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Posts posted by Gingersnap

  1. I'll start with a couple that the seed guy suggested:


    One of his favorite catalogs - Seeds of Change


    His favorite tomato - Matt's Wild Cherry


    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.

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  2. 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)



    Once I use up the OxiClean that I have, I am going to order some sodium percarbonate to see how it works.

  3. <snip>

    Same thing if someone gives me more change than they should; it is ALWAYS returned.

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. What are your favorite TJ's cookies? I like the Triple Ginger Snaps, but rarely buy cookies. I want to bring s package or two of cookies to the local senior center so the good folks there might enjoy them with the free coffee in the morning. I'm thinking that the ginger snaps may be a little much for the folks there - looking for something everyone might enjoy.

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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?

  9. My copy arrived from Amazon some time last week. I haven't had a chance to do more than flip through it.

    There are five chapters (and a hefty bibliography):

    Cakes, Lucious Cakes! Muffins, Quick Breads, & More

    Puff, The Magic Leavener -- Steam

    Pie Marches On & On

    As the Cookie Crumbles

    Great Breads -- Great Flavours

  10. At a recent demo, Ewald Notter said, "Working with chocolate is messy, right?" After waiting for a murmur of agreement, he said, "It's not the chocolate; it's you." Well, he may not be messy, but I am. Heh. I have to say, he works cleaner than I can even imagine being. If I progress from newbie all the way up to novice after enough practice, then perhaps I will become less messy. (Maybe not as neat as Notter. I saw some other people working with chocolate who weren't working nearly as cleanly as he had.)

    I started off going the parchment route for ease in cleanup, but after recently watching everyone work straight over granite and simply scrape up drips, I'm tempted to give that a try. Once. One other thing I noticed is how frequently people were changing their gloves. For some reason, it's never entered my mind to strip off my gloves that frequently.

  11. White Lily will no longer be produced in Knoxville, TN after the end of this month, and production is moving to plants in the midwest. An extremely small (n=2), non-random, blind (but not double-blind) test indicated, contrary to Smucker's corporate line, that differences between the southern White Lily and the midwestern White Lily flours (that just looks plain wrong!) are noticeable, according to this article in the New York Times..

    If you're going to go hunting for southern White Lily, a Smuckers representative, though protesting that there is no difference between the flour from the original mill and from the new midwestern mills, told me how to identify flour from the Knoxville mill.

    Find the Best By Date on the bag of flour. After that date, there is a code. The first digit of the code is the year (e.g., 8 for this year, 2008), the next three digits are for the day of the year (e.g., June 18=169), and the next three digits (digits 5, 6, and 7) are the plant code. The Knoxville mill is coded as 569.

  12. There are a couple of new places around Nashville that I've heard good things about, though I haven't made it to any of them. Also, they aren't terribly close to the Sommet Center.

    Andrew Chadwick's at Rutledge Hill is about a mile away. The Tennessean reviewed it here, and the Nashville Scene's review is here. This is on my list for hitting soon.

    I've heard good things about City House, but the comments on Chowhound are mixed. Reviews are here for the Nashvile Scene; and here for the Tennessean. City House is probably a mile and a half from the Sommet Center, and I definitely wouldn't make that walk.

    I think The Standard at the Smith House has been open for a year or two. It's about a half-mile from the Sommet Center. It's in a restored 1840's townhouse with an interesting history. They do serve lunch on weekdays. I've eaten here, but I can't remember a thing about the food or service. Either I was too busy talking, or I was too interested in the house itself to remember anything.

    And last, but certainly not least, don't overlook tayst, on Hillsboro Pike, just south of Hillsboro Village. It's been open several years (so not new), but it's one of my favourites.

  13. I, too, ate salmon croquettes fairly often as a child growing up in the South. Since I was notoriously obnoxious about what I could eat and what made me cough* when I ate, I suspect that finding something easy to prepare that didn't make me cough was very welcome to my mother and my grandmothers.

    Our salmon croquettes had to be made with Argo Red Salmon. I don't know why, but I clearly recall being told when I got married and was collecting my favourite family recipes that good salmon croquettes could only be made with Argo Red Salmon. With my pedestrian taste, I always ate my salmon croquettes with ketchup -- Heinz only. I still occasionally eat my salmon croquettes with ketchup, though I haven't seen Argo Red Salmon in a store in years.

    *As a child, I frequently told family members that certain foods would make me cough. Further description of my version of coughing is probably unwarranted here.

  14. I've gotten Silver Queen at the Nashville farmers' market twice this year (I've only been there three times since I moved to Nashville), but only from the Tennessee Producers' section where the farmers pull up their pickup trucks (e.g., not from the permanent vendors). One of the permanent vendors has a permanent sign up for Silver Queen, but he's selling Silver King (and will say so, if specifically asked).

    I got some wonderful Peaches and Cream corn from some of the Amish in Lawrence County, TN a few weeks ago.

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