What Do You Want Me To Write About?

May 13, 2011 73 Comments

The Reluctant Gourmet

Help Me Pick Some Topics

Back in 1997, over 14 years ago, I created The Reluctant Gourmet website as a way to teach myself how to cook. I was newly married, enjoyed good food and wanted to learn how to make it myself.  I had to eat so why not learn to cook and eat well!

I was fortunate at the time to know some very good home cooks who were willing to teach me a few tricks in the kitchen but I also depended on cookbooks and cooking magazines. The problem was, they were written assuming you knew the language of cooking, which I didn’t, and that was the reason for The Reluctant Gourmet.

I figured I could find an interesting recipe, research the technique needed to produce it, translate it into an everyday language I could understand and then post it on my website to share with other novice home cooks. It was also a great place for me to keep my favorite recipes.

Now 14 years later, I’m still learning new techniques and recipes and still posting them on my web site along with The Reluctant Gourmet Cooking Blog, Facebook and Twitter.  The site has come a long way and I appreciate all the support I’ve received from you over the years.

What Do You Want Me To Write About?

I am an inquisitive kind of guy and I don’t think I’ll run out of topics to write about anytime soon but I thought this would be a great time to ask, “What would you like me to write about?”

  • Is there a particular recipe you want to learn how to make?
  • Is there a cooking technique you need help with?
  • What frustrates you about cooking for your family everyday, week after week?
  • Do you have any fears in the kitchen I can address?

Of course I don’t have all the answers, nor can I guarantee I’ll be able to answer every question but I will do my best.  If I can’t answer a question or find one by doing a little research, I have plenty of chef friends willing to help. Plus, there are other home cooks and professionals who visit and might be able to shed some light on your question.

So here’s your opportunity to have some input into what I’ll be writing about in upcoming posts and on my web site. I look forward to your suggestions, questions, and comments.


Last modified on Wed 8 April 2015 2:54 pm

Comments (73)

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  1. John says:

    I feel a bit silly even saying this, but I just cannot do reductions right – without a thickener like a roux or a slurry, it just boils away without ever reaching a saucy consistency. It always stays too thin. I’d like to know if I’m missing something obvious.

    I’d love more quick tips (e.g. I’ve only just come across how quick it is to peel root ginger by using a teaspoon)

    Hi John, we’ll have to look at what you starting with when you reduce. Good topic though. I’ll most likely be posting more tips on my Facebook account. It’s easier to post quick tips like the one you mention about peeling root ginger. – RG

  2. Carla says:

    I love your site, it’s on my blog roll so I can see when it’s updated. I think you’ve got a nice mix of recipes and “how to” articles, as well as explanations of various food related items (love the recent cheese articles).

    I don’t have anything specific I’d recommend other than please keep on doing what you’re doing!

    Thanks Carla, I love cheese so you will definitely see more of these articles. – RG

  3. Meko says:

    I am a recent subscriber but enjoy the tips and features. I am from the old school of tv cooking. The Galloping Gourmet and Julia Childs (early edition). Thank God I only have to cook for myself but would love to try my hand at English dishes (don’t ask me why)!! Are there any that don’t look like I have to go hunting in Sherwood Forest?

    Hi Meko, I remember my mom watching The Galloping Gourmet when I was a kid. That was when he appeared to be enjoying a bit of adult beverage. Can you be a little more specific in so far as what English dishes you are interested in? – RG

  4. Den Czurylo says:

    I’d like to see classic recipes dissected and what techniques make these dishes classics such as Spaghetti carbonara, steak Diane etc.

    Hi Den, any classic recipes in particular. I don’t think the cooking techniques have changes all too much. Maybe the equipment and some of the ingredients but we can look into some classics. I am a big fan of steak Diane. – RG

  5. ChipB says:

    Gourmet-style recipes for diabetics.

    Hi Chip, thanks for the suggestion. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t have much experience with recipes for diabetics but I will do some research and put together a list of sites that offer good resources. – RG

  6. Natalie Sztern says:

    I do. I live in an urban setting in Montreal where I have no access to a yard setting. I have always wanted to try and make a ‘crab boil’ but I have to use my kitchen stove and eat it in my kitchen and I need to be able to make it fit for a family of 3 adults.

