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The Food Lab's BLT Manifesto

Note that in such a controversial article, no one takes exception to Rule 10. Because one cannot argue with Rule 10. It is always correct.

Why a Control State Liquor Store Might Be Your Best Bet for Finding Rare and Interesting Spirits

Maryland is county-by-county quirks and Montgomery County (the rich DC suburbs on the MD side) is terrible. The laws are weirdly convoluted, all alcohol (wholesale or retail) must be sourced through the county anyway despite some of the retail laws, restaurants have a terrible time getting special orders (meaning not Yellowtail or Bud Light), and we are losing restauranteurs due to this.

But booze brings in more money than taxes on dining.

And I found the Trader Joe's most convenient to me in VA, so cheap table wine can now be mine again! (no one in their right mind pays $11 for vinho verde.)

Like any business, it comes down to management who cares about quality versus the quick buck. Aaron found some managers who care about particular items. Many of us in control areas are living with managers who just want to move volume of everything. In some ways it's a great article, but it's kind of disingenuous to leave out the context of "this is cool because it's not the norm".

6 Unexpected Factors That Can Ruin Your Gelatin Desserts

Excellent timing! I promised champagne gêlée for an event next month (because champagne requires a grander title than "jello shots"), so this should help me not screw it up.

Star Crunch: The Galaxy's Best No-Bake Cookie


Little Debbie had such wonderful ideas that rarely worked out in practice because of all the preservatives. Star Crunch, Nutty Bars, whatever those apple things were. But I swear Swiss Cake Rolls were better than Ho Hos, despite the fact you could peel the chocolate coating off. (Despite? Maybe because of. I'm never sure. But the cake was less dry, I swear, and peeling the chocolate off was fun though it's not as if it tasted like anything.)

The Comfort Food Diaries: Cupcakes, Reclaimed

Thank you. I think cupcakes did get derided with the bubble because the market was female and it's so easy to mock women for basically being children.

Cupcakes are awesome. Good cake, made as cupcakes (not grocery store cupcakes with terrible icing), is awesome. Why? Because it's single-serve cake. The edges are never dried out. They are reasonably sized (when did you last see a reasonably-sized slice of cake from a bakery?). The same reasons they have been provided to children for years - portion control and easy clean up - are good reasons for adults, too.

So, as a single person who enjoys cake, I have eaten my share of cupcakes. I'd be an idiot not to.

The Comfort Food Diaries: All I Want Are Some Potato Skins

With the rise of the hipster dive bar fetishisation, I ought to be able to get me some "nice" potato skins that don't involve velveeta or gummy sour cream, right? WRONG. None of them have kitchens :(

I didn't understand how much I missed potato skins until they were apparently passé and thus not on the menu of the nearby sports bar (sports bar! Chain sports bar!) where we had several work happy hours. What's a work happy hour without potato skins? I feel that much of your pain. (And some of the layoff woes - in my case it was the contract from hell coming to an end but with no new work in sight. Rats were leaving the sinking ship, the contract holder had inherited us and wanted to screw with us before we finished, so I know that feeling of constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop on your head. There is no comfort to be had, even from commiseration and bar food.)

And, Action! The True-Life Tale of a Reluctant Food Network Star

Tyson, why do you always make me cry?!

Another fantastic article.

The Food Lab: Here's What I'm Eating on Thanksgiving

One of my roommates got a free turkey from her workplace, so I'm making Thanksgiving again this year for everyone and no one because they both already have other plans. But we'll be noshing on leftovers when they come back, along with the two free pies that my other roommate got from her workplace.

Keeping it very basic, then - roasted turkey, spiced cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes possibly spicy or possibly maple (haven't decided yet), and green beans with shallots. It's all being designed to be one nice meal for me and good leftovers.

Pork Tenderloin With Bourbon-Soaked Figs Is As Quick As It Is Classy

Somehow, I had a tragic lack of brown alcohol in the house, but I forged ahead with my last maybe 2 ounces of dark rum. So little that there was nothing left to flambé when the bubbling died down.

Even with that sad substitution, this recipe was fabulous. Will definitely make again after a much-needed trip to the liquor store.

Microwave Cooking for One and All: 8 Great Tips Every Home Cook Should Know

Put a plate on top of your bowl. Now you have a lid and don't need plastic wrap. Ideal for veg. Obviously works best when all items are round and your bowl doesn't have a funky edge shape, but veg don't need to be hermetically sealed anyway, so it'll still work.

The Real Origins of the Boiled Peanut

Yay, new Robert Moss!

Can we also get an explanation of peanuts in Coke because WTF, South?

The Best Desserts in NYC for $3 and Under

Shouldn't Triple C be Quadruple C? Cookie, Caramel, Coconut, Chocolate.

