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What Are Your Irrefutable Food Rules? [moved from Not About Food]

What rules do you live by when it comes to food? I have many, but here are the top 3:

1. NEVER FRY BACON WHILE YOU'RE NAKED!-Pretty self-explanatory

2. NEVER wash a coffee mug or cup with soap!-The soap leeches into the cup and taints the coffee

3. ALWAYS take a first date to an Italian restaurant.-There is NO WAY to be fake and pretentious while eating Linguini and Clam Sauce or Mushroom Lobster Ragu with Pappardelle. If she only orders a dinner salad, no second date.

How about you? What food rules do you live by?

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    1. re: James Cristinian

      Why not? what about oysters, abalone or such? Indeed, the only legal abalone for sale in California is farmed raised. Your alternative is catch it yourself. Similarly, farmed oysters account for the vast majority of oyster consumption world-wide (The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch says that farmed oysters account for as much as 95% of the world's consumption.) Not sure if your goal is to only eat sustainable seafood, to avoid fish farming methods that harm the environment, or taste, but while avoiding farm-raised seafood will often go a long way to meeting one of those stated goals, it definitely isn't irrefutably true that farm-raised seafood is always harmful/non-sustainable/less flavorful than wild.

      http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

      1. re: susancinsf

        Actually, I do catch my own fish. It includes speckled trout, redfish, flounder, croaker, and on the freshwater side, bass, crappie, catfish, and perch. Plus, I am lucky enough to live on the Gulf coast where wild oysters are plentiful, plus Gulf/Bay shrimp as well. Have you seen some of the articles on farm raised shrimp and fish? There is some pretty nasty stuff out there.

        1. re: James Cristinian

          I realize that , as I think my post indicates. However, I was wondering why you would make it an irrefutable rule never to eat the farm raised stuff regardless of item of how it is raised. Sounds like the answer is really, "I only eat seafood I catch myself.",(or so I assume since many of gulf oysters one can purchase from commercial operations are indeed farmed, as they are elsewhere in the world. bottom line: if you are buying oysters from someone else, as opposed to picking them yourself, there is a pretty good possibility that they are farmed).

          Anyway, I can definitely understand having a rule that "I don't eat it unless I catch it" (although it wouldn't be a practical solution where I live, particularly since I am no longer 'insf'.)

          There are definitely some types of farmed fish I would never eat (such as Atlantic salmon for example, and many if not most varieties of farmed shrimp), but I think it does sustainably managed seafood farms, and our oceans, a disservice to leave folks with the impression that ALL farmed seafood is inherently harmful. Sometimes farmed *is* the best option from that standpoint. Like everything else, it depends.

          1. re: susancinsf

            No, the oysters here are not farmed, not in The Texas bays, as they don't grow in the Gulf. I don't know where these Gulf coast oyster farms are that you speak of, as I have fished virtually every bay, where they grow, on the Texas coast and have yet to see an oyster farm. I refuse to eat farmed shrimp when I can get wild for a few bucks more a pound, not to mention the environmental issues, although in my 50 plus years on the planet I have seen the water and air quality improve vastly. Two examples, the once dead Houston Ship Chanel, and Lake Erie, now probably the best Walleye fishery in the USA.

            1. re: James Cristinian

              I am relying in part on the Seafood Watch statement about the percentage of farmed vs wild-caught oysters, (ie 95% of oysters consumed being farmed); they (edited to add: and I: after all, I think that no rule is irrefutable :-)) could be wrong. That said, there are oyster farms in the gulf, including in Texas. Here is an article about one:

              http://www.robbwalsh.com/2010/11/gulf...

              The article does imply that 'off bottom' oyster farming in the gulf is a new concept (but I don't know enough about oyster farming to know if that is the only way oysters are farmed.

              )

              I am with you on farmed shrimp, completely. Wild shrimp is difficult enough to get in my area that I have cut way back on my shrimp consumption.

              And I am glad to hear that you think water and air quality is improving in your gulf. I too have over 50 years on this planet, and have been (scuba) diving for about 20 of those years, including every year in the same area of southern CA (off of Catalina Island). Just got back last week from my annual Catalina dive trip in fact. And, I am sad to report, in my area fish populations are greatly decreasing from what they were 20 years ago. Twenty years ago we'd see terminal Sheepshead (a species often fished locally) and schools of rockfish on every dive. Now both are rare. (No sheepshead at all this trip, except for one or two small females). Interestingly, since the spiny lobster population is protected in parts of California, including the area where I did a lot of my dives, which is a lobster conservation ('no-take') zone, we do see as many lobster as ever. (big ones too, taunting us :-)) Being aware of what we eat and conserving can made a difference.

              1. re: susancinsf

                No troubles, just bubbles...:)
                carry on!

              2. re: James Cristinian

                errr... what? You've seen water and air quality improve vastly? Does this specifically relate to your personal haunts, or a blanket statement about the earth/environmental as a whole? Just curious...

          2. re: susancinsf

            I don't eat oysters or abalone. Avoid farm raised.

          3. re: James Cristinian

            My wife is a "no farm-raised seafood" person (for reasons focused on health-consciousness) and I'm wary of much wild-caught seafood (for reasons focused on sustainability). So we end up with only a short list of mutually acceptable seafood... the Seafood Watch "Super Green List" (which purports to identify seafood that's both "healthy for people and for the oceans") has been helpful to us.

            1. re: drongo

              The natural meats and seafood at Whole Food is a great alternative. Farm raised but in a healthy humane manner.

            2. re: James Cristinian

              Don't waste money or calories on mediocre food, but if it promises to be exceptional consider
              busting the budget.

              We splurged on the truffle degustation at the old Alain Ducasse in Paris. The meal cost more
              than our combined air fares to France but it was worth every franc

            3. What Are Your Irrefutable Food Rules?

              _______________________________________

              That there are no irrefutable rules when it comes to food.

              2 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  ipsedixit, you took the words out of my mouth!

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Which I'm not. So no margarine in my house.

                      1. re: iluvcookies

                        What did a vegan ever do that was so bad that they are forced to eat margarine. Nasty stuff. Plenty of other fats out there without resorting to junk.

                        And don't say Earth Balance blah blah. That stuff is nasty too.

                      1. re: iluvcookies

                        What about olive oil?

                        I agree with no margarine. Foul stuff.

                        1. re: plf515

                          Olive oil is fine... totally different than butter though.

                          1. re: plf515

                            Margarine isn't the best choice for most things, but it isn't foul. We use Smart Balance light and frankly it is fine. I like to flavor with butter lightly when I cook certain things, and I like to use at least some butter in the baked goods I occasionally bake. Really, I am taking issue with your use of the word foul. We are allowed to like or dislike whatever we want. But margarine is not foul.

                            1. re: iluvcookies

                              I grew up in the 60's/70's when margarine ruled the day. It ain't always great for you, but it's better than butter in some applications. Butter won't make the hot sauce stick to your fried buffalo wings the way margarine will.

                              1. re: agoodbite

                                Paul Prudhomme has said in his books that he uses margerine when butter doesn't have enough oil in it to do what he wants. I have found that, in that case, I use oil and flavor it with a bit of butter at the end.

                                1. re: jmckee

                                  I usually use a combo of butter/oil when sauteeing, but never margarine.

                                  And no margarine for flavoring things or on bread.

                                2. re: agoodbite

                                  +1. Magarine is the best choice for buffalo wings.

                                  1. re: CTownFeedR

                                    Ah... see, since I don't make buffalo wings, this isn't a problem for me :)

                                3. re: iluvcookies

                                  Absolutely - I haven't bought margarine in years! Haven't found any foods where oil or butter won't sub for margarine perfectly well (although I don't cook buffalo wings!).

                                4. NO CHEESE ON SEAFOOD!
                                  Thank you,
                                  Scott Conant

                                  19 Replies
                                  1. re: monavano

                                    well if you're not gonna eat it, would you push it over here so I can?

                                    Anybody wanna share?

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      My baked salmon with mayonnaise, dill, and coarse romano would really get slammed here. I'll share!

                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        Dang, I'll take some of that, as long as you allow me some really coarse pepper.

                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                        And I'll take monavano's Oysters Rockefeller and Lobster Thermidor, or maybe the classic French Coquilles St. Jacques or Greek Shrimp Saganaki. And I'd be more than happy to share.

                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          And a classic fish pie topped with buttery mashed potatoes and cheddar? I'll share that with you too!

                                      3. re: monavano

                                        I agree with no cheese on seafood

                                        1. re: laliz

                                          There's a fresh tuna and pasta dish in Lynne Kasper's "The Italian Country Table" that uses fresh mozzarella. It's a great exception to this rule.

                                        2. re: monavano

                                          I don't eat cheese on anything anymore, but back when I did, I must say I did enjoy a nice tuna melt every once in a while.

                                          To each their own, right?

                                          1. re: PaulF

                                            For a while all I ate was a tuna melt on rye for lunch. I tend to do that with food sometimes till I'm done with it :P

                                            1. re: PaulF

                                              I like a nice tuna melt to this day.

