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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #132

Updated on April 12, 2020
Carb Diva profile image

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

How Will Covid Change Us?

Social distancing, sheltering in place, and six-foot spacing in the grocery line checkout have now become a normal part of our lives. Even fist-bumps in lieu of handshakes have now been replaced with a mere nod of the head. I wonder if we will ever return to the way it used to be?

Although these changes may be temporal, I've noticed a few positives. I've a friend whose wife normally holds two jobs; a definite workaholic is now a stay-at-home mom learning to interact with her family once again. My husband and I are driving less, walking more, spending less, and enjoying a more relaxed pace.

And a dear friend recently pondered on how not just COVID-19 but all of the major events of the past century have affected gender roles in society. Unable to find an article that adequately addressed that topic, she did the research and wrote one of her own. A link to her thoughts is here. Please read what Cait had to say. I hope she's right.

Are You Ready for Some Mail?

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.

Lemon as a Disinfectant

"Now my sister told me that lemon was found to be as good of a disinfectant regarding viruses as alcohol. Vitamin C is one thing but lemons have the whole thing. So I have a lot of lemons. What do you do with a squeezed lemon? Zest? Pulp?"

Source

Eric, before I answer your question about the merits of lemon as a disinfectant, let's examine its components (kinda like doing a science experiment, so you might want Gabe to join in).

Lemons, in addition to being tasty, can be broken down into these four basic parts:

  • Citric acid kills bacteria, mold, and mildew. It's also great for cutting through soap scum, calcium deposits, lime, rust, and hard-water stains.
  • Limonene comes from the skin of citrus fruits; it works as a solvent but is typically found in cleaning supplies because it smells wonderful.
  • Ascorbic acid is the Vitamin C component of our citrus fruits. It's important for bones, connective, and muscle tissues and helps our bodies absorb iron. But at a cleaner, I've only seen it referenced as being used to remove stains in swimming pools.
  • Lemon oil helps break down sticky adhesives (stickers and labels beware!). Other than that, it smells nice but doesn't disinfect.

Now, down to the real problem—there is a difference between cleaning and disinefecting. Cleaning will take care of goo and gunk, odors and bacteria, but when it comes to actual disinfecting (which means removing viruses and pathogens) lemons don't cut it (pun intended).

I could babble on and on but why not simply take you to the source. Here's a really good article by the Water and Health Org that explains it all in layman terms.

Source

Are Chile Powder and Chili Powder the Same Thing?

"I'm confused. Some recipes list chile powder, and some say chili powder. Is it just a variation in spelling or is there a difference?"

Anon, that's a really good question. Let's start with an understanding of what these two ingredients are made from:

  • Chile powder is ground chiles, period. No additives. Unless specified, the chiles are most likely ground anchos/poblanos which have a fruity, smoky flavor. But there are several other types of chile powder. Chipotle comes from dried jalapeños and is higher on the Scoville scale of tongue-burning. Cayenne is even bolder (tear-inducing if you ask me).
  • Chili powder is a totally different (and much tamer) beast. Chili powder is a blend of seasonings; yes there will be some heat from one of the aforementioned chile powders, but also paprika, pepper, cumin, oregano, salt, and perhaps some onion or garlic powder.

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

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    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Lawrence, I always thought that I was frugal, but now it's gone into a far distant place. I've actually made a spreadsheet of menus to maximize what is in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer and sacrifice nothing.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Linda

      The biggest change we've had due to the virus us that our pantry has never been so full!

      But the real surprise is that the wallet didn't get emptied!!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, I'm so happy to see you here. I can't give you a quick (now) answer to your questions. I'll do the research and get back to you next Monday. My love to you and Ian.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      I didn't know about the difference between chile powder and chili powder, I would have thought it was a typo. LOL

      Interesting information about disinfecting. It's related to a question I wanted to ask.

      Today I bought some lettuce, as I was missing not having salads. But when I got it home, I wasn't sure how to 'thoroughly clean it.' I dunked it in my bleach solution and then rinsed it in my salad spinner. Is that enough?

