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Staff Picks: Our Favorite No-Shame Snacks for When No One's Looking

I'd try Maggie sauce....I once knew a Maggie who, if she made sauce, I would buy stock! ;)

I usually lean toward bar pizza: cheese, fresh flour tortilla (THE BRAND YOU MAKE YOURSELF) and jarred sauce and whatever veg cooked and needing eaten in the fridge.

But this weekend I was with a group of women with a free bag of Doritos. Haven't had them in YEARS, but it has unleashed a salty need for the fake-flavoring stuff I did not know was lying dormant.

Also, Cheese Nips (not at all like Cheez-Its). I ran my own taste test this Spring and we are Nip folks, not It folks. Much better.

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: Surviving the Off-Season

You are eloquent, Tyson. Yours is one of the very few articles I look to read on this SE site. I gave up coming here daily when Talk ended and it is very telling that the announcement of the sale of SE has "comments closed". You, I come back for....please keep reporting somewhere, if this place doesn't work out. Your reporting from the front lines is clear and honest and I am bone-tired just reading about your efforts. Stay strong.

Why My Fridge Is Never Without Shirataki Noodles (and Yours Shouldn't be Either)

Look, don't should on people. Just don't.

And these noodles have a texture and taste I would walk miles to avoid. Blech.


Gadgets: Breville's Smart Waffle Maker Produces Perfectly Browned Waffles

I love our much cheaper cast iron, one waffle at a time, maker. Use it on a gas stove and it is perfect.

If I was wealthy, I would get one like at the hotels for breakfast---a commercial unit that makes one at a time.

I personally am very disappointed at this site, and since I can no longer start a new thread, will state here that I have noticed a serious lack of community in the number of responses to articles. Most have under 5 responses with the giveaway article having 186 or so. I remember posting to those articles at a much higher number.

You are losing community and page readers. Pay attention.

What It's Like to Work at a Hot Dog Cart

@johncarruthers I see all your posts have been in June 2014. That is interesting, in itself.

What It's Like to Work at a Hot Dog Cart

@johncarruthers Perhaps that is sarcasm or not, I cannot tell. Come to my area and I will treat you to a hotdog with coleslaw and hot dog sauce...other condiments optional.

Meanwhile, I imagine an in-depth article to include what it is like day after day to serve people food, deal with trash and litter, when does the vendor get a bathroom break and where, odd requests, license issues, food handler tedium, etc.

And the pics make it seem there was a second person there to help serve--didn't really get that on the first read of the article. Why no further elucidation of that---are two people needed at a cart? Serious profit issue, if so.

What It's Like to Work at a Hot Dog Cart

This site has SO MANY problems....especially the comments that allow multiple postings of the same reply. Please fix, or you will lose the few who do still visit. ! or 3 or 7 or 18 posts on articles....really no community here any longer. I'd post this somewhere else, bit there is no community section to post to....

This is a poor article. Do your prep. Have a counter and put it on your waistband and tick it at each sale of the item you are counting. Takes 2 seconds and you can keep a tally.

Yes, soda has a high mark-up. This is not news. Add-ons add profit. Also not news. Please consider leaving your experience behind and recording the owners'.

When do they prep the cart? What does the weather do for them? (At a high traffic ice cream stand today, they admitted that when it is above 90 degrees F that traffic actually slows....70-85 is great.) How did the new health care act affect them? [I am a small business owner that can actually afford health care now because of it. How about these guys?]

The Best Way to Grill Hot Dogs

We are a Nathan's or Hebrew National (fat free kind) family. I say skip the gas grill and go to the fire, if you can. We cook ours over fruit wood, slowly, in a basket. Soaking them would be a good addition, but usually when we soak a sausage, they are simply cooked all the way through that way and served with the sauce (usually peppers/onions/tomato).

I used to like a vegetarian version called "Not Dogs" that I can no longer find. I liked them for what they were, not because they tasted like a hot dog. If I had them and wanted to soak them before cooking, I think I would use some bbq sauce, beer and garlic/onions/jalapenos.

An Open Letter to Serious Eaters

Wow, I disconnect from SE for about a week to get married and BAM! gone is my SE Talk.

