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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Foods, Recipes, & Cooking, #63

Updated on February 19, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

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

Welcome Back

Each week all of you assemble around the cooktop in my kitchen where we look for answers on "how to cook this" or "how to prepare that"? We talk about nutrition, new (or old) cooking devices, we share stories and recipes, and we simply have fun being together.

My dear friend Billybuc (aka Bill Holland) has an every-Monday series that he calls the Mailbag. He says that the "cool kids" hang out there. I'd like to think that after they gain his wisdom, they stop over here for coffee and a bite to eat.

Speaking of "cool kids", our Manatita encouraged me to share some Christmas color and sounds. Last week I gave you a glimpse of the "color" in my house—a tiny (24-inch tall) Christmas tree that sits on one corner of my cooktop. I don't have any more photos to share with you (I'm a lousy photographer unless we're talking about food), but I did have a great musical experience last week that I'd like to share with you.

I attended a noon-time concert at a local university. Their Kilworth Chapel is home to a 20-foot tall two-manual Paul Fritts pipe organ with 34 stops, and Wyatt Smith was the guest artist. (Look him up on YouTube. He's amazing!) Wyatt introduced us to the sounds that the organ could produce with selections by Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Bohm. Then the real fun began!

the Organ at University of Puget Sound, Kilworth Memorial Chapel
the Organ at University of Puget Sound, Kilworth Memorial Chapel

Pamela Decker is a world-renowned composer/organist. She composed an oratorio of five well-known Christmas carols. Wyatt played each of the five (and graciously allowed us to sing along from the hymnal) and then gave us Ms. Decker's interpretation of each song.

I still have goosebumps!

Although I don't have a recording from that amazing noontime event, I can share with you a very similar rendition of the first offering by Kings College.

Turn Up the Volume

Now, Back to Earth

You're not here to listen to Christmas music; you're here to talk about food, so let's get started with the questions that came into the mailbox this past week.

How Do You Do It?

Foodie stuff is just plain cantankerous to an inquiring mind. You knocked several home runs today. What is your trick to researching cooking and foods? Or is it magic you just can't reveal?


Eric, it really comes down to two things, and I think this can apply to just about any topic in life, not just food:

  1. You need to recognize who your trusted sources are, and
  2. You need to know what you don't know, and then circle back to #1

In six decades on this earth, and cooking for more than 50 years, I have a fair amount of experience (talk about trial and error) so some of what I do/say/write comes from well-developed instinct. But I also recognize my limitations. For what I don't know I rely on these as my lifelines:

  • Epicurious
  • Bon Appetit
  • Cooking Light
  • Food Timeline
  • Serious Eats
  • "On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee

Now that I've revealed my sources, does this mean that I'm no longer needed?

What Do You Know About Reggae Reggae Sauce?

There is one that a Jamaican man made in England. It's pretty good too and he became famous because of it. I think it's called, reggae reggae sauce.

Manatita, thank you for keeping your eyes open and ear to the ground on all things happening in London. Reggae Reggae Sauce is not something I had heard of, so I donned my Sherlock Holmes hat and did a bit of investigating.

There is a reality TV show in the United States called "Shark Tank." Each week entrepreneurs present their inventions/innovations/gadgets/concepts to a team of multi-millionaires, hoping to entire one or more of the 'sharks' to invest as business partners. I learned that the U.S. production is a spin-off of a show that originated in the United Kingdom. That series is "Dragon's Den."

So, here's the story according to Wikipedia:

On 7 February 2007, Levi Roots appeared on Dragons' Den and convinced Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh to invest £50,000 in return for 40% of his company. The sauce gained fame as a result of his memorable television appearance and on 9 February, Sainsbury's was confirmed to be interested in stocking it. On 7 March, the sauce went on sale nationwide.

Of course, with fame comes controversy. For 15 years Mr. Roots had operated a jerk chicken stand at the Notting Hill Carnival with a gentleman named Tom Bailey. Bailey claimed that the sauce was his creation and therefore he was entitled to a share of the profits. Bailey filed a preliminary claim in the High Court for more than £300,000. Wikipedia goes on to report that:

Judge Mark Pelling QC dismissed Mr Bailey's claims for breach of contract and breach of confidence. He told the court: "This was a dishonest claim, dishonestly advanced. No solid evidence had been offered to support Mr Bailey's claim that he was the original inventor of the sauce." Lawyers said they estimated the legal battle had cost more than £1 million in total and the judge said Mr Roots was entitled to have his costs paid.