                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                To grapple with tuna and mayo and cheese and the softness of bread be now broiling... Delightful the meld that we call "tuna melt." Delightful indeed.

                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                  Me too. I understand where seafood and cheese my clash and one will over power the other at times. I think some people adopt these rules after hearing it so many times by so called food expects like Scott Conant to be gospel. It's really an Italian rule. Also depends on the cheese and seafood. Your basic tuna melt uses very mild cheese and the tuna could use some toning down. We're not talking fresh tuna cooked rare here.

                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                    Oh yum...haven't thought of tuna melts in a while. As a child, my mom would make an English muffin, split, tuna salad (Miracle Whip & tuna ONLY - nothing else) and a slice of American cheese. Then - under the broiler until nice and toasty... LOVE those - time to make them again...

                                                    1. re: jbsiegel

                                                      I know we don't yuk somebody's yum here, but just the thought of tuna, (the dreaded) MW, and american cheese gives me the skeeveys.

                                                      Glad that is a great memory for you. Mine would be my first tuna sandwich made with toasted bread, real mayo, and lettuce and sliced tomato. who knew???? I'd grown up on squishy white bread, tuna, and MW sandwiches. needless to say, I dreaded tuna sandwiches.

                                                      1. re: laliz

                                                        Then you're REALLY going to hate the other tuna/American Cheese option...an omelette...another total yum for me (but leave out the MW - just eggs, tuna and that good old American Cheese!)

                                                        1. re: jbsiegel

                                                          the egg/cheese would be fine; no MW is a huge bonus; just say no to hot tuna

                                                2. re: monavano

                                                  Shrimp with garlic and feta cheese is good.

                                                    1. Can you give me your evidence for #2? Is that true regardless of the material of which the mug is made? Have to admit, I am a bit skeptical that this is always the case....

                                                      Although I haven't been on a first date in years, I do like #3. Hubby took me to a great Italian restaurant on our first date, and it was uphill from there. Of course, it could be that the date who orders a salad is simply gluten intolerant, so even that shouldn't be a hard and fast rule. But then there is my friend who likes to take dates for ice cream on a first date; he claims he can tell whether the relationship is likely to go anywhere based on whether his date orders ice cream in a cone (a yes) or insists on a cup and spoon (a definite turn off for him. Think about it :-))

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                        I don't understand the no soap in the mug either. Wouldn't that then stand for ANY dish or cup?

                                                        1. re: iluvcookies

                                                          A little background, I NEVER drank coffee before I became a truck driver. 18 years later, I am now a total coffee hound. The no soap thing I always thought was a coffee hound thing, but maybe it's a truck driver thing. I never said it was factual, it's just what I have always been told.

                                                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                            there are hardcore wine enthusiasts who won't wash their wine glasses with soap, either...

                                                            but if they're rinsed well, no, the soap won't really infuse into a hard-glazed mug, any more than it will into a piece of glass.

                                                            1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                              I learned in my adolescent days working in a restaurant to clean coffee mugs with a paste of baking soda. It cleans the residue that builds up, without leaving any off-taste. Works great with teacups as well.

                                                              1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                Seconded- works like magic, even with ancient coffee stains.

                                                          2. re: susancinsf

                                                            As a retired Navy chief, you wash my coffee cup, you get thrown overboard.

                                                          3. No raw onions.
                                                            No tofu or its by-products.
                                                            No eggs where you can see yolk or white.
                                                            No cooked cabbage.

                                                            13 Replies
                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                Why does anyone put anything on a list with the word "no" in front of it? My motivation is identical.

                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                  Some are based on ethics, some on health, some on superstition, some on aversion to unfamiliar foods, some on traumatic childhood experience, etc. There are tonnes of reasons why you could avoid tofu -- I'm just curious as to which it is.

                                                                  1. re: piccola

                                                                    Yes, why? A nicely browned cubed tofu adds a lot to a good stir-fry, fried rice or Asian style soup. And fermented soy does not have soy estrogen issues.

                                                                    1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                      Again, the thread title is "What Are Your Irrefutable Food Rules?" One of mine is "no tofu."

                                                                      Yet you try to refute it. Surely you don't think "fermented soy" and "soy estrogen issues" mean anything to me.

                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                        I don't think anyone is trying to deny you your rule -- just to understand the rationale behind it. I mean, isn't that the whole reason behind this thread?

                                                                        1. re: piccola

                                                                          How about "because I don't like it"?

                                                                          If tofu shows up on my plate I'll eat enough to be polite, but I'd have to be pretty darned hungry and a whole lot desperate before I ever put it on my plate on purpose.

                                                                          No health reasons, no geopolitico-econo-social reasons -- I can't stand the stuff.

                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                            That's a perfectly valid reason. That's honestly all I was asking -- whether it was purely because of taste or some other reason.

                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                      Then you should use them to start a list of things you love. Don't "yum" my "yuck."

                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                        LOL. No VISIBLE cooked onions. Cooked onions creep me out.

                                                                      2. If you are heating up a frypan or skillet, start out on MED heat.

                                                                        If you are using flour, tomato sauce, or are frying, put an apron on before proceeding.

                                                                        Always read the recipe through before launching out.

                                                                        There are no home made pies at restaurants.

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                          NEVER PLAY WITH FOOD! RESPECT IT!!!!

                                                                          1. re: ospreycove

                                                                            Bwaaahaaahaa.....

                                                                            of course...nobody here ever plays with their food.

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                              Unless they've eaten all their toys.

                                                                          2. re: sueatmo

                                                                            With you on the recipe reading - so many times I have been caught out by the 'and now put in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours' about an hour before my guests arrive.

                                                                            1. re: pj26

                                                                              I am glad I'm not the only one who has done this. Trust me though - you only make this mistake once! lol...
                                                                              +1 on read the recipe all the way through before launching it

                                                                              1. re: pj26

                                                                                I have skipped reading the directions several times, only to find out something is to marinate for an hour or more. I just add the ingredients, and keep going, Nobody has ever complained. It might not turn out exactly like it's suppose to, but the other people don't know how it's suppose to turn out. LOL!

                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                Gulf of Mexico and all the bays blue crabs, yumm!!!

                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                    Indeed Veggo, indeed, as are you, I know.

                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                        I always knew it was surimi when I saw it announced as "krab". And I dont' have a problem with it, either. It's seafood, and it tastes like crab. And it's cheaper and not such a ptomaine risk in landlocked states like mine. It depends on how much they're charging for it, and whether they're being up front.

                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                          I kind of like it too. And it's a great low-cost item to use when one is teaching oneself to make sushi rolls. And by one I mean me.

                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                    I must say, I am suspicious of any dish with 'delight' in its name.

                                                                                    1) No veal.
                                                                                    2) Certain things that had a place in my mother's kitchen--dried milk, margarine, wheatgerm, bran, tofu--aren't allowed in mine.
                                                                                    3) Beans must be cooked from scratch. No cans.
                                                                                    4) Recipes that call for cans of beans are passed over as illegitimate.
                                                                                    5) Pasta should be imported from Italy.
                                                                                    6) Basil is sourced from the front porch only--Queen of Siam, African Blue, Purple Ruffle, or ... 'American volunteer'.
                                                                                    7) Seafood means shellfish.
                                                                                    8) Your child may be selling prepared cookie dough, but I am not buying. Cookie dough is made from scratch at my house.
                                                                                    9) No HFCS.
                                                                                    And probably many more ...

                                                                                    1. re: foiegras

                                                                                      Here's an echo thing-
                                                                                      1) Ditto 1,3,4,6,8,9

                                                                                      1. re: foiegras

                                                                                        RE: #7) what about octopus and squid? Not to mention all of the other sea creatures that are edible (which I'm assuming you call.. "fish"?)! Is this because the only sea derived critters you eat are shellfish?

                                                                                        1. re: foiegras

                                                                                          No 10 No beans in my chili. Ever!

                                                                                      2. No sugar in cornbread.
                                                                                        Fresh brown eggs
                                                                                        Angus beef, preferably that which we have raised ourselves

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: vafarmwife

                                                                                          Yes, NEVER sugar in cornbread. Only bake it in an iron skillet and use much more bacon grease than is good for you. Also butter it liberally before eating.

                                                                                            1. re: vafarmwife

                                                                                              can't argue about the cornbread, i don't like eggs so don't care about number two, but my condo board has serious issues with number 3.

                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                That's only because they graze on the flowerbeds.

                                                                                                1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                  Or the HOA has had too many bovine defenestration complaints.

                                                                                                1. re: plf515

                                                                                                  I have very few food etiquette rules, but that one is important to me. I don't know why, but I always notice when someone does this, and it always bugs me!

                                                                                                  1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                    bug me too, it's poor manners to rain on someone's parade :P

                                                                                                      1. re: FullPalate

                                                                                                        If the moderators on CH actually enforced that as a rule, they'd be deleting 3/4 of the posts...

                                                                                                      2. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                        I like a lot of foods that many/most Americans find yucky. Eel, offal, pretty much all sushi/sashimi (as long as it's high quality), octopus, squid.... If I like a nice bowl of stewed tripe, I don't need someone else saying "ewwww....."

                                                                                                    1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                      Some "yums" are so yuckable, though.

