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July 11, 2012

12
P.M.

Free Range on Food: Pie, wedding food, picky eaters and more

Total Responses: 100

About the hosts

About the host

Jane Touzalin

Jane is interim recipe editor/deputy Food editor; joining us today are interim editor Bonnie Benwick, staff writer Tim Carman, Spirits columnist Jason Wilson and Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin. Guests: New York caterer Peter Callahan, Seattle pie instructor Kate McDermott and Stephanie Lucianovic, author of "Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater's Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate."

About the topic


Learn about new trends in wedding food and how to make the perfect pie.
Past Free Range on Food chats
Q.

Jane Touzalin :

Greetings, all. We have a full house today, with the usual bunch of gabbers plus some special guests ready to answer your questions: Seattle pie instructor Kate McDermott, self-confessed picky eater Stephanie Lucianovic, and we're also hoping to have caterer Peter Callahan to talk about trends in wedding food. Let's go!

Q.

Picky eaters, opinion

I do have some sympathy for picky eaters, as I went thru a spell as a child where eating eggs made me gag - they just would not go in. Same with maple syrup. My parents didn't make a big deal of it, but eventually I realized I could eat both. This differs from kids and/or adults who are SO specific as to what, when and how they will eat foods - - seems like a control issue. We were raised that what was presented was what would be eaten. If we didn't like what was presented, we were free to wait for the next meal. Oh well...
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

I'm really happy to see you say you have some sympathy for picky eaters, because, see, picky eating is not a choice. No one would choose to live in such fear and dislike of food. Picky eaters are not trying to be annoying with their food and is a really painful state for them deal with. I was able to get past many of my issues but I am well aware of the fact that just because I could doesn't mean that not everyone can. As for it being a control thing, that might be a small part of it. But it's not the only part. It's a need to feel safe and comfortable and unthreatened and how to we get to that point? By controlling our enviornment. We do it in many other areas of life. It's human nature.

– July 11, 2012 12:00 PM
Q.

Apples

Sometimes when I cut into an apple (Braeburn, Granny Smith), some of the flesh around the core is brownish, like a bruise, but it's inside the apple rather than at the surface. What causes this discoloration, and is the apple still safe to eat?
A.
Tim Carman :

According to this document from Washington State University, brown flesh around the core is a sign of a disorder caused by storing apples at temperatures of 31 or 32 degrees.

 

The solution, says the university, is to store the susceptible varieties at a slightly higher temperature.

– July 11, 2012 12:01 PM
Q.

Our Lady of Angels Monastery Cheese

I was so pleased to see the article about the nuns last week. I have been buying the gouda from the sisters since learning about them in the 1991 Post article (it has been that long!). Makes great mild mac and cheese and of course cheese sandwhiches.
A.
Jane Touzalin :

Thanks for the shout-out. We've got hunk of their Gouda in our newsroom fridge -- it's delish.

– July 11, 2012 12:02 PM
Q.

soggy crust

I was so excited to read the pie baking article today. I recently decided this is the year to conquer my pie baking fears. My grandmother and mother made county fair-winning pies but I cannot seem to come even close to theirs. I've got the crust making and rolling down (according to them) but my crust is always soggy in the center, always! I recently upgraded my equipment from aluminum pans to a Pyrex one. Same result. The last pie I attempted was a peach pie that I baked for 80 minutes before I thought the bottom was done. It wasn't. What am I doing wrong?
A.
Kate McDermott :

Thanks for asking this question. Peach Pie can be tricky if they are exceptionally juicy. And, using the right pie pan to get that bottom crust set is important for a juicy pie.

If you must use aluminum, place it inside of your pyrex pan...it'll be easier to handle that way getting it in and out of the oven, too...

Make sure the pie is well-chilled. Put it into a hot oven (425F) to begin. Be sure you KNOW that it is 425F. Get an oven thermometer to double check. Your thermostat might be off.

You can heat a cookie sheet during pre-heat and place that pie on it.

Don't overfill your pie with fruit. Less is more. Especially with juice fruits. 

Add two thickners: maybe 1/4 cup flour and 2 T of quick cooking tapioca. Bake until you see regular steady bubbling coming out of your vents or lattice work. Quick cooking tapioca must reach a high enough temp so it can do it's work. If not, you will have fruit soup with tapioca sludge on top!

Try again. Always try again. If it doesn't work out, turn it into the lasgane pan and give it a quick swirl with the spoon. If you have great peaches, it'll be wonderful!

 

– July 11, 2012 12:02 PM
Q.

Microwaving peppers

I love those peppers that are used for real Mexican stuffed peppers -- Not the bland Bells but the mildly fiery Poblanos. Instead of going through the whole charring ritual in order to get the skin off, I wonder if it's possible to just nuke 'em? Presumably poking a few holes in them first so they don't explode in the microwave.
A.
Jane Touzalin :

I haven't done it myself, but I've read that you can do it by putting the peppers in a lidded dish and covering it to hold the steam in, then microwaving for 5 to 10 minutes depending on your oven. You need a rotating microwave base for this. Might be worth trying. But in my opinion, the roasting necessary for the skin charring adds  flavor to the peppers that steaming just would not. And it really doesn't take that much time.

– July 11, 2012 12:03 PM
Q.

Picky Eating -- is this really a thing?

I'd be curious to know from Stephanie if, in her research for the book, she found out whether picky eating is an active choice people make (like having control over something) or if it really is more of an unconscious thing that is driven by circumstances people often cannot control? Thanks!
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

It really isn't a choice. It's not like choosing to be a vegetarian or a vegan for ethical reasons, it's just who you are -- believe me, no one would choose to be someone who can't help disliking a large variety of foods, it's pretty miserable -- and bringing shame down on picky eaters or intolerance is not the way to deal with it. Think about how one might feel if you were made to feel painfully ashamed of liking the color blue and not liking the color red. It's simply not a matter of choice.

– July 11, 2012 12:05 PM
Q.

Recipes, please!

Tim Carman -- Might we have the radishes with pepper and the bomboloni recipes, please? Much obliged!
A.
Tim Carman :

I will see what I can do! No promises. Some chefs will not disclose their recipes.

– July 11, 2012 12:06 PM
Q.

re Boozy fruit in jars

Thanks for taking my questions! In Jeremy Bowers' "Boozy fruit in jars," he mentions sanitizing the Mason jars. Is running them through the dishwasher enough, or should I do something more? Also, my Mason jars originally came with spaghetti sauce in them. (Sorry! But they were on sale for $2 including the reusable jar, and I couldn't resist.) For this quasi-canning use, am I supposed to put something between the lid and the jar, like a layer of wax? And last, is it okay to just leave the bottled fruit on a shelf out of direct light, or do the jars need to go into a dark place after a certain amount of time?
A.
Jane Touzalin :

Jeremy responds:

* I believe that sanitizing in the dishwasher would be sufficient, since the filling is 80-proof or higher alcohol. You just want them to be clean enough that you wouldn't taste spaghetti sauce in the resulting booze.
* The jars shouldn't need wax. Make sure to tighten them well, though, so that the filling doesn't evaporate.
* I've had my fruit out on bookshelves, but I might get it into the dark soon just out of an abundance of caution. Again, the alcohol in the filling should be sufficiently antibiotic to keep out any terrible stuff.

– July 11, 2012 12:07 PM
Q.

