This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Yay! Finally more animals!

Forget Warm Spinach and Bacon: Warm Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Salad is the Way to Go

Very important and totally reasonable request: come to Chicago and have the Brussels sprouts salad at Sunda, figure out how to make it, and share the recipe with us. I have dreams about that salad. They do the same thing with the leaves and I think maybe they lightly fry them?

Oooor just figure it out from the menu's description:

brussels sprouts, red cabbage, carrots, chilies, fried
shallots, minced shrimp nuoc cham, vinaigrette

Please please pretty please?

How to Waffle Your Ramen (Yeah, You Read That Right)

I'm not sure how good this sounds, but I love that waffle has become a verb here, partly because it reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes:

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: The Toll of Owning Your Business

Wow, I wish I had a insightful comment to add, but I'm still feeling a little dumbstruck. Very thoughtful and moving.

How to Cook the Perfect Roast Chicken

Just wanted to add that I also like pulling up oldies but goodies. I find myself in cooking ruts a lot as I deal with some chronic fatigue, and sometimes I really need a reminder of how many really good but pretty basic things there are out there. I come again and again to the sources where the recipes usually turn out the best, and this is one of them.

Win a Copy of 'Ovenly'

Anything involving cured meat -- bacon-wrapped dates, melone e prosciutto, bacon and maple

Win a Copy of 'Plenty More'

When they're in season, I tend to throw pomegranate seeds into just about any veggie side dish, salad, or pureed veggie soup. Not that unusual, I think, but for as ubiquitous as Pom juice has become, a lot of people still aren't familiar with the seeds themselves, which are pretty beautiful, so someone always asks what they are.

Manner Matters: How to Deal With Lateness

Glad to read that I'm not the only person who phases these people out of my life. Sometimes I wonder if I'm a little harsh, but even if I am, it seems I have good company :)

@SheilaC, generally, if I see a comment complaining about the content of an article and I'm wonder why the poster even bothered to read it, it's sdfishtaco. :-P

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Aw come on, if part of Serious Eats' rebranding is downplaying the pets in the weekly recap, I'm gonna throw a full on hissy fit.

Manner Matters: How to Deal With Lateness

Maybe it's just my experience, but these people's lack of consideration tends to rear its head in other ways, too -- playing with their phone through a meal, being weird about splitting checks, attitude toward wait staff, etc. Basically, lateness in itself is not a personality trait, but self-absorption is. Being a little bit of a wild card often makes these people fun in other ways, and I think that's why we tend to keep them around against our better judgement. If you talk to them and it doesn't help, I think you have to think about what you both get out of your relationship and how much effort you want to continue to invest in it.

And to be clear, I'm just talking about people who show a chronic disregard for punctuality. We all have days where we get stuck late in a meeting or have to double back home to get our wallet or when a crazy man throws garbage on the train tracks and causes a huge transit delay (why yes, that happened to a friend on his way to meet me for dinner last week, on my birthday no less). If someone can give me a quick call/text about something like this, I'm very forgiving and usually ask if there's a drink they'd like waiting for them when they arrive, because that's how I'd want them to treat me on the days when it's my turn to for life to get in the way.

The Serious Eats Field Guide to Chinese Pastries

@santiago Cardona, you're not alone. I don't even have that much of a sweet tooth -- I'm more of a salty person -- but Asian desserts usually turn me off.

Bacon and Avocado Take Your In-N-Out Animal-Style Double Double to the Next Level

I'm also realizing from where I sit right now next to a historic meatpacking district in Chicago, the idea of a burger place not offering bacon is an entirely foreign concept to me.

Bacon and Avocado Take Your In-N-Out Animal-Style Double Double to the Next Level

But I feel like the whole point of fast food is not to have to prepare a picnic of sorts to take with you when you go get it.

That's what my brain says. My stomach says NOM NOM BACON NOW RRRRAAARRRRRR

The Food Lab: Make Your Own Just-Add-Hot-Water Instant Noodles (and Make Your Coworkers Jealous)

Great minds think alike! This is essentially what I packed for lunch today.

