How to Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet and Organize it—for Good

Oh sh*t, I saw a masala dabba at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago, unused, for five bucks. I wanted it, but had no idea what it was and didn't just want to accumulate stuff. Had I but known...

One Brand of Coconut Water Destroys All Others

I had antibiotic colitis as a kid. Nasty. As part of my recovery, I had to drink a lot of Lytrin and PediaLyte. More sickening stuff there never was. Coconut water tastes just like Lytrin to me. And not for nothing, it is loaded with electrolytes. Good for you, I guess, but vile. Mind you, I have never had fresh coconut water. Is this one brand good enough that I would like it? The other stuff makes my throat constrict with revulsion. My eyes water just thinking about it.

Real Talk: Stop Bashing Ice Cream Stabilizers

Snapshots From Turkey: Kenji's Best Bites From Istanbul

Dondurma is one of the two food items on my bucket list. The other is honeypot ants.

But what, no lokum?

Take it With You: The Best Culinary Souvenirs

The best souvenirs are the things you can use. I have long stainless steel spoons from Seoul that I use every day to make the honey-citron tea that I have to go to Flushing to find. But I also treasure another food souvenir you do not mention: seashells. I have some gorgeous turquoise-colored abalone shells that will always invoke, not only the volcanic peaks and Haenyo stations and the black sand beaches of Jeju, but also the briny oyster-like flavor of the abalone itself.

(But what's wrong with mismatched plates? The whole concept of matching dishes is just marketing brainwashing. Wabisabi mix & match is where it's at!)

Mull, Muddle, and the 12-Gallon Soup Pot: The Secret History of the South's Most Obscure Stew

Maybe the reason that chef tried to make a gluten-free version was because he, or somebody he cared about, had Celiac disease but was pining for the stew. Sorry if it was screwing it up for you. In the future you might develop some kind of dietary health issue. I hope not. It sucks. But there is, at least, the benefit of a bit more empathy. And, truth be told, sometimes those kinds of dietarily-mandated recipe adaptations are tasty food in their own right.

How the West Coast Became a Cheesemaking Titan

Can a region or a location be a Titan? I think not. A titan is a deity, a rank, a person, not a place or thing.

The Best Gin to Buy on a Budget

I still cannot forgive you for suggesting Evan Williams bourbon. Gag! Ack! Paint thinner!

The Best Way to Mince Garlic

I understood these properties of garlic in a general way. Interesting to know just how much of a difference the processing method makes. Every single cell has its statement to make, you go from a group, to a gang, to a crowd, to a mob, to a horde capable of overrunning the Great Wall!

Perhaps next you could break down the caramelization thing by degrees, just as an excuse to sing the praises of black garlic.

The Better Fruitcake: Baking Stollen at NYC's Bien Cuit Bakery

I am not keen on marzipan eaten straight out of hand, but it is dreamy when you bake with it. Yes, yes, yes, as filling in a stollen. But also, swap out a sheet of it for the top crust on an apple pie. It makes beautiful latticework and it tastes delicious!

Black Garlic From 'Bar Tartine'

Are rice cookers and slow cookers safe to leave on for weeks at a time? I don't believed they are designed for it. I would think this would be a terrible fire hazard.

The Food Lab's Emergency Cooking Kit: How to Fit All the Tools You Need in One Small Box

That short paring knife, with classic blade, I just want to add, is amazing. It is the cutlery equivalent of a Mazda Miata. It's cute, functional and fun to use. The roadster turns on a dime, a 2.5" classic paring knife will pivot on a molecule. I get behind of the wheel of the Miata and I smile, every time. I pick up the little paring knife and it makes me happy to use it. Good design is a beautiful thing.

I don't understand why only the 3.5" versions are commonly available. They just don't pivot for sh*t!

The Food Lab's Emergency Cooking Kit: How to Fit All the Tools You Need in One Small Box

I would add some sort of colander or basket strainer to that list. I learned on a stainless hybrid cleaver, instead of a chef's knife. I'm no pro, so what the heck, I will soldier on with my decade's long bad habit there. But it spares me the need of a bench scraper because I use the cleaver blade to transport the chopped stuff. Also I would certainly add a paring knife to the list. I have an old 2.5" that I adore. For small hands, it's much better than the larger ones. It has a straight blade instead of a birdbeak, the closest thing I see around like it is the Wusthof Classic 2-3/4" fluting knife. I can skip the blender, thanks. And if I am camping, I very much like one of those light flexible cutting surfaces.