Picky Eaters

Loved the article on hating bananas. I actually love them, but as a fellow adult picky eater, I can understand the sentiment. I'm trying really hard to broaden the foods I like and have had some successes (I still can't believe I used to hate avocados - what was I thinking?!?!) And yet, I know that there are some foods I will just never like, no matter what. My lone remaining fruit that I know I will always hate is pineapple. It's not just the the taste, which is awful. It's the stringy texture. I can't stand it (that's also partly why I don't like yams)! But perhaps the worst part is how its flavor permeates everything it touches. Normally I can just pick out or eat around the foods I don't like (olives on a pizza? No problem, just pull them off!) But if there's pineapple on a pizza, you might as well have just dunked it in a toilet, for all I care. Blech! Sadly, I have no history of deadliness on the fruit's part to back up my stance. But I'm still OK with hating pineapple.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

Without trying to sound condescending: Good for you for trying to broaden your food likes! That really is half the battle. I totally get where you're coming from re: pineapple. Clearly, I feel that way about bananas and still a few other foods, but since they don't impact my health or life by avoiding them, like you, I'm at peace with my dislikes.

– July 11, 2012 12:08 PM
Q.

Butter

Friends gave me the Georgetown Cupcake book. I notice some recipes recommend using a European style butter while other recipes don't specify. What would be the reason for the different types of butter? Does European style butter have a higher fat content? Or is there some other reason?
A.
Kate McDermott :

Yes, European style butters have a higher fat content and less moisture. Basically it is a difference in regulations of how much fat needs to be in the butter. I use KerryGold butter and their unsalted butter has a slightly higher fat content than their salted butter. I have used both interchangebly with great results. But, if I don't have foil wrapped butter, which seems to be how most if not all butters of this kind are packaged, then I used paper-wrapped butter. The goal is to bake!  Here's a webpage that has more info about European Style butter that may be helpful. http://germanfood.about.com/od/resources/a/all-about-butter.htm

– July 11, 2012 12:09 PM
Q.

bottled water

In the amazing heat of the past few weeks, I couldn't help wondering if the water I was schlepping around in a plastic bottle was still safe to drink after the heat -- especially direct sunlight -- had gotten to it. What do you think?
A.
Tim Carman :

Best I could determine from some Google searches, the FDA takes heat and transportation into consideration when determining that the amount of chemicals leached from plastic bottles is within the safety range.

 

Conspiracy theorists, sound off in 3...2...1...

– July 11, 2012 12:10 PM
Q.

Pie!

I have three questions...sorry, but pie gets me excited! 1. I have a 10 inch pie plate but most recipes call for a nine inch one...I knew it when I bought it but it is so pretty I couldn't resist. Can I just roll the dough out a little thinner to make it fit or is there a way I can adjust recipes to the increase the amount of dough? 2. I don't use lard so I just shortening instead. Should that be an equivalent swap? (ie, 8 TBS lard = 8 TBS shortening) How do you decide when to use lard or shortening or an all butter crust? 3. In the chicken pot pie recipe I noticed that it called for basil in the top crust ingredient list but it was never applied in the recipe, I assume maybe that was a mistake and it should have been listed in the filling ingredients instead. However, that made me wonder if you can add ingredients to dough recipes like herbs for savory pies or citrus zest for sweet ones? Would that weigh it down and keep it from getting flaking? Thanks!
A.
Kate McDermott :

Hi there! When I started making pies, I was frustrated because there never seemed to be enough dough to go around. So, I decided the easiest thing to do was to increase my recipe so I would hopefully always have enough. It's nice to have a good crust to filling marriage and if you roll too thin you would have more filling...the balance would be missing. So, increase the recipe by about 1/4 and see if that gives you enough. That's how I came up with my recipe. If you have extra you can always make cinnamon roll ups!

I always use leaf lard and butter in both savory and sweet pies, also quiche and hand pies. Works for me. It should be an equivalent swap.

I would put it in the filling and chop up a bit finely for the crust. Sounds delish!

Be Happy, Make Pie!

– July 11, 2012 12:10 PM
Q.

Pine nut substitute?

My basil is growing strong and I want to make pesto. Unfortunately the only pine nuts I can find for under $30/pound are from China, and I don't want to use Chinese pine nuts. What do you recommend I use as a substitute? Thanks!
A.
Jane Touzalin :

As someone who has had a raging case of  "pine nut mouth" apparently caused by Chinese pine nuts, I understand your predicament! Walnuts are a pretty common substitute for pine nuts in pesto. Not quite the same flavor, but it's good.

 

– July 11, 2012 12:11 PM
Q.

Not seeing red

I made the plum popsicles with yogurt from a few weeks ago and they were outstanding, but one criticism/question -- mine didn't turn out nearly as pretty red-purple as the ones in your picture. Did you by any chance use food coloring?

A.
Jane Touzalin :

Certainly not! We never fake our food -- what you see is what we made. In the case of the plums, I made the popsicles twice with two different varieties of the fruit and found a big difference. The ones in the paper, which were very vivid, were made with what was labeled as "black" plums, which had pinkish flesh. The second batch was made with plums of some other variety that looked the same on the outside but had more yellowish flesh inside. (Maybe called red plums, not sure.) At any rate, the slight variation in the color of the flesh made a big difference.

– July 11, 2012 12:12 PM
Q.

Give me no bananas!

Cute, but I am not amused. Great opening paragraph, but I wish the writer told us what she did or did not do to to reverse her aversion to certain foods. I am taking care of an older relative who has just had a huge chunk of his intestines cut out. His doctor wants him to eat yogurt, avocados, bananas, soft fresh fruit and cooked vegetables, daily. He refuses to even taste them. Yes, he is grossly overweight. He demands fried chicken with mashed potatoes, beef stew with mashed potatoes and meatloaf with mashed potatoes. Because we are a seriously obese nation well written articles maligning a perfectly healthy, widely available and inexpensive fruit don't come through as funny as they were intended. Sorry!
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

Hey, there --  I talk in great detail in my book about the stratgies I employed to reverse or otherwise deal with my food issues. Unfortunately, one column is not enough space to get into everything I was able to explore about food aversions and preferences but I'm hoping that what I wrote gets people's attention -- amused or unamused -- so they will seek out the methods I used. Talking about my food aversions and dealing with them openly and with humor is what helped me in many ways get past the shame of picky eating and I hope it does the same for other picky eaters. Thank you for your comment!

– July 11, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

Pie!

Whole family LOVES pie! Wanted to give a shout out to the cook last year who recommended the blueberry-rhubarb combination; it is now one of our absolute favorites. Another is cherry crumb. Starting with plain sour cherries, I use sugar, tapioca, and frangelico in the filling, and flour, almond meal, white & brown sugars, & butter for the topping. oh yum. Favorite trick is to make the crusts the night before & have in fridge ready to roll out in the morning. Makes the task less daunting to break it into 2 sessions. (may I go home and bake now, please?)
A.
Kate McDermott :

I many times do the same thing. Having all ready made dough in the fridge makes pie making a snap. I've got some in their right now. Yes, go home and bake.  I'll join you!

Be Happy, Make Pie!

– July 11, 2012 12:14 PM
Q.

Eating local/seasonally

I read an article in this month's Food and Wine that discussed how chef's have become obsessed with eating local/seasonally, sometimes to the detriment of diners. It was mostly tongue-in-cheek, but it made some points about why customers are willing to pay high prices for food that is either a) over simplified, b) not that original, or c) not up to the chef's potential just because they were focused on whatever was in season or was produced locally. I'd love to hear your take on this.
A.
Tim Carman :

I haven't read the essay and couldn't immediately find it online, but the argument doesn't make sense on the surface of it. Local ingredients do not determine the complexity of a dish. You can take vegetables grown in your own backyard and use them for the most modernist, high tech-oriented recipe.

 

Ingredients and your philosophy toward cooking them are two different things. For example, you might be a chef like Alice Waters who prefers to take her fresh vegetables and do as little to them as possible -- to emphasis their inherent flavor and texture. But you might be Wylie Dufresne, chef from wd~50, who takes seasonal ingredients and transforms them into dishes of profound complexity.

– July 11, 2012 12:16 PM
Q.

