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  1. I'm quite fond of these Get It Right silicone spatulas. They have no seams, they come in multiple colors and sizes from tiny to huge, and they are the right level of flexibility and stiffness for me. These spatulas are probably the Kickstarter that I use more than anything else.
  2. I love Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes; I think of them as the gardener's treat. I eat them by the handful when I'm in the garden. The vines are indeterminate and usually are very prolific in Tennessee. They return as volunteers for the next year here in Tennessee (from dropped fruit). The tomatoes are tiny; think large-raisin-sized, not grape-sized. They grow in clusters, and not all tomatoes in each cluster will be fully ripened at the same time. While I think every garden should have a Matt's Wild Cherry plant in it, to reward the gardener, the skins are tender and may peel from the stem if you pick individual little tomatoes. We generally eat as many as we want while in the garden, and then cut entire clusters to bring into the kitchen, to keep the skin whole. Johnny's has always been good to deal with, on the small personal order scale that I have interacted with them.
  3. Posters on the laundry forum on ThatHomeSite regularly point out that the active ingredient in OxiClean is sodium percarbonate. They often recommend purchasing pure sodium percarbonate as it is more cost-effective than buying OxiClean. The Chemistry Store is often suggested as a place to buy sodium percarbonate. Ecover Non-Chlorine Bleach powder is also said to be pure sodium percarbonate. From the OxiClean web site, the ingredients in the type of OxiClean that I have are: Sodium Carbonate (Detergent Additive) Sodium Percarbonate (Bleaching Agent) C12-15 Alcohol Ethoxylate (Surfactant-Cleaning Agent) Sodium Metasilicate (Detergent Additive, Corrosion Inhibitor) Acrylic Acid Homopolymer (Dispersing Agent) Fragrance Colorant Once I use up the OxiClean that I have, I am going to order some sodium percarbonate to see how it works.
  4. Don't forget piquillo peppers, stuffed with cheese (roncal or manchego) or with tuna.
  5. I used to try very hard to return the excess change that I am occasionally given. I finally decided a year or two ago that I would try one time to return the excess change, but if the cashier persisted in saying that the change given to me was correct, it wasn't worth my time to try to teach arithmetic at the check out lane.
  6. The table of contents is available through the "look inside" feature at Amazon. I'm in the midst of packing up my bookcases, so my copy went into one of that day's boxes. From the quick glance I gave the book before packing it into a box very carefully labeled "Chocolate Books", one of the interesting things about the book is that it has measurements to suit anyone's taste (weight in grams and ounces, and by volume). I remember chapters on chocolate flowers, modeling chocolate, and building showpieces. There was also a 40 page appendix with templates that could be traced and enlarged for use in making showpieces. One thing that rather tickles me was that in a section on alcohol flavorings, I remember seeing only three types: rums, fruit brandies, and Baileys.
  7. My copy just arrived from Amazon. Everyone who pre-ordered should get their copy soon.
  8. I wouldn't be so sure that the Triple Ginger Snaps would be too much for the people at the senior center. My nonagenarian grandmother regularly asks me to bring her a tub of the Triple Ginger Snaps (her town doesn't have a Trader Joe's). I haven't seen her eat any other store-bought cookies in years. Home-made cookies, yes, but not store-bought cookies. My octogenarian mother-in-law likes them as well. Actually, all of my relatives who would qualify as senior citizens like the Triple Ginger Snaps.
  9. I'm still not completely up to speed on Tennessee liquor laws, despite having moved here over three years ago, but this is my understanding. Few counties in Tennessee are still dry (prohibiting the sale of alcohol), with Moore County, the location of Jack Daniels distillery, being a notable exception. Alcohol is very highly regulated and very highly taxed here, so don't be surprised at the prices. Wine/liquor stores can sell only wine, liquor, and high-alcohol beers, and they are the only places wine, liquor, and high-alcohol beers can be purchased at retail. They cannot sell anything other than wine, liquor, and high-alcohol beers, so if you need a corkscrew, glasses, nibbles, or other accessories, you have to buy them somewhere else. Beer can be sold in grocery stores, convenience stores, separate beer stores right next door to some wine/liquor stores, or pretty much anywhere. That said, we do have blue laws that prohibit the sale of alcohol to some extent on Sundays. No alcohol at all can be sold before 10 AM on Sundays, not in a restaurant and not in a retail store. Wine, high-alcohol beers, and liquor can only be sold in restaurants on Sundays. State law requires all liquor/wine stores -- which are the only stores that can sell wine, liquor, and high-alcohol beers for off-premises consumption -- to be closed on Sundays and most holidays. Beer can be purchased in a store after 10 AM on Sundays (or in a restaurant). So, if you're coming to Nashville on a Friday or Saturday, you'll have to make one shopping stop to buy beer for your hotel room (most grocery stores carry beer), and a different stop to buy whisky or bourbon (must be a liquor/wine store which cannot sell regular beer). I can't think of any meat and threes that have alcohol licenses. Perhaps someone else will chime in on that. I suspect that since Loveless has gone so touristy, they might have an alcohol license, but I wouldn't be surprised if none of the others have alcohol licenses. Several meat and threes are closed on weekends, so be sure to verify the opening days for the particular ones you want to visit.
  10. My copy of Chocolates and Confections at Home just arrived, quite unexpectedly. I had pre-ordered it in October, but a recent email from Amazon had said that it would arrive January 4, 2010. I'll be taking it with me in case I find some time to read over the next few days.
  11. andiesenji, from where did you end up ordering yours? (And I've been fussing to myself about the new 'features' ever since the change.)
  12. I would love to be able to come to this. It sounded like so much fun last time. ETA: Oh, wow, I just got an email from Albert Uster saying that Anil "has announced his dream to return home to India, back to his roots and his much loved culture."
  13. I've never done a vacation that consisted solely of cooking classes, but my SO and I have done several recreational cooking classes as a part of a vacation. We've taken classes in France, Italy, and Spain. We find that these classes add an interesting element to our vacations that show us a different side of wherever we're visiting. We also have appreciated having someone who lives in the area telling us about places we might have missed on the rest of our vacation, had they not let us know about the local gems, and their assistance in making reservations for later on in our vacations has been invaluable. Most of these classes we've attended have been about a week long, and most of them have included side trips to local markets, local food producers, and wineries. The classes are often hosted in nifty old buildings, which I find appealing. Other than the usual types of things to consider in a vacation decision (e.g., where to go, how long to stay, who's going, what time of year, how much to spend, are language classes needed), one thing I would suggest considering very carefully is how much time you (and any others going with you) like to spend in a small group with people you don't know. Some places schedule trips, events, and classes from early morning to late evening, which doesn't allow much flexibility if you find yourself in a small group that is not congenial. Thankfully, we've never had that happen, but we have had one where I wished for time for an afternoon nap one day!
  14. Since tonka beans are prohibited by the FDA in the USA, I know very little about them, and I first heard about tonka beans only last year at the World Pastry Team Championship. Are they very widely used in other countries?
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