    Usually these are done on beaches and in backyards; but I want to do one and I need to size it down. I am deathly afraid to buy a live lobster: I have read where one keeps the elastic bands on and I have read where if u keep them on it tastes bad…mussels no problem for me; crabs we don’t get much here; and we are entering into Lobster Season….So if you can give me a lesson on doing a Crab/Lobster boil in a regular old kitchen using regular pots sized for a family of 3 that would be my wish list. I can cover the table with newspaper-not a problem.

    Hi Natalie, interesting dilemma. Do you have any park areas near you that offer charcoal grills and picnic tables? You may want to move your feast to a different location? If not, no problem. I can post a recipe for a crab/lobster boil but you are going to need the right size pots to boil the crabs or lobster. The crabs you may be able to get away with a soup or stock pot you already own, but cooking three lobsters takes a big pot so they all fit.

    I have never heard the bands make lobsters taste bad but I do understand your fear of putting a live lobster into a pot a boiling water. It is a little intimidating if you haven’t done it before. Thanks for the suggestion. – RG

  7. R. Bailey says:

    would like info on tamales, making, recipes, history, usa and others.different methods to prepare and cook.any story or historical

    Hi R Bailey, my friend Paula is from Mexico and we made homemade fresh tamales one afternoon. I have some great photos but I have to ask her for a recipe. Thanks for the suggestion. – RG

  8. Luke says:

    A few years ago, my wife and I vacationed in Croatia. It was there that I was introduced to Spaghetti Fruitti di Mare and couldn’t get enough of it! It was basically a spaghetti dish made with clams and other seafood in a olive oil base. I must be missing some ingredients as I’ve never been able to come close to the same flavor. Any ideas or suggestions?

    Not sure but I’ll see what I can come up with that might work for you. – RG

  9. Jenni Rich says:

    My husband really wants to make a sous vide cooker do you know anything about this style of cooking?

    Hi Jenni, I wrote a little bit about sous vide on my FoodSaver Vacum Sealer page and I also warn that this is not for everyone. You have to be very careful and must have the right equipment. I would suggest you check out a cookbook by Thomas Keller and Harold McGee called Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide. Between the two of them, he should be able to learn what he needs to know and not get into too much trouble. – RG

  10. William says:

    How about continuing the lyrics to the old songs…along with quick fix recipes?

    Hey William, not sure what you mean with the lyrics. – RG

  11. Les says:

    I just recently retired and have turned to the kitchen or some new challenges. I’m looking at the differences between “Smoking” and “Grilling”. Here in Texas it has a new and different meaning than in Colorado. How do the elegant TX restaurants get that flavor and texture in a med-rare steak?

    Hi Les, great topics. I cover some of both grilling and smoking on the site but can add some more. Not sure how the terms differ from Texas to Colorado but they are very different cooking techniques not to be confused. One is slow cooking and the other a form of direct heat cooking. I’ll get more into it and ask my friend Barbecue Bob, a home cook who loves to smoke food. – RG

  12. Jannett says:

    I’m trying to learn how to cook healthy! How to cook delish yet low fat & low carbs & lots of healthy ingredients in the meal! Please show recipes & techniques like these that are easy or at least one can follow in your normal approach. Thanks for asking!

    Hi Jannett, you are welcome. If someone were to ask me what gourmet cooking is, I would say using the freshest (healthy) ingredients you can find and keep it simple. Fresh ingredients by their very nature should be healthy and if you don’t smother them in cream, (not that there is anything wrong with cream) they should be suitable for your diet. Learning to cook is more about learning the techniques. Applying these techniques to fresh foods is cooking healthy in my opinion. If you have specific dietary needs, that’s another story and one that should be addressed by your doctor or nutritionist. I’ll try to post some recipes that you will consider healthy and if you check out my site, I think you will find some right now. – RG

  13. JD Schwerdtfeger says:

    I am a fan and have been for several years. I have been trying to think of a topic you have not covered and I can’t come up with one unless you want to do an article dedicated to emergency substitutions. Something I regularly find myself doing. “If I don’t have this ingredient, I can use this ingredient instead.” sort of thing. Some of my best recipes have come about in such substitutions. Peace, JD