Pies and Wine

I was so excited to read the article about Kate McDermott - I'm inspired to revisit pies! Could the leaf lard be ordered on the internet? And conversely, are there any sources of fruit local to us (MD/DC/VA) that would be as good (or almost) as the apricot source listed in the article? Also LOVED Dave McIntyre's Sancerre article - well timed considering Food and Wine's recent sav.blanc article - does Dave ever do local tastings that readers could attend? I'd love to have easy access to some of the wines he recommends. Thanks!
A.
Kate McDermott :

Look around on the internet for sources for leaf lard. It is getting more popular as it is what old time pie makers have used for decades.  I have it direct ship to me, and to classes I teach around the country.  You can freeze safely for about 1 year and hold in the fridge for 6 mos or so.

I'm sure there have got to be some great fruit growers on your side of the country!

– July 11, 2012 12:17 PM
Q.

Wedding favors

I would love to have edible wedding favors with a somewhat local flair. I have thought about having small local jams or honey with a cute tag on them like "So sweet to have you here." But the difficult part comes in tracking down actual smaller sized treats to share with my guests. So, any ideas? Locations where I can get my hands on 100 smallish honeys? Or other food related suggestions?

A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

Honey straws might serve your purpose well. I've started to see them everywhere and they come in a variet of flavors and colors, which means you could almost coordinate them with your "blush and bashful" wedding colors!

– July 11, 2012 12:19 PM
Q.

wedding food

A relative had a potluck wedding recently - which I had never considered but absolutely loved. You're bound to have plenty of delicious dishes (if you're from a family of good cooks!) and to be able to find something you'd like to eat. Saves money and makes a great community celebration. A cool idea would be to have guests bring the recipe too, and make a book from your wedding. Are potluck weddings gaining attention? Or do too many people think they're tacky?
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

If I may answer this as a formerly picky eater...I think a potluck wedding is kind of awesome. Because wedding food can be so -- shall we say disappointing? -- bringing your own food ensures you'll have something you enjoy eating. Plus, if you find other things you like, you get to trade recipes! You'd never be able to do that at a traditional wedding feast!

– July 11, 2012 12:19 PM
Q.

Lard, oh well

Is there any substitute for lard? Any Kosher route to flaky crust?
A.
Kate McDermott :

Of course! With pie there's ALWAYS a way. Make an all butter crust. It won't be quite as flakey as one of leaf lard but the flavor is great and you'll be making pie!

– July 11, 2012 12:20 PM
Q.

picky eaters

Hi, Stephanie! Loving your book. I am convinced that my husband thought his mother was trying to kill him when he was little. He is suspicious of new foods and he's a SMELLER!! He's come a long way since we got married many years ago but I would call him a "blandovore." The only real arguments we ever get in are about food which is ridiculous. Is there any hope? p.s. one of my sons is his mother's child and will try anything. The other son is not so I'm thinking there is definitely a genetic component to the pickiness.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

Oh, there's hope for you guys since you care enough to ask about it and recognize that food arguments are a bit ridiculous. Just be patient, he might come around. But he might not and that's okay, too. The taste of food might simply be too loud in his mouth compared to the volume in your mouth. I agree there's probably a genetic component to picky eating but it doesn't explain the whole picture. I mean, it doesn't explain why I was picky when my parents weren't! SIGH.

There's plenty of things to argue about in marriage, food needn't be one of them!

Also, I'm so glad you're enjoying the book and thank you for telling me. Maybe the "Picky Eater in Love" chapter will help bring some calmness to you guys. Or at least laughter!

– July 11, 2012 12:21 PM
Q.

Picky eating

Is there a particular food that most picky eaters tend not to like? For instance, almost everyone I know hates raw tomatoes (I love them), while I'm the only one who can't stand coconut. Is there a universal "hated" food and why?
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

I tried SO hard to find a universally hated food in my research and I really wanted that food to be raisins (which I hate more than bananas but they don't have as interesting a story to tell) but there isn't just one.

I did find that tomatoes are a common hate, as are raisins, green peppers, squash, etc. There are so many foods, so many people, so many reasons to have aversions! (Also, I know someone who hates coconut and calls them something that might be too rude for the Washington Post chat!)

 

– July 11, 2012 12:23 PM
Q.

Chicken Pot Pie

The filling on today's Thai Chicken Potpie recipe looks amazing but alas I have no suitable dishes. Could I extend its simmering by 20 min and then pour it over biscuits? Or should I search for another Thai chicken recipe?

A.
Jane Touzalin :

How about if you bake the biscuits in the oven and, as you say, extend the simmering on the stove for the filling. Doesn't have to be 20 minutes; you just want all the veggies to be cooked and tender enough to eat. Then spoon the filling onto a plate and into a bowl, and top with a biscuit. How does that sound?

– July 11, 2012 12:24 PM
Q.

Pie making

I really enjoyed reading Bonnie's story about the pie-making class. I'd be interested in taking a class like that or attending a demonstration in D.C. (or nearby). How could I learn about such options and any tips for identifying good ones? I don't know where to look. Thanks.
A.
Jane Touzalin :

One place you can look is our annual list of cooking classes. It's several months old by now and most classes have ended, but many of the instructors teach year-round, and you can find links to their Web sites and scope them out to find one that looks interesting.

– July 11, 2012 12:24 PM
A.
Kate McDermott :

I'll be back teaching in the DC area in Nov. If you would like to join one of my workshops.

Also, Cathy Barrow teaches pies several times a year in your area.

– July 11, 2012 12:24 PM
Q.

WEDDING FOOD TRENDS

I read the article, but it seems to deal with very high-end weddings, especially since it references weddings in the 300-400 guest range. I can see desserts being trendy, but meals at more modest weddings seem to be still pretty standard (I work at a resort where we have lots of weddings). And for what it's worth, dessert trends may come and go, but there's still nothing better than a big cookie table (many types of cookies, all homemade, there for taking home) as a wedding feature, in addition to the traditional cake.
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

I'm not sure that weddings with food trucks or ones that have pig roasts are necessarily high-end, do you? The photos of Peter Callahan's catering were so beautiful we had to share them. I'm hoping the wedding I'm attending in Montreal in a few weeks follows suit.

– July 11, 2012 12:27 PM
Q.

Thai chicken potpies

I love the idea of the Thai chicken potpie recipe, except I prefer either biscuit or pie dough for my potpies, not puff pastry. I also like to spike my pie crust with flavor, so I thought I could add some curry powder to the flour before cutting in the butter. But then, I started to wonder if there might be a more-traditional Thai pastry to use instead - like how empanada dough is a bit different from pie crust. Any thoughts?
A.
Kate McDermott :

I'm not a Thai expert but you might check with Nancy McDermott (no we're not related although we would love to be!) who has a book called Real Thai Cooking.

– July 11, 2012 12:28 PM
A.
Jane Touzalin :

I'm not a Thai food expert but I can't think of any kind of crust that's common in Thai food. It's just not a pastry-centric cuisine, seems like. Chatters?

– July 11, 2012 12:28 PM
Q.

Pie crust...

My favorite dessert is pie and I rely on friends, bakers, etc to serve my addiction. I am trying to break my cycle of pie dependency and make my own.. Do you have a "fool proof" pie crust recipe you can share? I have kitchen skills; however, pie has always seemed daunting. Incidentally, I would like to make peach if you have a filling recipe. My peaches are ripe and ready. Thanks!

A.
Kate McDermott :

This is a wonderful addiction. Mine is teaching! You might want to try this one. I've had really good luck with it and it is what I devloped over a 2.5 year period and is what I teach now.

It's not hard...Really!

As for peaches, use the apricot pie recipe in the paper today and substitute peaches. Should be great!

Be Happy, Make Pie!

– July 11, 2012 12:28 PM
Q.

