Kim Severson of The New York Times tells us about the food world’s biggest trends. Plus, we chat with Fuchsia Dunlop about the textures, flavors and fragrances of Sichuan cuisine; Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette of “A Way With Words” discuss food names that have a secret; and we put a new spin on an old classic—the pineapple upside-down cake.
This episode is brought to you by Ferguson.
Questions in this Episode:
“I like to make pie and I am curious about which butter will make the best crust. Some people say French butter is the best, Stella Parks just calls for butter, and when I am at the store, I am confused about the difference between a generic store brand and some of the specialty brands available. What guidance can you give me when choosing butter for pie crust?”
“Is there any secret for making popcorn on the stove, with oil in a pan? I've tried using less oil, more oil, canola oil, peanut oil...I seem to remember long ago before microwave ovens, we could make great popcorn on the stove. Now it seems to be disappointing.”
“I have a question about apples. Growing up in the Midwest, my mother used Jonathan apples in her apple pies, adding lemon juice if needed. Now that I live in the Boston area, I can rarely find Jonathan apples. I’ve tried a combination of apples and the pies are good, but I would like to replicate the flavor and perhaps texture too. Do you have a recommendation for a type of apple or combination of apples that would substitute well for Jonathans and can be found in the Northeast?”
“The one time I ordered Sichuan peppercorns from Amazon, they imparted a gritty texture in the dish I made. I'm having trouble understanding whether I was supposed to do something to them beforehand to sift out that grit. What should I be looking for the next time I purchase this item, and can a Sichuan sauce or oil be substituted?”
“How do I use full fat, ‘real’ buttermilk in recipes? Often recipes don't specify what type to use, but I am guessing they think everyone is buying the low-fat not-really-buttermilk. Biscuits come out great; pancakes are great as long as you cut it half with milk; but cornbread and buttermilk cakes rise unevenly and come out too moist (sometimes almost wet) when I use it. It has 10g/fat per cup. Should I cut it with milk or is it just not a good product to bake with?”