I used Facebook long ago (an early non-student adopter) and deleted my account, as I hated it. I have two twitter accounts tied to my non-essential email addresses and have had them for years. I will not use SE on Twitter--I quit following SE on Twitter not long after following them (within a year or so) because the posts were tedious.

But I see the demographics are 20's to 30's so everything may skew that direction. I am sad because I wanted to post an extensive location report re: food and describe my first LaFrieda burger, not to mention the fabulous bacon burger I found and the sticky toffee pudding, etc. I am very sad to see it go. I guess this is close to the end for my participation. i will miss you all.

So the weekly email is turning into a daily...

I simply opt out. I prefer visiting here at my leisure and without the annoyance of an email each day.

Do you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen?

One in the bedroom and one in the kitchen. Had to fight the urge to mount it on the wall; instead it is beside the fridge. Had a few stovetop fires when I was a kid and then an overzealous candle on a dining room table, etc. It makes a person practical.

Why people do not update their smoke detectors is also a good question. They seem to think that they remain in perfect condition for decades. Not the batteries, but the unit itself. Here's a hint, even if they are unconnected to a electric/smoke alarm system throughout, replace them at least every decade. If they have taken a beating, do so sooner.

Cook the Book: 'Afro-Vegan' by Bryant Terry

Mashed potatoes and peas with lots of butter and pepper.

This looks like a cool cookbook.

Serious Eats Magazine and Android

I use an Android and I hate the mobile site. It is clunky and takes long to load, despite how fast my connection WiFi or phone company.

I wish they just posted the magazine as a free-standing page online. I am likely never going to get an app or download it.

I don't have a....

I also meant to say that you can get a good instant-read thermometer for under $8 that is even able to be calibrated. So if you want something, consider that and you might find it helpful, even if it doesn't require a battery or have a playlist. ;)

I don't have a....

No dishwasher and do not want one. Gave away the microwave when I realized we only used it for dog food heating. But then we have been here for nearly 25 years and do not own a clothes dryer--still hanging laundry out year-round. Was offered one as a gift and we turned it down.

Have an inexpensive whetstone I bought years ago and use often. You can get them for under $10 now at Amazon.

Do not own non-stick anything or a stand mixer. No fancy enamel casserole pots, but lots of cast iron options including a tripod I use out on the fire. I know I am rich in many things, including the ability to cook outside on an open fire with fruit wood we trimmed ourselves(visitors from LA loved that this past weekend). Pick fruit from our trees and gather herbs from the garden.

My kitchen will never be a showplace with its old formica, dropped ceiling and mismatched paneling; the one room we have never gotten around to updating. But I can cook the dickens out of that kitchen and have and plan on doing it for many more years, updated or not.

When Breakfast Gets "Weird"

I generally do not like breakfast foods many people eat. I do not like orange juice and milk and eggs all the time. I will eat a deviled egg, or Carnation Instant Breakfast (when I was at a desk job and my life was harried). Back at self-employment I can eat any dinner leftovers, a pastrami sandwich, asian-style noodles, cheese and crackers, homemade Chex Mix (nothing but the cereal, very little butter/seasoning and peanuts).

I like an occasional breakfast like buckwheat pancakes and sausage, but I would choose a cheeseburger or tacos or anything else over eggs/ham almost every time.

What will you make for Easter?

We started making lamb two ways about ten years ago and it is still requested. We have a small ham, too. One leg of lamb is traditional with just garlic (much) and olive oil/salt/pepper. The other is this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's "Indian Cookery" that we tried one year and LOVED. Link online here:

And roasted green beans, fresh pickled beets, homemade Easter bread, roasted potatoes......looking forward to a house full of company this weekend.

How do I cook good food for a VERY large crowd?

One more thing: "radical hospitality"--maybe everyone wants to experience this. You could ask for a group from the retreat attendees each meal to help clear tables and clean-up. They can then experience the "service to others" without needing the food handlers card (you do have one, right?).

How do I cook good food for a VERY large crowd?

I looked at my volunteer notes to be sure I was remembering correctly, but when I fix one meal for a conference of 165 people, I provide a mix of homemade food and bought stuff: some bought pizzas (some chains offer cheaper pizzas in quantity to non-profits--about $7 each) and sides/salads I made myself which made the special diets happy.