Woodbridge

How does one go about getting an invitation to such gigs as baking a pie with some well-known author? Or how do you get the author to arrive at your house in the first place?
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Well, in Kate's case, she and Catherine Gewertz (CurvyMamaPies) were corresponding/tweeting about pie and Catherine offered to host Kate and her workshops. Catherine contacted me once it was all arranged....

– July 11, 2012 12:29 PM
Q.

picky eaters and dinner parties

So looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Stephanie's book! (Been a fan since your Top Chef recaps back in the day.) As an avid food fan who ironically doesn't care for a wide range of stuff including eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, fishy fish, melon, and on and on, I throw a lot of dinner parties and am often invited to friends' houses for the same. I always ask my guests in advance about food allergies and aversions and work around them. And they generally ask me about mine, and I generally say... "Nope, not allergic to anything." Is it better to speak up, or just push things around on my plate if they include one of my aversions? If I suspect fish is on the menu, I might mention that I'm not a big fan of salmon, but other than that, mum's the word. What would you do? What DO you do?
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

I do think it's better to speak up and be honest. It's so much easier when a host asks, "Are there any foods you don't eat" rather than just asking about allergies. Maybe next time you could say, "Well, it's not an allergy, but I do try to avoid X, Y, or Z."

When I ask my guests about what they don't eat, I'm never troubled by the response. After all, I'm inviting them into my home and the last thing I want is for them to be miserable, uncomfortable, or starving!

As to what do I do, I don't speak up but that's more because there are so few things now that I don't eat that I know I can handle whatever they throw at me. We need to be braver about speaking up and take control of the fact that our food dislikes are NOT a choice, they just exist.

– July 11, 2012 12:30 PM
Q.

Random pie question

What's the best way to transport a pie? I typically walk to work, about 1 3/4 mile, and have carried sheet cakes before, but am not sure if an apple pie will hold together. How much do you think the pie will move around?
A.
Kate McDermott :

I have a collection of pie baskets. If you are concerned about your pie shifting as you walk, put some egg cartons around it so it stays snug. You'll probably get a lot of smiles while you are walking!

– July 11, 2012 12:31 PM
Q.

Coffee prices

Coffee prices have gone bananas (as it were) in the past few months! Why? And might they come back down?
A.
Tim Carman :

Joel Finkelstein from Qualia Coffee in Petworth says that the prices for green coffee -- the beans that roasters purchase and roast themselves -- have been fluctuating a lot, but that they spiked last year, causing a resulting rise in retail prices.  

 

Any number of things can cause a spike in prices, like, say, a drought in Brazil or flooding in Central America.

 

"I suspect [prices] are going to stabilize," Finkelstein says, "but I don't think they're going to go down." At least on bags of roasted beans; some coffee shops like Qualia have been absorbing the higher prices with their single-cup servings.

 

The only way prices will lower again, Finkelstein adds, is if coffee prices stabilize for a good year. That, likely, will not happen.

– July 11, 2012 12:31 PM
Q.

Livin' The Pie Life

I've heard about some ladies in Arlington who make 10" pies for $28 and up. Have you tried them and is any pie really worth that much?
A.
Jane Touzalin :

Not sure which ladies you're talking about. But all things are relative. If it's a great-tasting pie with great ingredients, if you can't bake or don't have time to bake your own pie, then sure -- I'd rather pay $28 for a terrific pie than $5 for a cardboard-crusted, limp-tasting, preservative-filled specimen from my local supermarket bakery. Life's too short to eat bad pie.

– July 11, 2012 12:32 PM
Q.

Bananas

Not question, just a shout-out. I, too, dislike bananas. My reasons center around the burps - can't stand the rebound. But I will stand with you on your plan to keep them out of your lunchbox and pantry.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

Oh, man -- banana burps are the worst!

– July 11, 2012 12:33 PM
Q.

Nancy McDermott - Real Thai

As it happens I have my copy of Real Thai handy. No crust, nothing crust-ish. But I LOOOOOOVE that book, even without the fancy photos that make other cookbooks so much more expensive.
A.
Jane Touzalin :

Thanks for checking!

– July 11, 2012 12:34 PM
Q.

Unopened Refrigerated Foods

When we purchase some food, condiments, etc., we frequently put them in the refrigerator even though they don't have to be refrigerated until after opening. If these items warm up during a power outage, are they still okay to use? We assumed they were but couldn't find anything on the Internet.
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

We published this guide on the Sunday after the storm. If those items havent been opened they're fine. But even opened ones can be fine as well; depends on how well they were sealed and whether moisture got in.

– July 11, 2012 12:35 PM
Q.

Local ingredients do not determine the complexity of a dish.

It does limit the selection, though.
A.
Tim Carman :

Yes and no.

 

Yes, in that you are limited to the ingredients grown in your vicinity.

 

No, in that most chefs are never truly limited to ingredients exclusively grown in their region. That salt and pepper was not produced in coastal Virginia. Nor likely was the flour and other ingredients.

– July 11, 2012 12:35 PM
Q.

bananas and little brothers

I so agree with your essay about bananas. I hate the smell of them and everything else about them. But I think I can pinpoint my dislike - - my little brother sat opposite me at the kitchen table growing up. I never had much of an appetite first thing in the morning, but he loved breakfast. He also was not always as good about keeping his mouth entirely closedwhile eating back then, especially with mushy stuff, so I grew up hating bananas, pancakes and pie. I have since learned to like pie, but not bananas and pancakes. It took every ounce of fortitude and love when my children were babies to be able to feed them smashed up bananas.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

Yep, "see food" will do that to you but hey, good for you for feeding them to your kids! I give my son bananas, too, but I shudder when he doesn't finish one at the park and I stumble upon the remnants in my purse hours later.

– July 11, 2012 12:35 PM
Q.

Lemon in apple pie

What's the purpose of lemon juice in apple pie? To keep it fresh? I can't discerne it adding any flavor. Also, I love the combo of cheese and apple, and would like to make an apple pie that has some cheddar in the crust. What would be a good ratio? I'm afraid that if I just sprinkle some on the bottom crust after it's made that it'll get stringy and gross with the filling.
A.
Kate McDermott :

I like the brightness that lemon adds to apple pie along with a balance of both tart and sweet apples. Give a GOOD squeeze of fresh lemon. I've found that juice in the bottle doesn't give that brightness. If you aren't tasting it, maybe you aren't putting in enough? You could also make one with and one without and do a side-by-side tasting with your friends and neighbors.

I would start small with cheddar in the crust. It's acutally on my to do list this week! I'm starting with 1/4 cup of grated sharp cheese. I'm going to adust the fat down a bit when I add the butter and leaf lard, probably by 2 T. Good Luck!

– July 11, 2012 12:36 PM
Q.

Picky eaters

Ms. Lucianovic How did you get over finding okra disgusting? I can't even touch its sticky horribleness in the market!
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

Well, I do have my preferred recipe in SUFFERING SUCCOTASH, but also: manners. My mom raised me to clean my plate at other people's houses and while I didn't do that as a picky kid, I did it as a picky adult. One night -- not that many years ago, actually -- a friend made okra for dinner and I knew I had to eat it. And I loved it. I got her recipe and made it for a month straight! Maybe I'll make it for you at the 14th and U Farmers' Market -- I'll be there on Sept 8th!

– July 11, 2012 12:37 PM
Q.

thai crust

Maybe the chatter could do some kind of fried wonton topper for the Thai pot pie? Definitely not a pastry-centric cuisine, and rice paper wrappers are more common than fried wonton/eggroll type, but it would come closer to regional appropriateness.
A.
Jane Touzalin :

That's an idea. But really, when you think about it, the potpie is pretty non-Thai (I've never put cream in authentic Thai food) -- it's just supposed to be a riff on Thai flavors. So why not just go with it for what it is, and be happy? (And you will be; it tastes great.)

