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When You Have a Kid, You Eat Crow

I love the honesty of this article.

Iain, I don't think she's saying it's hard, just that her kid didn't like it when she did make it. It's not that difficult to make food your baby won't eat, but it might start to feel a bit pointless.

Jan 25, 2012
nsolis in Features

9 Cooking Apps Worth Downloading to Your iPhone

OK, I just discovered the "save to grocery list" feature for the Bittman app. It organizes your shopping lists by aisle and it groups all the items together in one list (Epicurious has separate shopping lists for each recipe--annoying). The recipe is listed below each ingredient, so if the store is out of a key item, you can bail on the whole thing. And seriously, $5 for the app of a $35 book? What a deal!

Jun 23, 2010
nsolis in Features

9 Cooking Apps Worth Downloading to Your iPhone

This list is great! I also love the "How to Cook Everything" iPhone app because it includes a timer next to every single reference of how long to cook something. So handy.

Jun 22, 2010
nsolis in Features

Babies in Bars

I find it kind of hilarious when people think that small people (i.e., children) are such an inconvenience. It's the circle of life, people! Kids grow up to be adults like us. Yes, people who choose to have kids make a choice, but that doesn't mean they should have to give up their whole lives. Plus, do we really want another generation of kids who think that they're the center of the goddamn universe because their parents gave up their entire lives to raise them? Having managed some people who were raised this way, I vehemently do not.

Living on this planet and especially in cities means you have to interact with people--even people you don't like. C'est la vie. Breathe deep and move on. That said, I think Helena strikes exactly the right balance in her advice. You have a baby, you want a drink--go to a bar where it's not completely inappropriate, arrive early, don't stay too long, and leave early.

As for why people feel weird about babes-in-arms in bars, for me it's more about the concern for the kid (bars can be noisy, I'd hate for a kid to get hearing damage).

Jun 03, 2010
nsolis in Features

How to Brew Small-Batch Beer in Your Kitchen

When you say "contamination" (for ex., that you don't want to contaminate the beer), what exactly does that mean? Does it make it unsafe to drink (i.e., you'll get food poisoning or something)? Is it just not as tasty?

May 05, 2010
nsolis in Features

Craft Beer Labels Too Macho

"Why just the other day, I saw a woman eating a brownie." Hilarious.

I agree with Beaglesmuggler (kudos for the really rad username) that a lot of ladies who drink beer don't drink it because the mainstream beers (let's just start calling them the lame-stream beers) are clearly marketed toward dudes. Also, quite frankly, they're not very tasty.

Most craft brewers do a fine job of having non-gender-specific labeling and marketing (see: Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, Deschutes, Harpoon, etc.). All are delicious beers with interesting and unique artwork.

But I probably wouldn't buy a beer with a label that looked like it was inspired by a poster in some stoner's room at a frat house or a Magic-the-Gathering and porn mashup (no diss). My thinking is that if they have such terrible taste in their label--the one image that is the most important in conveying their brand to the beer-buying public--they're probably equally clueless about what makes a good beer.

Apr 18, 2010
nsolis in Features

Braised Lamb Shanks with Mint-Parsley Pesto

I second Non Doctor. I'm making it right now (and will finish it tomorrow night), and the smell is the best smell of almost anything I have ever cooked.

Mar 14, 2010
nsolis in Recipes

Don't Spit on This Cake

That squirrel video is beyond awesome.

Dec 04, 2009
nsolis in Features

How Does a Beer Get Skunky?

Science to the rescue! reports that German scientists have discovered a process to extract riboflavin from beer to prevent it from skunking. The sponsor of the research? Green-bottle-loving Heineken.

Aug 04, 2009
nsolis in Features

What to do with lotsa lemons?

Make limoncello!

Jan 19, 2009
nsolis in Home Cooking

Perfect Margarita

For those of you who doubt, I've had Lessley's margaritas and they're really amazing.

Jul 25, 2008
nsolis in Recipes

Game Face

I agree with sbkat. The key element is speed. You're just restoring a touch of color to cover over the splotchy lipstick left on your lips after a meal. If you want your lips to look perfect, head to the ladies'.

Mar 19, 2008
nsolis in Features

Don't Scream "I Hate Broccoli!"

I agree with Cheflambo. Remember when we were all growing up and you knew that you had to abide by the rules of whatever house you were in? Sure, sometimes it wasn't fun, but it taught kids to respect other adults, respect rules in general, and adapt to different situations with grace. I so wish all parents taught Helena's three rules, here.

Mar 12, 2008
nsolis in Features

Better than Popcorn

What? No milkshake for "There Will Be Blood"?

Feb 20, 2008
nsolis in Features

Get a Room

Even after reading all these comments (this is a fascinating discussion and topic, BTW), I still can't get past the fact that Helena's guest LICKED CHOCOLATE OFF HIS DATE'S ARM! In front of everyone! That's just plain icky.

Feb 18, 2008
nsolis in Features

Dinner with a Tightwad

Diana, I'm with you. I tip $2 on a $10 bill. I might throw in some change, too. I don't tip less than $2 on a sit-down meal, but above that, it's a straight 18-20% unless the service is undeniably bad.

As for not wanting to tip a waiter on the wine because restaurants mark up the price of wine--who do you think that markup is going to?

