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GardenStater

Manner Matters: How to Deal With Lateness

@AndroidUser: "At a restaurant either go to the bar or sit at your table and have a drink."

Some restaurants don't have bars, and others won't seat you until the entire party has arrived. And I agree with most of the folks here: Chronic lateness is a show of disrespect. Hey, everybody gets caught in traffic now and then. But to constantly keep people waiting for you is just plain rude.

Traditional French Cassoulet

@onalark: According to a few different websites, one packet of unflavored gelatin = 2-1/2 teaspoons.

Traditional French Cassoulet

I'm just wondering: If I do use homemade stock (and mine's full of gelatin), would I still need to add the powdered stuff?

This recipe looks really delicious. I must try it soon.

What Cookbook Would You Buy For a First-Time Cook?

Another vote for Joy of Cooking. My mom had a copy that she had to keep repairing, because it would fall apart. I bought one more than 25 years ago, and have used it a lot.

That being said, I find a subscription to Cook's Illustrated/Cook's Country's websites invaluable. Some of their recipes are complicated, it's true; but I've found them to work every single time.

Cast Iron Cooking: The Easy Pull-Apart Pepperoni Garlic Knots That Will Forever Change How You Entertain

Holy smokes, this looks incredible. I'm making this. Soon.

How the New York City Meatball Helped Build Italian-American Cuisine

Serena Palumbo has a great meatball recipe. You can find it on YouTube.

Win a Copy of 'Fried & True'

In my 120-year-old Griswold skillet.

Slow-Cooked Korean Short Ribs With Green Onion and Pear

@johnnytakes5: I had the same question. And the photo doesn't help.

Eating Along the Orient Express: From London to Istanbul

Looks wonderful. I'd like to try it some day.

Manner Matters: Help, My Friend Chews With Her Mouth Open

I love the comments saying we should respect people from other cultures when they do something that offends us. Typically, those are the same folks who would disparage an American tourist who did something acceptable here but offensive in the country he/she was visiting. When in Rome, etc. Just as I would try to respect the customs were I visiting another country, so should others respect our customs.

And my best friend in college chewed with his mouth open. Gross. I could never understand why his (American-born) parents never corrected it.

The 11 Best Things I Ate During My Cross-Country Road Trip

Wow--great list, Kenji. I toured around the country with the road show of a musical a few years back, and tried to find great local spots like these, with much success. But since I wasn't on my own schedule, I'm sure I missed many good ones. I'm planning a cross-country road trip with my girlfriend sometime in the next year or two, and I'm going to bookmark this article!

Sweet Cultured Butter and True Buttermilk From 'The Nourished Kitchen'

I've made homemade butter before. I buy organic cream from the local co-op, and it's delicious. I've never tried making cultured cream before. Very much looking forward to it!

Buttermilk Bacon-Fat Flour Tortillas From 'The Homesick Texan's Family Table'

Link to the recipe doesn't work.

Italian Sausage, Garlic, and Red Pepper Stromboli

@Zuralala: My question exactly. In my experience, strombolis are formed into a sort of pouch, not rolled like a cinnamon bun.

Win Two Tickets to the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

Rodney Scott, hands down!

Manner Matters: The Finer Points of Eating With Your Hands

@SHole: One of my favorite BBQ places is Virgil's, in NYC. They solved the napkin problem quite nicely: Each place is set with a large, dark red, terrycloth hand towel. It really does the trick, and probably saves a fortune over using paper towels or napkins.

Manner Matters: Bagel Brouhaha and the Rules of Cohabitation

Come on--you just moved in to the place, it's a mess, you haven't even set up your kitchen table and chairs yet. It's nice that somebody wants to bring over food; they're probably thinking you've been busy and you'll appreciate the gesture (and it is a thoughtful one).

Perhaps the biggest cause of this kerfuffle is how feelings were communicated, both between SO's and to the friends. It probably would have gone over better to say something like "Wow, really appreciate it, but we've been spending so much time unpacking that I'd really prefer to get cleaned up and go out for a meal, instead!"

So there's fault on both sides (particularly the passive/agressive bagel-buying biatch--that's just f'd up). I agree with the others, and with Molly, that you and your girlfriend need to talk. A lot.

