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Tony Boulton

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  1. Richard was a good friend. We met when he visited the kitchen store I owned in North Texas and he was thereafter often there, drinking my coffee for some years, up until we closed in 2010. Then, for various reasons, he lived in our home for a year, before moving on. He had a good heart and to me was a regular source of wisdom on the subject of food and drink. We lost touch when his health deteriorated. I regret that. But I will treasure our friendship. Richard would have been 76 this week. Happy birthday in heaven, my friend.
  2. The iced tea maker was declared to be obsolete on these shores when we discovered the cordless electric kettle. And there is yet another great invention to come from the Mother Country. Even in Texas in August it is faster than Sun Tea.
  3. Aahh... the 60's! Those were the days. I would probably have held the same view about iced tea myself back then. Even 10 years ago, I remember having lunch with a business asociate in Chicago and my choice of iced tea (on a warm Chicago day, I might add) was treated with some curiosity. Since then it seems to have become much more popular. So many good things have come from the South! More on topic, I discovered this week that Tazo have taken out the citrus flavor from their black iced tea. I dare not break that to my wife, who despite her being the ultimate afficiando (in my eyes) has not noticed. It still tastes good to me though. But how would I know? I am just a Brit. ;-)
  4. Nice theory and I do note the smiley at the foot of your post. I got the concept of iced tea straight away. But then, I am well travelled having been on numerous round-the-world trips over the years. I am unsure how many Brits you have met, on whom you base your theory, but I don't know one who finds iced tea "repulsive". What you seem to miss is this. Iced drinks in Britain are familiar only to afficiandados of the likes of McDonalds or KFC. It is only there that the cup is filled with ice and topped up with liquid (which leaves me with the thought that I am being short-changed). Remember, too, that free refills are even more uncommon. No, typically, I was always accustomed to the serving of water and lemonade (or carbonated beverages) accompanied by the inevitable question, "Would you like ice?". That is something rarely heard in Texas. But when it is answered in the affirmative in the UK it is followed by a gentle clink of one or two, maybe three if you are lucky, cubes of ice being spooned invidually into the glass. Which reminds me of my favorite story of a stay in anhotel in London with my Texan wife years ago. I went to the bar and asked for a full English pint glass of ice to go with the pot of tea that had just been served to us. The young man looked at me very seriously and said, "If we do that we will have none left for the other customers". I pointed out that the establishment had an icemaking machine under the bar and that he should not panic. It is raining in north Texas today and the temperature is struggling to get above 75. I think I will make a cuppa. And by the way, I am not here in Texas temporarily, I am here until the Lord calls me home.
  5. As a Brit married to a Texan and living here in the Lone Star State, iced tea was a culture shock to me when I first arrived over ten years ago. But being a "when in Rome do as the Romans do" type of bloke, I got used to it. I had to do so, as my dearly beloved is as passionate about iced tea as I have become over the years about coffee. She sends it back in restaurants if it is bad. She insists we start with filtered water and she is now an addict for Tazo Black Shaken. They describe it as having "citrus notes" although they are inaudible to me. After it was made popular in Starbucks, she searched nation for 1 gallon bags and eventually found them online. Recently Tazo seemed to have changed policy and are now selling half-gallon bags in grocery stores at an even lower equivalent price. I recommend it.
  6. Carbonara sauce surely has to be made fresh? And how many restaurants are prepared to do that? But it does remind me of the fact that I have never ever had a decent lasagne (spelled lasagna only if it comes with one singular sheet of pasta) in the USA. Nobody seems to have considered a Béchamel sauce.
  7. Toasted is what I was brought up on back in the Mother Country. My family used to just toast the one side of the bread - that with the cheese on until I realized that most other Brits toasted one side of the bread first. Wholegrain bread - mature cheddar (although where I come from Cheshire is popular, too) and either grind fresh pepper liberally or, for those that like it, Branston pickle on top. Branston is one of the few things I buy from our local specialty store The British Emporium here in Grapevine TX, to remind me of home. My Texan wife introduced me to grilled cheese sandwhiches and I do like them but I believe they are two different animals - similar ingredients, but different results. As others have said, a "toastie" is something I would do in my Dualit toaster with ham and cheese. It's a toasted sandwich not toast.