                                                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                        Oh I agree, but tasty is in the mouth of the beholder.

                                                                                                      2. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                        Agreed, though I'll allow good-natured teasing.

                                                                                                          1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                            I don't mind this too much. I kind of assume that we all share a passion for food. It seems like it's mostly done sort of gently/teasingly, with understanding that our food preferences are sort of arbitrary and not indicative of serious character flaws. (I'm certain my ancestors lived in a place with poisonous relatives of blue cheese, dill, and raw onions. Shudder).

                                                                                                          2. You have to eat three bites before you can decide if you like it or not.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: tzurriz

                                                                                                              French andouille would be an exception to that one, for me. It didn't even take the first bite for me to make that decision.

                                                                                                              1. re: tzurriz

                                                                                                                Oh, not always. One tiny bit of bagna cauda and I knew it was great (just as a for instance)

                                                                                                              2. 1) Don't order "Asian" dishes at a diner. Just. Don't. Do. It.

                                                                                                                2) Funnel cake should only be eaten at carnivals or on boardwalks, and it doesn't need anything more than powdered sugar.

                                                                                                                3) Don't trust people who don't like garlic. (LOL - just a joke. Kinda.)

                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                    Worst girlfriend I ever had hated garlic. I should have known...

                                                                                                                    1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                      There are two types of food: Food that can be improved by adding garlic and food that can be improved by adding whipped cream. (Not really, but it's close!)

                                                                                                                      1. re: plf515

                                                                                                                        LOL....you definitely have a point!

                                                                                                                        1. re: plf515

                                                                                                                          That's a definite counter argument to my friend's statement that "Everything's better with bacon." Thanks!

                                                                                                                        2. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                          I don't trust people who don't like chocolate!

                                                                                                                          1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                            Before I married I was the only one in my family that ate chocolate; I should have sent them all away :P

                                                                                                                        3. If something is very caloric or otherwise unhealthy, it has to taste really good

                                                                                                                          1. 1. No stupid sushi rolls from hell (California, spider, dragon, Philly....)

                                                                                                                            2. No junk Chinese food passed off as something else (Kelly's Cajun Grill/Bourbon St. Grill, Caribbean Queen, etc)

                                                                                                                            3. No phony Southern food (mussels, calamari, Italian dishes given Cajun names, etc -- you get a lot of this crap in Toronto).

                                                                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                Yeah... what is that about?

                                                                                                                                Now I love cream cheese with Lox, but that isn't sushi.

                                                                                                                                1. re: iluvcookies

                                                                                                                                  Exactly. Lox and cream cheese on a bagel, fine. Lox and cream cheese in a sushi roll, ugh.... (and let the even more clueless dunk that in Yoda Mud Bath and top it with pickled ginger before eating!!!)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                    The weird thing is- a neighbor worked for a manufacturer that made calibrating computers, and traveled a lot. He had to take a big group of Japanese geeks out to dinner a few times, and they really liked Saga Sushi, which for some reason has a LOT of cream cheese in their sushi. In fact, it's hard to get away from it, but the sushi was otherwise really good. But the Japanese guys liked Saga Sushi for the cream cheese- a clear divergence from what they were used to. I'm not saying it's right- not judging at all, just saying we all like something different sometimes

                                                                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                      Yes, it goes both ways. I have seen the opposite of what you described -- I was in downtown Pasadena, CA one evening and this group of Japanese tourists was standing in front of some sushi place laughing uncontrollably, pointing at it and taking photos of it. (it was night, and the camera flashes were going off) We don't understand Japanese but we figure they must have been laughing at the stupid Chinese/Korean rolls from hell that have become standard across North America...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                        I think those rolls are designed to appeal to caucasians. Generally I detest them, and refer to them collectively as Monster Truck Rolls. It could be they spotted a roll with seven different kinds of raw fish in it (called the Rainbow Roll, I believe) that Japanese people find hard to fathom. Could be they have been created by Chinese or Korean chefs, but no doubt they are intended for idiot customers who don't really like raw fish in the first place.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                            Love it too. A lot less wordy than "stupid rolls from hell"! Do I have your permission to use it in my future posts? :-)

                                                                                                                                            I have seen an AYCE place around here that makes their rolls almost the size of hockey pucks. Monster Truck Rolls describes them perfectly!

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                            I love raw fish...have sushi and/or sashimi at least once a week at a very upscale and authentic Japanese restaurant owned by a ex Nobu chef. Tripeler, am I really an idiot just because I'll occasionally order and yes even enjoy a spicy tuna roll or perhaps, God forbid, a rainbow roll?

                                                                                                                                2. One of my irrefutable rules is that if a recipe has "Cream Of X Soup" as an ingredient I move on to something else...

                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                      A friend once shared her secret recipes with me. Danged if 90% didn't begain with Cream of Schlep something. I politely declined to eat at her house.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                        You should check out the many, many, thousands of church cookbooks that heavily utilize cream of ____ soup- but it does have its uses, rarely but sometimes.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                        That reminds me of Calvin Trillin's tummy trilogy!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                          YES! This is one of my main gripes as a Brit who gets a lot of recipes off the internet (which is heavily dominated by Americans) - what is it with American cooks and ingredients like "cream of x soup"?! Not that the UK is immune to that kind of thing, but the difference seems to be that people in the US who consider themselves to be proper home cooks will happily use those ingredients, whereas here it's mostly people who would fully admit to being lazy in the kitchen!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                            If I did that I wouldn't be able to make my grandmother's chicken ;) And it's delicious. But yes, it's typically not a good sign ...

                                                                                                                                          2. There are four food groups:
                                                                                                                                            coffee, chocolate, cheese & deep-fried
                                                                                                                                            In my ideal, utopian, no health-concern world, I'd indulge from each of these groups every day!
                                                                                                                                            (A girl can dream, can't she?!?!)

                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: hungryjoanne

                                                                                                                                              mmmmm - deep fried cheeeeese....

                                                                                                                                              1. re: hungryjoanne

                                                                                                                                                Mine are sugar, fat, caffeine, and alcohol.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: hungryjoanne

                                                                                                                                                  No no no. According to Sir Terry Pratchett, the four major food groups are salt, sugar, grease, and burnt crunchy bits.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cactus Wren

                                                                                                                                                    How about all of the above? Coffee, chocolate, pork, cheese, ice cream, "crunchy bits" (I like that!), wine, they do make a good start on diet must-includes in my irrefutable food rules.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                                                      is it weird that i saw "coffee, chocolate, pork, cheese, and ice cream" and immediately thought that it was time to get out my ice cream machine and start experimenting?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                        Not at all. BTW I have a White Mountain 6-qt rock salt and ice electric churn. But, I feel guilty for not making any this summer. Right now it's about 45 outside and not conducive to making any (in CT). Can't do it inside d2 the brine run-off. Don't like the (relatively) small ice cream machines - can't make enough to fix my ice-cream "jones". All or nothing!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                                                          if i wasnt a poor grad student, i would have something much larger than the cuisinart i currently use, dont worry! and here in SoFl its still just warm enough to justify ice cream every day (shh!). but, my suggestion for you (from one ice cream lover to another) is: put that bad boy in the sink or the bathtub and churn away!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                            Matt,
                                                                                                                                                            The machine I use is not as expensive as a Cuisinart. I envy your Florida weather as I head into NEngland winter, especially as an excuse to make ice cream. Can't put mine in the tub or sink, if I want to have any pipes left uncorroded. I have to consider my condo neighbors. I have considered going ahead anyway, but I'll wait for a day when it gets above 50, then making it.

                                                                                                                                                2. No High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

                                                                                                                                                  No reheated stale coffee. If it's been sitting for over 15 minutes, I won't drink it.

                                                                                                                                                  No pizza that's not fresh out of the often. No reheated pizza. No fake cheese.

                                                                                                                                                  No Irish Coffee with creme de menthe on top.

                                                                                                                                                  No smashed up crumbled apple pie gushing out of its crust.. A waiter tried to serve this to me once and I sent it back, He said "it's fresh." I said "it looks like someone sat on it." I got a nicer slice. Why can't stuff like this be simple?

                                                                                                                                                  No birthday cakes with buttercream. To me, It tastes like greasy lard.

                                                                                                                                                  19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Beau711

                                                                                                                                                    Wow, each one read like it was written by me.... except the apple pie. I don't order pies at a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                                                      unless you're out in the countryside at some dive-y looking little diner with a goofy name like Chat 'n' Chew or Kathie's Kitchen or the Coffee Cup. Then the pies are probably pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                      The Coffee Cup is long gone from its place on the corner of US 41 in a tiny little town in Florida -- but man, I would have put those pies up against anything from anybody's kitchen...because they WERE from somebody's kitchen...the lady who baked them was well past retirement age, and handmade all the crusts every day. It was sinfully cheap -- $2 for a slice of strawberry pie made with whole strawberries from (literally) a mile down the road, then glazed with homemade glaze and buried in real whipped cream...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                        Strawberry pie....wasn't that the pie at the end of Stephen King's Thinner?? (insert eerie music here)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                          Do you mean...like Wheeler's Cafe in Arcadia, really, really good pies!!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                            There is also Heaven On Earth, exit 86 on I-5 in Oregon. EVERYTHING is homemade, from the meatloaf to the Apple Butter to the 5 pound Cinnamon Rolls (and those are the small ones!) to the WONDERFUL pies!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                              I do wish we those kind of places along the motorways in the UK - they sound wonderful!

