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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #131

Updated on April 5, 2020
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Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

Let's Lean on Each Other

He was the youngest of six children, the son of a West Virginia coal miner. William Harrison Withers, Jr. was born on Independence Day 1938 in the town of Slab Fork, population 200. At the age of 13, his father died from black lung disease; four years later William Jr. would enlist in the U.S. Navy. This was his golden ticket to escape the poverty of his birthplace and perhaps find a new life.

After nine years of service, William (Bill) knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. In 1967 he moved to the Los Angeles area. During the day he worked as a mechanic for an airplane manufacturer, but at night he wrote music and recorded demos and sang with a band. Five years later, the young man who had been an unknown won a Grammy for Best R&B Song, "Ain't No Sunshine." And that was just the beginning.

Bill Wither's discography includes 8 studio albums, 1 live album, 10 compilation albums, and 34 singles.

His single, "Lean on Me" was released in April 1972; it was his first and only number-one single on both the soul singles and the Billboard Hot 100. It was ranked number 208 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

I think we need these words today.

Sometimes in our lives, we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won't let show.

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on

If ever we need to lean on each other, it is now.

Withers died March 30, 2020, in Los Angeles.

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.

Can Fried Foods Be Healthy?

Question: is there any scenario where a deep-fried food would be good for you???

french fries
french fries | Source

Bill Holland, two weeks ago when you posed this question I thought you were kidding. Well, you brought it up again; obviously you're serious. Can fried foods be healthy? It depends. If you're speaking of the deep-fried Twinkies at the State Fair, I'd have to say "no." A steady daily diet of deep-fried anything would not be a wise choice. But once in a while, you can certainly indulge.

Fat isn't evil—in fact, we need a certain amount of fat in our diet. Of course, not all fats are created equal. Trans-fats (those lab-created oils) have been banned in the United States but coconut, avocado, and olive oil are all good choices for deep frying. I personally favor olive oil (because it's less expensive). You can re-use the oil several times as long as you strain out any solids before storing in the refrigerator.

The goal of frying is to quickly cook the exterior so that the oil is sealed out; meanwhile, the moisture inside cooks the interior (close your eyes and imagine crispy golden fries with a soft, creamy interior). A few rules from Carb Diva for healthy deep-fried foods:

  • So, use a thermometer so that you maintain the perfect temperature (350 to 375°F)
  • Skip the donuts or battered chicken. Go with plant-based foods such as potatoes, tempura vegetables, or falafel

Can deep-frying be healthy? Well, perhaps if it gets you to eat more veggies, it's almost a good thing.

Sources:

Should You Clean Rice Before Cooking It?

"My rice had a stone in it; how common is this and should I wash or sift rice before cooking because that's sick and could crack my tooth."

Beener, this is not uncommon. Rice and beans are harvested by machines and are not washed before packaging. It's always best to measure out the amount you need for your recipe and then spread it out on a cloth for a thorough inspection. Then rinse with water and proceed. I'm glad you found it and didn't break a tooth.

When Brand Names Become Generic Names

"I was thinking this morning about everyday items we use that we still call by the brands we grew up with. For instance, the tissues you blow your nose with are called kleenex (at least that's what I call them). The powdery stuff you scrub a sink with is called Ajax, and that pesky plastic wrap is not-so-lovingly referred to as Saran wrap.

Funny, the things that pop into your mind when you have too much time to yourself, huh?"

Shauna, you've got too much time on your hands! There's actually a term for this—when a brand name or trademark becomes the name by which a product is known, this is genericization, generic trademark, or proprietary eponym. Let's see how many we can come up with (and they vary depending on which side of The Pond you live).