Even that was a lot of work for one lunch. A LOT of planning---heck, one of the first years I volunteered to do this I ordered bbq meat for sandwiches. The day I went to pick it up (30 minutes before lunch--everything else ready) the store was closed and owner in Florida. Wow, did I punt. Quick pizza order and very quick stop for fresh tortilla chips/salsa at another local restaurant and 50 eggrolls we cut in half. It was crazy. Stuff happens and you have to be ready for anything.

Why not just make the special diet stuff to augment the ordered food this year and KEEP NOTES so you know how it went for next year. I always keep meticulous cost, quantity and purveyor notes when I volunteer so that during the eval phase we know what we will do differently the next time. This is critical.

It can take months of planning for complex menus/events. When I cook for small retreats (50 or under), I still plan a long time ahead with complete menus, time schedules and prep work and list after list. I have a core crew I will work with because it is hard work and I like to enjoy the company I keep. I am volunteering, so I at least want a few laughs.

How do I cook good food for a VERY large crowd?

If you serve roasted turkey and vegan/gluten free sides, you can then use the turkey bones/leftovers for turkey rice soup. The turkey goes farther that way. And you can serve other items with both meals to meet the other dietary requirements.

Check out the cookbook, "Moosewood Cooks for a Crowd" for some great vegetarian options. I have used the recipes for crowds myself and was pleased.

I think I would limit my options for dietary differences. Perhaps the gluten-free version of a meal and the vegan version (meets vegan and vegetarian needs) and then the regular meal. All breads could be vegan, so that saves an issue there.

A taco or baked potato bar with a fresh salad and/or vegetable soup allows everyone to pick and choose and you can label everything well as to what is vegan or gluten-free. Remember, gluten-free means no utensils from other serving touches it and a clean grill (or foil) for gluten-free meat prep.

Lettuce wraps alongside sandwich fixings also works. Just remember that you have to work very clean or risk gluten contamination and/or vegan contamination. Label everything to be used only with those dishes.

Stuffed zucchini, pizzas (you can even purchase shells if you need to--that is a lot of pizza dough to make otherwise), and a beautiful salad bar should not be overlooked. Again, just keep the gluten free stuff separate where no one will innocently dip a spoon into it and contaminate it.

Are you and the people volunteering your time? I assume so, since the price per head is so low.

Open Thread: What's the Best Frozen Pizza?

Because of the Sporkful podcast on this topic and a shift in the space time continuum, I recently tried Elio's and Palermo's, which never used to be in our freezer cases. Elio's crust drooped when you picked it up and was way too sweet, plus the pepperoni was rank. Palermo's cheese pizza is ok. But just okay. The pepperoni on their pepperoni pizza was awful.

Our local pizzeria's frozen pizza has changed their recipe and stinks now. But then so does their fresh pizza--they changed hands and not the same.

I went through a whole period of DiGiorno's, but now, I prefer the Red Baron cheese pizza (I add pepperoni, etc.) or something else that is on sale---California Pizza Kitchen was fair but it is pricey. I think the small Totino's cheese pizza is OK, if that is what I have.

Yes, like most of you, I usually make pizza, but with yardwork season hitting and needing something fast and easy because I was engrossed outside, a pizza with vegetable leftovers (salad, etc.) can hit the spot and send us back outside in a hurry.

The Broiler on My Gas Oven Died- Advice?

Alternately, call a repair tech and watch closely and engage in conversation Consider the fee you are paying a lesson fee. Next time it happens, you can then do it yourself.

The Broiler on My Gas Oven Died- Advice?

When you replace an ignitor you do nothing to the gas supply connection. It is about a $30 part that can easily be purchased at a local parts store (hardware or HVAC place) and takes about 15 minutes if you are reading instructions while you do it. Once you do it once, it takes about 5 minutes. You DO need to unplug the oven for safety. Search for your manual/online instructions for your brand and model. If you can use a screw driver, you can do this.

Yes, go ahead and use what works until you repair it.

Is there a way to easily access past serious eats posts?

I should also say that I find searching through a search engine with "" and the subject I am interested in works better than the search function on the site.

Is there a way to easily access past serious eats posts?