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                              Haven't been to that one, Osprey - -the Coffee Cup used to stand at the corner of US41 and Shellpoint Road in Ruskin -- they made a mean cheeseburger, too. Pity -- the owner was ready to retire at the same time that the building was ready to fall down around his ears, so he just closed it up and knocked it down. It had been there for 75 years.

                                                                                                                                                              A daughter of one of the original employees now makes Pam's Pies with the original recipes -- you can find them at some of the independent food purveyors around.

                                                                                                                                                              The Giant's Camp in Gibsonton is another victim of age and decay...they had the best biscuits on the planet.

                                                                                                                                                              The Chat 'n' Chew and Kathie's Kitchen that I mentioned were both in Jacksonville the last time I was there...both are old-fashioned "meat 'n' 3" with handmade biscuits and homemade pies.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Beau711

                                                                                                                                                          Wow, if I weren't happily married and probably 20 years older than you, I'd date you.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Beau711

                                                                                                                                                            No pizza that's cooked at less than 729dF.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                thats not nearly as hot as i WISH my oven got for making pizzas!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                  It's the minimum that I find makes a passable pie. I find 800 is about right. You might be able to get your oven that hot by dividing it with a foil covered rack. Or, if it's an old oven, run the broiler for a few hours. If those tricks don't work, put a resistor and a switch in parallel with the thermostat, calibrate it and flip the switch when you want to go from paranoid wimps' oven to real cook's oven.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KWagle

                                                                                                                                                                    im just going to try not to burn down my apartment for another few years until i can purchase a house and build a woodburning oven in the backyard....

                                                                                                                                                                    but until then i might try to dividing the oven thing

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                      I've heard many time that wood doesn't get hot enough for pizza. The best traditional pizza shops use coal. And, if your oven is a self clean oven, it's designed to contain more heat than you need for pizza. It's an OVEN, not a fire in a trash can. The risk of starting a fire is basically nonexistent.

                                                                                                                                                                      (I'm quite amused when people are shocked that I turn on the oven and head to the grocery store. Apparently these people think ovens behave themselves for literally thousands of hours while I'm home, but they're just waiting until I leave to explode.)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KWagle

                                                                                                                                                                        <Apparently these people think ovens behave themselves for literally thousands of hours while I'm home, but they're just waiting until I leave to explode>

                                                                                                                                                                        this always makes me laugh too!

                                                                                                                                                                        and i havent done a ton of research into pizza/brick ovens yet since thats still a few years away, but i know the design does a lot for the temp as well

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                          True enough. You might buy an IR thermometer and check the temperature of commercial wood ovens. I've checked only one (most places I go use coal) and it was well under 700 (but the roof was hotter, which helps.) Or you could just time the pie and see how long they cook it. 2 minutes is optimal, 3 acceptable, I personally won't cook a pie past 5 minutes because I'd rather have an undercooked top than a tough crust.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: KWagle

                                                                                                                                                                      I assume you don't make English Muffin pizza in the toaster oven?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KWagle

                                                                                                                                                                        when you divide it with a foil rack, do you just take one of the normal racks from the oven and wrap it?? then do you turn your oven to full broil or go with a normal bake temp? im trying this very soon and just wanna be sure!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                          Exactly. This is best done with two stones, one on the lowest rack position of the oven, one on a rack which you then cover with foil and put in the middle of the oven, as low as you can without making it too difficult to slide the pie from the peel onto the stone.

                                                                                                                                                                          I don't know if this works with an electric oven. And, if you have a broiler below the oven which doesn't cycle on and off (meaning, an old one) but just runs until you turn it off, use that setting. That will get the oven hot enough after several hours without any division. Otherwise, set it at the highest temperature you can. Some ovens offer calibration that can move the target temperature by a few degrees, if you know how to do that, so 550 becomes say 585 in practice.

                                                                                                                                                                          (BTW, IR thermometers that can read up to 950dF are $40 on Amazon. Get one if you don't already have one.) As for safety, our hacked propane oven has been run for 14 hour stretches without ever getting above 105dF on the outside, but it's a self-cleaning oven so it has to be safe in a typical crappy home installation at even higher temperatures.

                                                                                                                                                                          (In theory if you have a top broiler that doesn't cycle, you could use that to heat a stone and you'd probably get better results, but I haven't been able to try that.)

                                                                                                                                                              2. Beau711 says "No reheated stale coffee. If it's been sitting for over 15 minutes, I won't drink it."

                                                                                                                                                                I love the exchange near the end of No Country For Old Men where world-weary Texas lawman Tommy Lee Jones asks his dad, "How old is this coffee?" and the answer is, "I usually make a fresh pot... every week or so." The father played well by Barry Corbin- I can still picture him as Maurice Minnefield from Northern Exposure...

                                                                                                                                                                I'm with others on a few firm rules, though I also feel most are not truly irrefutable- I'm a bit too irreputable for that, heh heh...

                                                                                                                                                                Joan Gussow: "As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists."
                                                                                                                                                                Butter or olive oil, yes. Margarine, no.
                                                                                                                                                                (great line from Moon Over Parador: "Totalitarianism, no! Authoritarianism, si!")

                                                                                                                                                                No naked frying.

                                                                                                                                                                No such thing as too much garlic. Except maybe when making ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                                Never trust a thin chef.

                                                                                                                                                                And finally, avoid excessive moderation.

                                                                                                                                                                ~~~

                                                                                                                                                                Favorite quote from Orson Welles:
                                                                                                                                                                "My doctor advised me to stop ordering intimate dinners for four unless there were three other people."

                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                                                                  I'll have to disagree with you on the thin chef part. I'm widely regarded as the best cook in my circle of friends, and I wear a 00. Knowing how to eat right and splurge occasionally doesn't preclude me from having any talent in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: theferlyone

                                                                                                                                                                    not sure how being a 00 has anything to do with "eating right and splurging occasionally".

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                      Just illustrating the point that waistlines and culinary skills aren't necessarily related. And I don't stay this thin because of magic, lipo, or even a personal trainer. Being a good cook doesn't mean only cooking things that are terrible for you...sure, I make a mean blackened shrimp alfredo, but I don't eat like that every night. I also make a pine nut-encrusted seared tuna steak with wilted spinach and gorgonzola that I would put up against any seared tuna dish from any restaurant in my area...absolutely delicious, and much healthier.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: theferlyone

                                                                                                                                                                      And ditto for me. Most fat people I know are indiscrimate cooks and eaters.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                        So are most of the thin people I know.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                          I know a number of large foodies. Have you noticed the size of many well-known chefs? This smacks of flat-out prejudice to me.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                            I thought the same thing. It is VERY rare that I say this, but I find that post offensive.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                              I don't think there's any correlation between body size and cooking ability or taste. In either direction.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm a member of a foodie group with hundreds of members, and I can't think of one who wears a size zero. We cover the spectrum, but definitely tilt in the other direction. I have to believe it's easier to be quite thin if you really don't care about food. (Genes are also key.) I think there may be correlations among these factors, but there's certainly nothing absolutely preventing any combination of them ...

                                                                                                                                                                      2. No "light" or "lite" anything, nuh-uh, no way, never. Real Food, but less of it.

                                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: applgrl

                                                                                                                                                                          Oh yes, no fake milk (soy, almond, rice, etc) or byproducts thereof (cashew cheese...)

                                                                                                                                                                          No fake meat either (tofurkey, veggie burgers, etc)

                                                                                                                                                                          I have yet to see meat made to look like vegetables...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                            I've never seen a sausage or burger shaped animal running around...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: missdipsy

                                                                                                                                                                              You should see my JRT X Dachshund...looks remarkably like a sausage :D

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: applgrl

                                                                                                                                                                              I agree with no light anything for the most part because you can make real food with huge portions that is low in calories with nothing light invovled. I make veggie heavy dishes (with in season veggies) with less pasta, rice, or quinoa that is standard and use naturally lower fat cheeses (harder cheese tend to have less fat and more flavor so you can use less.) I also use an olive oil sprayer so that when I roast or pan fry veggies, I can use a good quality oil without dousing things. I also eat hearty whole grain breads that are higher in protein and fiber, which helps fill you up (when I eat bread, which I don't eat a lot of.) I also tend to make a lot of hearty soups and stews, and again, put in extra veggies, use lean meat, and maybe throw in a small amount of pasta or barley.You can have a massive bowl of that for 300 calories or less. I tend to use 2% Greek yogurt (which isn't fake or weird) with maybe 2 tbsp. full-fat mayo and some buttermilk for my homemade dressings and they taste fabulous. Most of them are 50 calories for 1/4 of a cup.

