I listen to music. I cook. I blog about it. Mayhem ensues.

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  • Location: Arizona
  • Favorite foods: Peaches, pecans, and peanut butter.
  • Last bite on earth: Make it chocolate, please!

How often do you price compare when you shop?

I always price-compare, though I will sometimes pay slightly more in order to reduce the level of hassle in my life.

For instance, where I live, canned white Great Northern beans cost 78 cents in Target's Market Pantry brand, 89 cents in a national brand, and $1 at the dollar store. If I'm already at the 99 Cents Only and getting massive bargains on other staples, and there's no reason I'd want to go to Target for another week or so, I'll go ahead and pay more for the beans. Saving 22 cents each on two cans of beans doesn't justify 30 minutes on the train each way to Target!

I have similar benchmark price ranges for just about everything I regularly buy. Or if it's something like "I want nuts and don't deeply care which nuts," I will go to a store that's reliable about having low nut prices and buy whichever sort has the best price.

A Brief Guide to the Wonderful World of Entenmann's Doughnuts

@BeavisPeters -- They're not so much stale as weirdly moist and dense, as if they're simply donut-shaped snack cakes. I haven't eaten one since I was too young to know better; if absolutely forced to consume one unjustifiable food of my youth, I'd go for Dolly Madison raspberry zingers before I'd touch Entenmenn's anything.

Getting high on Cinnabon?

This is part of the liquor industry's notions about marketing hard liquor to women. I wish I were making it up, but I'm not. This was explained to me about the time I bought the bottle of cheap pineapple vodka that I occasionally use in fruity things. I would not hurry to do another bottle of flavored vodka in any flavor.

Any love for soggy fries?

My, I'm feeling relief that the last time I passed a 5 Guys, I ate somewhere else!

I was thinking of donating to @theotherworldly the fries at Marylns', a local fish 'n' chips chain where the fish is as fabulous as one is likely to get in landlocked Phoenix, but the fries are limp and steamy. I suppose some time I should try eating-in and seeing if the fries are better when not transported in a foam clamshell.

I don't have a....

Nope, you're not alone! I don't live in NYC, but I have a small house and a small budget, so I don't own any of the items you mention. I don't even own a double boiler! (A mixing bowl on top of a soup pot works just fine when I want to melt chocolate.)

I learned to cook from vintage cookbooks where half of today's equipment doesn't exist anyway, and where you're encouraged to proportion ingredients by eye, taste, and texture, so I don't miss the equipment.

We Try Everything On Taco Bell's New Breakfast Menu

There was definitely a Taco Bell breakfast in the 1990s -- here's a commercial for it:

I don't personally remember this actually happening, but it's possible there were regions where it was never rolled out or that some major franchisees didn't do it.

Share Your Sweets: Easter Inspiration

So much wonderfulness... but the angelfood-with-lemon-curd-and-strawberry-frosting is what I'd like random passersby to serve me, like, right now. I want to go have brunch so I can eat this cake afterward.

Manner Matters: Dealing with Dietary Demands

It's a running joke in my family, when I plan a holiday menu, that one of my sisters is likely to email the day before the event to announce that she's gone vegan and gluten-free. I actively prefer to delay the grocery shopping until the day before, so my rule is that she can announce heretofore unknown dietary needs until 36 hours before the event. After T-36, no further accommodations will be made, and she can bring her own food or gnaw carrot sticks or whatever.

I'm waiting for her to change this up by bringing a boyfriend who has a dangerous peanut allergy or something, where I positively have to change the menu or be the (literal) killer of her romantic hopes.

Anyway, spot-on answer!

CakeSpy: Cadbury Creme Egg in Hole Toast

@arielleeve -- Having given up on Cadbury about the time that Mondelez (then Kraft) bought them (because the quality had declined so far), I'd vote that your husband buys the eggs, croons over them for a few months, then throws them out without eating them. They really *were* better when he was a kid.

Can I Substitute Dried Beans for Canned?

Yup, the standard rule is that dried beans roughly double in volume when cooked. Old cookbooks used to cover this because so many people used the dried ones.

Goya's probably retaining that beautiful red by pressure-cooking the beans.

Once upon a time, I used to have no trouble at all with dried beans, but at some point, I lost my dried-bean mojo. I suspect the store stock I'm buying starts out old, then gets older as it sits in my cupboard while I dread cooking dried beans.

Pizza Poll: How Do You Like Your Sausage?

Large chunks (with fennel, please!) or slices (and where's my linguiça, dammit? nobody out here uses it).

Crumbles or pebbles are what I expect to see on $1 personal pizzas, which I eat far too many of, but which I don't really consider to be pizza in the serious sense, and more than a PB&J sandwich can be mistaken for steak.

How to Make Sprinkles Ice Cream (and Set Your Inner Child Free)

I was thinking more along the lines of tutti-frutti ice cream (which is a thing and has a fine history) and just add sprinkles for color. (I know nothing of this blogger but she illustrates the concept.)

Or blue moon ice cream, which essentially tastes like Fruity Pebbles and has the added panache of being bright blue.

Staff Picks: What's Your Favorite Quick-and-Easy Lunch?