    Hi JD, great topic to write about. I substitute all the time. I don’t think of it as an emergency anymore but an opportunity to try something new or create a new taste. – RG

  14. Ruth Bjerke says:

    I had a curry plant a couple of years ago in Minnesota, and of course, it did not survive the winter. I didn’t even know curry was a plant – I thought it was just a blend of herbs. Now I am living in the Palm Springs area in Calif. I have a cookbook 660 Curries, and several of the recipes call for curry leaves. I looked all over the valley, and could not find a plant – I finally had to order one. Now that I have one I need more recipes. I also love the idea that I can grow herbs all year round. Anyway, I would love a discussion on herbs, not only curry, but how to best utilize the many fresh herbs that are now available to me.

    Hi Ruth, you were right. Curry is a blend of herbs. In southern India curry leaves are used as part of the blend but from what I’ve read, curry powder does not have to have the curry leaf. This can be a very confusing subject so I’m thrilled you brought it up and I can go out and research it more. And yes, we can talk more about fresh herbs and how best to utilize them. Thanks for your suggestion. – RG

  15. CyGuy says:

    How about a reduced fat Alfredo that tastes great?

    Reduced fat? What fun is that? No it’s a great idea and one I’ll look into. Thanks for the suggestion. – RG

  16. Bonnie Ochoa says:

    Love to cook, but whenever I see a recipe that includes “fold in the egg whites….”, I go on to something else. My egg-white folding skills suck! Any suggestions?

    Hi Bonnie, mine aren’t so great but I know some whose skills are great. Yes, this is something we can work on and both get better at it. – RG

  17. Bill Mundell says:

    I have never remember seeing any articles written about cooking and baking with whole grains. This is what is the craze now, with good nutrition and health.

    Hi Bill, I don’t do a lot of baking so I don’t write too much about it but we can. I love whole grains to cook with and will post more soon. – RG

  18. Amy Brizendine says:

    Two of my biggest frustrations with cooking are my family and their lack of interest in trying new things and the cost of trying to buy healthy, quality ingredients. I would run my kitchen like a gourmet restaurant every night if I could! Love your sight, have been visiting it for years.

    Hi Amy, great point you are making about your family’s lack of interest. One way I get my kids excited about what I’m preparing is get them involved in preparing the meal. Seems like when they help me cook the food somehow tastes better. Go figure! – RG

  19. jean says:

    I am new to this site,& recently moved to a high alttude state, so of my baking recipes worke some don’t I brought a cookbook just for this area,but would like to use my old recipes,also some sugar free ones,thanx

  20. Rickey locke says:

    I’m just starting please share about tools what do you suggest for basics tools.

    Hi Rickey, great idea for an article. Off the top of my head, I think you need a great knife that feels great in your hand and holds an edge, a well made pair of kitchen tongs, some great pans and a bunch of wooden spoons. There are some other great tools but this is what comes to mind. – RG

  21. John Ogburn says:

    I am always in search of easy sauces for different meats – primarily reductions as the first post recommended. Nothing makes a meal like a complex sauce and they should very easy to put a meal over the top. Some basics would be greatly appreciated! JTO

    Hi John, thanks for commenting. I totally agree with you about sauces makes the meal. I have a good article you might want to check out called Making Incredible Sauces at Home. On that page you’ll find an ad for an eCookbook called How to Make Restaurant Sauces at Home… in 20 minutes or less. Don’t buy it or should I say don’t buy it yet because GatewayGourmet asked me to help rewrite it and it’s going to be a great resource on making sauces at home especially for novice and intermediate cooks. You’ll read more about it when it is available.

  22. ETinio says:

    We grew up on very rich food – rich as in primarily extremely flavorful, in appropriate combinations and with beautiful presentation. When already full grown, however, many of us become diabetics. I want recipes of all kinds of food (from appetizer to dessert) that would still be very rich but would not cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar. I want recipes that those with and without diabetes can enjoy together, and, perhaps, will help prevent the non-diabetics from becoming diabetics.