                                                                                                                                                                              Real food does not have to be high calorie or unhealthy.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                                                                                                                                where did you get your olive oil sprayer, and what brand is it? my mom has one and she hates it. says it doesnt work well. when i used it, i had to agree with her.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                  Here's a trick. Add a little grain alcohol to the oil. It keeps the sprayer from clogging. Doesn't take much.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                    I got mine from Pampered Chef, works great

                                                                                                                                                                              2. In the South here, and I never ever EVER put sugar in cornbread.
                                                                                                                                                                                I like corn muffins -yes they're delicious!- and I once had a birthday cake made from a sweet cornbread recipe. But cornbread to people I know is a base to pour soupy foods on, like ham & beans, greens and pot liquor, chili and many other traditional recipes. Nothing spoils a savory meal like ladling it over a piece of sugar filled cornbread. A retaurant did this too me once and it was a nasty mouthfull of food. I never fail to ask a server about the cornbread now, and I did not eat or pay for that meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                Cornbread was the only bread easily available (cheap to make) to most people in my region (rural Ozarks) for everyday eating. Wheat flour was too costly to use every day, and was for Sundays and holidays when women would bake "lightbread".
                                                                                                                                                                                Cornbread soaks up the juices so you get every bit of the nutrients, and it fills in any hollow corners occasioned by scanty rations. Sugar not only clashes with the flavor of those authentic southern dishes, but is innacurate to our traditions - as the people in this culture didn't sweeten with it - it too cost too much. Sorghum or honey was used for daily sweetening.

                                                                                                                                                                                People must've been doing better for themselves up north!

                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: weewah

                                                                                                                                                                                  Haven't heard "light bread" in years--just how my Dad described white yeast bread. Also made me think of my southern favorite: spoon bread. Sooooo good with a hearty dollop of fresh made butter. While I didn't/don't eat cornbread made with sugar, I still like beaten biscuits with a good spoonful of Steen's syrup.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                    Any BBQ joint worth the time serves light bread on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: weewah

                                                                                                                                                                                    I am from Texas and I like sweet cornbread and savory. For me, it depends on what it is served with. Sweet cornbread with chili or beans is gross, but with a vegetable soup or beef stew, which both have sweet undertones, it is perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                                                                                                                                      I like them both. I don't have a lot of hard fast rules like I only like something one way. Life's too short. If it taste good that's all that counts.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                                                                                        I grew up in New England... cornbread is sweet (most often served muffin style...). My rule is this: if your cornbread is too sweet, your chili isn't spicy enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: weewah

                                                                                                                                                                                      I can completely understand your analogy about sugar in cornbread ~~ even though I do not eat corn bread of any type. I feel exactly the way you described about (the dreaded) Miracle Whip. Sweet just does not belong where mayonnaise is used. gives me the shivers when I bite into tuna salad and taste icky sweet MW.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Never eat anything bigger than your head.

                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                                                          Miss Piggy said "never eat more than you can lift"
                                                                                                                                                                                          I am very scrupulous about following that rule.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                                                                                                              oh that woman! she should have her own column :D

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. If I don't like it, I don't have to eat it. Period.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: almond tree

                                                                                                                                                                                              My favorite rule too, if it's not worth the calories, not as good as you though it'd be, there's no need to eat it! Just last night we got ice cream from a place that is usually great, well it was pretty mediocre last night, unfortunately most of the ice cream went in the garbage. Some may think that's awful, but why waste all those calories on ice cream that's not hitting the spot and isn't that good?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                                                                                I thought of your post while tossing out a nasty brownie today ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. If the word "buffet" appears immediately following the word "Chinese" or "seafood," RUN.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I must admit I have very few.....but I do have restaurant rules:

                                                                                                                                                                                                If I'm anywhere on the west coast outside of major cities, and unsure where to eat, I look for a locally-owned Mexican place. That rule has served me well over the years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                No fast food unless its the only option and I'm very, very hungry...

                                                                                                                                                                                                I do look to see how busy a place is and use that as a judge if unsure as well...I figure if nothing else the bigger places will have more turnover and therefore fresher food....

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Never eat at a restaurant where the pepper mill is bigger than your date.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mateo21

                                                                                                                                                                                                        No, but DH swears it happened to him years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                                          hahaha... I must seek this place out!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                                        How about "Never go on a date with anyone smaller than a pepper mill?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I go with

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Food goes in the refrigerator. (explanation: I refrigerate a number of things other people store at room temperature, like peanut butter, baked goods, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. You can fix it if you make the coffee too strong. You can't fix coffee made too weak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Pizza: No fish, no fruit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. Organs are not food meat. Muscle is food meat. No guts, no brains, no eyes, no hearts, no livers, no kidneys, no offal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Many disagree, and I'm sorry if I'm yucking your yums. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: occula

                                                                                                                                                                                                          No offense taken...but we'll both be happier if I never invite you over for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm enjoying imagining an unrefrigerated meal of weak coffee with anchovy and liver pizza. :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: occula

                                                                                                                                                                                                              then your imagination would be seriously flawed (although I know you're poking fun with your comment).... I don't drink weak coffee, but that's not to say that it's never appeared in my kitchen (my dad drinks dirty water, I swear) - or that I agree that it can never be too strong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't refrigerate eggs ever...nor butter in the winter...nor most fruits and veggies, especially in the winter (and never, ever tomatoes)...not EVER bread or baked goods (unless it's a chocolate ganache or something else that will melt all over everything)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love seafood pizza, and I even make a dessert pizza with sugar-cookie dough that has nothng BUT fruit on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Liver (foie gras, anyone?), confit of duck gizzards, and stew made with pork or beef cheeks are some of the favorites on our table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                [Quote] I don't drink weak coffee, but that's not to say that it's never appeared in my kitchen (my dad drinks dirty water, I swear) [/Quote]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Down home (I'm a Southern Boy) we call it Snuff water. You get a cup of lukewarm water and mix in a pinch of snuff to get the right color and call it coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "(my dad drinks dirty water, I swear)"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The first time I served my boyfriend coffee at my mother's house, he glanced in the cup and, slightly puzzled, asked, "Tea?" My mom came into the room and gave me a good smack on my arm for laughing so hard, after I explained why I was laughing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was indeed poking fun. And again, I don't mean to yuck anyone's yum, or vice versa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My point with the coffee really was to err on the side of strength when making it because, once it's been prepared, nothing will make it stronger (well, okay, I guess you could add instant coffee if you kept that on hand), but if you accidentally make it too strong, at least you can add a bit of water and weakify it. In my house, coffee that's too weak is just bad coffee or has to be discarded, but coffee that's too strong is salvageable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have tasted liver. I managed to swallow the bite, but I admit it is definitely on my "never again" list. I'm glad the liver or cheeks that my steak used to walk around with isn't going to waste, though. To each her own!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That might be the real Irrefutable Food Rule! To each her own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: occula

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's certainly mine...you hit the nail on the head, occula.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: occula

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        chopped chicken livers ....mmmm I actually learned that the difference between calves' liver and beef liver is amazing this at one of those FLA buffets... i think morrison's calves' is much more tender, less mineraly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: occula

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No anchovies? Now that's a pizza topping!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: occula

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You are SO right on the coffee. A little water from the kettle can adjust what I consider to be "proper" strength coffee to anyone's taste. Everyone wins :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: occula

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I disagree with each of the other three rules you cite, but am totally in agreement with your coffee rule. I once spent a week visiting with folks who drank coffee all day long. I thought I was among my kind of people, until I had my first cup of their coffeee. They drank coffee all day to get enough caffeine to equal what I get in my first two cups of the morning. They thought I was a drug addict when I fixed coffee that didn't look like weak tea or taste like dirty dishwater. As the Romans said "de gustibus, non disputandum" i.e., roughly, to each his own, or there's no accounting for why others like what they do ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's "De gustibus non est disputandum", and it means you can't argue about taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Which, I think, 99% of 'hounds would disagree with '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's the long version. As a 'hound, I prefer to use my own interpretation, even if my old Latin teacher would cringe. Besides, isn't it what you say when you give up in despair at trying to understand why the heck some people like or dislike certain foods?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Soy sauce does not go directly onto plain white rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          or brown sugar...my elementary school always put out huge bowls of brown sugar whenever they served white rice. Ugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What??? Where on earth did you go to school? This seems utterly bizarre to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Seconding that. I'm kind of gagging as I do...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                northern Indiana, and I've never seen it anywhere else, even in Indiana. Talked to someone in my class a few weeks ago who now teaches there, and they STILL serve brown sugar (in little paper cups for hygiene, now)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Weird.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm strangely fascinated by this...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As a kid, we ate white rice with white sugar and butter. I now gag thinking of that, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My daughter loves rice with butter and white sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My mom would give us that when we were little. She was always trying to fatten us up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I tried it one time -- hey, all the other kids were doing it! -- and even my 8-year-old Midwest self who'd never been out of her home state thought it was pretty awful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sunshine, I raised my sons in Michigan City, Indiana. I don't remember hearing them mention this in grammar school. Now I'm curious - I will have to ask them if they saw it. They are both in their early 20's now, so maybe it wasn't done anymore by then..?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This was in the northeast part of the state -- and as I mentioned, a schoolmate who's now teaching there says they STILL do it at that school. (and I'm old enough to have kids in their 20s...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've never seen it anywhere else, and I've eaten rice in a LOT of places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ooh! Me. Elementary school in a Minneapolis suburb. White rice (pre-buttered) was served with brown sugar and cinnamon. And usually alongside gloopy chow mein. Oh, Minnesota. This was in the early nineties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thinking about this a bit, I can't say why it is but that's how I feel:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      White rice with sugar- yuck.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      White rice with milk and sugar- yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      White rice with butter- yum.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      White rice with peas and butter- double yum.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      White rice with peas, browned butter and a little Herbamare- triple yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm guessing that it's related to the lack of fat and liquid. White rice (probably parboiled or worse) is kind of sticky and gluey on its own, and the melted sugar just compounds that, especially when it then absorbs whatever liquid from the rice itself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At least with rice pudding (which I like, too, even if it's not something I go out of the way for) -- you have the liquid and fat to carry the other flavors and make it something other than a ball of sticky-gooey starch in your mouth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Presbyterian church camp, southeast MO around 1959...warm white rice for breakfast served with milk and sugar, as though it were oatmeal or Cream of Wheat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now I remember eating that as a kid growing up in East Germany. It was served with a bit of Raspberry syrup or similar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, if you modify it a bit, you have rice pudding, which is a normal food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    +1000! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sadly, my partner grew up eating soy sauce on rice and there's nothing I can do to persuade him otherwise. So wrong, so very , very wrong...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jubilant cerise

