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Suggested substitutions that are total BS


Chris Hennes
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I sympathise with cookbook authors, I really do. You try to make your book appeal to a larger audience, so you have to use ingredients that everyone can get. Which means that even though your recipe calls for epazote (very hard to find in the US), you suggest... well, what tastes like epazote? At ALL? That would be precisely nothing, the flavor is totally unique. So, something that is green, then! Like cilantro. Yeah, right, what a crap substitution. Better to leave it out. Believe me, if you've ever tasted epazote, you understand how ridiculous it is to use cilantro in its place.

Or what about those "and to make this lower fat, substitute the butter with applesauce." Say WHAT? What crazy suggested substitutions have you seen?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Along the lines of epazote, anything for mitsuba in Japanese cooking. I long wondered what mitsuba tasted like, and was never able to find it here in Canada. Then, when I finally got a taste of it in Japan earlier this year, I realize it was a herb unlike any other I've had.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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A friend called me and asked what she could substitute for Uni...

Ankimo (monkfish liver); liver of other seafish that got to you very fresh; prawn or lobster tomalley; brown crab meat; soft roes of herring and other fish. Which isn't really the point of the thread. Sorry. Unless you want to scoff, of course :smile:

Italian (flat-leaf) parsley's in the ballpark for mitsuba, isn't it ?

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Canned broth/stock for homemade. Blech.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Health-motivated substitutions tend to be the worst. They also are often presented out of context. Sure, there are some recipes out there where substituting two egg whites for a whole egg will work. But there are others where that substitution will wreck the outcome. Ditto skim milk for whole milk, whole-wheat flour for white flour, etc.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Health-motivated substitutions tend to be the worst. They also are often presented out of context. Sure, there are some recipes out there where substituting two egg whites for a whole egg will work. But there are others where that substitution will wreck the outcome. Ditto skim milk for whole milk, whole-wheat flour for white flour, etc.

I agree about the eggs and the milk, etc.

In my personal opinion, egg white omelets are a crime against humanity - at least that portion of it that eats omelets! :biggrin:

My omelets tend to be extra rich, tender and silky. I use whole eggs plus extra yolks, a dash of cream and of course, butter.

There is no adequate substitute.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Spurred on by Fat Guy's comment, I just remembered another:

Coconut essence in evaporated milk as a substitute for coconut milk. Wrong on so many levels.

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I've heard parsley for cilantro which I think is absurd. I know they look alike but their flavors could not be more different.

Also, the classic buttermilk substitute works on some recipes but really is not an effective substitute in things like biscuits.

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Health-motivated substitutions tend to be the worst. They also are often presented out of context. Sure, there are some recipes out there where substituting two egg whites for a whole egg will work. But there are others where that substitution will wreck the outcome. Ditto skim milk for whole milk, whole-wheat flour for white flour, etc.

I agree about the eggs and the milk, etc.

In my personal opinion, egg white omelets are a crime against humanity - at least that portion of it that eats omelets! :biggrin:

My omelets tend to be extra rich, tender and silky. I use whole eggs plus extra yolks, a dash of cream and of course, butter.

There is no adequate substitute.

I have a roommate that substitutes vegan butter for regular butter in baking recipes. The results are flavorless, kind of greasy due to lack of emulsion, and don't brown properly.

I've heard parsley for cilantro which I think is absurd. I know they look alike but their flavors could not be more different.

Also, the classic buttermilk substitute works on some recipes but really is not an effective substitute in things like biscuits.

The market by my house (that I try to avoid) keeps their flat-leaf parsley right next to their cilantro in the produce section. Three times I've come home after picking up supplies to find my parsley is in fact cilantro.

Edited by therippa (log)
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I've heard parsley for cilantro which I think is absurd. I know they look alike but their flavors could not be more different.

Also, the classic buttermilk substitute works on some recipes but really is not an effective substitute in things like biscuits.

The market by my house (that I try to avoid) keeps their flat-leaf parsley right next to their cilantro in the produce section. Three times I've come home after picking up supplies to find my parsley is in fact cilantro.

I've done it before too but in the opposite direction (I generally think parsley is tasteless). I usually smell it to make sure but occasionally I've been preoccupied by the 9 year old tugging on my sleeve asking for candy.

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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In baking, the roles and flavor of the fats is Turn Turn Turn. Butter in a carrot cake doesn't add flavor and ruins texture. Use the canola oil. Shortening makes for the tenderest oatmeal cookie, and butter is overwhelmed by the spices. And, when making shortbread or puff pastry or any number of other desserts:accept no substitutes; butter is essential.

Margarine is the lipid of Satan.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

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I just made cookies whose only fat was lard. There is no substitute.

Also for my pie crust - unless I am baking for people who observe religious restrictions. Or people who are vegan - coconut oil, frozen and diced works a treat. But it just ain't the same.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Anyone who tells you that slivered almonds can be substituted for pine nuts should be banned from kitchens immediately and never be allowed to cook anything for anyone else, ever again.

They don't even have the same texture.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

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