    Hi ETinio, great topic but I’m not sure I’m the right person for these recipes. My dad is a diabetic so I guess I could talk to him and learn more about his dietary needs but I also think there are some great resources on the Internet for this important topic. I can do some research and come up with a list of great sites that cater specifically to these recipes. Not being a nutritionist, I would be “reluctant” to suggest what’s right for your specific diet. – RG

    Thank you for asking.

  23. Lee Steup says:

    I do a lot of cooking in advance and would like to know if the various dishes freeze and reheat well. Or, can I freeze the food at a certain point in the preparation and add other ingredients (the ones that don’t freeze well) later? It would be wonderful if every recipe gave this information.

    Great topic Lee, thanks. – RG

  24. Peggy says:

    I also love baking but don’t have much time for anything beyond the basics or things for which the ingredients can be tossed in a machine that then does the work (bread and yogurt)

    We cook healthy, tasty meals from scratch and two of our sons are pretty good cooks.

    Two things I have trouble with are kneading bread/dough and making pie crust. We have a Zojirushi bread machine that makes fantastic bread and pizza dough, but I’d love to learn to knead bread myself as some recipes don’t lend themselves to the machine.

    I love pie and hate store-bought crust. I have a very hard time making pie crust although my mom, aunt, and grandmother made amazing pies. I’d love to learn to do the same.

    Peggy, you are at the right place. Did you see my posts on baking bread? There is also a very good article on making pie crusts. There are lots of baking topics on my site and blog so please do a search and see if anything catches your eye. – RG

  25. Michael Crimmins says:

    I am looking for an exceptional Pizza Sauce Recipe. I have a whole three ring binder of similar recipes but nothing that I have found is that something unique and delicious. Something that is so good that you could eat it by itself.

    Hi Michael, I’m sure I can come up with some tasty sauce recipes to use on pizza but I think you have to figure out what flavors you enjoy most. Do you want it to be tomato based? What herbs, spices and ingredients do you prefer? – RG

  26. John Brandolini says:

    I know my way around my kitchen and am pretty good at developing new recipes with old and new ingredients so this is a suggestion to benefit others. How about some recipes using that oft neglected tool, the pressure cooker. I use it for cooking pearl barley, whole potatoes, and beef tripe for example. Pressure cooking these foods significantly reduces the cooking time. For example, normally to get tripe tender it needs to be stewed for about an hour and a half. Using the pressure cooker the time reduces to 20 minutes and the tripe comes out tender enough to cut with the side of a fork. Btw, if you want my recipe for Trippa Milanese, let me know. Later.

    It’s funny you bring up a pressure cooker John. I used to own a very old pressure cooker that I picked up at a garage sale and used it all the time to make a quick tomato based sauce. Every time I used it I wondered if it was going to blow up. It never did and I made a lot of great dishes in that thing. Now the equipment is so much better. I’ll have to look into purchasing a new one and start using it again. Not a big fan of tripe but I’m sure your recipe is delicious. What brand pressure cooker do you own and would you recommend it? – RG

  27. Pat Larson says:

    I’ve been trying to make my grandmother’s Steak and Kidney Pie; would love to have at least some guidelines on how to do it right.

    Hi Pat, I have never made this dish but would be happy to give it a try. Do you have your grandmother’s recipe we can adapt from? – RG

  28. GEORGE EM says:

    I’m interested in learning how to make a simple mixed seafood combo in parchment paper in a flavorful sauce.
    Love your input, thanks George.

    Hi George, thanks for commenting. Did you see my recipe for Halibut in Parchment ?

    I also have one called Fish en Papillote, a fancy name for Fish in Parchment Paper. Check these out and let me know if this is what you are looking for. – RG

  29. Sandi says:

    Wow, congrats on over 14 years of work here!
    I’d LOVE to watch someone make and use a demi-glace. The one time I attempted to use a commercial package, it turned into a goop that stuck to my spatula and went into the garbage, spatula and all. So…. I dare ya! ;o)

    Hi Sandi, no need to dare. We are all in this together. You also don’t need to watch anyone prepare a great sauce with demi glace when you can just do it yourself. I’m not sure what commercial product you used but I have been making classic sauces with several great commercial products for years. Check out my post How to Make Great Sauces at Home. There is a recipe for making a quick and easy sauce to serve with steak that should not end up in your garbage can plus a link to where you can learn more about cooking with demi. – RG

  30. Tim Tio says:

    I like to thank both, Food & Cooking and you profoundly for so generously shared your culinary knowledge and the enlightening recipes. Wish you happiness and great health.
    Tim Tio, Singapore

    Hi Tim Tio from Singapore, thanks for stopping by. Not sure who Food and Cooking is but I appreciate you kind words. And much happiness and great health to you too. – RG

  31. Fran Scott says:

    Simple Summer Soups please !

