ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #116

Updated on December 22, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

Tra-La-La-La-La

'Tis the season for a small offering of questions. The mailbox was mostly stuffed with Christmas cards and annual letters and that's fine with me. I've a dinner to prepare and a cat to snatch out of the tree.

So, let's get started with today's mailbox. If you're an old friend, you already know how this works. But, if this is your first visit, let me introduce you to my kitchen.

Each week I receive questions about food ingredients, cooking or baking terms or methods, requests for recipes, and queries about nutrition. Just about anything food-related has been covered here.

I'm sharing this past week's questions and my responses; it happens every Monday. Want to join in the fun? You can leave your question in the comments below, and next week the answer will be right here. It's that easy.

To start, I received two questions about biscuits.

Why Were the Biscuits Dry?

There was no milk (for making biscuits) so I used whipping cream. The biscuits were dry and disappointing. Was whipping cream the culprit?

Source

Megan, I don't think whipping cream made sad biscuits; in fact, cream biscuits is a thing in the South. Without seeing what was going on in the kitchen, I can't be certain what went wrong, but here are some things to keep in mind when making biscuits:

  • Don't cut the butter (or margarine) into particles that are too small. You want little clumps of butter, not something the consistency of sand. That's why I never use a food processor to cut the butter into the flour.
  • Work with cold ingredients and equipment. A chilled bowl and pastry blender are your friends. The butter should be hard (not room temperature). The easiest way to keep the butter cold but in manageable-size pieces is to grate it on the largest holes of a box vegetable grater.
  • Measure your flour by carefully spooning into the cup and then leveling with a knife. Don't dip and scoop. Even better, sift the flour directly into the cup. Too much flour can throw off the ratio of flour:fat.

Soft Wheat Flour and Your "Perfect" Biscuits

This question came from Anonymous who took exception to my article on "How to Make Perfect Biscuits."

"Why don't you recommend soft wheat flour such as White Lily or Martha White?"

That is a very good question; my answer (and I throw myself at your feet in repentance) is that White Lily and Martha White are flours available in the South. I'm a Northern girl and they simply aren't available (or well known) where I live. I must confess that my not using them is not an indictment of them. It is due solely to lack of experience. I did a little reading before answering this and found, lo and behold, that the two that you mentioned are recommended for biscuits. Thank you your question; it's a good contribution to the article.

Source

Are Tomatoes Really Fruits?

Here's another one from Anon.

"There's so much confusion about what is a fruit and what is a vegetable. We tend to think of veggies as the stuff of which salads are made, or maybe that fruits are sweet and veggies are savory?"

Anon., I'm about to turn your world upside-down. Yes, the tomato is a fruit; so are pumpkins, cucumbers, eggplant, and even beans. Flavor has nothing to do with it. Fruits are one of six specific parts of a plant:

  1. Roots anchor the plant in the ground and conduct moisture in the soil to the rest of the organism. Some have roots that swell and allow the plant to survive in the winter (carrots, radishes, etc.) or in the dry summer months (sweet potatoes).
  2. Stems (or rhizomes) are another part of the circulation system. They move moisture from the roots to the leaves. They tend to be fibrous (think of celery, asparagus spears, broccoli stems).
  3. Leaves facilitate the process called photosynthesis; they convert sunshine into energy (food) for the plant.
  4. The flower is the reproductive part of the plant. If you remember your middle school biology class, you are familiar with pollen (from the male) and ovules which when fertilized become fruits.
  5. Fruit—finally we're at today's topic. The fruit develops once the plant is pollinated and it contains . . .
  6. Seeds. That's what makes future generations of plants, and what sets fruits apart. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and all those squashes contain seeds so they are fruits.

We're Organized

Did you know that there is a Table of Contents for this series? I have created an article that provides a detailed listing of each question I've received. It's broken down by category, and within each category, the questions are listed alphabetically. Each question is actually a hotlink back to the original post.

Here's a link to that Table of Contents.

I have also cataloged all of my personal recipes that I have shared with you in this weekly Q&A series and in all of my other articles as well. The link to that Index is here. There are hotlinks to each recipe and this will be updated as new recipes are shared.

Source

Let's do this again next week. If you have questions about foods, cooking techniques, or nutrition you can ask them here. If you are in search of an old recipe or need ideas on how to improve an existing one I can help you. If you want to learn more, let's do it together. Present your questions, your ideas, your comments below. Or, you can write to me personally at this email address: lindalum52@gmail.com.

And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Genna, I wish you were here. I'd love to show you how. Look at my "Making Perfect Biscuits." It might help. I hope you have a wonderful day.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      7 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I have never mastered the art of making biscuits -- although I've tried. I either overcook or undertook. :-( When made well, they melt in your mouth with a warm, delicious taste that's like coming home. What an interesting article, Linda.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Denise, I hadn't thought of it that way. Actually flora is really complicated. (Broccoli, the part we eat, is a flower). Have I opened a can of worms?

