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An Open Letter to Serious Eaters

I don't do "social media"--not a member of any of those sites. Talk was central to the SE experience for me. So long, Serious Eats, and thanks for all the fish.

Bake the Book: Sour Cherry Pie

I am no fan of pie in general, because all the common fruit pies are too sweet for my taste. But if I could find sour cherries, I might just start liking pie. I've never run across fresh sour cherries in a market--only from specialty dealers, usually frozen.

The 7 Best Budget Tequilas

El Jimador is the brand that was most often recommended to me in Mexico 30+ years ago. So I've stuck with it. Someone gave me Espolon as a gift once, and it seemed fine to me. I am not a connoisseur of tequila or any other spirit--just a drinker.

Manner Matters: How to Suitably Slurp Shellfish

It depends where you are. Even in France (or Belgium), at a fine-dining restaurant you would use a fork to remove a mussel. There is a spectrum between that setting and a seafood dive on the coast. Do whatever is appropriate for the setting. I have never eaten at a restaurant in the US where I felt using an empty mussel shell as a pincer was inappropriate. If a bowl of mussels is on the menu in the US, I think the implication is that you can feel free to eat it the way people eat bowls of mussels in France or Belgium. Same with oysters: With a fork at a fine-dining restaurant, but feel free to slurp away at a seaside oyster bar.

How to Pair Beer With Mexican Food

Negra Modelo will forever be what I drink with Mexican food, first having run across it 30 years ago in Mexico. Good times in Mexico with a cold Negra Modelo (or Modelo Especial) are imprinted in my brain. Of course, I also try to drink whatever is local, so in Mexico I drink whatever the locals are drinking.

Stainless steel bowls

Of course they are fine. They're probably the kind of mixing bowls that restaurant suppliers sell to restaurants. You don't think restaurants use $18 mixing bowls from Williams-Sonoma, do you? Stores like Wal-Mart also sell sets of cheap stainless steel mixing bowls.

Any love for soggy fries?

Reminds me of the "fries" served in my elementary school cafeteria in the 1970s. One could hardly tell they had been fried. Limp and soggy. Not to my taste and, until I read this post, no one I had come across.

Chinese Noodles 101: How to Make Lo Mein With Beef and Broccoli

Okay, this is exactly how I have been making this dish, but almost inevitably the noodles stick to the wok. I am able to keep them from sticking by using a LOT of oil. Is that normal? The end result is dripping with oil.

Honing Steels for 15 and 20 degree edge?

Following on what @Yellow said, in my previous replies I kind of assumed your reference to a "steel" was just an error, and what you really meant was a sharpening stone. As @Yellow pointed out, steels don't create (i.e., sharpen) edges. All a steel does is straighten the microscopically ragged peaks of the edge so that it remains as sharp as possible until you have a chance to actually sharpen it with sharpening stones.

I've been led to believe steels are of secondary value to sharpening stones, and if your goal is simply to sharpen a knife, you need sharpening stones, not a steel.

Honing Steels for 15 and 20 degree edge?

Yeah, I can't imagine a steel that some manufacturer says is good for grinding a knife to a 20-degree edge is that much coarser than a steel a manufacturer says is good for grinding a 15-degree edge. Both a 15 and a 20-degree edge are pretty darn razor-thin. I suspect your 15-degree Wustof is some kind of specialty slicer designed for thin slicing, like a sashimi knife, rather than a utility knife ("chef's knife"). A utility knife typically has a 20-25 degree edge, if I'm not mistaken.

Honing Steels for 15 and 20 degree edge?

Generally speaking, the finer the honing steel/stone, the more useful it will be in forming a narrow edge. You would use a coarser steel/stone on a big blade that isn't intended for precision slicing work, like a cleaver, and a finer steel/stone on a blade that is. To take an extreme example, you'd sharpen a razor blade, which has an extremely small angle or narrow edge, using an ultra-fine steel/stone. You need ultra-fine in order to do that kind of precision sharpening work.