    Yes, simple summer soups! Hot or Cold? – Yes – RG

  32. Stan says:

    How about the proper way to sharpen your knives?

    Great idea Stan. I can’t understand why home cooks buy these incredible knives that cost a small fortune and don’t sharpen them frequently. Professional chefs sharpen their knives every day. There are some great products available to make the job easy and efficient without having to work with a stone. I’ll have to tell you about an inexpensive sharpening tool that a knife expert told me about too. – RG

  33. LADawg says:

    RG, if you want to learn about tamales go to
    All you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

  34. Colin says:

    Suggestions on goodies to fill packed lunches for teenage school children. They need something for mid morning, lunch time and often mid afternoon too.

    It’s a lot of food to pack in advance and sandwiches and fruit is dull after a while.

    Even with the million different things I can make, I struggle to conceive packed food menus that travel well, don’t need heating, taste fresh when consumed and offer the quality and nutrition I dish up at home whilst not being burdensome to prepare and pack.

    Thank you for an outstanding blog that I always enjoy visiting.

    Colin, excellent suggestion. I too struggle with making my daughter’s lunch everyday. My 13 year old is now living on bagel thins with cream cheese and some fruit but my younger one wants something different everyday. I remember when I was a kid, my mom served me banana sandwiches for weeks on end. – RG

  35. Ron says:

    I would love to hear what you have to say about a couple of different issues:

    1) if there were 10 spices to ALWAYS have which ones are they and which spices “traditionally” go with which foods;

    2) Regarding root vegetables, are there cooking techniques that, at least initially, can be applied to almost any of the “stranger” root vegetables (e.g. celery root) I can find at my local grocer.

    Great questions Ron and ones that I can address in future articles. I’m not sure what a professional chef would recommend for root vegetables but I love to braise them with whatever protein I’m cooking. – RG

  36. Radhika says:

    I can never caramelize sugar properly, either its too soft, or too hard. Example: for Banana flambé. Any tips?

    Hi Radhika, this is a good one to ask my friend and pastry chef Jenni for some help with. I’ll add it to the list. – RG

  37. Elizabeth says:

    I would like to learn to prepare Osso Buco and Ox Tail soup.

    Hi Elizabeth, you can find Osso Buco recipes at two locations on my web site and blog.

    Osso Buco
    Osso Buco Revisited

    Ox Tail Soup I look forward to working on. – RG

  38. Julie says:

    I have trouble making fresh pasta. It always turns out too tough. I’d love to improve my pasta making skills. Thanks for a great website!

    Hi Julie, you are welcome and thanks for bringing up pasta. I have prepared fresh pasta many times especially with the help of my daughters and their friends and the results are different each time but always edible. Most likely the pasta is too tough because it is being overworked but this is a good topic to address. Thanks – RG

  39. Linda Aurandt says:

    RG….Love your blog….I’m always looking for ideas for cooking pasta with fresh ingredients and good sauces …..simple, quick meals.

    Hi Linda, so am I and I will be posting plenty of these recipes in the future. Quick, easy and delicious is one of my favorite ways to cook. – RG

  40. benjamin ishaku says:

    Would love a write-up on sauces with some recipes, especially red and white wine sauces.

    Hi Benjamin, I think if you do a search on wine sauces, you’ll find some recipes to start off with. I’m especially thinking about Red Wine Sauce w/ Mustard & Thyme but there are others. I’ll add some more wine sauce recipes too. Thanks for the suggestion – RG

  41. Kathy says:

    I’ve been a fan of your blog for years. I’m always on the lookout for easy, superfast, tasty meals. I second the suggestion of simple, summer, hot soups. They are a great way to use up excess garden produce.

