Tonight I’m settling all debts, and that includes answering the long-lingering-never-been-answered “Ask The Amateur Gourmet” questions that have been piling up. Well two people asked questions. Two make a pile, right?
First up Ross, who asks:
1. Tomato- fruit or vegetable?
What are categories but empty signifiers that perverts use to organize their porn collections? A tomato is neither a vegetable or a fruit. A tomato is hardcore bondage.
2. Tomatillo- tomato or gooseberry?
As a linguist, I can tell you that the suffix “illo” comes from the same family of suffixes that made Eva Peron “Evita” and Chiq Banana “chiquita.” “Illo,” which means “sick,” attaches to tomat to form “tomatillo” which means “sick tomat.” Therefore, the answer to your question is: 8.
3. Is it true that eggplants are in the same family as the tomato and the tomatillo?
What’s with you and categories? Free your mind brother. What an eggplant by any other name not smell as sweet?
4. In Martha Stewart’s handbook on hors d’oeuvres, she has a chapter entitled “wrapped, rolled, filled, folded, and stuffed.” Of particular interest in this chapter are the various edible cups/containers that she creates. One of her examples is the grape, which she suggests that you hollow out and fill with one of her various cheese fillings.
The question(2 parts):
A. How many cheese filled grapes should I prepare for a party of 10?
This is a simple difference of squares. 10 squares at a party will likely eat 5 cheese-stuffed grapes. Factor in their girlfriends and then remind yourself that squares don’t have girlfriends and divide by the cosign. The answer? 43.
B. What do I do with the left over grape insides after I hollow them out?
Save them! Remember what Joseph told the Pharoah in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (which I directed in college): “Seven years of bumper crops are on their way!” Meaning, first a feast then a famine. Keep your grape innards.
Non-Food question: Are you related to the galloping gourmet?
I do love some graham kerr. If so, please tell him I said hello.
Next up we have Dana, my old high school chum, who asks:
Please tell me difference between baking powder and baking soda? And should I be alarmed that baking soda can be used for everything under the sun, including cleaning my shower?
This is a ridiculously easy question. Baking soda, chemical formula NaHCO3, combines with the acid in a batter, H+, to produce carbon dioxite, CO2 (plus some water and Sodium).
Thus the formula reads:
NaHCO3 + H+ ——–> Na+ + H20 + CO2.
As an alternative, you might use Ammonia Bicarbonate (for eclairs and such) the formula reading:
NH4HCO3 —> NH3 + H20 + CO2
Baking powder is simply baking soda plus a dry acid. With the combination of wet ingredients, they react together to produce C02.
Did that help?
In summary: baking soda and baking powder are leaveners. They make your cake rise. They produce C02. My starter, also a leavener, also produces C02, which is why I can’t put the lid on tight or there’d be an explosion.
Not sure, though, why baking soda is good in the fridge. Anyone?
And if you have a question for the Amateur Gourmet, just post it in the comments section and he’ll get to it in three or four months. Thanks!