Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #143
What Were We Talking About One Year Ago?
Just for fun (and to stop the talk about economy/politics/unrest/pandemic for just a few minutes), I thought it would be fun to look back at the introduction to the articles I wrote one year ago. Here's what I found:
Last week I was looking for a particular cookbook in my pantry. Please don't ask how many I own (I haven't counted) but suffice it to say that it's 3 digits worth. Anyhow, in my quest I rediscovered a book I have not paged through for a very long time. It was the 1998 annual recipe compilation by Sunset Magazine. (Those of you in the Midwest or East coast, or perhaps outside of the United States might not recognize the name. Sunset is a lifestyle periodical, published monthly, focusing primarily on homes, cooking, gardening, and travel in the Western United States.)
As I turned the pages I was surprised to see how much our tastes and methods for the preparation of foods have changed in 20 years. Margarine was a perfectly acceptable substitute for "unhealthy" butter, meats still held a high position in our evening meals, we were urged to "rinse our chicken", and produce that is now common was still considered exotic (chicory and persimmons for example).
Presentation of the meals (styling and photography) was amazingly dreadful in comparison to today. Perhaps it's because of digital photography, but even food blogs on the internet have much clearer, brighter colors than the Sunset pics of 1998.
Hmmm, so I began to wonder. If I'm still around 20 years from now (and I certainly intend to be), how different will our meals be from what they are now? I hope that animal-based proteins will be relegated to garnish status. I believe that white carbs (potatoes, pasta, rice) will be a thing of the past. What are your ideas? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
So with that as an introduction, to get you thinking about foods, 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.
Biscuits vs. Cookies
"I'm just curious: how did we get from biscuit in England to cookie in the U.S.? That seems like such a language leap, you know? What genius in the U.S. decided to completely change the name of such a staple?"
Two weeks ago it was the flapjack—for Americans they are pancakes, for the Brits they are an oaty granola-bar.
Bill, I love ya guy, and you are the only person for whom I would endure this torture yet again. As soon as I read your question, my left temple began to throb. OK, here's what I can tell you about the Cookie Wars.
I need to think carefully when I talk with my dear friends and relatives (yes, I still have some cousins on the "other side of the pond") about biscuits. In my American mind (and heart) a biscuit is a quick bread (bread that rises from the use of baking powder and/or baking soda rather than yeast). We eat them for breakfast (with lots of jam and butter please). We serve them with beef stew, and they always appear on my Thanksgiving Day table to help sop up all of that yummy turkey gravy that escapes from the mound of mashed potatoes. But my U.K'ers say "biscuit" when they are talking of a crisp sweet to be dunked into the 4 o'clock tea.
How and why did this schism occur?
Well, perhaps we should ask the question "who's on first?" Who was the first to claim the name for the tea-time treat? Of course, it was our forebears in the United Kingdom. They were there first, and we've only been about for 244 years.
The word biscuit is from the Latin "bis" (twice) and "coctus" (cooked). If you've ever enjoyed Italian biscotti, perhaps you get the connection. English biscuits are "twice-baked" which means that they keep almost forever, but soften just right in a hot cuppa. They were also a practical bit of food to take on a long journey, say across the Atlantic Ocean. If you're not familiar with ship biscuits you might recognize them by their other name, hardtack.
Meanwhile, the Dutch were also hard at work in the kitchen, creating the koekje, meaning “little cake.” The difference between that little cake and the biscuit is that the former contains a leavening agent (something to make it rise or puff up) to make it lighter and not so tooth-breaking.
There was no problem with all of these treats with various names until the War of Independence. That minor tiff created a backlash against anything British, and so the old words for this and that were replaced with a new vocabulary.
If you'd like a rundown on what is what, I've compiled a short glossary for you:
- British biscuit = American cookie (crunchy and hard sweet treat)
- American biscuit = a British scone (a quick bread breakfast treat)
- American cookie = A British cookie, and also a British biscuit
Can I Make Non-Dairy Yogurt?
"I have a small electric yogurt maker that makes the most wonderful yogurt, but unfortunately, I'm dairy challenged, and when I eat our home made yogurt, my body hurts all over. I wonder if we might successfully use almond milk (or some other vegetable milk) in it. I don't like the flavor of coconut milk or I would try it. What do you think? Thank you, my friend."
Thank you, Doris (MizBejabbers) for such a great question. I'm sure you aren't the only person wanting a non-dairy yogurt. A quick internet search found hundreds, yea verily thousands of recipes for non-dairy yogurt. But, all of them included thickeners (cornstarch, agar-agar, etc.)
Except for this one for Greek-style cultured soy yogurt. The Gentle Chef has a recipe that ticks off every item on your wish list:
- It's made with soy milk, not coconut milk
- Natural ingredients
- No added thickeners
- Relies on a yogurt maker (which provides a more reliable, consistent temperature which equals yogurt-making success)
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.
© 2020 Linda Lum