      Although I have always rinsed the fruit and veg in water, I think with potential lurgies around, I need to do more. Also, what about onions? I just couldn't fathom how to do that so I just left it closed in the bag.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Kari, that just goes to show, you never know what little tidbits you'll pick up here.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      15 months ago from Ohio

      I'm glad you are safe. I will have to look more carefully at the names Chili vs Chile powder. I don't think I have ever had the Chile. I will look next year when I'm at a store. (LOL)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      15 months ago from Central Florida

      Christopher ate all of his. I still have half left. My piece was rather large. I bought two types. He likes sockeye and I don't (too gamey-tasting for me), so I bought sockeye for him and Atlantic salmon for me. It was yummy!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Pamela, thank you for your kind words. I already have two really good questions for next week. This is fun.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      15 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I am Iso glad you answered the chili or chile powder question. I had no idea what either one contained and you answered quite simply. I have always kep red spices in the refrigerator as I have been told this is the way to preserve them.

      Thanks for answering all of these good questions, Linda. I hope you have a great week and stay healthy.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      I absolutely LOVE salmon and haven't had it for a couple of months at least. So, you didn't save any leftovers for me [[sniff, sniff]]?

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      15 months ago from Central Florida

      Christopher wanted salmon, so I made baked marinated salmon with creamy dill sauce, rice pilaf, and peas. It was delicious and I don't have fourteen pounds of leftovers!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Sha, this was the strangest Easter ever. Church was the 3 of us sitting in front of the computer in our PJs (the cat doesn't like it when we sing, go figure). No special dinner. Beth asked for chicken tetrazzini, so that's what we had (I had roasted a 7-pound chicken earlier in the week). We used up the last of our spaghetti and won't get a shipment from Amazon until the 24th (yikes!).

      What did you do? I love hearing what other people are cooking, especially now. Starting to get really creative.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      15 months ago from Central Florida

      Linda, I didn't know there was a difference between chile powder and chili powder. Actually, I don't even think I've noticed the variation in spelling. I don't use it often, but I'll make sure I buy chili powder and not the real deal!

      So, what did you make for Easter dinner, Sis?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Eric. That's a really great question. Gosh, you guys are so good to me. I can definitely help you pump up those flabby-tasting soups, and it's not by adding more salt (and Eric, put away that salsa).

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, the quick answer is "probably" but not all hot dogs are alike. I will provide a detailed report next Monday. Stay tuned.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Good luck with the flour. But maybe cooking without it is a topic. Now what are your ideas on sprucing up canned soups. They are good but no ummpf.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I like the lemon as a disinfectant thing, since I can't stand eating them. :) Great information as always, my friend Tell me, is there any nutritional value in hot dogs??? Please tell me there is. I need some good news. lol

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi Flourish, I have no doubt it will continue. God provides.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      15 months ago from USA

      The answers to the lemon and chili questions were interesting. Lemon also repels cats from an area you don’t want them to go, like if they have a habit of digging in a potted plant just put a couple of fresh lemon wedges in the bottom. I’m hoping your mailbox will fill with additional inquiries this week so we can delight in your answers.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi Eric. and Happy Easter to you again. Honest answer--I didn't stock up on anything prior pandemic. I always have a large stash of just about everything. I have a huge walk-in pantry and a massive freezer and I never let my supplies get down below 50 percent.

      We are doing well and eating healthy, creatively, and without boredom (yet).

      I have a spreadsheet for menu planning so that I use up the fragile things (fresh produce) first, don't focus on one starch (potatoes, pasta, rice, grain) 2 days in a row, and change up the ethnic profile. One day might be Asian and the next is Tex-Mex.

      The only thing lacking in my pantry is all-purpose flour. Who knew??!! I've shopped (online, we don't go into stores) for 6 weeks straight and simply canNOT find any flour. We're down to about 2 cups.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      15 months ago from Washington State, USA

      John, I can only write what I get. Yes it was short, and so were the number of questions. I agree with you that, in the end, we will come out of this with more positives than negatives. Stay well my friend.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      They sure had me fooled with chili and chile. But now I know why some of my chili/chile looked different. And now I know why they tasted different. Duh.

      Read both articles referenced. Very cool one on gender roles and fully helpful on disinfecting.

      Thanks again. Just a straight question; what did you stalk up on for this quarantine stuff?

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      15 months ago from Gondwana Land

      This was a short but sweet (well maybe not, with lemons and chilli as subjects) edition, Linda. Very interesting though. I think that one positive from this pandemic is that we will emerge as a better, more united and appreciative people.

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