  • Allen wrench: the hex-shaped tool (you get one with every box of furniture from Ikea)
  • Aspirin: this was trademarked by the Bayer company
  • AstroTurf: artificial grass
  • Band-Aid: adhesive bandage
  • Bobcat:
  • Chapstick: lip balm
  • Clorox: bleach
  • Coke: a carbonated cola beverage
  • Crockpot: an electric slow cooker
  • Cuisinart: food processor
  • Dumpster: trademarked by the Dempster Brothers, it's a portmanteau of dump and their name
  • Formica: plastic laminate material
  • Jacuzzi: hot tub
  • Jell-O: gelatin dessert
  • Kleenex: facial tissues (you mentioned this one)
  • Post-It: sticky note
  • Q-tips: cotton swabs (cotton buds in the UK)
  • Scotch tape: clear adhesive tape
  • Sharpie: permanent marker
  • Styrofoam: polystyrene foam
  • Thermos: vacuum-insulated flask
  • Tylenol: acetaminophen
  • Tupperware: plastic storage containers
  • Vaseline: petroleum jelly (petrolatum to my UK friends)
  • Xerox: photocopier

Can you think of others?

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.

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.

© 2020 Linda Lum

Comments

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    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      15 months ago from london

      Thanks. I believe he is continuing to do well. I see a brighter future ahead for many. Ultimately, while being far from a carrier of darkness, I feel that this will be a victory for man ... a victory for the Divine. Glory be!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Manatita, your unlucky encounters with rice make me wince; how painful!

      That sweet kitty isn't mine (although my daughter is in love with Sphinx cats) but I am trying to keep my promise to have a kitty in each issue of the Q&A.

      I hope you are doing well; prayers for your P.M.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      15 months ago from london

      This song came straight from that young man's soul. Funny how religion and history shapes us.

      I was not so lucky with the rice. I broke my crown twice and with an olive seed once. Deja vu experiences. Once on the plane to Ghana in 2013 and once in the dining hall of a restaurant in Nairobi, 2018. Such is life!

      Your cute cat is comforting!

    • PDXfoodfan profile image

      Rida Verduax 

      15 months ago from Seattle

      Yes- rice and beans can have all kinds of dust and muck and small debris mixed in- especially if you buy them from the bulk section.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Shauna, the generic names thing was fun and thank you for the additions. How could I have missed Windex?

      I think many would be amazed at how many songs they know and love, and they were written by Bill Withers: "Ain't No Sunshine," "Just the Two of Us," "Lovely Day," "Use Me."

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      15 months ago from Central Florida

      Linda, first I'd like to thank you for this beautiful tribute to Bill Withers. I've always liked his music but didn't really know anything about him.

      I love that you took my passing comment and expanded on it. The only item in your list that I don't call by its brand name is Post-Its. I call them stickies.

      I just thought of a couple more:

      Windex

      White Out

      I'll bet that list could go on and on if we really put our minds to it!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Thanks, Mary. I always learn something when I research for this weekly Q&A so I thank all of you for making me so smart LOL.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      I don't wash my rice but I will start. I usually buy parboiled as I get better results with it and its the same price as regular white rice.

      I never knew Allen wrench was a proper name. Interesting list.

      Have a great week.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Pamela. Everything in moderation; a few French fries once in a while won't cancel out all of the good eating habits.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      15 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Happy Monday Linda, I do like a few fried food and I always feel guilty when eating them. LOL I am glad to know an occasional fried food is not all bad. We do use healthy oils. I enjoyed your article again. Have a good and healthy week.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      I'm sorry to begin your week on such a sour note Bill. But we've got friendship, and that's even better than a deep-fried Twinkie if you ask me.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish, every time I open a sack of rice I'll forever have that image in my head, and I have you to thank.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, when it comes to Bill I have to laugh. He's hopeless, but I still love the guy.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      A stone in rice?

      No deep-fried Twinkies?

      I haven't found anything in this edition to make me smile, other than Bill Withers. Another of my childhood idols gone.

      But his words live on, so lean on me, my friend, and I will lean on you, and we'll make it together!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      15 months ago from USA

      This was a really good one, Linda. I’m a bit grossed out about the rice not being pre-cleaned. I’ve heard also of dried bugs in there and you can usually detect them by their black heads.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks for the Withers part -- great pick for these days.

      Laughing about Bill. The comment about fats rings so true.

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