Instead of putting all the ingredients for one serving in a single container, I keep the groups of prepared ingredients separated but pack enough for several days. So there's broth and meat, veggies and noodles, and toppings -- each enough for 3 days.

If you don't have a big office fridge or access to a real bowl in which to combine them, that may be harder to do, but I when I make a big batch of soup, that's the faster way to pack it.

@MoEats, that mug is great. It got me through a hospital stay where all I wanted was Campbell's soup, but the microwave was on a different floor and my mom wasn't keen on scalding herself when she delivered it. I know that jars are so hot right now, but they are literally so hot. Those mugs are so much more practical.

@adnan, I love Better Than Bouillon, too, but find that it has a little bit of a grit that never fully dissolves that sneaks up on you during your last few bites.

I am not surprised to learn that I have strong opinions on soup.

Manner Matters: In Praise of Place Cards

@NWcajun, took the words right out of my mouth.

I loooove place cards. They're such an easy deterrent to situations that make eating with a group less enjoyable -- the where-do-I-sit dance, the poor leftie who keeps smacking elbows with his neighbor because he couldn't get a seat at the end, the painfully shy person who gets stuck with people he doesn't know.

Other than the snark, there are some great comments here. I agree that the event/crowd/formality all impact how you should seat people, but my general thought is that it's nice to seat couples nearish each other, but not directly next to each other. I've just been next to so many couples that end up talking quietly to each other (or recently, constantly checking golf scores on a phone placed in between them, ugh). If they're seated across or even kitty corner, they can still talk just fine and enjoy each other's company, but without excluding the people around them to have an intimate moment. Intimacy is great, but not at the expense of ignoring the people you're eating with.

@MargieNash, I think it's totally fine to do small numbers of place cards if you just make the cards themselves less formal. Buy some fun stuff at a dollar store that people can take home with them as a party favor -- could be anything from plastic dinosaurs to decks of cards.

Why Newfoundland Needs to Be Your Next Culinary Travel Destination

The only things I really knew about Newfoundland before this came from The Shipping News -- if you haven't read it, it's really excellent and will also make you want to go visit the island.

Taste Test: Is Domestic Parmesan Cheese Worth Using?

Whole Foods' parm is pretty delicious. I remember the first time I got it, intending to use it in a recipe, but then after sampling a sliver, I sat down and devoured it a shaving at a time. When I'm in the cheese section there now, I sometimes imagine elaborate scenarios ala Ocean's Eleven whereby I can roll a wheel right out of the store without anyone noticing, because that stuff is definitely more expensive than the ones mentioned here.

On a side note, I'm befuddled by a lot of the comments on these kind of articles of late. This is a site that's always had a quasi-scientific approach to taste testing -- more anal-retentive than your average joe, less rigorous than a publishing researcher -- and lately it seems like they can do no right in terms of their methods. I shudder to think what some people might have said about the scientific validity of Hambone's various taste tests.

That reminds me: how about some more Hambone taste tests? Inquiring minds need to know. Yuba's invited, too.

Should You Refrigerate Tomatoes? Further Testing Says...

All the science and arguing has been interesting, don't get me wrong, but I think I still had the definitive argument on the last post:
Tomatoes out on the counter in the summer = fruit flies
Tomatoes sealed in the fridge in the summer = no fruit flies

A One-Pot Fish and Cheese Recipe (That Really Works!): Snapper With Brown Rice, Avocado, and Cheese

There are plenty of times when fish and cheese are great together (lobster mac and cheese, anyone?), but I think people's main issue has to do with prototype theory in psychology. Prototype theory is that some things within a category better represent all the things in that category. The classic example is that a robin is a more prototypical example of a bird than a penguin is. It's a little broader and captures "birdness" better.

