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Everything posted by MHarney

  1. It's about the only diet root beer whose taste I find quite decent, and, in this case, it's nearly indistinguishable from Boylan's regular cane sugar root beer -- as opposed to their cola, where their diet version tastes twice as sweet as the cane version and leaves one making an unpleasant face. I find many things sweetened with Splenda cloyingly sweet like that, but the Boylan's diet root beer seems to be done just right -- those items that have a fairly high acidity to start often seem to work best in this regard. (Reminds me of what the miracle berry is said to do to lemons -- a fascinating story recently broadcast on BBC Radio 4 that I listened to last week, made more fascinating by the fact that the Miralin company driven to bankruptcy in the early '70s was based just down the road from my office. Another article, from the WSJ, here.) Yes, my plan would be to buy it by the case. I've hesitated to ask at Whole Foods, the only place I've seen any Boylan's recently, since previous requests for my local outlet to do anything out of the ordinary have been met with looks that said, "Poor misguided soul. He doesn't know the rules, does he?" (The last similar request involved Lyle's Black Treacle, since they carry Lyle's Golden Syrup. I have since found the treacle at the splendid little British Delights store in Westford, MA.) I'll have my boss ask at the place he found, whose name I'm not sure he even mentioned. I know it wasn't a Whole Foods, though.
  2. Has anyone seen Boylan's Diet Root Beer in any retail outlets in the Nashua/Boston/Providence corridor? I can find a good number of their non-diet drinks, but the root beer is a tough nut. My boss just spotted a place in Boston that had nearly everything they make except the diet root beer. I'm tired of paying through the nose to mail-order -- it's about $2.50 a bottle with the understandably exorbitant shipping cost.
  3. Not so rare any longer. As I mentioned a few posts above, they're selling whole bags of 'em once more. I think they made their return just in the last few weeks, because for the last nine or ten years, I would always glance at the PF section in any store I happened to be in. And finally, Tahitis started reappearing everywhere (at least in Mass. and NH) early this month.
  4. Does anyone happen to know if Boylan's Diet Root Beer is available at any retail outlet in the Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Providence areas? I'm tired of paying through the nose to get it by mail order ($2.50 or so a bottle with shipping), and I've very unusually come up completely empty-handed after hours of web searches over several months.
  5. Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle. Pepperidge Farm has just started making entire bags of Tahiti coconut cookies available again for the first time in something like a decade -- instead of just a few at a time in their chocolate cookie assortment. Maybe I should start making a fuss about Chocolite aerated chocolate bars and see if Nestle sits up and takes notice. (Don't tell me about Aero, Wispa, or similar bars -- they don't have the tiny morsels of honey the Chocolite had. But Cadbury does at least have a terrific Marathon bar substitute in their Curly Wurly.)
  6. A look at the "active" (and I use those quotation marks thoughtfully) ingredients shows that Celsius has a makeup remarkably similar to that of Red Bull and other energy drinks, except that it's made with Splenda instead of corn syrup. Of course, any perceived energy boost might be solely from the caffeine. When they say, "increased metabolism," I wonder if they really mean increased heart rate. Now if they made it with, say, N-rayed polywater, I might buy me some. Well, after I finish the bridge payments, anyway. On second thought, just give me a latte.
  7. Curious about a few of the non-obvious items in the list at the end of the article, I googled pregnant avoid plus each of the foods in question. It was interesting to see that there are differerent theories about why sage should be avoided, from the merely bad to the downright scary: might reduce milk production, could induce uterine contractions, might cause bleeding. However, in what I read, there seems to be little agreement, and the only references I saw to bolster the ideas were footnotes citing health food books published the 1980s. A large number of sites (mostly organic/health food/holistic) just say don't eat a particular item, with no explanation at all. Not very helpful. Also interesting is that there are lots of folks who say that spearmint, also on the list, is great calmative as a tea during pregnancy and only a few places seem to say it's bad -- either with no explanation or saying that, in essential oil form, it's also capable of producing contractions. My research just now was, of course, only of a brief nature, but I think that if I were great with child, I might end up so frustrated with and worried about the contradictory opinions or complete lack of concrete information on some of these items that I'd probably end up eating Cream of Wheat with a multi-vitamin chaser most of the time. Wait...what's the scoop on milk? Brown sugar? Maple syrup? Good golly, are some vitamins bad? Yikes. Maybe just some filtered water and a no-salt saltine for me.
  8. Unless the Northeast climate has changed a lot more than I realize, I think that may be a more generic new world/Native American vegetable list. Cacao/cocoa, cassava, and avocado also seem a bit out of place for Massachusetts, which I've never considered tropical, semi-tropical, or even hemisemidemi-tropical. I will, however, allow that this year is turning out much nicer than most, according to the natural gas bill I just got.
  9. Considered significant by the QMUC Food Industry Foundation's manager, anyway: I wonder, did many prospective students who did not sign up tell him those things? I strongly doubt it, so it may well just be his opinions on the matter. Not enough science there, popular or unpopular, to warrant the "Scary TV chefs drive students out the kitchen" headline -- in my opinion, of course. I'd also like to hear Mr. Miskin expound upon how food science is associated with McDonald's, because the only associations I make with McDonalds are "slurry burgers" and "chopped, sliced, and formed chicken whatsits."