The Food Lab Turbo: Why You Should Really Be Grilling Your Cabbage

I'm a cabbage freak, always have been. I get teased about it. It's a peasant food that never had the popular affection that, say, potatoes do here in the USA.

I love grilling. I love grilled vegetables.

Grilled cabbage? GRILLED CABBAGE! OMFG, why has this never occurred to me?


/runs outside to start the fire

Cheese 101: Why Imported Italian Mozzarella Isn't Always Better

In North Haven, Connecticut, Luizzi has been making top-notch motz for years. They also have a terrific selection of imported cheese (and other goodies) and make a wicked sandwich. But if you live in New Haven, you probably know this. I suspect that Luizzi cheese may play a role in the excellence of the local pizza.

How Korean Cuisine Got Huge in America (And Why It Took So Long)

@ Bill Woods. I'm thinking that's a typo. The fifth is savory/umami.

Coffee Science: How to Make the Best Pourover Coffee at Home

You want the foam to be light colored. If the crema is a dark brown, your water is too hot.

Behind the Scenes: Making Edible Blown Glass at Aureole, NYC

Neato. Now they need to get all Dale Chihuly on it.

The Problems With Cinnabon's New Salted Caramel Center of the Roll Start With the Name

Ask the Food Lab: What's the Point of Bay Leaves?

During childhood summers spent on Block Island, RI, I learned that bayberry leaves (Myrica sp.)can be used in much the same way as bay leaves (Laurus nobilis). The flavors are not exactly the same, but they do add a background note that I like to use in chowders. There's something pleasing about using a plant I associate with childhood beach days to season seafood.

Most people know the plant for candles traditionally made from the waxy berries. If you've smelled those candles, you have an idea of the flavors. It could probably be infused to good effect. I'm waiting for someone to introduce a New England martini.

And although the plant grows in temperate zones, its preferred seaside habitat means the sturdy salt-tolerant leaves take to drying very well. Best of all, from my broke-ass point of view, the bushes are common so this ingredient is FREE.

What Happens When You Add Olive Oil to a Cocktail?

Walnut oil isn't flavored oil, at least not in the sense that a flavored oil has flavor added. Walnut oil is an oil with flavor.

This makes me want to play with bottle of hazelnut oil in the fridge. And if you want to talk about flavored oils, howzabout those truffle-infused oils, eh?

Market Tour: Slodycze Wedel is Greenpoint's Go-To for Polish Candy

Europol Deli & Gifts in Derby, CT has a pretty rockin' selection of candy. This reminds me, I have to skitter down there to load for the offspring's Easter basket because nobody does Easter goodies like the Poles do!

My Polish grandmother always had a selection of fruit candies in various fancy glass jars and dishes in her dining room. My favorites were shaped like raspberries and had soft centers. YUM!

There's a Spanish Chain Called Taste of America and This is What They Sell

It doesn't look like they do stock maple syrup. It looks like they stock maple-flavored high fructose corn syrup.

The Best Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce

I get the link to this palm oil recipe in my email and right next to it is a message from the Union of Concerned Scientists about how palm oil is one of the most environmentally destructive crops on the planet.

Especially bad news for orangs, ook ook ook!

Drinking Traditions From Around the World

Speaking of protein flavoring, I've heard of a Newfoundland Screech rum tradition that entailed smooching a dead codfish. Not sure if this is still done since cod have been extirpated from the Grand Banks.

ROIA in New Haven

My mom's birthday is coming up and I'm looking for a place for a small family get together. ROIA (where Hot Tomatoes used to be in the Taft hotel) has been suggested. The reviews are all over the place. The NYT loved ROIA, a fair number of yelpers, not so much.

What say you Serious Eaters of the Nutmeg State? Anyone been to ROIA and have any opinions on it?

Acqua Tonica from San Pellegrino

I've been in mourning for those cute little bottles of Sanbitter soda that no one seems to carry anymore. But I stumbled across a San Pellegrino Acqua Tonica at Stop & Shop of all places. Comes in a six pack of glass bottles. Price closer to Schweppes than the boutique four packs at the natural foods places. I liked it. Was lovely with Mt. Gay. Not sure how it would hold up with Tanquerey, as it was a gentle sort of tonic water. Has anyone else tried it? I don't see it on the company's website, but maybe I just didn't look that hard.

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