While we are wishing, I wish that if someone commented on an article that it moved to the top of the list on the home page so that others know there is fresh commentary. Otherwise, there is NO value in commenting on an old article/recipe or requesting further discussion. Yes, certain spaces would be held for new content and sponsored posts, but also newly commented stuff would show. It is hard to keep track of topics I am interested in and I would like to know if new posts are there in the comments.

From the Archives: Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers Documentary

This one is made by Les Blank and is all about garlic including the Gilroy Garlic Festival (California). It was filmed in the late 70's and came out in 1980.

You will be pleasantly surprised by a young Alice Waters and Chez Panisse making the scene, a young Ruth Reichl, and even Werner Herzog with a cameo. There is even a special thanks to Marion Cunningham.

It is dated, of course, but does cover some history of garlic as well as folk uses. There are many scenes of MANY garlic cloves in a recipe that got me to really pay attention to a few of the recipes.

I really enjoyed it and would recommend it if you enjoy garlic.

Have you seen it? I found it on Hulu.

Documentary: Great Chicken Wing Hunt

So, I finally watched this on Hulu streaming tonight. I liked the seriousness of the evaluation grades and the enthusiasm. I liked the mix of people on the tour and I even liked that they were open to going all kinds of places in the state of NY.

However, I never warmed up to Matt himself and thought it absolutely ridiculous that they did not have at least one meal a day of something else, like maybe a vegetable. I was surprised there wasn't more of a rebellion about the relentlessness of the wings-only diet.

I think it is funny that the wing that won is one that has been fixed for years in one of my hometown Mid-Atlantic spots (and likely many other joints across the nation), called something else other than what Marshall at Abigail's called his. It is a great combination for those of us who like blue cheese. I wish we got to hear more about the novelty wings, since some of my favorites are not traditional.

It was pleasant enough, but I can't say it would be of interest to just anyone who likes food.

Did you see it? What did you think?

Get Out Your Corkscrew: NYT Wine Class

I see there is an article today initiating a wine class via the New York Times. Bordeaux is first. The article was thoughtful and I appreciated the distinction between tasting and drinking the wine. I always felt I got a better sense of liking the wine by actually drinking it. I have brought home a few bottles of wine from small wineries that I liked there but did not enjoy drinking later at home.

Toriko: Japanese Gourmet Food Anime

Toriko is a show, available on Hulu Plus, that runs about 30 minutes per episode and is all about the search for gourmet food. The main character, Toriko, is a muscle-y man who is searching for obscure (and unreal--like gararagator) ingredients with a small male chef tag-a-long. there are dozens of episodes and they are unusual, but I thought some SE folks might enjoy them.

I quote, "The quest of the gourmet hunter- my dream is to make a full course meal out of life..."

Also, the theme song contains such gems as "Guts Gits Gobble Guts."

Let me know if you are/have watched it.

New Year's Eve in Times Square in NYC 2013-14

I just read that Guy Fieri sold out of VIP tickets for $795 for his restaurant in Times Square, including open bar and some apps, but many extra costs (do people really still check coats?).

If that is too rich for you, try the nearby Applebee's for $395 each.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has signed up for either.

Garlic Powder and Garlic Chips

Really amusing article over on Slate today about garlic. Ruth Reichl disdains it until she learns the author grows and dries and powders his own. Funny stuff.

Personally, I use garlic powder and/or granulated garlic in rubs and I love the sweetness of dried garlic chips in a dish like an egg salad (it softens with the mayo when rested and not bitter like fresh can be), as I like roasted garlic, but I don't think they mentioned that in the article. I like garlic powder in some sauces, too.

Do you use dried garlic products or disdain them?

Yes, I grow some of my own garlic and use the flowers, as well. I grow ramps and chives, too, and onions. I like the stinky stuff. However, I don't use garlic salt or onion salt. I like to control the salt in other ways.And I don't use the jarred garlic because it does not seem as strong as fresh, though I would if I were cooking for the masses and time was an issue.

Homemade Rum Cake

If you have never considered making one, please re-consider! I have always loved those name-brand cakes in the gold box from the Caribbean. Never realized that I, more savory than sweet, could ever make one. Oh my!

Do a search and you will find two predominant recipes: 1 that uses a cake mix and 1 that makes the cake from scratch. I had cake mix and made that one (The Pioneer Woman). King Arthur Flour has the scratch recipe. They both use dry vanilla pudding in the mix.