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      7 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      What a great education on fruits vs veggies. Is it your contention to label anything that isn't a fruit as a veggie? That would include roots (carrots), stems (asparagus), and flowers (broccoli)?

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      8 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Kari, that makes me so happy. I enjoy doing it and will continue to do so as long as I get questions from this wonderful group of people. Merry Christmas to you.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      8 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      MizB, Merry Christmas to you. I've already written #117 so whenever you remember the lost question, I'll be happy to take care of it for you.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      8 weeks ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Linda, for the biscuit tips. I may make 2020 the year I make a perfect biscuit. I make a decent one now, but there is room for improvement. I'm so glad you take the time to write the Carb Divas. I always find something interesting in them. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      8 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      A cat to get out of the tree. La la la. I solved that problem. I won't get rid of the cats, so I just don't put up a tree anymore because I don't have family around to appreciate them. My darned inconsiderate children married furriners (meaning Texans) and established their own clan there, so I don't get to see them at Christmas unless I travel there to them which is a rare treat for us.

      That's a good explanation of fruit, Linda. I liked to have never accepted the idea that that red acidic ball on my plate was a fruit just like my dad's sweet apples in mom's cobbler in the bowl.

      I understand the confusion about the flour. We Southerners do like our Martha White and Aunt Jemimah (corn meal). I miss wheat flour a bunch. Even when I get a good gluten free texture that rivals a wheat bread, it doesn't always equal the flavor of wheat. More than anything, I miss yeast rolls. There is no substitute that I've found.

      I thought up a question for you, but now it slipped my mind. Maybe I'll think of it later. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      8 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Sha, Merry Christmas to you my sweet friend.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      8 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Manatita, thank you for your kind words. I look forward to the year 2020 with anticipation and joy.

      Merry Christmas to you my dear friend.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      8 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, here's a link that I shared on my article about making your own seasoning and sauce mixes. https://www.macheesmo.com/homemade-salad-dressing-... I'll craft a lengthier answer in a week. Merry Christmas to you and Ian.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      8 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Good information on the biscuits, Linda. Your tip about grating very cold butter is a good one.

      Merry Christmas, my friend!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      8 weeks ago from london

      Yes, the tomato one is a common question. Merry Christmas, Mrs L. God continue to bless you with the spirit of an ever-increasing wisdom and a more expansive Heart. Wishing you more inner and outer opulence for 2020 and beyond. Glory be!!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      8 weeks ago from london

      Merry Christmas, Linda. God bless you to continuing to allow the Light to shine in even more windows in your loving Heart.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      8 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Pamela the science of biology is strange indeed. It all has to do with how/where the fruit develops in relation to the ovary of the plant.

      Merry Christmas to you too!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Well Linda, I put a message up here first thing this morning and somehow it is gone. So, I will try again. I was surprised to learn a bean was a fruit! I guess we just keep on learning.

      I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      8 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, dry biscuits were made for sopping up gravy, but butter will do in a pinch.

      I didn't know that it was possible to ruin guacamole.

      No, biscuits really aren't a Mexican thing, unless perhaps you toss in some corn meal. Pita isn't a biscuit dear. It's a flat bread and if you look for "Exploring Flatbreads: The Staff of Life Around the World" (in Google it comes up as #1), you'll find a recipe for pitas and a lot more.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      8 weeks ago from Brazil

      I too didn't know the others were fruits. I've heard it said, "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. "

      Linda do you have a good 'go to' salad dressing? Currently I just use olive oil and apple vinegar. I am the only one who will use it so I don't need vast quantities. A simple affair with easy to get ingredients would be perfect.

      I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      8 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I always keep my gifts under the tree. I don't poke or shake and I never peek. But I just opened a wonderful one this morning when I read this comment from you. My love to you and Bev as well my dear friend.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      8 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish, I don't want to do any more to turn your world upside down, so I won't mention that bananas are berries.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I do love biscuits!

      And I do love you, dear friend. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family. Thank you for the gift of friendship.

      bill

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      8 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Somebody have some fun here. Not me!! I kind of like dry biscuits. An excuse to heat them up again with butter and preserves. Gabe and i do not do plain. We tried a guacamole last night and we both felt like throwing up. I do not think biscuit and Mexico go together.

      Is a Pita a biscuit?

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      I didn't know some of those things you listed were actually fruits. Live and learn I guess is the answer to that. The questions and answers were interesting today.

      Have a very Merry Christmas, Linda!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Short but sweet, Linda. But that is understandable with Christmas upon us. I have been trying to find the time to publish another “Poems From the Porch” before Christmas but unless I get a move on that won’t happen. The priority is getting everything ready for visitors arriving tomorrow. Merry Christmas to you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      8 weeks ago from USA

      Beans a fruit ... say what?!? Trying to process just like I’m still trying to process Pluto isn’t a planet. Merry Christmas!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)