  42. Margaret Metzinger says:

    Yes, summer soups, please.
    Quick and easy and healthy meals, please.
    And how about some bean and grain salads?
    Are slow cookers worth having? Can one make a variety of meals in them?
    thank you for being there.

    Hi MM, all great suggestions and yes, I think slow cookers are worth having and you can make hundreds if not thousands of recipes in them. They are especially useful when you want to prepare a meal all day when you are busy doing something else. I’ll be posting more slow cooker recipes but you can find some on my site and blog already. – RG

  43. Cathy says:

    Since I am from the South, I would love your input on some classic Southern dishes, but with a gourmet twist and maybe a little calorie friendly as well. Thanks.

    Hmmm, low cal Southern cooking….does it exist? Something to research. Thanks – RG

  44. Frank Laratta says:

    real Italian Spaghetti sauce (no sugar added)

    Hi Frank, funny you say no sugar added because I have spoken with many of my Italian friends who tell me their grandmothers used a pinch of sugar in their “gravy”. Others have told me they use carrots for sweetness. I’ll see what I can find fom a few Italian chef friends. – RG

  45. Megmoira says:

    I’d like to figure out how to keep fresh herbs fresh- most recipes call for very small amounts, but my grocery store sells them in packages that get funky if not used in a week. Can they be frozen or stored in oil, will drying them at home be an improvement over the jarred stuff, how do you interchange dried and fresh herbs. I also have no clue about organ meats, when not encountered in a sausage casing.

    Hi Megmoira, fresh herbs can be both frozen and stored in oil but then they wouldn’t be fresh anymore. I have been seeing a lot of requests about herbs and spices so I know I need to write more about them and will. I don’t cook a lot of organ meats but I do have a great recipe from Chef Marc Vetri for chicken liver pate. – RG

  46. Kelly Mack says:

    There are many topics that interests me. Since my husband was recently diagnosed with Type II Diebetes, I have become a researcher in healthy food and living. I would love to see more recipes with detailed “how tos” on making food from scratch, and not using canned or processed foods; a “from the garden to the table” approach. As I focus on actual cooking, one problem right now in the kitchen is beans. I follow the package directions, and just can’t get them perfect. And with so many types of beans, you could under cook or over cook easily. When I think about the “how tos”, I would like to find a better way to get the water out of zucchini and squash – squeezing hurts my hands. I love to make zucchini pizza crust using almond flour. I buy the raw almonds, blanch them, remove the skin, dry them out, then blend into flour. It keeps in the freezer perfectly for later use. And also, i would like to know how to can fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden, which canning could then lead into learning about vinegars.

    The concept of “from the garden to the table” has drifted away from all of us; however, as I do more research, I have found it is slowly coming back due to the rise in food costs and other current economic problems.

    Good ideas Kelly and very doable. We belong to a fruit and vegetable co op here in Philadelphia and every week get foods from the farm (garden) that I put on the table. I love beans so that too is a great topic as well as the other subjects you mention. Thanks for the suggestions. – RG

  47. R. Bailey says:

    I am interested in old civil war era recipes up thru world war 2.
    thank you..RB

    Now that would be interesting! Thanks for the suggestion. – RG

  48. Dmom says:

    I’ve tried some of your recipes and enjoyed them very much! I prefer to cook healthy foods from scratch but lately due the kids’ baseball sched. we’ve been falling back on frozen pizza & hot dogs more often than I like. The budget is ridiculously tight lately. So I guess I’m looking for cheap, healthy, & not too time consuming recipes.

    Hi Dmom, great suggestion. I’ve never priced it out, but I’m sure someone has but it seems to me making something from scratch is going to be more nutritious, better tasting and more economical. Good idea for an article. Thank you. -RG
    Thank you so much.

  49. Butch Hale says:

    Where is the best place to start cooking using your site? My wife is a fabulous cook and I’d like to learn, as well.

    Hi Butch, I would say the techniques page. I would also read the interviews with the professional chefs

  50. IW says:

    I would love to learn about veal, a little history, where and how to buy, and how to prepare. Thank you!