I added about 2 teaspoons vanilla extract to the yellow cake mix recipe and that was a good call.

One tip: Don't un-pan the cake before pouring the glaze. Poke the cake (I used a chopstick) and pour the glaze over the cake and then let sit overnight, if you can. Then un-pan it. Unbelievable. I will be making this for every occasion I can think of in the foreseeable future.

Conneaut Lake / Meadville PA: Diners or Local Joints

Heading there for the weekend as a tourist. Have plans to go to Montana Chop House and ride the train, hit a winery or two and a few museums.

Looking for recommendations for a nice local diner or hotdog joint or anything unusual. Hank's Custard is already closed for the season.

Appreciate any tips.

Bon Appetit: New Issue

Since there is another rant re: the use of the word unctuous, here is mine regarding this magazine I want to love: Don't put a stinking perfume sample in my food magazine!!

It is currently sitting on the porch airing out until I can stand to read it without sneezing.

That makes no sense, but then neither do the cat food ads in a people food magazine. I can only imagine it must work.

Trademarking Food Products

Following a comment made on another thread, I looked into a few trademarked foods. I find it absurd that a foodstuff can be trademarked.

I understand provenance labels that explain Champagne is from Champagne. I get that you might call your hamburger sandwich BillyBob's Hamburger. But that doesn't mean no one else can use the word hamburger, or pretzel or "Korean BBQ". You can't own a food style.

As to Cronuts (TM), it is fry-bread, albeit with his special recipe. But aren't all recipes at restaurants special, ideally? It is still a donut or a pastry. Trademarking the name cracks me up.

Cooks have always tinkered with recipes and always will. Enforcing some trademark of the process is silliness. I will acknowledge that there may be money to be made there somewhere, during a craze.

Sure, maybe you won't call your version of yellow cake with white cream inside a Twinkie (likely TM), but you can certainly still make one.

What do you think of the TM issues?

Cuba: Kitchen Tool?

My friend has inherited an item from pre-embargo Cuba from a deceased relative's belongings. He describes it as looking like a wooden pizza peel, except it is very thick; maybe about 2 inches. It has a long handle and it is really large, maybe 18 inches across.

Is it for the kitchen at all? There are no char markings or anything other than indicating it seems old, of course. No cuts on it, or other wear patterns.

How Close to Closing Can You Start a Meal At A Restaurant?

Just today, I was at a favorite diner spot in my hometown, open until 1 PM. I know the owners somewhat. MY SO spends a lot of time with a few of the family members at community functions. A young couple with a child came in at 12:35 PM and they close at 1 PM. One of the owners rolled her eyes. Made me think. Wondered how late is too late? Do you go up to one hour before closing? What if it is a buffet and you are in a hurry? What is the etiquette here?

No, I didn't ask her, though I might have. I got there at 11:30 AM ;) with my gang.

Chik Fil A Sauces Clone Recipes

Some links to recipes that duplicate the sauces they have at the chain restaurant (I am not involved in these sites--just searched for them after re-reading the chicken recipe):

Tasting Menus: NYT Article

Oh, my! I do not feel like I am missing anything now that I have seen the 28 photos. beet ember? Charred leeks? Brown butter sediment?

All in one bite.

Really, I will stick with my favorite places where I can order 2 or 3 favorite things I love and leave full AND with most of my paycheck still in my pocket.

Seriously, I would be drawn to diners, drive-ins, dives than these nightmare events where you cannot even enjoy one another. But I hate being fussed over, even on a cruise ship at the formal dinner, when I am definitely a captive audience. The best waiters we have had there pick up on this quickly and I love them for it!

What say you?

Big Mac Hack

Ok, I missed this article when it first came out. Here:

The other day I ordered a McDouble ($1) with Big Mac Sauce (.20). Wow. I liked it better than a Big Mac, still came with pickles, none of that pesky lettuce and HOT and fresh.

It has changed my mind about the Big Mac. My new junk food favorite.

What else have you added Mac sauce to?

Comments Bumping Topics

I find it interesting when people post over a period of time, sometimes as much as a year or two, about a recipe or column or Talk topic. However, these are found by accident, as the new comments do not "bump" the column, Talk topic or recipe to the front of a queue.