Nov 28, 2007
nsolis in Features

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

This article has the best dek ever: Buttermilk tarts up classic mashed potatoes. Hilarious!

Nov 21, 2007
nsolis in Recipes

Dinner's Getting Cold

I think there are people who are chronically late who can correct their behavior (as witnessed by the comments here) and there are people who are chronically late because they have issues. Either way, someone needs to change.

Lines like this are exactly why I love this column: "If the late person discovers your fib, he may feel infantilized (plus you won’t be able to use the trick again)." I love how Helena isn't afraid to say what we might be thinking!

Nov 07, 2007
nsolis in Features

Pointing the Finger at Finger Foods

The hardest thing to eat with a fork, I think, is salad. Especially spinach salad. You scoop it up, it slides off. It's too thin to spear. My mom once said that you can eat anything with your fingers as long as you don't make a mess. My brother promptly responded by eating his mashed potatoes with his hands. Classy.

Oct 03, 2007
nsolis in Features

Bartender Tales

Keon, in terms of bartenders being babe magnets, you forgot to mention that, at the end of the night, the bartender's still there. Didn't Woody Allen say that 90% of success is just showing up? Maybe the other 10% is just sticking around when 90% of the bar has cleared out.

Sep 07, 2007
nsolis in Features

Are You Coming or Not?

My coworker was just talking about the "California Commitment." It goes like this:
"Hey, I'm having some folks over for dinner on Friday, and I'd love for you to come."
His point is that you think you hear a "yes," but really you just hear enthusiasm.
I agree with the posters who say that Evite is part of the problem, not part of the solution. It makes it so easy to RSVP "Maybe" so that you feel like you've fulfilled your social obligation to respond, but you haven't really given the host any useful information.

Aug 29, 2007
nsolis in Features

But I Only Drank Water!

I think Helena's advice was right on. If you're going out for a group dinner for someone's birthday (which is different than a hosted event) and you're on a budget, you need to be proactive about the fact that you either can't or choose not to pay $75.

I remember going for fondue for a friend's b-day when I was a vegetarian and broke. I could only eat one thing they had ordered, didn't order a drink, and ended up seating at the opposite end of a 12-person table from the person dividing up the check. I should have pulled the person who did most of the ordering aside (because that person would likely be the one splitting up the check) and told them what my situation was. Instead, I stayed quiet and ate peanut butter and rice until my next payday! But really, it was my own fault for not addressing the situation.

Aug 15, 2007
nsolis in Features

Doggy Bag Dilemma

I went on a date (can't remember which number, but it was our second meal together) to a Thai restaurant with a guy who asked me if I was going to take my three pieces of tofu home. I said no, and he got my leftovers wrapped up with his. I was kind of appalled. It's one thing if you take home your own food, but taking home your date's food? There needs to be a certain level of intimacy or involvement before you can pull that off and not look like a total cheapskate.

Jul 06, 2007
nsolis in Features

None of Your Business

If someone wants to keep a recipe a secret, why do they need a reason? I understand how Cheesed-Off feels, but it almost feels that he/she felt entitled to the recipe. The recipe was the friend's to share or not, for whatever or no reason, and I don't see her decision not to share it as being selfish. If Cheesed-Off's felt that he/she deserved to get it, that seems selfish to me.

May 09, 2007
nsolis in Features

Not So Much for Cooking

There's the Loretta Lynn cookbook, too: "You're Cookin' It Country" or something like that. And before you even ask--no, not all the recipes involve Crisco.

Mar 16, 2007
nsolis in Features

Nobody Ate My Dish

Potlucks definitely work better when people are given a little direction. I do a monthly potluck with my knitting group, and we always follow the same format. The host cooks the main dish, and everyone else calls dibs on the other pre-determined categories: appetizer, salad, dessert, 2 bottles of wine. We all go there right after work, and we'd rather have someone feel they were contributing, even if they didn't have time to make something, than exclude store-bought food.

Feb 05, 2007
nsolis in Features

Does Everybody's Pee Smell After Eating Asparagus?

This was a really funny thing to research. The ratio of excretors, nonexcretors, perceivers, and nonperceivers varies by culture, among other things. A French study found that 100% of the subjects (all native French, I believe) were excretors. If there is some gene that makes one a perceiver or nonperceiver, its the first instance found of a particular smell sensitivity. There have been plenty of studies on the beet phenomenon, too.

Jan 23, 2007
nsolis in Features

Etiquette Reform School

Check out the "What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage" article on It could almost be considered a case study of some of the advice given here.

Jan 17, 2007
nsolis in Features

Mapping the Mustache

Do the different kinds of milk affect their use in baking and cooking? I was thinking about this sort of thing as I used some fertilized and unfertilized eggs to make pots de creme (the fertilized egg yolks didn't stay together nearly as well as the unfertilized, but I don't know if that was just a coincidence). I might try some of these milks in different half-and-half combinations for pots de creme or similar creamy desserts to see how they affect the overall consistency.

Dec 18, 2006
nsolis in Features

Chicken Chile Verde

I made this last night, and it was sooooo tasty. My roommate, who is more of a gourmand than I am, said it tasted just like good restaurant chicken chile verde. I made it over the course of two evenings--sauteeing the chicken, onions, and peppers one night, then putting it all together the next. Perfect dinner for a chilly night.

Dec 13, 2006
nsolis in Recipes