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I can't kick this habit either. Every time I visit my family and they are serving white rice there is soy sauce on the table and my hand instinctively reaches for that bottle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. No pre-shredded cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No sour cream or cottage cheese with more than 3 ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No random condiments on the food I just cooked for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I don't like to waste carbs or calories. So, if I don't like something, I don't finish it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. NO Miracle Whip ever ever ever ever ever. Stop making it, please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No "pancake syrup". Real Maple Syrup please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No "Cool Whip" it is chemicals, like margarine is chemicals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No "cheese food"; or "slices"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No flour tortillas where corn tortillas belong, thinking enchiladas especially

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No frozen veggies packaged "in butter/cheese sauce"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Along the lines of the "cheese food" thing, I don't eat anything where they feel the need to specify that it's food in the fine print...I've also seen something-something "meat food". Yikes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: theferlyone

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Even worse, "cheese food product".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wait! I agree 100% with you on everything but for the Miracle Whip. I buy Miracle Whip right around this time every year just so I can put it on my leftover turkey sandwiches. I love that stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cubed turkey & Miracle Whip. Mix, let sit for 24 hours. BEST...TURKEY...SALAD...EVER!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Cubed turkey & Miracle Whip. Mix, let sit for 24 hours. BEST...TURKEY...SALAD...EVER!!!!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  YES!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                yeeuch!----miracle whip-----Gaaa! ever since i was little i could never stand that crap!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kubasd23

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I like Laliz's list - this person is my friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Roasting potatoes they MUST be tossed rosemary

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pj26

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I believe the OP stated "irrefutable".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ONLY rosemary, or is it a minimum requirement for you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'd add that when buying a new oven, make sure it's convection so you can have truly excellent roasted potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I figured salt, pepper and olive oil was obvious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Me too! But can I add garlic? Or thyme? Or a little parsley at the end?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sure. But salt, pepper olive oil and rosemary are a minimum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I dunno, I just roasted them in honey, chipotle powder, chili powder and olive oil. It was kinda good... Rosemary seemed out of place in that combo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Breaking a rule about cheese and the seafood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why draw a hard line between Piscine and Casein?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just allow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 1. No reduced-fat or no-fat cheeses, mayos, etc. Ever. They're all inferior. Better to eat the real deal, eat less of it or eat it less often. Life is too short for ersatz food.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. In a new dim-sum eatery, always start with braised chicken feet and har gao. The quality of these two dishes is a reliable indicator of how good everything else will or won't be.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. It's OK to eat a meal in a bar, but never in a bar that has no windows.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. Better get over any hangups you have about farmed seafood. In a few more years, there won't be any other kind. Seafood is the last wild food most people eat, and it's almost gone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: emu48

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            emu48,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I happen to love low-fat Emmental and Jarlsberg cheese, and prefer it to standard types for its clean, nutty flavor. I like other low-fat cheeses as well. Guess it is a matter of taste and preference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've had several bad experiences with reduced-salt cheeses though. Got some low-sodium lacy Swiss that was rubbery and tasteless, and a low-sodium provolone that was equally lacking. Until someone can prove otherwise, to me reduced salt = reduced flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: emu48

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've been to some pretty amazing tapas bars in Spain that are underground and have no windows. But I think generally that is not a bad rule to live by!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: emu48

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Your rules are pretty good, but about #4. There are still some of us who can get venison from friends who hunt in the fall. That is a wild food that will be around for a while. Irrefutable rule: I insist on marinating venison for 8 hours in red wine, onions, juniper berries, bay leaf, and a few other oddiments before cooking it. I just had lunch and it's making my mouth water thinking about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I myself might insist for a tougher cut of venison to substitute the red wine with Buttermilk...not bad at all. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I have a few

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Will not eat out or pay for food made by someone else unless I know it's going to be worth it and delicious and made with love. I'll bring my own food from home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pizza shall never come from pizza hut or the like. I'm a pizza snob it's true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Soup and noodles will never come from a can or a packet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Thou shalt buy the best quality ingredients that one can afford.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thou shalt keep it simple and allow beautiful ingredients to shine in all their glory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Works for me :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Never drink instant coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Always use up fresh food before buying any more, no matter how much I'd prefer to eat something different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Smile more and eat more dried beans instead of processed meats.............

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd rather go without coffee than drink instant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I definitely do go along with your first rule and definitely should go with your second.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ok, Peg, I knew there would be a character-builder in here somewhere.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That eggplant looked so much better last week before it got all those brown spots. I have to eat it anyway, don't I?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Why would you have an eggplant sitting there after a week?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Even if I can only shop for veg once a week I either use up the ingredients in the 'right order' or I spend a few hours cooking and filling the freezer on the day I shop.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do realise this sounds like I'm a really irritating person to have in the kitchen and that's probably correct!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sometimes there's just so much fresh produce packed in the crisper drawers that it takes the week to get to whatever's on the bottom !
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am guilty of buying what looks good the day I'm at the store, then between work and meetings and life, I simply don't get to all of it while it is fresh and wonderful looking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hear, hear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When I buy it I have the best of intentions and a rough mealtime schedule of what day we'll have what...but sometimes the wheels fall off and by Friday I'm in the ditch, scrounging through to figure out how I can salvage it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sick kids, postponed meetings, delayed flights, invitations from friends....all things that have priority over that eggplant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I really make an effort to live by the second rule but a couple of things always manage to slip by. This tells me I should probably resist the urge to follow my normal produce list and cut back on a few items monthly which is not at all unreasonable. I think the small extra waste is so that I don't make that extra trip for something I might need later during the week. Additionally I often feel that I spend too much time in the kitchen, so I rarely prepare meals in advance which makes it hard to use up all the items through careful planning. Many would argue that the planning helps decrease overall kitchen time, but in my case it never does. I do enjoy getting and early start on prep work daily to get dinner on the table in the evening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Didn't mean to go ot, but I like this rule for many reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My work schedule (my boss lets me cram a 5 day week into 4 days so I get a 3 day weekend) means I simply don't have time to cook during the week. I get home from work between 7 and 8pm and am always famished. Planning and cooking ahead are essential if I'm not to end up buying take-out 4 day a week. I have found that it leads to zero waste and there is always something I can nuke for dinner in the freezer. (I only freeze veggie food, never eat meat and if I buy fish I eat it the same day).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "zero waste" here is an ideal, but I remember when I was working 5 days a week and long commutes, all it merely did was change what I cooked and I was never a big planner, yet like you I managed to stay away from take out as well. Ditto on fish :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. My grandpa's big rule, which my dad always applied to us as well, was "if you don't like it, don't eat it, but don't talk about it." Applied to any dish cooked at home, but also to things being eaten around you. I guess I modify when I'm a guest to "eat the smallest potion you can get away with, but don't talk about it." That mantra has gotten me through a number of servings of green bean/cream o mushroom casserole in my day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ErnieD