Is there a way to search for these renewed topics by "most current comments" or some such? I can't seem to find a way to search for the "latest" comments in any of the above-mentioned sections.

I have found some greatly detailed additions in the comments section that enriched the original posting, and would be interested in finding these popularly updated postings.

The Vegetable Index: How Much Do They Cost?

I'm curious. What is the going rate for the following basic fresh veg in your area?

Right now fresh vegetable costs look like this for me:

Celery: $2
Carrots: $1 per pound
Mushroom, 8 ounces: $1.50
Tomatoes: $3 and up per pound
Green Peppers: $1.79 per pound
Avocados: $1.50 each
Broccoli: $3 for three stalks, about a pound
Cauliflower: $4 for a head

This is at the discount grocer where I shop. The little produce market costs more.

Omaha Steak: Worst Hot Dogs Ever

These were from an aunt who got a box of food for the holidays and knew she wouldn't eat them.

Labeled "gourmet franks" and in a 12 ounce box. Inside were 4 very round hot dogs.

I oven cooked them on a rack on a tray, like I do most sausages when no fire is lit.

They were saltier tasting than their under 800 mg sodium indicated. They were fatty tasting and had no texture. They were like bad bologna in a round shape. The animals got them.

Shudder. And to think I thought their products might be really special. I'll stick to Hebrew National, Nathan's, Boar's Head and the like.

Frustrated User Issues

Every other post comment or so, whether within the same day or one separate days, leads me to a white screen that says:

Tips, questions, recipes, advice. Type with your mouth full!
Thank you for commenting.

Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner.

Return to the original entry.

Then I also get a "thank you for commenting. Your comment will appear in a minute." Then it never posts.

What's up with this?

Slow Food Seattle: Tuna Canning

They are hosting a tuna canning class in early January for $10 for the class, and substantially more to keep a flat or two of the finished product. Wish I lived closer to go, myself.

Look them up online at SlowFoodSeattle(dot)wordpress(dot)com

It says it includes a secret ingredient in the canning process. Sounds like fun!

StirUp Sunday

Today is the day to traditionally make the Christmas Pudding. The UK Examiner has a nice article on it--search for it and you can get the history of StirUp Sunday.

What holiday foods have you started on?

I have pork rillettes in the fridge for gifts and non-kitchen things underway.

Storing Cheese at Home: Attention RobynB!

In the comments after the recent article on pantry inventory lists, RobynB casually mentioned having about 25 cheeses on hand at any given time. Several of us asked her to elaborate how she stores them at home. seeing as the article is now several pages back, I want to start this thread to discuss just how people store cheese at home.

I usually have about 5-8 current cheeses on hand that we are actively eating (including ricotta/cottage/cream, etc.). I also have 3-4 cans of Washington State University Creamery cheeses, in cans, in the fridge aging and waiting for a special occasion. We love their Cougar Gold white cheddar) and all the cheese comes in 30 ounce cans that must be refrigerated for about $18 plus s/h.

I find that cheese wrapped in plastic bags, as from grocer's who carry cheese, taste strange. Even if I ask them to cut a fresh piece and put it in butcher paper, it was already stored wrapped with plastic. Anyone else notice this?

So, how do you keep cheese fresh at home?

Cost of Cocktails at Bars

Tried to post this repeatedly at the article and it went straight to moderation.

Often the ingredient costs represent 20-30 % of the final cost. In other words, if the drink costs $2 to make, multiply by 5 = $10 final cost. Your margins may vary. Unusual factors may add to cost--live entertainment, for instance.

Food Service Warehouse has a primer online on "how to price alcoholic beverages" for those interested in an intro.

What Lost Family Recipe Would You Like to Find Again?

If you haven't read Donna "dbcurrie" Currie's Babcia Bread post yet, there's a really sweet backstory there. At first her husband's grandma's Polish bread recipe seemed lost to the ages. But then an inexactly translated version materialized. Still, it wasn't quite right, so she doggedly revised it until Mr dbcurrie said, "Oh yeah!" That got us talking here at SE HQ about which lost family recipes we'd like to find again. For me, it would be my paternal grandma's kolache cookie recipe. What lost recipe do you wish you could find? More