By the way, the distributor, Sainsburys, had anticipated that they would sell 50,000 bottles of the stuff in the first year; they sold that many in the first week!

In 2013, Mr. Roots launched his School of Life Tour, taking his message to children all over the country, inspiring them to follow their dreams and showing them how to make tasty, healthy food. He has published six cookbooks and a business book, released a new album, and most recently, Levi realized his ultimate dream of opening a Caribbean restaurant. In December 2015, the Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse opened its doors to the public in Westfield Stratford City.

His net worth is estimated to be $45 million (£35.780,000).

How Do You Section Citrus?

I'm actually on a mission. I tracked you down to ask a question I've had for some time. I'm "hoping" you can help me. DelMonte sells this large container of Citrus sections (oranges, & pink & white grapefruit in their juices.) Simple as that and I LOVE it. (I think) it's fairly expensive so it's strictly a treat to myself when I've been a good girl. Now I realize I can search for info and I will....but I'd like to know if you have ever skinned citrus and did it work out well? Peeling a citrus fruit is simple and even shaving off the inner white (whatever that is) from the whole on earth can the membrane be removed from each section without tearing them to shreds? This Del Monte that I buy.....the sections are perfect, plump and meaty. There's obviously a trick/process to do this.....Oh, mighty food Genie...have you ever done this?? Can you tell me how?


Paula, I'm so glad that you found me. Creating those perfect citrus slices even has a name (French, of course). They are "supremes" (a good fit, don't you think?) What's needed is a very sharp knife (serrated is best), a steady hand, and a bit of patience.

Slice the top and bottom off of the fruit. Then slice downward to carefully remove the peel and pith (the white stuff underneath). You will be left with a globe of juicy citrus sections waiting to be separated. Employ that serrated knife (with hopefully a thin, somewhat flexible blade) to slice in between the fruit segment and the membrane that surrounds it. Here's a video that I hope will help.

Homemade Lemon Juice for Removing Pesticides

The vinegar topic was especially helpful, and I've got a related question for you. I regularly use white vinegar for marinades and for soaking raw vegetables to remove pesticides. As organic versions of the vinegar are not available here, I decided to switch to homemade lemon juice for the same uses. Do you think that's appropriate? If so, could you share tips on the best way to store homemade lemon juice? How long does it last in the refrigerator? Could we freeze it?

Rinita, for marinades freshly-squeezed lemon juice is a great substitute and should keep up to two weeks in your refrigerator. Yes, it can be frozen and will keep there for 4 to 6 months.

However, when it comes to removing surface pesticides on produce, there is another ingredient that you probably already have in your pantry. It's just as effective, if not better, than a vinegar or lemon juice rinse. In October 2017, researchers from the University of Massachusetts published a study in the Journal Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The study reported that soaking apples in a baking soda and water solution for 12–15 minutes can remove almost every trace of pesticides from the fruit's surface. If you have the time, this one's a winner for sure. Use one teaspoon of baking soda for every two cups of water.

Drinkable Vinegar

At the Market this year we had a woman who sold sipping vinegar at $15 a was delicious and she sold a ton of it. Who knew, right? I didn't think it was possible to like sipping vinegar. LOL. What is so different with sipping vinegar as opposed to regular vinegar?


Bill, who knew that "drinkable vinegar" would become a thing, right? I'm pretty sure this is a spin-off from the pro-biotics craze. It started with hard cider, then "homebrew" sauerkraut, and now vinegar that isn't a condiment but a beverage. Is it fad or fabrication, fact or fiction?

I went to the kitchen of Bon Appetit to gain some insight on this topic and found that vinegar beverages are infused with fruit juices, herbs, and sweeteners. Here's a link to the Bon Appetit findings and their taste test.

How to Use a Cleaver

Do you have any help about cutting up chicken with a cleaver? I seem to send chicken bits flying. I spend more time cleaning up than cooking the chicken.

Don't ask about the source of this picture
Don't ask about the source of this picture | Source

Mary, I actually got the giggles when I read your question. I don't own a cleaver (and honestly, don't trust myself to use one since I'm literally losing my grip. Cooks Illustrated has a pretty good tutorial (with video) on how to properly use a meat cleaver.

The most important thing to remember (other than keeping hands and fingers out of the way) is to not whack the chicken with all of your might. If the cleaver is as sharp as it could/should be, the weight of the knife should be doing the work for you. Watch the video. Good luck, and I hope this helps.

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.

If you like this series, you'll love this! Consider it my gift to you.