Good luck.

We Try Everything On Taco Bell's New Breakfast Menu

Funny--growing up in North Jersey in the 60s and 70s, we never had Taco Bell (or really any Mexican food--I never ate a taco until I was in college). So even though they're around now, I've never eaten at one. I stopped into a TB once, looked at the menu board, and walked out. But hey, this is America--go for it, folks!

Snapshots From Pizza Town USA, 'America's Favorite Town' Since 1958

I grew up in Pompton Lakes, NJ, where we had our own Pizza Town, USA. (Don't know if there were any others, but this was definitely the same place, down to the Uncle Sam sign, etc.) It was great, and during my junior/senior HS summer, they stayed open until 3:00 a.m., so it was the go-to spot after downing multiple beers. I miss it still.

Culinary land mines

Funny how cilantro is something that few people are neutral about. I happen to love it.

Mushrooms. I just don't like the texture. Ever since I was a kid, they're the food I just don't like. I can tolerate them if I must, say in a hot-and-sour soup or (maybe) a pizza with everything. But they're just slimy and rubbery, and I don't like 'em.

I'm also allergic to shellfish and stone fruit (peaches, apricots, etc). But generally, those are easy to avoid.

Poll: How Do You Eat Your Leftovers?

Totally toaster oven. Microwaving just kills a slice. I prefer to wait 10-15 minutes. The only difference between fresh and reheated is a crispier crust. Sometimes I'll toss a little (OK, a lot) extra mozzarella and some pepperoni slices on that bad boy, just to make it extra-delicious!

Lahmacun From 'The World's Best Spicy Food'

This looks really good, but I'm confused. The description talks about a food that's "rolled up," and refers to "...larger, milder pides, most often known as Turkish pizzas." Yet the recipe doesn't mention rolling, and the photo shows what clearly looks like a pizza. What gives?

Photo of the Day: 'Undead Gaffigan' from Zombie Burger in Des Moines, Iowa

@Jonny Cooks: No, people make their own choices. AndroidUser is correct: Having one of these (or something similar) every once in a while doesn't make people fat. Choosing to eat bad food all the time (and not exercising) makes them fat. It's all about individual responsibility, not some silly sandwich that's sold for two days at a restaurant in Des Moines.

Fried Homemade Pickles with Ranch Dressing From 'Kitchen Confidence'

I love fried pickles! But could I make this recipe with regular store-bought pickles? (The refrigerated kind that stay crisp.) Making the pickles seems like a lot of work for a recipe like this.

Inside the Secret World of Super-Premium Spanish Jamon Iberico

Excellent article. If I hit the lottery, I'll be sure to buy a 5J ham as one of my first purchases!

Thanksgiving cook/8K Runner

OK. So I've been on a big-time fitness kick for the past 5 months. Exercising all the time, including running 5Ks every weekend. I'm signed up for an 8K (5 miles) on Thanksgiving morning, but I'm responsible for cooking the meal. I'm an early riser, so no problem at all waking up at 4 or 5 AM. But from about 8AM - 10AM, I'll be AWOL. Any thoughts about preparation? Can I make the stuffing the night before? What else can I do in advance? I just don't want to get caught short.

Good eats in Roanoke, VA?

Hi, folks: I'll be stopping in Roanoke, VA on my way to my niece's wedding in early April. I'll be traveling alone, and that's the halfway point. Curious about a good place for dinner that night. I'm a burger-and-beer kind of guy, but I want local flavor, maybe barbecue. Not looking for a white tablecloth place, but rather a local joint with character. Any suggestions?

Great Corporate Food Gift?

Hi, everybody:

I work for a national company that employs more than 20,000 people. My department is tasked with finding a great employee gift for the summer.
In the past, we've sent steaks and ice cream (people can go online and place their order to arrive when they want it). This year we want to try something different.

Any ideas? Some thoughts:

1. Cost (including shipping) can't exceed $75 each.
2. Need to have options for kosher, vegetarian, etc diets
3. The company needs to be big enough to handle thousands of orders at once.
4. The population skews young--most employees are 40 or younger.

Thanks!