programming, wordpress and other platforms, tend to forget what an alien language it can be to those who aren't well-versed in css or html. Plus, a lot of those kind of "plug-and-play" "free" business websites that get promoted as "easy" to set up are really actually a PITA to update...even for someone like me who has been running domains, websites, blogs, mediawiki installs etc on my own since the mid-90s when I set up my first site.

But typing in a Facebook status update or loading a current menu photo? Easy! So I have no problem with that. Especially in small towns, for mom 'n pop type restaurants where I'm just glad they are making an effort to be online, provide current specials information, and answer questions quickly if I might have them. That's more than I can say for some much fancier places in big cities near me, who have websites that probably cost them hundreds if not thousands to install and are just about completely useless for what I need.

Dec 18, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

I have NEVER had problems loading long threads on ChowHound, as primarily a laptop/MacBook user myself. Now I find the pagination just horribly awkward and unfriendly for following long threads I used to enjoy.

Any good seasoning blends out there without garlic?

Well, just suggesting, most hummus is made with raw garlic (which is why I avoid it unless I made it myself with sauteed garlic. Mostly I can't eat premade/restaurant Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food because of the raw garlic content.) Did you make the "40 clove chicken" yourself to know for sure how the garlic was cooked?

I'm not trying to be anal or dismiss your issue by any means, believe me. But this has been a problem I have suffered myself with for many years before figuring out what I can/can't eat with garlic - and it's definitely garlic for me too, but I'm fine with it if it's well cooked. But that's why I can't do restaurant Middle Eastern and also a lot of Italian-American which loads sauces up with barely cooked/almost raw garlic cloves. Those will leave me in gastro-intestinal distress for days, literally sweating garlic out of my pores. But I can do crushed garlic cloves heated in olive oil until brown, then removed from the pan, without any problem whatsoever.

Dec 15, 2014
sockii in General Topics

Any good seasoning blends out there without garlic?

I have a garlic intolerance myself so I feel your pain -- literally and figuratively.

One question for you is, have you determined for sure that you are intolerant to all garlic, or could it be only raw garlic? Because for me it's the allicin in garlic that causes a reaction; I can eat well-cooked garlic okay but not in its raw state (or undercooked). Allicin gets broken down in cooking so I just try to saute my garlic really well. http://garlic-central.com/allicin-che... And maybe that way you could use garlic-free dried spice blends and just add some sauteed garlic to your seasonings to get that flavor if you really want/need it? But I know some people can't handle anything in the onion/garlic family at all no matter how it's cooked.

Dec 15, 2014
sockii in General Topics

Time to Crown Chowhound's Best of 2014: Vote Today!

I'm sorry, but for Philadelphia you actually included a sandwich shop which was nominated only by the shop's owner, a one-time Chowhound poster? Seriously? I get it that nomination turnout was low, but come on...

Dec 15, 2014
sockii in Features

Blue Apron - Fresh ingredients, great recipes delivered weekly to your home

Personally it wouldn't be for me at all - I don't like the idea of all that wasteful packaging/transport/plus the issue of what if I'm not home for a delivery. I don't care if it's packaged in insulation with gel packs to keep cold - more waste - plus what if it's the middle of a hot summer and I'm unexpectedly away for a night or two? Or back when I lived in a condo and the package delivery room would close on a weekend? (One time this meant my grandmother thought she was doing something "nice" for me by sending me a delivery of gourmet crab cakes...without telling me in advance. And they sat in the package room all weekend and were a waste of a good $100+...)

I also like "winging it" more when I'm cooking, learning by improvising off recipes, not having a kit I have to follow step-by-step and having my meals "dictated" to me like that. But I'm someone who's been cooking for decades now and loves it, including the entire process of shopping, visiting farm markets for seasonal ingredients, etc. And I live in a farm-rich area. Maybe if I was a type-A living in the big city with no real home cooking experience it would be more interesting. But I'd only give a gift of this if you knew the person well enough to know they'd enjoy it.

Dec 14, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #7 – 12/03/14 (spoilers)

I've found this entire season a real trial to get through; what a terrible group of contestants, no one who really makes me want to cheer them on, uninteresting challenges in what could and should have been a much more interesting environment. (I spent a good number of years living in Boston/Cambridge and none of this is ringing true and unique to the experience I had there.)

Dec 09, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News
1

Uses for fish stock?