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                lol....did we have the same father and I just don't know it? In our family that is known as Grandpa's Rule (the kids named it after my dad - their Grandpa). "Eat it and shut up about it, or don't eat it and shut up about it" All the kids and their cousins understand that the rule is in effect at all family dinners, whether at the house or in a restaurant. I guess that's the closest I have to an irefutable food rule...:-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Buddy Hackett - "As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. My number 1, will not break it, written in stone rule is - no female lobsters! They should be thrown back when caught. I know people like the roe, I get that, but for me, it's a no brainer. My grandfather had a lobster fishing business and cannery in Newfoundland all his life. He fished every day during season, and raised four children on the money he made (my mom was born in 1920 so this goes back a really long time). But if he could raise a family by catching only male lobsters - then we can do it today. Just think of the literally millions of babies that would potentially be in the waters off the east coast if the females were all put back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I do understand that people really like the roe, and that's your choice. For myself, I inspect every lobster I purchase, and will not shop at a place that has females in their tanks (as it has happened that I missed one). I also won't eat it in a restaurant if they can't make sure mine's a male.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another rule - always wear an apron (over white shirts) when frying chicken wings in hot sauce!! Which goes hand in hand with - don't do any cooking/baking/barbecuing while wearing nice white clothes!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. No cilantro, ever. May as well season the food with soap shavings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  24 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Whew, I thought that was just me - every time I have a dish in a restaurant/take-out that has cilantro in it it's fine, nothing out of the ordinary but when I buy the stuff at the grocery store and use it it's soapy, awful, nothing like what I'm used to. I thought it was me not washing it enough, or washing it too much or something, but sounds like I'm not the only one that tastes soap!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nsstampqueen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cilantro is one of a couple of ingredients that improves nearly everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jsandler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cilantro is the ONLY ingredient that makes everything taste like soap (that I know of)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cilantro makes salsa and other things like soups come alive. I didn't like it at first, but that was over thirty years ago. here in the southwest cilantro is a given. One just has to learn to be judicious in it's application.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dgrayzona

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              you're not a soap-taster...for those who carry the gene (because it is genetic, legitimate, and statistically significant in the population) -- more than a leaf or two overpowers the entire dish, and leaves us grabbing for anything that will take away the flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Judicious, for us, means a leaf or two, or leaving it out completely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I tasted soap after hearing this description over and over. The flavor of cilantro really does have a soapy aspect. But it's still yummy and delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I do have to wonder, though, whether the gene also makes people eat soap, and what other strange behavior it fosters, because there isn't any reason for anyone to know what soap tastes like other than being curious about the way people perceive cilantro!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KWagle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think most people have sort of a basic idea from washing their faces or hair without their mouths closed tightly enough!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    or having been disciplined for having a sassy mouth when they were young.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You might try just accepting (and counting your blessings) that you're one of the ones who just tastes cilantro...I wish I liked it, but I just don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There's some pretty serious, legitimate medical research about it -- nobody's making it up, and nobody should be accused of aberrant behaviour just because you don't taste what I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I wonder if the genetic predisposition can be overruled. I used to loathe cilantro (it made eating in Thailand difficult, to say the least -- always had to say ' no pak chi'), but slowly, very gradually, I've come to not only tolerate it, but love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Maybe my genes are just spineless pushovers, tho, who knows.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/din...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        linguafood --

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        according to that article, that genetic predisposition can be overcome. The article details why some people are offended by cilantro and how overtime that offensiveness might be overcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thought you might find it interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Interesting question, but I have no idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I dislike it enough to not want to try it very much, though I can understand that in Thailand it's a case of having to learn to deal with it -- soap works as a descriptor, and I've also heard it described as taking a big bite of grass clippings right out of the mower.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          To me, anything more than a token amount just overpowers everything in the dish, and I can't taste anything else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That heavenly tofu dish I make would not be the same without cilantro.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not so convinced it's always all-or-nothing either. There's evidence of a genetic component, but I think the concordance in identical twins is only about 80%.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This article is interesting: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/din...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It makes several valid points, including:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are similar aldehydes in soap and cilantro. It's not surprising that people say they taste similar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Experiences are important. I find that to be very true- we're animalistically prone to food aversion, and combining an ambiguous or slightly strange taste with having someone try to make you eat it probably cements the hatred, whereas seeing people around you enjoying it without pressuring you to eat it probably does the opposite. That's certainly been my experience with little kids trying new foods. Every time I get the chance, I try to talk parents of young children out of getting too pushy at the table. It's a fine line of course, a little bit of vegetable resistance is entirely normal, but when the kid is getting legitimately upset and you're shoving it down his throat, you're not doing any good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not in the article, but my experience with herbs is that a plant that lives a pampered life will be milder flavored. I think the odiferous compounds evolved as a defense against being demolished by critters, and that they're produced in greater quantity when the plant is stressed by a bug attack, under watering, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not saying all this in order to suggest that people need to rethink their hatred of cilantro. I totally understand how strong food disgust can be. I think raw onion makes people smell utterly revolting for about 24 hours afterwards- like they are emitting rancid meat from every pore. Maybe I have a slight allergy, or my ancestors lived near a poisonous allium, or I was given raw onion juice in my sippy cup. It really doesn't matter- I trust my nose implicitly, and I respect your right to trust yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm quite aware of the science. I'm accusing people of aberrant behavior because they taste soap, not because they dislike cilantro! But I guess now I have to taste grass clippings too. :-/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Very interesting. I dont' have the cilantro-tastes-like-soap gene, apparently. I love the stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But...am I the only one for whom ground cumin, in the jar, smells like very strong B.O.? I mean it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's exactly what cumin smells like to me, armpit--in particular, one belonging to someone who doesn't do his laundry particularly often. I can only use a teeny, tiny bit of it, and it has to be cooked, and only in a meat dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Exactly, Jay! Glad I'm not the only one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      EB, I had a burrito for lunch today, and it had so much cumin in it, I've been burping it ever since.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        IMHO sounds like a badly made one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You either love it or hate it. I'm in the former camp. Maybe it will turn out to be pne of those things like turnips or rutabagas. Some people have an enzyme that makes those vegetables taste awful, while others don't have a problem with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm on the fence with this one, personally. Have never been able to understand how a little can be so good and a little more can be so bad. A hint in salsa or gaucamole is great. But if I get a whole unbroken little leaf- instant soapiness. And yet the green sauce ("cilantro chutney") that Indian restaurants serve somehow tastes wonderful to me, even though cilantro is the dominant flavor. Maybe one of the other ingredients in that sauce contains traces of the magic enzyme.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Like a little salt can be helpful with flavor, but a lot can make your mouth go into spasms. Cooking the herb may help as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. I will not order anything in a restaurant that I can easily make at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I will not order a steak in a seafood restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That sort of reminds me of one of my dad's rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    He won't order tuna in a deli. My mom and I both do it. His feeling is that he can make tuna at home just as well as the deli can, but a hot corned beef sandwich is best done in the restaurant. It really bugs him. We do it anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes! I do not understand people ordering cheesy chicken dishes (for example) in a restaurant. You just spent $20 for something you could do at home for $5. I order only foods that I cannot easily prepare at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My second rule is that if it tastes good, I will not pretend it doesn't, even if we are talking about Applebees.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Finally, No Cool Whip allowed. Why do people go to to trouble to make a pie from scratch or (semi) scratch, and then refuse to spend 2 extra minutes with a bowl and a mixer? There is no skill or hassle required??!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <i will not order anything in a restaurant i can easily make at home>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        same here! this also includes things that are kinda tricky to make at home, but that i believe i can make well. if i'm eatin out, the chef is workin for my money!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. 1. Never eat at chain restaurants. You can keep your applebees, lone star, olive garden etc. There are plenty of local, privately owned restaurants that are much, much better. Plus, you're generally keeping you money locally rather than sending it to a corporate headquarters elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Never buy any "Organic" fruit or vegetable that you have to peel. It makes no sense. An "Organic" Avacado is no different chemically from a "conventional" Avacado.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. The general use of the word "Organic" as being superior to anything else. As an engineer, semantics really mean quite a lot, and to me, anything that is "Organic" contains carbon, which is every living thing and lots and lots of non-living things on the face of the earth. Congratulations, that twinkee (sp?) and that chair your pretentious ass is sitting on is also, technically, organic. If everyone would say "Organically Grown" or how about, "Without any pesticides, fertilizers, or modified genetics", then maybe I wouldn't want to choke the next yuppy douche that tells me I'm going to get cancer and die because my salad isn't organic. Yes, douche, it is organic, not it wasn't grown organically.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Then again, I might be in the minority when it comes to my last statement :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bwinter714

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's an excellent point. An unscrupulous producer could put “organic” on anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And organic does not always mean taste better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pj26

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But 'organic' does mean the land was managed in a more ecologically aware way, which is why I do try to buy organic veg and eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Peg, you're right, and I'm not knocking the movement in general. I think ecologically it is a great movement, and I fully support it. It's the overuse that is starting to trouble me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And yes, Free-range, hormone-free eggs are the only ones I buy, and I'm lucky to be able to go right to the farm to get them. There is nothing like a farm fresh egg, after eating those for a while I tried a conventional store-bought egg and it was difficult to choke down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bwinter, I somewhat agree; but what about the new systemic pesticides that are now being used on some fruits and veg. Systemic meaning the pesticides are drawn up by the plants and "circulate in the sap, etc. internally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Osprey,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I understand what you are saying, and there is an alarming increase in what you are describing. In some cases, the pesticides can actually modify the genetics of the trees themselves, leading to problems in later generations of the plants. The fact that people spray these chemicals without any long-term studies of the effect on humans or the biological well-being of the plants is simply irresponsible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Though fortunately, for now anyway, the problem isn't wide-spread. And the levels of toxicity in the fruits of the plants is almost untraceable. My best friend works for a private company that does testing for the Dept of Agriculture or the FDA, (I can't remember which, my field is industrial robotics), and tests a variety of consumables including the fruit, and the main body of the plant, vegetables etc. While the soils have been found to contain high levels of pesticides, the levels in the plant decrease rapidly as you move from the tip of the root to the body of the plant in question. Though he feels the same as I do, it's only a matter of time before the natural filter mechanisms in the plant break down and start depositing the chemicals in the fruit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There are government standards, certification processes, and consumer watchdog organizations. You can't just slap USDA organic on anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Organic is not pretentious. It's a label, yes, but it's not Louis Vuitton.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: bwinter714