  51. m. e. mcelroy says:

    Please explain modern cooking methods as seen on TV: roasted vegetables, foam, home garden vegetable cooking and preserving like canning and freezing zuccini, tomatotoes, peppers, corn, also backyard fruits and herbs. Thank you

  52. m. e. mcelroy says:

    how to roast vegetables
    make foam
    preserve home garden fruits and vegetables

    Hi m.e., all good suggestions. I’m not to sure about making foam though. – RG

  53. Dan G says:

    how about authentic/home style Chinese?

    How about it Dan? I would love to know how to make authentic home made Chinese food. When I was a kid, my dad would try to make his version of pork fried rice. It was good but never came close to what we enjoyed in our local Chinese restaurant. On birthdays we were allowed to pick a restaurant to go to and my brother, sister and I always picked Chinese. I haven’t thought about that for a long time. Anyway, I”ll see what I can do to learn about making real Chinese food at home and see if I can interview a couple. Thanks for bringing this topic up. – RG

  54. Julie Walker says:

    I have two teenage daughters and a husband who all love Thai food. We eat at Thai restaurants far too often because I can’t cook their favorite foods. I’ve tried using the Thai cookbooks that they’ve given me over the years, but the recipes are sooo long with so many ingredients (many of which are hard to find). Perhaps you or one of your friends you mentioned could teach us a few basic Thai recipes or recipes that mimic the complicated ones but are easier and quicker and taste almost as good. Thanks! – Julie

    • Hi Julie, I’ll try but take away all the great ingredients and don’t use their time honored cooking techniques and you’ll end up with some fast food version of Thai food. There are many resources for finding some of the hard to find ingredients and I’ll see if I can post them up on my site but much of Thai cuisine involves spices and herbs like garlic, shallots, basil, ginger and lemongrass. All these are now available at most supermarkets although the lemongrass is sometimes hard to find. Do you have an Asian market near you? Let’s see what we can come up with to make great Thai food at home.

  55. Deana Allary says:

    I would love to know a good recipe for creme brulee. Do I have to own a blowtorch to caramelize it or is there another way?

    • Hi Deana, great topic. I own blow torch for making creme brulee but have never used it. Had trouble filling the thing with that lighter fluid fuel that came with it. The good news is you can use your broiler in your oven to finish the brulee. I’ll work on an article about it. Thanks for the suggestion.

  56. John Mistelske says:

    I live in Botswana and not able to buy tortillas soft and hard ones to make tacos etc. I love Mexican food and the recipes I have read seem difficult. We have white Maize flour here. John

    Hi John, great to hear from you. I’m not sure anyone from Botswana has posted on my blog yet, so thank you. I’ll work on how you can make your own tortillas and tacos with white Maize flour. This should be interesting. Thanks. – RG

  57. Raul E. Matos says:

    I think you are doing great the way you address your articles and the recipes you show every time gives me a lot of new ideas in the kitchen,and I love to cook, I have a daughter at the CIA and when she comes back home from time to time we read together this techniques, I ‘m confident that is helping big time on her way to become a great gourmet master .

    Hi Raul, thanks. Great to hear your daughter is following your passion for cooking. Please have her drop me a line sometime, I would love to hear about her culinary school experiences. – RG

  58. mian says:

    I have two questions which I would like you to please reply:
    1) fire plays a major role in cooking, please write in detail about this topic i.e. low heat, medium heat, high heat – as well as without lid and covered cooking. NORMALLY when cooking recipe is received or delivered these two items are normally missing.

    2) In ASIAN COOKING some recipes call for addition of yogurt and some call for adding tomatoes. IS IT POSSIBLE IF YOU TELL US that these items normally cooked with Y or T

    • Hi Mian, great question about “fire” – cooking with low, medium or high heat often dictates the cooking technique you are using and your abilities but you are right, it is an excellent topic to write about. As for the Asian cooking question, I’m not really sure what you are asking for.

  59. Maria says:

    I’m studying to be a Chef myself and it’s hard not to notice all the food going to waste. I tried to get the school to let us donate the food and/or give to cleaning staff, who in the past took the food home, but everyone seems to have an excuse as to why we shouldn’t. We have too many people starving in this country and I have a hard time understanding why schools, restaurants and more don’t or can’t change the rules and stop the waste. Have any ideas?