– July 11, 2012 12:38 PM
Q.

Food & Wine Article - Local/Seasonal

I read that article, too. I think the argument was really about chefs being lazy and not transforming the seasonal and local ingredients, and thus all the restaurants end up serving the same (obvious) thing. The author pointed favorably to chefs who took the seasonal and local concept, but turned those ingredients into something different and exciting, while still staying true to the ingredient. It's not something I'd thought about before, but it makes a lot of sense. If you don't eat out a lot, you probably won't have this problem (I don't), but it can be applied to the home cook as well. There may be some seasonal products where you can't get enough of the obvious, but, with others, you want to think about new and interesting ways to use them. Now, imagine you're paying a lot of money for someone to do that thinking for you, and then they don't...
A.
Tim Carman :

Thanks for reading the story and clarifying the author's arguments.

 

I should note that some diners will pay extra money for simple preparations of local/seasonal ingredients.  The quality and freshness of the ingredients are enough.

– July 11, 2012 12:39 PM
Q.

Wedding cakes

My fiance and I have decided, much to our own surprise, that we may not want a wedding cake after all, but have an alternative form of dessert or something sweet at the end of the meal. I was wondering if you (or the chatters) have been to a wedding where there was an alternative. We couldn't think of much other than doing desserts in shot glasses, although that fad went away years ago.
A.
Jane Touzalin :

Did you see today's recipe for Chocolate Tamales? They are from a caterer who serves them at weddings and other events. Since they're sort of rustic-looking, you might not want them for a really fancy affair. But they seem like a fun offering. At my niece's wedding last summer, they served small individual tarts. Also fun.

– July 11, 2012 12:40 PM
Q.

horseradish aioli recipe

First, Yum! And I hope you had a good Fourth (I'm submitting this on the 3d but see theFree Range is on the 11th).

 

Now, the questions: How come two types of oil -- olive and canola? Would it be bad if I only use olive oil? Also, to make regular (non-horseradish) aioli, do I do everything the same except substitute garlic for the horseradish? And last, How long will this keep in the fridge? I much prefer aioli to commercial mayonnaise. Thanks!

A.
Bonnie Benwick :

You're referring to the Dinner in Minutes that ran 7/4, right?  I heard from two readers who had issues so let me begin by addressing those (which might in turn help you). It's called a horseradish aioli but it's not a classic recipe in the sense that there is no garlic. The recipe belongs to "Chopped" host Ted Allen, and I guess he has the right to call it whatever he wants. But be advised; he meant that the horseradish was a flavor ingredient taking the place of garlic, I think. Also, someone else had trouble getting this to blend up like a mayonnaise; I suspect it was because he did not follow the directions, in which the lemon juice is not added till after the oils and mustard are emulsified.

 

Whew/okay! Now, you can use only olive oil but the mixture will be heavier, and may have more of an olive oil flavor depending on what kind of olive oil you have on hand.  For more of a classic aioli, check out the first part of this recipe.

– July 11, 2012 12:40 PM
Q.

Boozy fruit in jars - careful

Note that modern dishwashers are more energy efficient and DO NOT all have the sanitizing feature, so this is not longer a reliable way to sterilize canning jars. Also note that sealing jars with a layer of parafin wax isn't considered sanitary or safe anymore. Don't mess around with canning safety, as the results can be disasterous.
A.
Jane Touzalin :

Thanks for weighing in.

– July 11, 2012 12:41 PM
Q.

Lattice top with a parbaked crust

How, exactly, is this supposed to work? How should I be connecting the lattice to the crust, when the crust has already hardened a bit? Thanks!
A.
Kate McDermott :

Here's a link to a video of me doing a lattice top. Alot of folks have learned from it. It's very very easy and you'll get lots of compliments.

Be Happy, Make Pie!

– July 11, 2012 12:41 PM
Q.

Not a generally picky eater, but a lifelong loather of bananas

So I was glad to see Stephanie's article. I used to have to move lunchbags with banana peels from my office trash to the outside can just so I could work without gagging. I'd tell you about the time I rode a jiggety old bus from Annapolis to Baltimore, curled up into a tiny little ball, because someone had stuffed a rotting banana peel under one of the seats.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

Oh, man -- that sounds absolutely miserable. Bananas really are an incredibly odiferous fruit!

– July 11, 2012 12:42 PM
Q.

Banana cocktails

Any thoughts on using banana juice in cocktails? A friend told me that if you microwave bananas they give off liquid, which can then be concentrated in a saucepan to make a banana syrup. This sounds like an interesting foundation for a drink. Rum and coconut come to my mind, but I'm curious if you have any ideas.
A.
Jane Touzalin :

Jason Wilson responds:

I don't know of many banana drinks beyond a banana daiquiri, though I guess you could try a pina colada variation with bananas. I think your instincts of rum and coconut are correct. For a banana daiquiri, I take 2 ounces of white rhum agricole, 1/2 ounce of lime juice, and use a 1/2 ounce of banana syrup in lieu of simple syrup? I'd have to experiment with that one.

– July 11, 2012 12:44 PM
Q.

Pie for Breakfast

I don't know how Kate McDermott feels about his, but leftover pie, especially a fruit pie like blueberry, is excellent for breakfast. It's a very pleasant way to start the day.
A.
Kate McDermott :

Pie is THE All-American Breakfast!

Be Happy, Make Pie!

– July 11, 2012 12:45 PM
Q.

Freezing fresh ginger

Can you freeze fresh ginger? I have a large bag that I know I will not use up immediately.
A.
Kate McDermott :

I do. Then I pull out what I need. I think it's easier to grate when it is frozen, too!

– July 11, 2012 12:45 PM
Q.

alternative wedding desserts

People thought it was weird that there wasn't a cake, but a friend had an ice cream sundae bar. Best idea ever. Except maybe for the mashed potato bar (served in a martini glass, you add the potato fixins), but since that wasn't dessert, they can both be best ever, right?
Q.

Dear pie lady

Please share your suggested recipes, if any, for gluten-free pie crusts! And if not gluten-free, at least low-gluten. Thanks so much!
A.
Kate McDermott :

Here ya go! Gluten Free Pie Dough. I've been GF  for over 6 years. Hope you enjoy!

– July 11, 2012 12:47 PM
Q.

I reformed my husband's picky eating

When I started dating my husband he "didn't like ethnic food." To which I replied, "well, that's going to be a problem." However, rather than immerse him in completely different cuisine, we only ate ethnic food at restaurants, and only where there was something akin to chicken fingers on the menu. Surprisingly, that is most cuisines: chicken yakitori, chicken satay, chicken pakora, etc. He was also more comfortable branching out by tasting a bite of what I was eating rather than commit to an entire entree of something "scary" himself. After a few months he realized he had zero legitimate issues; it was just the unfamiliarity of it all at the beginning.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

Awesome! Patience and understanding from loved ones combined with a picky eater going at their own, careful pace is really helpful when trying to get past the fear of the unfamiliar. I also employed the method of trying stuff of my husband's plate rather than ordering something "scary" myself.

– July 11, 2012 12:47 PM
Q.

Peach ice cream recipe

Hello. Do you have any recommendations for a peach ice cream recipe? I tried the one on the Post website and it was good but was looking for one with crarmel/ toasty brown sugar elements and some sort of alcohol (bourbon? Rum? Something else?). Would prefer no eggs and a really intense peach flavor. I wanted to give it as a gift to a peach fanatic as a thank you gift Thank you.
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Here's one by David Lebovitz from his 2007 "The Perfect Scoop"'; if you like making ice cream, his cookbook and "Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home" will be wise investments:

Peach Ice Cream

1 1/3 pounds (600 g) ripe peaches (about 4 large peaches)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
A few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Peel the peaches, slice them in half, and remove the pits.  Cut the peaches into chunks and cook them with the water in a medium, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, covered, stirring once or twice, until soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat, stir in the sugar, then cool to room temperature.

