General Topics RSS

Highlights from the General Topics and Cookware boards. Food trends, food products, and burning questions.

Nixtamalization, the Process That Makes Corn Good for You

When corn becomes a staple food—like corn tortillas in Mexican cuisine—it must undergo a process called nixtamalization to make the nutrients available for digestion. e_bone says it’s a method developed

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Authentic Leavening for Empanada Dough

Are authentic empanadas always made with yeast-risen dough? That’s a tough question, wyogal says, since empanada styles vary from Spain to Portugal to Latin America. JungMann loves the flaky, unyeasted

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Cube Steak, the Heart of Chicken-Fried Steak

Cube steak, the standard choice for chicken-fried steak, isn’t a particular cut. Rather, todao says, it’s meat that’s been put through a tenderizer, “which makes countless little indentations in its

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The Number 1 Tip for No-Cry Onions

Does slicing onions make you cry? Some Chowhounds go to great lengths to avoid getting weepy, including wearing goggles! But you don’t need any special gadgets to keep onions from

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Should Lamb Have a Strong Taste?

ns1 finds it confusing when people praise lamb dishes as “cooked perfectly, without a single hint of gaminess.” Isn’t the pronounced flavor the appeal of lamb in the first place?

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The Holy Grail of Authentic Sichuan Cooking

Juan Cheng brand pixian doubanjiang broad-bean and chile paste is the “holy grail of authentic Sichuan cooking,” eatahorse says. The place where you can find it: Boston’s Posharp Store, which

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Can You Tell If Corn Is Going to Taste Sweet?

Is there any way to tell by looking if the ears of corn you’re buying are going to taste sweet? Are white varieties automatically going to taste sweeter than yellow

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Is a Shaken Martini an Abomination?

Is a shaken martini with lots of tiny ice slivers an abomination? JMF thinks so. While shaking is great for drinks containing juice or other cloudy ingredients, it doesn’t jibe

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Why Do We Need Tomato Paste Anyway?

Considering that we all have canned crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce in our pantries, achilles007 wonders: What’s the purpose of tomato paste? Well, Dirtywextraolives explains, tomato paste is a concentrated

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Does Bottle Color Affect Nocino’s Taste?

Every year, quasistoic makes a batch of nocino, a liqueur made from green walnuts mellowed in red wine for at least a year. “Last year’s batch has mellowed into deliciousness,

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Collier’s Powerful: The Best Welsh Cheddar?

Buttery, sharp-tasting Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar is the best cheddar cheese jhopp217 has ever tried. Harters likes it too, but when it comes to cheddar made with milk from North

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Crisp, Addictive Deep-Fried Capers

Salty, sharp-tasting capers are superb fried, chefathome says. Salt-packed capers can be fried as is, while brined ones should be drained and thoroughly dried first. “The flower unfolds and they

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A Sweet Fix for Stevia’s Bitterness

Fresh stevia leaves taste sweet, meatn3 says, but processed stevia has a bitter aftertaste reminiscent of diet sodas. sedimental grows stevia plants and agrees: The leaves have a pleasant licorice

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Know Your Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are “the thin flowering heads sent up by hard neck garlic varieties,” meadandale says. When cooked, they have a mild garlic flavor. Garlic scapes are occasionally available at

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Woody Parsnips? Reach for the Food Mill

It’s a shame when the sweet taste and creamy texture of parsnips is ruined by stringy fibers. To avoid this problem, choose thin, young parsnips, rather than the thicker, older

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Any Good Garlic Powders Out There?

Garlic powder tastes totally unlike fresh garlic, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a great addition to recipes like dry rubs. Which garlic powders are good? ipsedixit thinks the

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The Best Canned Hash?

“I LOVE canned corned beef hash!” says Bacardi1, who has yet to meet a brand that disappointed. Hormel (sometimes labeled Mary Kitchen) is very good. John E. agrees: “I still

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Big Love for Shrimp and Grits

Chowhounds go crazy for the classic Southern combo of shrimp and grits. jmcarthur8 loves it when the shrimp are poached in butter and the stone-ground grits are slow-cooked (extra points

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Is Colatura the Same as Asian Fish Sauce?

Colatura is Italy’s version of fish sauce, which katzzz describes as “liquid essence of anchovy.” It’s more expensive than Asian fish sauces, but does it differ in other ways? According

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The Pros and Cons of Brunch

Does anyone really need brunch, or is it just an excuse to drink in the morning, as Samalicious quips? Skeptics like ttoommyy wonder if anyone actually craves brunch’s “fancied-up” egg

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Cooking with Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek is an essential curry spice, says JungMann, who “balance[s] its bitterness and pungency by incorporating it into a spice blend.” In small quantities, it adds richness and complexity to

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