Well, that's it for another week. Thanks for the really great questions this week. Remember you can leave your questions in the comments section below, or write to me at

Have a blessed week!

© 2018 Linda Lum


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    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Pamela, thank you and a Merry Christmas to you as well. But, you'll hear from me on Monday. Holiday or not, there will be a mailbox.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great information as always. I never thought of using baking soda and water, which is so simple.

      Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Manatita, before I was a Business major I was an English major so once a while I will interject a literary reference. Good catch on your part. Here's a great quotation from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: "...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

    • manatita44 profile image


      2 years ago from london

      Wow! That piece on Levi Roots and his sauce was awesome! You now know much more than me. I would definitely love to have some of that money. Ha ha. Goes to show though, what ambition mixed with a pinch of 'will' can do. Not bad, eh? I like your Sherlock Holmes hat. Perhaps I can be your Watson. We'll share the spoils.

      Merry Christmas, my Dear.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Oh, Paula, I'm so happy (almost giddy) that you wrote back. I am so "supremely" (pun) happy to help. And yes, the chef's accent is darling.

      May I say that your comments are in themselves a work of art. I feel so blessed that you take the time to write as beautifully as you do, to little old me (and both of those adjectives are correct).

    • fpherj48 profile image


      2 years ago from Carson City

      You are one heck of a food Diva!! Thank you so much for not only describing but adding the video. (I love the chef's accent!) Oh damn, how "easy" he makes it look! I learned a lot, including what that "white stuff is!!" Pith.....never knew that. And he's right, pith tastes awful! It's bitter and certainly not meant to eat!

      One jar of DelMonte is $8.95! So, with one orange, 1 white & 1 pink grapefruit, the right knife & a gentle hand, I should be able to make my own for half that cost!! Right? Great! Today, you're my hero. Peace, Paula

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      I’m only kidding, Diva. I am very impressed with someone’s clean garage, by the way. You are wonderful indeed.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Oh Mary, please don't fret. If you want some help with menu, planning, how-to-cook this or that, please send me an email ( and I would be ever so happy to help you.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I'm glad I passed by as I learned so much. Now that my husband is no longer here to cook for me, I am starting to learn how to cook. I like to have someone to tell me the next step to do when I prepare something but now, I have to do it all from planning the menu to cooking. Am getting nervous as Christmas is soon.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Rinita, I'm happy to help. Have a great day.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      2 years ago

      Oops I just saw the addition. All set, thanks!

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      2 years ago

      Thank you for answering my question. Extremely helpful. Quick follow up - would you know in what proportions the baking soda and the water are to be mixed for optimum pesticide removal?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Shauna thanks for catching that omission. It's one teaspoon of baking soda and two cups of water. I've added that to the paragraph above.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 years ago from Central Florida

      Linda, although I try to buy non-GMO produce, that's not always the case, so I found your tip about baking soda and water particularly interesting. What is the ratio of baking soda to water?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Mary. Chai? I'm on it. T'will be your Christmas gift.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      2 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for that cleaver tutorial link. I buy chicken pieces for my dogs and cat. They consist of the feet, sometimes the head, and then a long piece that includes the neck, back, and chest (with the breast meat removed). I prefer to cut it a little smaller to give to them.

      Interesting about the fruit segments, I will try that with my tangerines.

      Regarding the sipping vinegar, I know people often say a sip is good for a cough. However, when I was at university, I knew someone who had burned his vocal chords with vinegar. I suspect he had too much or a type that wasn't suitable for drinking.

      It's wonderful to read about Levi Roots' story. I remember watching it at the time. What an inspirational and uplifting man.

      I've recently read a book about life in India and would like to know about making chai in my home. I am ready for a change to drinking my coffee and I recently read drinking too much 'mate tea', can cause cancer, so thought I'd like to add 'chai' to my liquid menu.

      Thanks, have a great week.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, you sir gave me the first chuckle of the day. You are so very welcome for the mention and now, speaking of the mailbag, I need to hop over there and see what offerings were left for you.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish, sorry for the horror story. Perhaps I should have written a disclaimer in the intro (Nightmare Before Christmas, Part 2). Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I would know Eric's questions without you telling us it is him...very distinctive writing voice. Thanks for answering mine, and for the lovely mention early on. Another Monday is upon us and this boy needs to get busy. Have a splendid day, my friend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      Oh, holy hell! That chicken looks like he found his way into Jack the Ripper’s garage and got the feathers scared off him! I think Jack is sipping vinegar or something stronger as he plots what to do next.


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