Puree the cooked peaches and any liquid in a blender or food processor with the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon juice until almost smooth but slightly chunky.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

– July 11, 2012 12:47 PM
Q.

Burned out Bethesda

Gurus--Like many others, Iost power for 6 days, resulting in my throwing out food from two refrigerators and a chest freezer. I'm now gun shy about buying things in quantity, but I also feel like Mother Hubbard with a bare cupboard. What essentials do you recommend I restock? Beforehand, I had bags of uncooked shrimp, chicken breasts, some steaks and fish fillets in the freezer, along with some frozen veggies and prepared foods like spanakopita.

A.
Tim Carman :

This is an excellent question, in large part because of food security issues. The human race as a whole, and Americans specifically, waste millions of tons of food. We all have to get better about this if we intend to feed the planet in the decades to come.

 

Personally, I'm trying to keep my refrigerator stocked with a minimum number of ingredients. I try to buy my ingredients as I need them. I understand that this is an impractical way to life for many people with busy lives and busy schedules, but it leads to less waste -- and less crowded freezers.

 

I would buy the basic condiments for your refrigerator, those you use on a regular basis, whatever they are. Then  keep your "stock" of other ingredients to a bare minumum. Perhaps buy for the week ahead: the meat, veggies and dairy needed for your family, but little else.

 

Perhaps Bonnie and Jane have other ideas, too?

 

– July 11, 2012 12:48 PM
Q.

"pies and wine"

That made me remember that I think I've seen pie-crust recipes calling for white wine or vodka. Is this just a gimmick? I guess if Kate McDermott endorsed this it would be in one of her recipes?
A.
Kate McDermott :

During my testing process of 2.5 years, I made crusts with vodka. You can read about it here. The crust is easy to work with and rolls out just fine. I like the one I teach the best, but there are MANY great dough recipes out there.

– July 11, 2012 12:48 PM
Q.

Picky eating with kids

Stephanie, you say that picky eating isn't a choice, but is there anything that parents do with their kids to make their picky eating worse? Anything that parents should avoid doing if they want their kids to experiment with new things?
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

I think that forcing kids to eat things they don't like wll most definitely worsen the situation. It turns food and eating into a big stressball, which is not only lousy on their digestion but will cause them to associate food and eating with stress and conflict and fights.

As a fellow parent, I'd also caution against the "short-order" cooking approach. You make the food, you serve the food, and they eat the food (or not). You don't go back to the kitchen pulling open fridges and cupboards, searching for something -- ANYTHING! -- that they'll eat.

Also -- and I fully acknowledge that this is difficult advice to follow -- but we really do need to relax about kids' pickiness. Kids pick up on their parent anxiety and that only exacerbates the situation.

– July 11, 2012 12:49 PM
Q.

leaf lard

I'd order leaf lard and use it if I knew what to do once it came. Do I melt it down, cool it and then use it? Or use it as it comes straight out of the box, bag or whatever it is shipped in? Thanks.
A.
Kate McDermott :

If you are buying unrendered leaf lard you will need to render it before you can use it. You'll know if it is unrendered because it will look like an irregular size piece of white fat. It it comes in a tub and looks creamy white, then you have already rendered leaf lard. Here's a link to my blog about leaf lard that shows a picture. Rendering is very easy. Melt it down slowly, strain through cheese cloth, let cool, it turns white. You have done it! Store in fridge 6 months and in freezer up to 12. Hope that this helps.

 

– July 11, 2012 12:50 PM
Q.

With the boozy fruit

Does the alcohol actually cook off in the baked recipes, or is this an adult only thing
A.
Kate McDermott :

In my pie fillings, it bakes off.

– July 11, 2012 12:51 PM
Q.

Reformed picky eater here

I grew up in rural America with a very bland and unvaried diet. Three things made me branch out in my eating: college semester abroad, an early 20s stint as a full vegetarian, and working as a professional and attending work events where food was served. Now there are only two remaining foods on my hate list: cilantro and celery (which tastes like cilantro). But given the choice, I will also avoid fresh mint, lemon balm, and melons. Nowadays I'm "picky" about avoiding HFCS and red meat, and I try to make healthy food choices, which is sort of about control, but it's only necessary because our food sources are so polluted with junk in the first place.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

I do love hearing "reformed picky eater" stories. Nice job!

– July 11, 2012 12:51 PM
Q.

Avocados

I recently read that you can freeze avocados after you mash them and mix them with lemon or lime juice. Have any of you guys tried this? Does the texture or taste suffer at all, assuming you don't wait too long to use it? I love guacamole but rarely make it because avocados are so expensive. I figure this way, I can buy a bunch when they're on sale.
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

You can freeze them; there are frozen guac products at Whole Foods even, I think. As long as the avocado is treated with a little lime or lemon juice, it seems to do just fine. For mashing.

– July 11, 2012 12:51 PM
Q.

picky eater

Is being a picky eater really not a choice? I am married to a guy that comes from a family of picky eaters. They don't eat seafood, lamb, eggs, soup, most vegetables, and not to mention foreign cuisine. My husband still has his quirks these days. He won't eat hard boiled eggs, raw tomato, or any beans, however, he is eating and loving all sorts of exotic and unusual foods. I have to think that it is on some level a choice once we move beyond the physical differences in different people.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

A dislike of something is not a choice. We all have different preferences when it comes to art, music, movies, TV. If I dislike Miley Cyrus' music, is that really a choice? No, I just don't like it. Same goes for food.

– July 11, 2012 12:52 PM
Q.

Oops...

Discovered that I picked up some tuna in vegetable oil, not water. Just regular solid albacore, not anything imported or highly desirable. Is there anything I should do differently with it? Maybe something other than adding mayo and eating in a sandwich? Will the taste be more intense or the texture very different?
A.
Jane Touzalin :

I think the taste is more intense and better. I also like the texture better. But I don't treat it any differently, except if I'm using a recipe that calls for oil, I might use less of it because there'll be residual oil in the fish.

– July 11, 2012 12:52 PM
Q.

Pickiness and Pie

I'd hazard a hypothesis that a very large component of a pronounced dislike of a food is due to the texture, especially among children. I've noticed that flavor-dislikes often can chance after adolescence, but texture-dislikes rarely seem to go away. Thus, I can cook beef tendons and chicken feet and feast, while my husband takes a bite and (while admitting the flavor is great) gets queasy. Oddly enough, I enjoy slightly under-ripe bananas, but the riper they get the less appealing they are, and I tend to avoid foods that have a "and banana" component since the bananas are usually reeking of that over-ripe flavor. I've found that a sure-fire way to avoid raw bottom crusts is to blind-bake, at least for a few minutes, before filling the pies. I don't pre-cook my fillings but if I blind-bake the bottom crust I'm guaranteed a flaky result! I make all-butter crusts (leaf lard is just not available in my area), and have no complaints whatsoever. Now, if only I could get my hands on a few pints of ripe gooseberries...
A.
Kate McDermott :

Ahhh...a gooseberry pie is a thing of wonder! When I can get both red and green gooseberries I'm in pie heaven!

– July 11, 2012 12:52 PM
Q.

Did you come across periodic picky eaters

I've never been that picky, and as I've grown up most of the food aversions I had have passed, but I go through long periods of times where a food I was previously ok with I cannot stand- don't want it in my house, never any of my food etc. It most often happens with melons and I don't know way - but taste and texture will become absolutely off putting to me and it might stay that way for months or even a year, and the poof, I can eat the food again.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

No, I didn't come across periodic picky eaters -- other than pregnant women -- but I find your experience completely fascinating. It could have a lot to do with food and your mood/emotions at the time. I have a chapter devoted to how our emotions and moods affect how we eat. It's cool stuff!