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Organic as a food label does has meaning, rather strictly controlled by the USDA. Unlike, say, Natural.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mateo21

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And yet "organic" by the FDA's big-industry-favoring definition falls FAR short of the standards that organic food associations recommended and still aspire to. And short of what any reasonable person would expect when we think of organic food. Except maybe George Orwell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For instance, the FDA allows labeling genetically modified foods as "organic." Many consumers are unaware of this since it's mostly been kept out of the press. In fact, it's quite difficult to find out how many of the foods you eat have been genetically modified. This is not accidental. Most of us are eating a lot more GMO food than we realize, and it's increasing all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Another example- the FDA permits massmarket factory farms to begin with conventional seedlings and then to label the crop as "organic" as long as they are treated while growing according to the certain guidelines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  These loopholes for big business go a long way towards undercutting the genuine organic farmers who are honestly producing genuinely organic food. Sadly, family farmers and the sincere natural growers can't afford a multimillion-dollar lobby in Washington, so guess who reaps the benefits- while the public is kept in the dark about it, blindly trusting that the FDA must be doing the right thing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  After all, the FDA is there to protect the public, not the industry, right? Unfortunately, it's headquartered in Washington DC with the rest of the government. They should've put it out in the heartland somewhere and made it off limits to big agribusiness money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've heard this many, many times. And I'm not sure about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    GMO foods have yet to receive any sort of regulatory status in the US -- so why would them being in conventional vs. organic food be an issue? I'd rather not get into a GMO debate here, but I'd say this point falls short of demonstrating that USDA organic is some contrived cop-out for big business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    About the "massmarket [sic] factory farms to being with conventional seedlings..." what are the mysterious "certain guidelines"... might these include pesticide regulations? Again, another point too vague to be accurate criticism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Is the public really kept in the dark? Seeing as you know about all of these secrets... While I would consent to the influence that money has on the regulations, what you're talking about is a larger issue with our food production system, not with organic regulations. We're far better off with the USDA version than nothing, where big-Ag could claim what they wanted and throw an organic label on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. Most of mine have already been said:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1- Don't yuck someone's yum.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2- Don't waste money or stomach space on something you don't like.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3- Don't lie about food (ie, what's in it, how it was cooked, etc).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4- No double-starch meals -- pasta and bread, pancakes and hashbrowns, etc -- unless it's a really exceptional situation. I don't care if someone else does it, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Though I guess my main rule is not to eat something I can't kill, thus the vegetarianism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Never say never to chain restaurants. I live in San Diego, and restaurants such as Donovan's, Oceanaire, Santouka (just to name a few) always make it on the short list among Chowhounds and critics for the best in the city for that type of food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SteveRB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You know what, I didn't think about that, it's unfair to place all chains into one category. Yes, I do agree with you on that point, though as a generality, you know what chains aren't worth their salt they overuse on their food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: SteveRB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That wasn't me. I'm fine with some chains -- I love the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday, for one -- though I can't say I go very often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I too don't like two starches together: two fried items on the same plate, samosas that contain potatoes (essentially all of them), a curry with potatoes served over rice, garlic bread with pasta, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, it just seems out of balance to me, which is why I never get rice in burritos. But I'm sure some people love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Right ... I never get rice in burritos either!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, sounds like Mr. Pine--won't eat bread with potatoes, or any 2 starches. Used to drive me crazy, till I finally cooked what I wanted and he can pick and choose which ones to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            there are some establishments in the north of England where it is not entirely unusual to order pasta, which is then served with a side of chips (fries)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                you might even get a helping of bread as well!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. My wife's only food rule, "When traveling, NEVER eat at a restaurant you can eat at when at home".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree, really makes me shake my head when people are looking to go to a great restaurant when they are on vacation and they go to somewhere like Ruth's Chris. This is something I see a lot on Trip Advisor - people asking how is the food at "insert chain here". For me, when you are travelling eat local! I wouldn't go to most of the places when I'm at home, why would I when I'm travelling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nsstampqueen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the only exception to that is when it's late or I'm tired, and I'm starving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When I reach that point, my primary objective is fuel...and when you don't have the time or energy to drive around and appreciate something local, sometimes a known value is a good thing...even if the known value is lower than what you might ordinarily seek out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That is true, when you're out of time, running late, desperate for a nosh, etc. then it's completely forgiveable to look at those golden arches, red haired pigtails, or bucket of finger lickin' chicken with happiness!! Ok all kidding aside, I know what you are saying, sometimes the moment calls for desperate measures and if you were home or near home you'd just about eat anywhere too! That's the way my week has been - work all day, work the trade show all evening, drive home at 10 p.m. and grab the first quick meal on the way home - and believe me I know those salads aren't that healthy - but it's better than some options - fuel me up baby!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nsstampqueen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ...I'm with you...even if it's Chili's or Bob Evans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And when you reach that point, you're probably also too tired/stressed out/over it all/hungry to actually appreciate someone independent and local, anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This former saleschick is a veteran of more Cracker Barrel takeout salads at 11pm than she cares to recall...but when it's that, having a sandwich out of a vending machine (ugh), or going to bed starving...the salad starts looking pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oooh, I'm adding this one to my own rules. Adding to it, I generally try to order dishes that are specific to the restaurant, instead of getting something I can order anywhere. For ex, I rarely order salads in veg restaurants because that's my backup in normal restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is one I try to follow, although, since I am from NYC, it isn't always easy. Still, I do try to go local.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i agree on this one!! why eat somewhere you have at your disposal all the time??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  related: if i am travelling and ask someone for a reccomendation, and their answer includes a chain of any kind (unless it is a very local chain, like in and out burger), they are removed from my referral list forever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There are a couple of chains worth visiting, of course it depends on whether you have them close to home. Five Guys Burgers (at least the one we visited in Orlando FL) and Fuddruckers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      meh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      if im gonna have a burger, im not gonna get it from a fast food place in general. also, especially in these cases, i feel i would still rather get my burger fix (or whatever other fix im craving) from a good local place doin it right and fresh over one you mentioned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree with you on destinations, but to me a road trip isn't a road trip if I don't eat at a Wendy's or McDonalds off the interstate

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gerndel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      chick-fil-a and cracker barrel are our family's interstate stops of choice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mattstolz: "chick-fil-a and cracker barrel are our family's interstate stops of choice"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Because of their political leanings?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          at the risk of hijacking this thread into a political dicussion,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i choose the places i eat for one reason:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          do they take good ingredients and turn them into delicious food?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          thats it. the political choices of the people in suits who have probably not stepped into one of their own kitchens in years has nothing to do with whether i enjoy the food their restos serve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've only eaten at Chick-Fil-A once, and didn't think it was all that great. When I found out about their politics, I decided never to darken their doorway again. Not a problem, though, as I didn't like the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've never been to a Cracker Barrel, and doubt I ever will eat at one, and yes, it's because of their politics. It's a good enough reason to make not eating in such a place one of my irrefutable food rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Another one I stick to is that when travelling abroad I only go to restaurants serving the food of the country I am visiting. I am always amazed to read the posts asking for the 'best Chinese food in Munich', or 'where to find pho in Venice'. OK, I'm making the examples up but they're not far from the truth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'd probably modify that a little; if the country in another time had an empire, their food has crept in (and this goes in both directions), and that's possibly a good bet. The first time I ever ate couscous was in Paris (i.e., Algeria) and London has great Indian and Chinese (i.e., Hong Kong) food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And come to think of it, Norway gets a huge number of immigrants, and we have had some tasty Indian food there, utilizing that excellent fish and lamb. But perhaps that's because it was preceeded by the simple and relatively unseasoned Norwegian food, nice but leaving us spice-deprived. (Still, long live fiskesuppe!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I apply that rule when travelling for short periods of time, even in the US (I remember being in Lincoln, Nebraska once and my hosts wanting to take me to a seafood place, "because you are from San Francisco, so we know you must like seafood" and I was silently begging, "please just take me to a steak house".) However, when travelling for longer periods, I do like seeking out foods from different ethnicities than the prominent one (and the point about immigrant culture and empires that 'lemons' makes is a good one). Variety being the spice of life and all of that, and sometimes it is a way to get great eats. I've had great couscous in Paris myself; as well as the best steamed bao I ever ate in my life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But then again there is my husband's irrefutable food rule: "Never eat Indian food in Paris" :-) Its fine in London, obviously....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm always amazed when we're in India and Mr. Pine's family wants to take us to a Chinese restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Actually, many restaurant cooks in India are ethnic Chinese...and my experience there is that