So back to this situation: I'd say that my prototype for fish is either salmon or a generic white fish fillet (cod or tilapia or some such), and when I think about cheese, it's cheddar. So basically when I read the words fish and cheese, my mind is already starting to conjure up a salmon fillet with melted cheddar on top of it even though there are myriad other fish/cheese dishes that deliciously exist that would make more sense, like this salad, which rocks my world:

Basically my theory is that you can blame prototype theory for kneejerk reactions about combining fish and cheese.

How to Make Rich and Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo That Won't Weigh You Down

My mom makes something along these lines over the holidays. She just adds, butter, cream, and parm to linguine. I've asked for a recipe, but she just throws it all in "until it feels right, shrug" -- thanks, mom, real helpful. My toddler cousins started referring to it as Christmas Noodles, and a couple decades later, the rather inelegant name has stuck and they still ask you to pass the Christmas Noodles even if we're eating together in July.

It also warms my heart that someone got here with that quote from The Office before me.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

There really need to be disclaimers when there are no animals featured. LACKOFPETRAGE

Singapore-Style Soft Cooked Eggs With Kaya Jam and Toast

For anyone else who didn't know what the heck pandan and kaya jam are, this is what I found:

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

@canihavesome, there's also the issue of structural integrity. If the business end of the spoon is weighty with a handle that's slimmed down and you pick up a heaping mound of hearty stew, the bowl could snap clean off.

As for me, I've just learned that my counter will be in need of a wipe down no matter what I cook and have made peace with just putting a dirty spoon or whisk straight on the counter. Funnily enough, I actually came to this realization after buying a spoon rest. The counter still accumulated splatters and drips, only now I had another dish to clean. It's still pretty useful if I'm cooking a brothy soup where the drips will start to run after a little while, but for anything more viscous, what the heck, the counter is already covered in tomato splatters and veggie scraps that fell off the cutting board.

Manner Matters: Does She Have to Bring Her Boyfriend?

Yep, just communicate some more. I'll add to that that if she feels that you're deliberately trying to exclude the boyfriend, she might fear that you dislike him and be making a concerted effort to bring him in order to give you more opportunities to get to know him. Plan a couple dinners where you make sure to explicitly extend the invitation to him. At that point, you should feel free to explicitly un-invite him to one and see how it goes over: "I snagged a great reservation for 2 at that restaurant we wanted to try. Is Jim okay if you and I make it a girls-only night?"

I also have this happen with people besides significant others -- usually roommates or coworkers, people who happen to be nearby -- and find that there's just a certain personality type that tends to under-inform when they're bringing someone along with them. I know the couple friends who tend to do this and just make the extra effort to ask them if anyone else is joining us on the day we have plans.

The Picky Eater Challenge: Helping Kids (and Adults!) Try New Foods Without Tricks

I think cutseyfying food can be a legit tactic in moderation. My mom called brussels sprouts little Snuffies -- because Snuffleupagus's favorite food was cabbage -- and we literally ate it up. Or, when one of us was grossed out by the leaf in our stew bowl (a bay leaf), she ad-libbed that it was the lucky bay leaf. Worked like a charm.

I think helping in the prep is a great idea. When I try a new food, it helps for me to sample the item by itself and understand what I'm tasting, which is much easier if you're involved in the prep. For example, the first couple of times I had lychee, it was in mixed drinks with other flavors. I wasn't really sure what the lychee taste was and it was kind of a distraction from enjoying the drinks. Once I tasted a couple on their own, it was no longer that mystery flavor.

@SinoSoul, not sure if serious...

My first taste of Meyer lemon?

I've read so much about Meyer lemons, but never tried one, so when I saw them at the store yesterday I had to grab one.

Having never tasted one before, what's the best way to first experience it? I know it's sweeter than your typical lemon, but I figured I still shouldn't just bite into it like any other fruit, yet I also don't want to make something too strong or convoluted that doesn't let me taste the difference between it and your run-of-the-mill lemon.

Suggestions and/or recipes would be greatly appreciated!