– July 11, 2012 12:53 PM
Q.

To the producer

Once again the sidebar is showng discussion links for the wrong day. Today is Wednesday, not Tuesday. Please update.
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Sigh. Thanks for the head's up. You'd think the words FREE RANGE would help.

– July 11, 2012 12:54 PM
Q.

picky eaters and odors as warning signs

No idea if it's true but I read in a crime novel that we stop smelling really horrible odors after a few moments. I think the author was Patricia Cornwell, a forensic scientist who worked in a morgue. The book had a scene in a closed room with a rotting corpse and the arriving detective had a gag reflex which the coroner said would stop on its own -- because we stop smelling really horrible odors after a few moments. So if that is true, I'm wondering why the author didn't stop noticing the banana smell.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

It's true! We do stop smelling horrible odors after time has passed. But only after our brain has identified the odor as non-threatening. Because of my aversion to them, my brain still thinks bananas are trying to murder me in my sleep (WHICH THEY ARE!) and so will continue to keep me on high alert, nose-wise.

– July 11, 2012 12:54 PM
Q.

Pies with Juice

Where can you find pies with lots of juice. My mother used to make blueberry pies with lots & lots of juice, and we'd eat them in a bowl with milk. Most pies nowadays have no juice at all. Even heating them doesn't make them juicy, and a bowl of milk is wasted on them.
A.
Kate McDermott :

Hmmm...interesting. I would leave out most of the thickner and see if that bakes up a pie like you remember.

– July 11, 2012 12:54 PM
Q.

Coffee prices

Never mind what a coffee seller says about harvests. Coffee prices have gone up, and will still up, because people don't stop drinking coffee when the price goes up. That's called "inelastic demand" for those of us who dozed off in Economics 101.
A.
Tim Carman :

I personally haven't stopped my coffee drinking with the spike in prices. And for good reason: I'm addicted!

– July 11, 2012 12:55 PM
Q.

Instead of wedding cake ...

When we told our wonderful caterer (Oliver Friendly) that we weren't sure we wanted a wedding cake he suggested petits fours. They were tremendous and quite a hit.
A.
Jane Touzalin :

Another good idea.

– July 11, 2012 12:56 PM
Q.

another kind of picky eater

I love raisins but can't stand them in cereal. I love raw cherries but hate them baked in pie. There are other combos, too, where a loved food becomes inedible to me. Is that weirder than just being unable to stand a particular food in any form?
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

I honestly don't find any food aversion weird. It's just how you are!

– July 11, 2012 12:56 PM
Q.

Where can I find Jason Wilson's columns?

I just looked at the Food page and searched the Post's web site for Jason Wilson's columns and couldn't find a thing? Why are you hiding his great work?
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Not intentional! Jason's on hiatus this summer. We'll make sure to add his archived body of work under FOOD FEATURES, on the lower part of our homepage. Thanks for pointing that out. His recipes are available on Recipe Finder always.

– July 11, 2012 12:56 PM
Q.

Wedding Food

At our wedding a little over a year ago we definitely went with stations -- fancy topped burgers, crab cake bar, gazpacho shooters, mashed potato bar, mini gyros, tiny milkshakes to end the night. For most of the guests it was the first time they had seen anything like it! I was at another wedding a few months later and everyone who had been to both (including the bride!) told us how much better our food was than the plated dinner. Awkward, but I was still happy to know that we did the food well. Not that I managed to eat any of it, mind you...still mad about that!
Q.

Kate McDermott

What is leaf lard? I thought lard came from pork!
A.
Kate McDermott :

Leaf lard is the fat that surround the pig's kidneys.

– July 11, 2012 12:57 PM
Q.

make ahead pie

How far ahead can I make a pie? How should it be stored before eating? Does it depend on the filling?
A.
Kate McDermott :

I make seasonal fruit pies. They don't last long around my house because they get eaten up! But, I store on the counter with a cloth over the top for about 2 days. If longer or if it is hot, put in the fridge. You will loose the cripsness of the crust but you can refresh in the oven for 15 minutes or so at 325F.

– July 11, 2012 12:57 PM
Q.

Alternatives to Wedding Cakes

For the chatter who doesn't want a wedding cake - more and more of the weddings I've gone to lately have done something for desert other than a wedding cake. A pie table was a big hit at one (and you have something to "cut," if you are into that tradition), as was an ice cream sundae bar. I saw a root beer float bar featured on one blog. Everyone also likes a big table set up with cookies, miniature pies, tarts, etc. I know this is still cake, but at my own wedding we had a plate of cupcakes delivered to each table - everyone enjoyed digging in and splitting different flavors.
Q.

"pine nut mouth"?

Jane, please explain! Is that like the puckery lips after eating too many salted pistachios?
A.
Jane Touzalin :

No -- it's a pervasive metallic taste in the mouth that ruins the flavor of anything you eat for days and days. Has been linked to pine nuts.

– July 11, 2012 12:58 PM
Q.

Tart/Sour Cherries?

Is there anywhere to still get tart or sour cherries? I'd love to perserve some, but can't find anymore. Help!
A.
Tim Carman :

Check the farmers markets. We're nearing the end of the season, but some producers may still have sour cherries.

– July 11, 2012 12:58 PM
Q.

Olive Oil Aioli

Not exactly the same, but I recently made mayonnaise with olive oil rather than canola oil. And ick. I strongly sticking with canola--much more neutral oil.
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Right. I've used olive oil mayo in recipes before, with the same results.

– July 11, 2012 12:58 PM
Q.

Soggy pie crust

I hate making pie crust myself, but I have successfully prevented soggy crusts by blind-baking (is that what it's called? When you put dried beans in the crust and bake it without filling for a few minutes), then brushing a thin layer of jam on the crust before putting in the filling. I used ginger jam when I made peach pie, and it turned out really well, if I do say so myself.
A.
Kate McDermott :

Good for you!

– July 11, 2012 12:59 PM
Q.

re "It's not like choosing to be a vegetarian or a vegan for ethical reasons"

I think once you decide that eating flesh is wrong, it can become physically disgusting, so that chewing something fleshy like a piece of steak could cause one's body to, shall we say, take action to remove the offensive object.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

I think you're right, but the initial decision to become a vegetarian for ethical reasons was still a conscious choice at some point even if it has passed beyond that now.

– July 11, 2012 12:59 PM
Q.

Brightness?

I hate lemon. To me it doesn't make things bright, it just makes them sour!
A.
Kate McDermott :

Then I would definitely leave it out.

– July 11, 2012 12:59 PM
Q.

Picky Eaters

Say what you like to make yourself feel better but being a picky eater is a choice, one where the user prefers control over having an open mind about things. You yourself compared it to choosing colors, something that is definitely a choice because we're not born with a blue preference gene or a green preference gene. Furthermore by CHOOSING to try to learn to love more foods you yourself admitted you've become less picky. It's the people who don't recognize that having a broad palate requires active action - first believing that there IS a possibility pineapple or mayo may be delicious, and then actually trying it - those are the ones who stuck with their bland meals.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but the experts I spoke to and the research I found backs up the "not a choice" response.

Choosing to attempt to get over picky eating is certainly in the free will range, but it's not as easy for some as it might be for others and we need to exercise tolerance, understanding, and basic respect for one another.

– July 11, 2012 12:59 PM
Q.

Apple Pie

I miss Bramley's - why are there no really good tart apples that here in the US? The only option is granny smith which are not so much tart as sourish. Mind you, I miss coxes and russets too - but do like pink ladies, staymens and winesaps.
A.
Kate McDermott :

I'm very lucky in my neck of the woods in WA state to have access to farmers markets that have an incredible amount of heritage varities. I like to put in 6 to 8 different varieties in a pie. Some for sweet; some for tart. I found Bramley's at my Farmers Market last year and bought a case!