    • Hi Maria, great points! I couldn’t agree with you more but I bet it has something to do with the cost of managing the recycling and also the fear of someone getting sick and getting sued. Most restaurants are working at such a tight margin they don’t want to hire someone or take someone away from what they are doing to manage excess and then if a restaurant has that much excess, somebody is not doing their job. Still, it would be great if more companies made the effort to recycle excess foods. I spoke with one of the assistant managers at our local Wegmans and he told me they donate a lot of fruits and vegetables to food banks and in this down economy, I’m sure it is a welcome donation. – RG

  60. R. Bailey says:


    • Hey R. Bailey, talk about pinpointing a topic. Wow. I’m not sure I can offer you too much about the cooking methods in Arkansas in rural areas between 1940 to 1960 but I’m sure there is someone out there who can and I’m hoping they read this post and decide to contact me.

  61. Deana Allary says:

    I have another question. In the produce section of grocery store, you can purchase tubes of spices…parsley, basil, etc. How do you qualify the measurement? If recipe calls for a certain amount of fresh sage or dried sage, what is the equivalent in the tube sage?

    • Great question! Is there a tube conversion table? Did you look on the tube? I would think they would tell you on the package. Now did you look at the rest of the ingredients on the label. I’ve used anchovy paste and tomato paste from a tube but never herbs. I would prefer using fresh if available and dried if not. I just looked at one of the more popular companies who make herbs in a tube and although I could not find a listing of their ingredients for their basil on their website, I did find a listing on another web site. I don’t like what I’m seeing. Besides basil (duh) there is sodium lactate, canola oil, fructose, glycerine, salt, sodium acetate, ascorbic acid, and more. Need I say more? – RG

  62. Bjorn Flesaker says:

    Hi RG,
    Since we have touched base on the topic of exotic fishes before, how about looking into puffer fish recipes? These guys are caught locally (Maryland to New Jersey, if my sources are to be trusted) and are quite tasty, but you need pretty well developed googling skills to find suggestion of how to cook them. And, having cooked this a couple of times, I am almost sure that they don’t produce the tetrodotoxin that makes fugu eating a bit of a gamble.

    • Funny you bring up puffer fish. Back in the 60’s when I was a kid we use to call them blow fish and catch them off my Uncle Walt’s boat in Barnegat Bay, NJ. I’m assuming this is the same fish. If it is, I remember using a leader with 3 hooks on it and every time you through it overboard, 30 seconds later you would pull it up with 3 blow fish caught and other blow fish right behind them wishing they were caught. No wonder they were fished out.

      Once on board they would puff up with their nasty spiky skin like something from Beetlejuice and bounce around on the bottom of the boat. I remember my uncle telling me the meat tasted like chicken and I watched as he carefully cleaned them wearing work gloves. I don’t remember how he cooked them but I bet he either deep fried the meat or pan fried it. That’s how he and my grandmother essentially cooked everything. I’ll look around for some other ideas. Thanks for bringing up this topic. – RG

  63. Mike says:

    With the home gardening season upon us, you should post some recipes to help folks use up the excess vegetables that the average home gardener has available. Namely, squash, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and greens such as kale and chard. Just a thought, for what it’s worth.

    • So true Mike. We belong to a farmer’s co op where my wife works and we are getting a lot of greens and I need to find some ways to use them up. As for the squash, tomatoes, peppers and green beans, you can prepare them as side dishes or make a nice what’s on hand stew if they are starting to turn. I’ll work on some more recipes but if you do a search on my web site for the ingredients you mention, I’m sure you can find something good. For example, one of my favorite green beans and tomato recipe is String Beans with Sauteed Tomatoes & Garlic – RG

  64. Raul Roehl says:

    I am looking for a book to read for my trip to France this summer. We are thinking of popping over to Italy as we haven’t been there yet. Ah, if I only had the time and money to see it all. But that is what I love about books, you can transport yourself for a short time.

  65. patti steiner says:

    I have put my brie cheese in the freezer. When I took it out to make baked brie, it looks like the rind is grey. Is it okay to eat?

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