Generally a seafood soup should be easy; it really doesn't need more than one good piece of fresh fish or a bunch of different pieces of odds and ends to use up (I make fish soup when I want to clean my freezer out of some frozen shrimp or scallops, different fish filets that aren't enough for a meal on their own, etc.)

Just start with some chopped up classic veggies (onion or leek, celery, carrot, garlic) sauteed in olive oil. Sometimes I like fennel if I have it, too. Add stock and chopped (canned) tomatoes, a little wine, some spice or herbs. Cook down for 30-45 minutes or so until the broth has a good flavor. Throw in some soup pasta if you wish, or rice or potatoes if you add them early enough to get tender. Add fish chunks, finish cooking for 5-10 minutes. Serve with some crusty bread and fresh herbs on top. Yum!

Dec 08, 2014
sockii in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? December 2014 edition!

I bought Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking hoping it would be a good gift for an in-law who is not much of a cook but (reportedly) wants to learn. But looking through it, I may end up giving it to someone else. It's still too advanced (ingredient and otherwise) for the kind of food I know this person would be ready to tackle cooking. Instead I got her a copy of Giuliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pasta--which I already have and like for when I need a simple, fast and fresh recipe.

For myself, I recently bought an older title used from Amazon: The Shun Lee Cookbook by Michael Tong. I am in love! It is all the flavors I remember from when my mom used to take me to Shun Lee West when I was a kid, and I can see already it's a cookbook I am going to get incredible use out of (made 6 recipes so far and all have been excellent.)

Dec 06, 2014
sockii in Home Cooking
2

Holiday Gift Baskets

I don't usually give gift baskets per se, but I will give some food gifts of specialty items I prepare myself to people I know will appreciate them (I make my own flavored dried pasta and some herbal liquers, for instance.) Sort of like my sister-in-law who is a fabulous baker, so we always look forward to her box of Christmas cookies and sweets every year.

I think it can be a tough issue to give a basket unless you know someone and their tastes really, really well. I don't like or eat a lot of sweets so when I've gotten cookies and chocolate gift baskets, most of the sweets end up being put out at parties for other people to enjoy (I appreciate them in that regard since baking isn't something I am big on anyway!) Actually, I think a basket geared toward general entertaining (crackers, mustards, cheese, etc.) can be the best way to go in general because there will usually be a chance to use and enjoy them over the holidays or soon thereafter.

I would certainly appreciate a locally-made, quality ingredient basket more than a generic one, though, that's for sure. If I received one like that I'd definitely try to find a way to use the ingredients included or at least pass them on to others, if I couldn't use them myself.

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

Holiday Gift Baskets

Jeez, okay! Nevermind. If you'd mentioned it was just $5 my advice would have been at least partly different.

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

How can we say no to a dinner invitation? We don't want to appear ungracious even though we don't really like the boyfriend!

At some point you have to realize that your friend is going to make her own decisions about who she wants to be with in a romantic relationship and accept it or not. Is he actually abusive to her, that you know of or have seen evidence to support? If not, I suggest it is really not yours or anyone else's place to pass judgement on why she chooses to be with him, just because he apparently doesn't fit with your and your friend's social circles and expectations. If you can't accept it, then you may have to let go of the friendship. Or at least make it clear to her that you only wish to spend time with HER and you are not comfortable around her partner. And then let her make the choice of how comfortable she is remaining YOUR friend.

Maybe I'm a bit tetchy on the subject as I've been dealing with 8 years of my mother hating my chosen partner in life. I can never expect her to not be critical, but I can hope that she understands that it is my life and my choice to make. And that her criticisms aren't going to affect my decisions since I'm an adult and happy , thank you very much.

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

Holiday Gift Baskets

I got a few like that for housewarming gifts a few years ago. MONSTROUS basket! Looked huge! Probably cost the gifter at least $50-75! And it was about 90% wasteful packaging and cardboard. :(

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

Holiday Gift Baskets

Gift cards can be easily regifted or even sold on eBay to people who would actually enjoy them instead of simply wasted...

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

Holiday Gift Baskets

Wow. So do you ever eat out in restaurants?

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

NY Times: F.D.A. to Require Calorie Count, Even for Popcorn at the Movies

I'm all in favor of calorie count (and other nutritional info) being available for fast food & chain restaurants. Of course I don't expect independent restaurants to have such information handy nor do I go to a fancy chef-driven restaurant with caloric intake generally in mind.

