Praising Peppercorns!

FC_CID_MJ19_PMSby Mary Jo

I've always been intrigued by spices, so much so that I wrote a blog about them years ago, and liked it so much that years later I posted it again while under deadline. <G>

So naturally I read an article on black pepper when browsing an issue of Cook's Illustrated, a publication of America's Test Kitchen.  Even though I learned a lot about cooking by working my way through recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking when I lived in England, I don't do a lot of cooking these days, but I do like reading about food and food related items. 

Cook's Illustrated does articles on things like how to make the New England cod and potato cakes, or Indian Butter Chicken, or chewy peanut butter cookies, all of which are in the May/June 2019 magazine, but the magazine isn't just recipes.  It's also exploring what works in different dishes, and why. 


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Food, Still Glorious Food!

Cat 243 Doverby Mary Jo

I've been crazily pulling together collections of my Christmas novellas, including a couple that have never been digitized before, so I decided to exercise Wench Prerogative and recycle an older blog with a bit of updating. When I wrote the original of this blog, it was almost Thanksgiving, so it did seem appropriate. 

I’d been ruminating on the differences between being a good cook and a good baker, and Thanksgiving is a good time to talk about that because family feasting is in the air. 

Most of us know the basics of cooking and baking, but mastery of the two skills does represent different personality types. A cook can be more improvisational.  If you lack mushrooms for that interesting chicken dish, you can probably do without, or maybe substitute bacon bits or something quite different. 

Pumpkin pieBakers, however, can’t generally improvise as much, at least not without courting disaster.  You can add chopped walnuts to a cookie recipe and it will probably be just fine, but fail to use have the basic ingredients—flour, eggs, baking powder, et al—and use them in the right order, may give results that aren't pretty, much less edible!  So following a recipe fairly carefully is advisable for baking, especially something complicated.

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