  8. There is always an exception (or two) to the rule, but I find that the majority of people I talk to agree with me. You can't have too many small knives. In fact the row of slots in my knife block designated for steak knives (not really a kitchen tool, in my view) is filled with extra paring knives. Included is a bird's beak parer, which is my wife's favorite for peeling.
  9. I always look for "Whole Grain" products and bread in particular is hard to find. I prefer to make my own, but have been struggling to do that of late due to time constraints. Whole Grains Council website
  10. I have sold Staub for a number of years and I have used it and abused it. I have always found the black enamel to be pretty indestructible and when I have had a "accident" and burned something on the inside base, a stainless steel scrubber and some elbow grease has done the trick. I would not recommend the same treatment for the high gloss enamel on the outside, however.
  11. A customer mentioned a new product to me called the Friis Coffee Savor. Made by a US company, despite its European sounding name, it claims to vent the carbon dioxide that is emitted after roasting. The vents have to be replaced after a certain period of time and there is a date marking system which shows you both when to do so and how long your beans have been in storage. Any views? http://www.friiscoffee.com/
  12. My personal choice would be a Wusthof 10" but, if you are concerned about cutting chicken bones (and the regular cook's knife is not really designed for that) you could also consider the Bone Splitter item 4690. It has a section for bones and a part of the blade for regular slicing and chopping. Wusthof website link
  13. As Richard knows, I am far less sophisticated than he is. But I don't think I have shared with him the fact that a traditional British fish and chip "supper" would not be complete unless accompanied by a pot of black tea, served with milk, of course. Darjeeling would be my choice.
  14. This website here seems to offer a conclusion based on various reports that have been done by people such as Consumer Reports and Good Housekeeping. I would love to find a convenient way of making our city water drinkable, as right now it tastes as though it has come straight from the lake down the road.
  15. You might be surprised to know, Paul, that Wusthof have some Italian machinery in their plant. But I do tend to agree with you, otherwise.
  16. I envy our friends in the Chicago area (not sure I could live there myself, mind you) because they now have a permanent indoor French Market. http://www.frenchmarketchicago.com/ Can't wait for one to open in the DFW area.
  17. Not a brand I am familiar with. It seems like an own brand offered by a sole US importer. There are quite a few knife manufacturers in Italy, many very small firms based in the Premana region. One of the more active is Sanelli.
  18. I would contend that the Staub black enamel is tougher in the long term. I have seen many a Le Creuset casserole with the cream enamel inside stained and/or peeling and heard many tales of customers coming back asking if they can be re-enameled.
  19. Why can you only use their electric sharpener? Can you plesse clarify. Thanks I should have said that "it would appear that the only way to sharpen them is....". Brand loyalty would tend to make folks do that. I have found that they are very hard, no impossible, to sharpen with even a diamond steel. Sorry for the confusion.
  20. My experience with Chef's Choice branded knives is that the only way you can sharpen them is, yes you got it, with a Chef's Choice electric sharpener. Hence, you grind them away at such a rate that you have to buy a new one very quickly.
  21. There are several references to flour in this thread. If you don't have brand loyalty then I would suggest buying wheat and grinding you own. I buy it in 50lb bags, usually for around $40 and it keeps forever in a dry airtight container. Pre-ground flour has a fraction of the original nutritional value of the wheat it came from.
  22. As I said to you, Chris, they take my word that the claim is justifiable and are sending a replacement to me. It happens so rarely that the least fuss, the better.
  23. Richard, I originally was curious as to why the need to add a manufactured product (albeit from natural ingredients) like Xantham Gum. By "truly natural" I was meaning an unprocessed ingredient. Thanks for the tips about Irish Moss. I'll mention it to my wife when she goes shopping.
  24. What is so wrong with other, truly natural thickeners? I understand that some folks don't like the carbs in bananas - which I don't have a problem with, I eat a banana a day any way. I have seen references to oatmeal being used as a thickener. It's a carbohydrate, but is a whole grain, which is a "good carb" in my book. Somewhere I read about soaking Chia seeds to produce a natural thickening agent. Anybody tried that? Also somewhere else I saw something a bit more way out - Irish Moss. Anybody been brave enough to test that one? A little bizarre, but truly natural.
  25. But from what I can see, Xanthan Gum is a carbohydrate, too. The very name is enough to make me not want to consider using it and coming from Europe, I tried to avoid anything with "E numbers" in it (Xanthan Gum is E145). I will stick to bananas, thank you. But each to his own. By the way, it is also used to help lubricate oil wells.
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