But when I'm on the road, in a fix, and I need to grab a bite? Yeah, I'd sure like to be able to evaluate which menu choice is not going to blow my entire calorie "budget" unexpectedly, and there can definitely be sneaky choices there. Quite often a salad or sandwich that looks like a healthy choice is anything but because of dressings/cheese/sauces added, unless I make the point to leave them off.

I don't expect the info is going to be enough to "educate" people to make better choices unless they are already concerned about their diet/aware of what their daily intake should be. But for those of us who do try to eat healthy? I see no downside to having the info available, at least from places where everything is more "assembled" than "cooked" anyway...

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

Masterchef Junior Pop up Restaurant episode -- SPOILERS

I never really like the restaurant takeover episodes of MasterChef - Adult or Junior. But at least in the adult versions they don't just pick one or two contestants to go home based on the team's performance! This should have been no more than 2/3rds of the episode with then a cook-off between Samuel, Sean and Oona like it is for the adults. It really seemed scripted to me because Sean did the best with his steaks and Samuel not only wasn't a great team leader but he messed up with fish.

But, I suspect they want an arrogant Samuel vs. youngest contestant Abby so they can have a feel-good finale of Abby winning. That's at least my prediction. I like Adaiah and Logan but don't see either of them as having been spotlighted/praised-up enough to be the winner.

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

Masterchef Junior Pop up Restaurant episode -- SPOILERS

I think because it doesn't really need to keep being harped on? The media had plenty of coverage of it at the beginning of MC Season 5. If I recall he had gastric bypass. The question in that case will be if he can make the changes necessary (mentally and dietwise) to keep it off in the long run. I wish him well.

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

Masterchef Junior Pop up Restaurant episode -- SPOILERS

Thank you. As someone who has struggled with her weight all her life, and run the gambit from obsese to annorexic...yeah. Kids, adults, whoever - we KNOW when we're overweight. We don't need it referred to as our defining characteristic. And people who think that "calling it out" is helpful? Really need to stop, because all it does is add to the problem, NOT help it.

I'm not a fan of Samuel because of his attitude on the show (at least as edited/scripted by TPTB.) It has nothing to do with his weight.

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News
1

I too need help on uninvited guests.

Not everyone has a childproof house. Not everyone wants to have to deal with or worry about kids in their house, especially if their parents/guardians aren't known for being vigilant about keeping them well-behaved or more importantly out of trouble. If you are planning an event for adults, to have to suddenly be ready for unruly, unsupervised children running about can indeed be a problem and it's not about hating kids or anything, just about not wanting to deal with them/not being ready to deal with them under particular circumstances.

I too need help on uninvited guests.

Then you are quite lucky indeed.

Dec 02, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

How can we say no to a dinner invitation? We don't want to appear ungracious even though we don't really like the boyfriend!

And December is always a terrible month to try to plan anything unless those plans have been made well in advance. It's not all that shocking or unusual to have lots of parties, dinners, and other events to attend in between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

Dec 02, 2014
sockii in Not About Food
1

How can we say no to a dinner invitation? We don't want to appear ungracious even though we don't really like the boyfriend!

"Renting isn't a character flaw...."

Nor is being an artist.

where to buy italian white truffles in philadelphia

I'd probably just try ordering from one of these places online?

http://gourmetfood.about.com/od/where...

Dec 01, 2014
sockii in Philadelphia

Discussions about taking food home during Thanksgiving dinner

This year I finally succumbed to trying the layered leftover casserole: stuffing, corn, chopped turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce in a buttered casserole. In the oven at 350 for an hour.

It was ambrosia. Totally doing it every Thanksgiving leftover day from now on.

Nov 29, 2014
sockii in Not About Food
1

Do you give out your recipes at thanksgiving?

I can understand facepalming when someone substitutes/makes changes in a published/blogged recipe. Yet not long ago I followed a recipe to the letter posted at a highly popular food blog...and it came out absolutely horribly. When I posted a comment complaining about almost having to toss out an expensive rack of lamb, I was blamed by the blogger because of course it was my oven's fault, her recipe was beyond criticism. Yet others expressed the same problems I had with the recipe repeatedly (and since then.)

Nov 29, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

Do you give out your recipes at thanksgiving?

Yes, this is a similar problem in our family. My partner's mother died a few years ago and took several of her beloved recipes to the grave and none of us have a clue how to recreate them.

I get that it's an Italian mother (in law) thing to not want to give away your secrets (so that sons always consider their mother's version of a dish the best.) But it's also sad when pride comes before passing along a loved recipe to that future generations can hopefully enjoy it and keep a memory alive.