To answer your specific question, of course you could sharpen a slicing knife that has a 15-degree edge using a coarse stone that comes with instructions saying it's best used to sharpen knives with 20-degree edges. You might do so for the purpose of first removing the old, damaged edge. (Indeed you could probably use an even coarser stone than that.) Once the old, damaged edge is removed with the coarse stone, you would form a new edge using a finer stone, presumably a stone that comes with instructions saying it's best used to sharpen knives with a 15-degree edge.

Poll: Are You a Blotter?

I was raised on the NY style slice, which at times could have puddles of grease, but having now lived in various other regions for a long time--regions where the vast majority of pizza is chain pizza--I rarely see a slice with grease puddles. I don't care if grease puddles are a sign of low quality cheese, to me they signal authenticity. And on the rare occasion when the puddles are just too deep, I'll gladly blot. Grease is sadly absent from chain pizza.

Phenomenal Craft Beer and Whiskey and Food on Chicago Outskirts

Apparently they serve spam. "Jane Franklin" has posted this same advertisement on several other forums.

What Cut to use for home ground meatball mix

It's my understanding that the purpose of the veal component in meatball or meatloaf mix is to provide collagen that will break down during cooking and contribute mouthfeel and moisture; its fat content is essentially irrelevant to that purpose. If you want more fat, use pork fat.

I have no idea whether lamb provides the same effect as veal.

Wok safety question - post oil fire

Why would you be paranoid to cook anything in it? Burned oil in itself shouldn't harm a wok. Did you use some sort of harsh cleaning product on it? Did you scrape off the seasoning? If so, the obvious thing to do is re-season it.

Ask a Bartender: How Do I Get Into Bitter Drinks?

That's funny. I didn't like cocktails until I discovered what you call "bitter" drinks. The cocktails that were popular in past decades were all too sweet for my taste, so I drank beer.

NY vs. DC for a Californian

As much as food is a part of our lives--and some of us more than others--I highly recommend you just forget about food as a factor in deciding where to attend college. Don't let it influence your decision at all. Even if you say "all other factors are equal."

As much as four years sounds like a long time, college will be over before you know it. After college you'll have the rest of your life to seek out food and places to visit to sample foods and be able to exercise more control over where you want to live. For now, I suggest attending college wherever the college may be located that is the best fit for you. It's not as though when you're in college you will have a lot of time to spend playing with food options. If you're a typical college student, between the time you spend going to class, studying, and just trying to eke out a life, you'll be grabbing what food is convenient and affordable. We all enjoy eating out on occasion, but there is unfortunately a good reason why cafeterias exist on college campuses (and in business offices as well), and that is because people in those environments are usually pressed for time.

Substitution for Korean chili powder in Kimchee

None of the Mexican-type chiles is a good substitute for the mild Korean pepper powder known as "gochugaru" that you will need for making kimchi. (@epperhead's descriptions are apt.) Just bite the bullet and order a bag of gochugaru on-line from Amazon or elsewhere.

The Food Lab: Maximize Flavor by Ultra-Smashing Your Burger

"Crust" reminds me of the dry and, yes, crusty, burgers my mom used to make in the '70s. I used to cut off the dry exterior bits and go straight for the soft interior. I know this "smashed" style is all the rage nowadays, but it's sure not to everyone's taste.

The Arbequina Oil From Séka Hills is My New Favorite Extra Virgin Olive Oil

@BakerRB: Yeah, I immediately Googled the Capay Valley and checked out Seka Hills web site. I would like to patronize CA olive oil producers, but they are so under the radar in much of the US--almost all is from Italy and Spain. I bought some CA olive oil on-line not long ago, and it was fantastic. I suppose the likes of Trader Joe's and Whole Foods would carry it, but I don't shop there often. California olive oil is definitely out there--just takes some effort to find.

The Arbequina Oil From Séka Hills is My New Favorite Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Since I had never heard of the Capay Valley (despite having lived in the Golden State a long time), it took me a minute of reading before I realized this is California olive oil. The foreign-sounding names had me confused.


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