– July 11, 2012 12:59 PM
Q.

Washington, DC

Another picky eater story: I have a relative who HATES tomatoes in every way, shape and form, but loves sushi. Go figure.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

I did find that tomato hate is amazingly common!

– July 11, 2012 1:01 PM
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

But perhaps it's easily overcome. I remember when my boys were younger that they and their friends wouldn't go near raw tomatoes but certainly enjoyed cooked tomato products. That's all done with now.

– July 11, 2012 1:01 PM
Q.

Picky eaters

There are some foods I used to gag at the thought of, because the first times I had them, they were horribly prepared, and I thought they were always like that. The worst offender was asparagus, which as a child I'd only had as a ropy, overcooked mess that came from a can. But once I tasted fresh, correctly-cooked asparagus in my 20s, my trepidation turned to revelation and now I love it! Don't you think the same might happen to you with a barely-ripe banana?
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

I have to be honest, I have tried it and I just don't like them. They don't make me gag any more but I don't like them, so why bother, you know?

– July 11, 2012 1:03 PM
Q.

Another adult picky-eater!

I come from a family that enjoys going out to eat, and usually at least one person would say "She doesn't eat anything." Putting pressure on kids is definitely not the way to get them to experiment. I have expanded my menu a bit over the years, trying to focus mostly on fruits and veggies. I do find that a lot of things I don't necessarily want to eat (pineapple, bananas) I can handle in a smoothie.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

Good for you for trying! It's not easy for everyone and it takes a lot of sometimes painful effort.

– July 11, 2012 1:03 PM
Q.

When you can't find lard

I've been making my mom's incredibly flaky pie crust for 50+ years. With lard when it was available, with shortening in a pinch. That is, until they took the trans fats out of shortening. I stopped making pies several years ago, because the trans-fat-free shortening is horrible. Butter doesn't produce that wonderful flakiness. My question is, what can I do if I can't find lard, but still want a super flaky, a little bit salty crust?
A.
Kate McDermott :

Mail order lard is available. Check farmers markets and butchers, too.

– July 11, 2012 1:03 PM
Q.

picky eater no more

I was a very picky eater as a child and have a distinct memory of sitting in the dark at the dinner table because I wasn't allowed to leave 'til I'd finished everything. What reformed me was cooking for myself as an adult. What? You mean zucchini doesn't have to be mush? Pork chops don't have to be like shoe leather? I love my mom, but I discovered I did not like her cooking.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

Yes, finding the right recipe is definitely key to overcoming food dislikes.

– July 11, 2012 1:03 PM
Q.

pie filling

who do some recipes for fruit filling, require you to cook them first?
A.
Kate McDermott :

Some fruit pie recipes that are not going to be baked in the oven, like strawberry chiffon pie, have fillings that are cooked on the stove top and then placed in an already blind baked crust. It never goes into the oven again. Others are perhaps just the filling recipe that is already cooked and then put into the pie dough and the whole thing baked off.

– July 11, 2012 1:03 PM
Q.

Wedding Cake Alternatives

My mom was at a wedding where the dessert was a choice of either of the couples favorite desserts, creme brulee and a chocolate cake (I think). She loved it.
Q.

Receptions

I was raised Presbyterian in western PA and almost all weddings had receptions with cake & punch (maybe candy & nuts) in the church social hall. Later my husband introduced me to receptions in firehouses or large church halls with full dinners of pasta, stuffed cabbage, bread stuffing, & lots of homemade cookies. Now, of course, they are at the Ritz Carlton or similar (except in western PA they're still at the fire hall!).
Q.

Picky Eating Worst Case Senario?

Here's my issue, I don't care if you don't like something, but why won't you try it every couple of months or years to assuage me? I do things everyday that I don't like or I'd prefer not to, and so do picky eaters. What's the worst case senario? You try something and don't like it.... I don't understand what you're scared of. I'm asking because my fiance's can be a little picky and I want to try and be more sympathetic.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

It just becomes more invasive and intimate for picky eaters when the thing you don't like to do every day is, you know, in your mouth. And throat. And stomach. Keep being patient with your fiance and maybe you can strike a bargain, but don't push too hard -- it's not worth the fights or stress.

– July 11, 2012 1:04 PM
Q.

extended life veggie bags

Hi. You had an article earlier this summer about a biodegradable, food- or herb-based bag that extends the life of fresh veggies and fruits, and I thought you wrote that they were available at the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market. I couldn't find them there last Sunday. Of course, my not being able to remember their name or the inventor's name didn't help. Please remind me -- I want to take them as a hostess gift this Saturday and can swing by the market on my way. Thanks!
A.
Tim Carman :

You are probably referring to FreshPaper, the miracle product that Jane Black wrote about in May. The creator of FreshPaper was selling the product for one week only in the D.C. area.

 

But the good news is you can buy it online.

– July 11, 2012 1:04 PM
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Thanks in part to the very positive showing after the Food section story ran, FreshPaper got into mid-Atlantic Whole Foods Markets, so you can pick it up at area stores.

– July 12, 2012 2:22 PM
Q.

Kids being picky eaters

This is a different slant - but I think we in US are teaching our kids to be picky eaters by only giving them 'kids food' and making in separately from our own. Oh it'll be too spicy, people think - well, what do you suppose Indian children have each day? I'm not saying that you have to force kids to eat food they don't like, but we're overtly limiting what they eat and creating a self fulfilling prophecy that's all they'll ever eat. I went to my SIL with a homemade mushroom and broccoli quiche her 3 and 5 year old were never given any of it. They were given box mac and cheese. Quiche is about as innocuous as you can get for flavors. As a European I shudder.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

Yes, but kids in India have spicy food as part of their culture. Their parents eat it, they're surrounded by it. It's a very different thing when that is your culture and becomes the norm or what you are accustomed to.

– July 11, 2012 1:05 PM
Q.

Bottle water question

I think poster was worrying about whether water "spoils," not the chemicals in the plastic.
A.
Tim Carman :

I've never heard of water spoiling.

– July 11, 2012 1:05 PM
Q.

Picky is not the same as refusal to try new things

I think there needs to be a distinction between someone who has tried something and doesn't like it (or smell averse) and someone who refuses to even try categories of food. One is not a choice - but the latter is definitely a choice.
A.
Stephanie Lucianovic :

That may be, but again, I would plead people exercise compassion, tolerance, and understanding.

– July 11, 2012 1:06 PM
Q.

Pie pie pie pie

Nothing to add to the conversation, but my mom made me (and really, her new son-in-law) a delicious raspberry-blackberry pie, and a classic strawberry-rhubarb pie and I'm still dreaming of them.I'm still working on my crust technique and will try your recipe next!
Q.

Leftover pie crust

I'm not the only one sprinkling them with cinnamon sugar and baking it, am I? One of my favorite things about making my own crust.
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Heck no. Kate showed us how she makes her "tasties." I've been known to use a whole leftover unbaked pod of dough that way....

– July 11, 2012 1:08 PM
Q.

Wedding Cake

I was averse to the traditional wedding cake, but still wanted a cake. We found a recent culinary school grad who made us five separate layer cakes from a family recipe. Tasted just like homemade!
Q.

Jane Touzalin :

Looks like our time is more than up! Thanks for chatting, all. We have two pie books to give away today: "United States of Pie" and "A Year of Pies."  One goes to the chatter who wrote that "I recently decided this is the year to conquer my pie baking fears." The other is for the chatter who asked about the purpose of lemon juice in apple pie. Send your an e-mail with your name and address to krystalr@washpost.com and she'll send you your book! Until next week.

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