General Topics RSS

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

Christmas Stollen Needs Time to Ripen

CocoaNut recently bought a stollen, or a Christmas cake, from a well-regarded local German breadhaus. The loaf contained tasty bites of almonds, marzipan, rum raisins, and candied lemon and orange,

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A Hint of Sweet with Your Meat

The pairing of sugary, fruity sweetness with traditionally savory meat fascinates many Chowhounds. kaleokahu finds the pairing disgusting in the abstract, but loves specific meat-and-sweet dishes. “The *idea* … repulses

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No Animals Were Harmed in the Making of This Sausage

Is it possible to find meatless sausage that isn’t a disappointment and that contributes good texture and flavor to a dish? Hounds say that there are an abundance of options.

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Ghost Pepper Sightings

Perilagu Khan wonders if people from the Indian state of Assam—where the bhut jolokia, or ghost pepper, comes from—actually use what is considered the hottest chile in the world in

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Preparing Perfect Hot Cocoa

‘Tis the season for a steamy mug of cocoa, but what makes for a perfect hot chocolate? First, there’s the question of what kind of chocolate to use. mcf likes

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A Foodie’s Dilemma

“When I am eating something truly delicious, I always find that I have a problem deciding how fast to eat it!” says mattstolz. “Do I eat it really slow to

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Sharing Your Food and Other Foreign Dining Traditions

At a restaurant in France, gingershelley had an experience that would be unthinkable in the United States. The dinner “started as it always does, with the lovely house course terrine

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The Magic of Shrimp Paste

For any dish where the salty umami flavor of anchovies is called for, consider using shrimp paste instead, says Miss Needle. Other hounds agree. “I’ve added [it] to French onion

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When to Buy Instead of Make

Of course, we all know that almost everything is better when it’s homemade. But what do Chowhounds actually prefer to buy premade? Phyllo dough is a top contender. “I actually

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Lessons Learned While Dining Out

What practical pearls of wisdom have you unearthed from eating out? First things first: “Don’t fill up on bread, even if it’s really good,” says travelmad478, a lesson learned from

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The Best Way to Cook a Steak

What’s the best way to cook a steak? thimes, like a number of other hounds, prefers pan-searing the meat before placing it in the oven. This method “does a great

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Spotting a Fine Parmesan Cheese

What are those tiny white spots that can develop on a block of Parmesan? Turns out they’re a sign that you’ve bought a quality cheese. “Good Parmigiano-Reggiano has little white

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How Safe Is Farmers’ Market Food?

smartie loves the range of artisan offerings at the farmers’ market: the smoked mozzarella, hand-churned butter, organic eggs, homemade yogurts, breads, cakes, grass-fed meats, fresh fish. But smartie says that

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Savory Cakes, Not An Oxymoron

What’s a good savory cake to make for birthday boys and girls who aren’t big on sweets? wyogal makes a cheesecake that follows a traditional recipe but forgoes the sugar.

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How to Resqueak Cheese Curds

Cheese curds are supposed to have a squeaky feel as they’re being chewed. But if yours no longer sing because they’ve been, say, sitting in the fridge too long, all

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Learning to Like Foods You Hate

Can you learn to like foods you’ve hated since childhood? That’s the case for al b. darned. “There are certain foods from my childhood that I remember in a less

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Proper British Tea Talk

Most Americans develop only a vague understanding of British tea etiquette from watching Merchant Ivory movies and reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. So our knowledge of British tea is, as

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A Better (Packaged) Beet

buttertart loves beets and recommends packaged Love Beets as a convenient alternative to roasting and peeling the veggies yourself. “They are super, perfectly tender and nicely infused with vinegar,” and

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Fear Not the Fruitcake

Fruitcakes get a bad rap, and at least some of the blame for this must go to the neon-colored, highly processed fruit that has come to be associated with fruitcake.

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Treats for Chilly Weather

The wintertime blahs don’t seem so bad when you think about all the seasonal treats that you can look forward to. danionavenue has a long list of cold-weather favorites. “I

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Preserving a Garden’s Bounty of Chile Peppers

What do you do with all of those leftover chile peppers from the fall harvest? There are plenty of options. ios94 suggests making a paste and then freezing it to

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