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Do You Need to Use Cake Flour for Making Cakes?

People come down on both sides of this debate. There are pastry chefs who swear that cake flour is the only road to tenderness, while others happily use all-purpose (with one crucial addition) for cakes. READ MORE

Do Microwaves Kill the Nutrients in Food?

Microwaves have gotten a bad rap for being unhealthy, zapping the vitamins and other nutrients out of food, and leaching bad stuff out of plastic and into your lasagna, but is that reputation deserved? The answer is, well—complicated. READ MORE

Do You Really Need to Refrigerate That?

From eggs to ketchup to pickles, a lot of stuff in our shopping bags bears that well-known phrase "Refrigerate after opening." But as our fridges become overstuffed, it’s only fair to ask: Do all these things really need to live in cold storage? If you’ve ever visited friends in another country and seen how many of their foods sit out at room temperature, you might legitimately wonder if Americans are refrigerator crazy. READ MORE

Can You Freeze Cheese Without Killing It?

Cheese is arguably the most diverse and expressive of all the preserved foods humans have devised. Food historians agree that cheese was created from a need to preserve milk for survival—it’s made by coagulating, compressing, and (often, but not always) ripening milk curds that have separated from the thin liquid known as whey. Food scientist Paul Kindstedt of the University of Vermont says the reason the world has over 1,400 cheeses today is because different cheesemaking locales presented different hurdles to overcome, and thus, produced different adaptations that have yielded today’s great cheeses. But with the rise of modern preservation methods like freezing, many wonder if it’s possible to store cheese itself at subfreezing temperatures for even longer keeping. Cheesemongers and artisan cheesemakers seem to be unanimous on this: heck no. And why, many ask, would you even want to in the first place? READ MORE

Can You Cook with Sprouted Garlic?

As a species, we’ve been handling garlic for more than 7,000 years: Ancient Egyptians left it as an offering in tombs, Indians hung it from doors to ward off evil spirits, and as late as last century, during both World Wars, it was used to prevent gangrene. But even after working with Allium sativum for many centuries, one misconception still remains—that garlic with green sprouts at the center of the cloves is unsafe. READ MORE

Is It OK to Store Bread in the Fridge?

It happens all the time: You buy a loaf of sliced bread, set it on your counter or in the cupboard, and after a several days it’s stale and starting to mold. It’s a problem older than the commercial bread-slicing machine itself, whose inventor in 1928, Otto Rohwedder, used hat pins to keep the slices pushed together so they’d stay fresh longer, but probably required a lot of Band-Aids. READ MORE

How Do You Get Chile Burn Off Your Hands?

If you've ever chopped hot chiles with hands unprotected by food-prep gloves, you've experienced the searing burn of capsaicin. The active component of chile peppers feels like torture when it gets into your eyes or mucous membranes, and it can irritate your fingers with a burning pain that lasts for hours. Obviously, your skin isn't actually burned, explains Dr. John Hayes, director of the Sensory Evaluation Center at Pennsylvania State University. Your body is just tricking you. READ MORE

Can You Eat the Rind on Brie?

Yep, you can eat the rind of any soft-ripened cheese like Brie or Camembert. But just so you know: Sometimes it won't taste so good. "Soft cheese bruises like an apple," says Maxx Sherman, director of national sales for the Marin French Cheese Company, which makes a number of soft cheeses in Petaluma, California. "If the cheese is mishandled and bruised, it'll have spots that are mocha-colored and ammoniated." READ MORE

Does Everybody’s Pee Smell After Eating Asparagus?

This question has baffled scientists for over half a century. In 1956, British researchers divided the population into two categories: excretors (those whose urine smells after they eat asparagus) and nonexcretors (asparagus eaters who remain odor free). READ MORE

Why Does Regular Dish Soap Work Better Than the Ecofriendly Stuff?

When we first started chasing this down, we headed in the direction of phosphates, those eco-enemies that pollute waterways by fertilizing the algae already living there, causing massive blooms that choke out other plants and animals in the ecosystem. Phosphates are so wicked, in fact, that in 2010, 16 states banned the sale of high-phosphate detergents. READ MORE