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

Updated on February 19, 2019
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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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