  10. T'huh...a day or two after cancellation, an episode that actually made me laugh. Oh, well. C'est la mort.
  11. Same here -- it's from one of my favorite Warner cartoons, "Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid" (1942), in which the rather dim Beaky Buzzard tries to catch the wabbit (sound bite here). I half expected Bourdain to follow up with the also-classic (to me, anyway), "Ohhh, no, no, no, no , no, no! Not gonna do it. Nnnnnope."
  12. It may interest you to know that this use of quotation marks seems to have caused my left eyebrow to shoot right off the top of my head.
  13. Please don't leave us hanging like that: Inquiring minds would love to know what you replied and what he then said, if anything. In other words, did it get worse or better? How much worse?
  14. Let's not forget about the Dasani harvest, when the taps and salt shakers run all night long.
  15. To repeat something Bourdain pointed out some time ago, he shows remarkable restraint many times in "Kitchen Nightmares." Superhuman restraint once or twice. Agreed. In this case, I like his mechanics and ignore the PR. Exactly. In my circle, there's just one person besides myself who spends much time in the kitchen. Most people seem to subscribe to the idea of food as fuel and fuel alone. Pretty sad.
  16. To explain a bit how I came to like Ramsay (especially after all the negative stuff I had read), it may be enlightening for me to mention that, for much of my professional career, the majority of my time has been spent fixing other people's mistakes -- perhaps 60% of the total. Compounding that is the fact that I'm something of a perfectionist, or near-perfectionist, anyway. After doing this for a couple decades, I often wish I could take things utterly in hand, as Ramsay does, and tell the offenders precisely what I think of their sloppy, inexact work, at great volume. I can't, of course, given pesky societal norms, laws, etc., but I can live vicariously.
  17. Parts of the Uzbekistan episode were strangely reminiscent of some other TV show... "It may have moved, I don't know." "You didn't dance, did you?" The crunching added (I assume) to the underground torture chamber footage was quite effective.
  18. Reminds me of those maddening commercials where the target quickly explains, "It was Lean Cuisine," just as her companions are about to accuse her of cooking (slut!). "Say, you must have one of those whatchacallits...'bowls,' is it?" "Oh, gosh, I could never find the four-and-a-half minutes it takes to measure and mix all those ingredients." "I tried making cornbread once. I tasted it after the firefighters left but...it wasn't good."
  19. It usually takes between four and five mentions (or minutes, whichever comes first) for me to be fed up with any celebrity chef. In fact, I had developed a pre-dislike for Ramsay, just by virtue of seeing his name a fair amount, before I saw the eight "Kitchen Nightmares" shows. Changed my mind after that, and I still think he's a hoot.
  20. I think the answer may lie in this paragraph from the story: "That unmitigated bastard...the very idea! I'm going to watch this new show just to see what other outrageous statements he's going to make!" See here, boiling is the father of sous vide, just at a higher temperature and without the plastic.
  21. In the other thread, I noted someone talking about the exorbitant prices of used copies of Paris Boulangerie... prior to its reprinting in March of this year, and thought it might be helpful for those who don't know of it to mention Advanced Book Exchange, a large (10,000+) bookseller collective where you can often find used books at prices much lower than used books through Amazon, B&N, Alibris, Half.com, etc. -- sometimes an order of magnitude cheaper. I've gotten several out-of-print cookbooks through this service, the last one being an almost pristine first edition of From Julia's Kitchen to replace my old charmingly cooking-stained copy, whose binding had unfortunately started to disintegrate at the baguette pages. I got the replacement for something like $17 or $18 with shipping, and its dustjacket was in such perfect condition that I'm reasonably sure the book hadn't been cracked open since it was printed in 1975.
  22. Nope. Looks fun, but holy moley, there's a skadillion messages in there. So much vitriol, so little time...
  23. Yeah...maybe something silly like "Emeril Lagasse." Sandra Lee's devotees would like a word with you. (Hint: To distract them, simply toss a shiny object down the hall. A bottle of booze would probably do nicely.) PB&J Supreme by Sandra Lee Makes 1 serving Ingredients: Two slices Wonder® bread Peanut butter Jelly, grape or some other type Sprig of mint Equipment: Countertop, butter knife, table for tablescape Place first slice of bread on countertop. Using a butter knife, spread some peanut butter on top of first slice. Spread some jelly on top of the peanut butter. Place second slice on top of jelly. Decorate second slice (the top!) with sprig of mint, or parsley if you don't have any mint, or a cut-out picture of some mint. Now I want you to spend 2-4 hours shopping for tablescape items and setting them up. Place PB&J's in the middle. N.B.: For a lovely dessert that all my girlfriends love, substitute half a can of chocolate frosting for the peanut butter. I like to call it F&J Supreme!
  24. Oh, there'll be no voting. Please see my Master Plan, Rev. B. Ahem...that's laboratory-fresh whipped topping, please. Edited to add: Note that googling Debra Racicot produces almost nothing. However, it appears that either clever obfuscation or a lazy reporter/editor is involved: Her name is actually Deborah Racicot.
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