Mix pinto beans and white beans on a 50/50 ratio, add jalapenos or salsa to taste while heating. With corn and chunked yams or squash, it's an easy interpretation of a traditional native food in my region. With taco chips and cheese, it's either chilaquiles (if you put the chips in the beans to absorb liquid) or nachos (if you pour the beans over the top of the cheese). You can add sausage or chorizo or leftover chicken or ground beef or leftover pot roast. If you're out of most ingredients or past caring, the bean-jalapeno mixture by itself contains protein, fiber, and a nice kick.

14 Sweet and Spicy Desserts We Love

Well, this indirectly answers my wondering why my chocolate cookies with white pepper are not satisfactorily spicy. I usually make them with ancho chili powder...and there appears to be consensus that ancho chili is the correct way to do it.

Chain Reaction: We Try McDonald's Bacon Clubhouse Sandwiches

@Nicholas Byrd -- So far, McDonald's attempt to upgrade has not gone well. It axed an entire line of (failed) premium burgers before introducing this one. Same-store sales perform weakly, despite menu changes and aesthetic upgrades, and complaints about the quality of service are so rampant that the company has had to admit that there's a problem.

It's emblematic of the current McDonald's that, after admitting in February that the menu is too large and complicated, management went right on expanding it.

Open Thread: White Chocolate, Yay or Nay?

Yay. I think it's silly as a flavoring (e.g., "white chocolate Jell-O pudding"), since it basically tastes creamy and sweet and not much else, but I'll happily eat it as a candy or dip. If somebody would wander through the office complex handing out Lindt white-chocolate balls right about now, that would be good.

New $12 Burger Lands at McDonald's in Switzerland...or Does It?

Well, $7.39 is more than a burger costs me at Smashburger (fast-casual chain), Harvey's Original Wineburger (truly fine local dive), or Original Hamburger Shop (local Fuddrucker's equivalent). So for McDonald's, I'd call that le pricey.

Poll: How Does the New 'American-Style Pizza-Burger' from Freshness Burger Make You Feel?

When I hear the term "pizza burger," I expect marinara sauce and provolone on my burger, with maybe some mushrooms or pepperoncini or even actual pepperoni.

Clearly, my expectations are inadequate to the splendor that is Japanese fast food.

I note on their web site that the featured "cream soda" is green.

(moderately) enraging little debbie clickbait...

The author of the list is clearly under the false impression that snack cakes are actual pastries and should be taste-tested as such. This is wrong.

Snack cakes live in their own culinary universe, in which one of the higher purposes is to be chocolate-coated and creme-filled. Do not diss the Swiss Roll!

Know Your Sweets: Angel Food Cake

@sbertie -- I'm envisioning flipping the loaf pan over, with something under the corners to elevate it. If the cake didn't rise above the top of the loaf pan, it could just sit upside-down on the cooling rack.

The problem that's puzzling me, though, is that tube pans have that lock on the side so you unwrap the pan from the cake instead of trying to pry the cake out. Loaf pans call for prying. My best and largest loaf pan is non-stick, but I've never tried making angel food cake in a non-stick pan.

What to do With Leftover Condensed Milk

Easy pseudo-kulfi. Condensed milk, an egg (if you're not scared of raw eggs), lime juice, lime zest, cardamom. Scoop into small parfait glasses and freeze. I did it by feel, back when I used to do it (this is kind of a calorie bomb), but there's probably a recipe somewhere. You want a tart juice to cut the insane sweetness a bit.

Mixed Review: Pillsbury Blue Raspberry, Key Lime, and Orangesicle Cookie Mixes

So basically, deploy them for Pinterest projects but don't feed them to grown-ups?

I'm so glad you covered these. My fingers were itching every time I passed the boxes, just because they're weird, but I would not be very happy about actually eating them.

Manner Matters: Bread and Butter Basics

This is how I eat bread at dinner because it's what I learned in my etiquette-book-reading phase.

I've never seen anybody else in the U.S. do it this way, even at formal events where the guests were wallowing in their own aura of Armani tailoring. They all put the butter on their dish, butter the whole bread item, and then pick it up and take bites. I suspect I have a mild reputation for having my fingers all over my food and eating in a bizarrely bird-like way. That does not necessarily motivate me to change.

Toast and biscuits at breakfast, I do butter all at once so that the butter melts properly.

Staff Picks: What to Drink at a Not-Great Bar

Even dive bars in Phoenix carry local microbrews in a bottle.

Otherwise, I order whiskey and coke. Bartenders know how to make it, the proportions aren't touchy, they have the ingredients, and the order can be shouted over the noise of a crowd and still come out right.

Behind the Scenes: Making (and Setting Fire to) DBGB's Baked Alaska

Technically, it's a Bombe Alaska, due to being set on fire.

If we wanted to get completely technical -- which I do, today, because I am troubled by a Baked Alaska that's been nowhere near an oven -- it should be a Bombe Alaska Brulée, since being hit with a blow torch is usually considered equivalent to going under the broiler.

Make it with an ice cream flavor more interesting than vanilla, though, and I'd forgive it for all sorts of imprecise nomenclature, under the Setting Food on Fire Is Good exception.

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