The Chain Breaker: A Dairy Queen Like No Other

@Chuckswagon What horrible circle of hell have we entered as a society where chocolate soft serve is not a standard offering at Dairy Queen, of all places?!

Maybe it's best I don't have any near enough to really patronise so I didn't have to discover this sadness through abject real disappointment at the denial of a twisted cone. (Dilly Bars = only good part of elementary school sports days.)

The Real History of Hushpuppies

Yet more fabulous work from Robert Moss!

(I want hushpuppies now. So badly.)

Cool off With Cold Ramen: How to Make Hiyashi Chuka at Home

Would this be a plausible lunchbox item, or would the noodles get too cold/firm/sticky overnight?

Dim Sum Goes Deutsch: Pretzel Bao With Hot Mustard Pork Filling

I just don't want to put this much effort into drunkfood, but I would happily patronise a Morgan Eisenberg drinking establishment. On a daily basis.

Cooking With Bacon? Store it in the Freezer for Maximum Ease

Last time i bought ends and pieces from TJ's, it had more normal strips than just pieces, so awesome cost savings. Need to do that again now that I've finished it off.

Taste Test: The Best Supermarket Bacon

For everyone complaining about 'national brands', I'm curious how much due diligence you expect SE staff to do in order to determine availability.


I'd say that looks to have pretty wide distribution, especially with the widespread geographic presence of offices and facilities (

Does anyone have actual suggestions for improvement in geographic investigation?

Forget Totchos, Nugchos, and Spamchos; Steakchos are The Ultimate Nacho Hybrid

Step 2 is absolutely true. I haven't had a decent piece of meat since 2008.

Kenji's Best Fast Food Awards (A Totally Biased, Completely Incomplete List)

Shake Shack isn't road food since all their locations are in the middle of a city, not directly next to an interstate exit.

Therefore, Steak 'n' Shake wins all the things on shakes. And burgers. My experience with Shake Shack has been very disappointing for the money, while for about half the price, Steak 'n' Shake will give me a just as good burger and tiny fries on a real plate (add extra for the bean crock). I appreciate not everyone likes the tiny fries, but you really can't beat the quality, price, and service. I have no idea how they're still managing to do it, but it makes me proud to be from Bloomington, IL.

How Cereal Became the Quintessential American Breakfast

The most fascinating thing about current cereal trends is the advent of adult sugar cereal - back in the 90s, chocolate and marshmallows were decidedly for children, but now Special K (freaking Special K that my 80 year old grandmother ate until she died in 1995 because it was diet cereal) now has chocolate.

I grew up on Grape Nuts and wasn't allowed Lucky Charms or Super Golden Crisp or Pops or anything "fun". Raisin Nut Bran was the most fun I could have. This brave new world of adult cereal confuses and terrifies me.

Don't Call Chicken and Dumplings Depression-Era Cheap Eats

Yet another fantastic article from Robert Moss!

Agree with Zuckys Cookies - so often, these articles for non-history sites traffic in wives' tales rather than legitimate historical research. I love that I can trust Serious Eats to be as serious on the history as well as on the eats.

Best series after Food Lab, and really for the same reasons.

How to Taste (and Fall in Love With) Raw Honey

A lot of wildflower honey will have a heavy dose of clover, therefore won't taste tremendously different than grocery store honey (except that it's better, but subtly so and YMMV). Wildflower just means the bees roam and clover is widespread, common forage in at least the eastern and midwestern US.

The really fun varieties come after an apiary has made a pollination visit: almond, cranberry, blueberry, avocado, radish. It's a tasty agricultural byproduct :)

My favourite local apiary is The Bee Folks - they contract with pollinating apiaries for specialty varieties and sell local honey as well. My favourites right now are bamboo and cranberry. If you're in the mid-Atlantic, they're a constant presence at the Maryland and Pennsylvania Rennaissance Festivals and at Pennsic War.

I strongly suspect that similar relationships exist throughout the country and your local festivals may be great sources for vendors.

Should You Really Only Cook With Wine You'd Drink? The Truth About Cooking With Wine

I'd say the cooking wine worked in that recipe because fried chicken can handle a higher sodium load, and you were only deglazing for a pan sauce. A braise would probably have led to the horrific results expected.

I bought my first Bota Box a couple weeks ago for a red wine braised pot roast with the plan to follow up with a coq au vin. The chicken hasn't happened yet, but for $20.49 for 3 liters, it's on par with the table wines I usually buy for $6.99 a bottle (I'm in one of those terrible jurisdictions where I can't get Two Buck Chuck for these purposes), so I'm basically getting a fourth bottle free and the convenience of still having wine on hand. Might not buy this merlot again for drinking straight but would definitely continue to experiment with the boxes. The pot roast called for 3 cups and was very tasty.