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Vintage Recipes with Dorothy Dean

From 1935 to 1983, Dorothy Dean was the face of The Spokesman-Review's Home Economics department, publishing recipes, operating a test kitchen and fielding thousands of telephone calls from cooks.

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A&E >  Food

This restaurant is run by grandmothers. Customers clap for them each night.

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 25, 2023

After all the food is served at this New York restaurant, customers clap for the grandmother who cooked it. It's not scripted, but it happens every night. The Staten Island establishment, run by women known as "nonnas of the world," is as much a celebration of the people who toil in the kitchen as the places they hail from.

A&E >  Food

Turns out protein bars may not be all that healthy

Protein bars are everywhere, and their branding has expanded far beyond exercise fanatics. They’re presented as healthy snacks for when you’re on the go or even as part of a self-care routine. Manufacturers of these products would have you believe that they can improve your health and your workout. Despite the advertising, though, nutrition experts say that protein bars aren’t all that healthy.
A&E >  Food

What do bay leaves do? A lot, if you use them right.

Pity the bay leaf. Once a symbol of success and renown in ancient Greece and Rome, it now suffers a reputation as a pointless, potentially dangerous (choking hazard!), ingredient. Even Ina Garten, perhaps as close as we come these days to the Greek priestesses who consumed bay before making their prophecies, recently wondered aloud what the fuss was all about.
A&E >  Beer/Drinks

Do mocktails really help you drink less alcohol?

Mocktails and other nonalcoholic drinks are surging in popularity in the United States. But can alcohol-free beer, zero-proof wine and faux cocktails really help someone reduce the alcohol they consume?The answer depends on your drinking habits. Health experts say those trying to curb their drinking or stay sober for Dry January may find it helpful to hold an alcohol-free mimosa or faux mai tai when they socialize.But, for people who have moderate to severe alcohol use disorder (AUD), defined by the National Institutes of Health as the inability "to stop or control alcohol use" despite the consequences, these nonalcoholic drinks are generally discouraged because they might actually create a craving for alcohol, not cut it."It really is, basically, a no," said George Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The cues created by a mocktail can "trigger relapse and re-engagement in excessive drinking."- - -Mocktails are getting increasingly sophisticated as marketers respond to growing demand and as more people experiment with sober living during events such as Dry January and Sober October.Ted's Bulletin, a popular restaurant in Washington, has added four mocktails to its menu that use "zero-proof" rum, tequila, whiskey and gin - carefully crafted to taste close to the real thing but without the alcohol. The "Garden Surprise" uses Ritual gin-alternative, lime, mint, ginger and muddled cucumber, while the mai tai alternative called "Rum that Ran" uses Ritual's rum alternative, orgeat syrup, lime and pineapple.Alcohol-free beverages are useful for people who don't want to drink alcohol because they're pregnant, taking a certain medication, don't like alcohol or have just decided they want to drink a little less.These no-alcohol alternatives allow you to order a mocktail margarita to sip with your chips and salsa without waking up to a pounding headache the next morning. And for some, drinking a nonalcoholic beer or alcohol-free glass of wine helps relieve some of the social pressure when everyone else at the party is holding a glass or cup."It's wonderful for folks who don't have an alcohol use disorder," said Tim Brennan, chief of clinical services for the Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai Health System. "For those folks who might want to mitigate the negative effects of alcohol like headache, fatigue, morning sluggishness, a mild hangover, things like that, I think it's really great they now have options."- - -Two studies on households in Spain and the United Kingdom found the introduction of no-and-low-alcohol alternatives led to consumers drinking a little less alcohol. But, Jürgen Rehm, a professor and senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, said the findings in the U.K. don't represent some sort of "mass movement." The alternatives in the U.K. led to a small but significant reduction in alcohol consumption for a portion of the households, Rehm said."Overall drinking was reduced. However, it was not reduced drastically," Rehm said. "It helped a little."Still, public health experts say any reduction in the amount of alcohol consumed is a good thing. During the first year of the pandemic, sales of alcohol spiked and alcohol-related deaths in the United States rose to the highest rate in decades. And the World Health Organization has concluded there's no "safe amount" of alcohol to consume."If you stop drinking or cut back on drinking and you feel better, then listen to your body because your body is telling you something," Koob said. "I think that's the bottom line."- - -When you switch to certain nonalcoholic drinks, you also run the risk of trading alcohol for some sugar.Beer and wine tend to be low in sugar due to the fermentation process for both. But check the nutrition label on a can of alcohol-free beer and you may find sugar. The nonalcoholic beer from Athletic Brewing, for instance, has 4.3 grams of sugar per can or about a teaspoon. Some alcohol-free beers have much less. Heineken's standard beer doesn't have any sugar, and its nonalcoholic version has 1.3 grams of sugar.Regular cocktails often have a lot of sugar anyway, but your sugar consumption may go up if you end up drinking extra mocktails because they're alcohol free.Ashley Gearhardt, an associate professor at the University of Michigan who researches food and addiction science, said our cravings for both sugar and alcohol rely on the same circuitry in the brain. Trading alcohol for sugar, she said, isn't a "zero-risk" proposition because diets rich in sugary, processed drinks and foods that are low in nutrients lead to other health risks, as well."Just because it doesn't have alcohol doesn't mean it's a get out of jail free card," Gearhardt said. "People should really consider what they're replacing alcohol with."- - -For those recovering from AUD, the smells, sounds and behaviors associated with cracking a can of alcohol-free beer or wine may be too triggering, Brennan said.He cautioned against drinking mocktails or other drinks that are supposed to mimic gin, bourbon or other alcoholic beverages. He also said it's important that people with AUD know that alcohol-free beer, in addition to tasting like beer, typically has small amounts of alcohol."People with alcohol use disorder who start drinking alcohol-free beer are quickly on the road to relapse," Brennan said. "It's too triggering. It's simply too close to the problematic substance."Many people with AUD choose seltzer on ice with a lime wedge to hold at social gatherings. Victor Karpyak, a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist treating AUD, said the beverage someone chooses is only one part of staying sober."It's only a small part of what needs to be considered," Karpyak said. "Making a decision about this small part is certainly important but may or may not be sufficient to achieve their goals."Koob said it's similar to how walking by a green Starbucks sign might make you think of a cup of coffee. For someone recovering from AUD, passing a bar or sipping a mocktail may be a cue to crave alcohol.Paul Linde, the clinical supervisor for Ria Health, a telehealth program that helps people cut back on their drinking, sees mocktails as a short-term solution that still requires "long-term behavior change." He doesn't want people to see mocktails as a "remedy" for people who want to drink less."It's a good start, but it really is only a start," Linde said. "I'd like to think more about other behavioral changes that need to be made."For people who are "pretty solid in recovery," a mocktail may be a reasonable option, said Hosia Keene, the outpatient services director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in Bellevue, Wash.But she suggests that people who are thinking about ordering a mocktail ask themselves: Am I ordering this drink as a replacement for alcohol? Or does that drink just sound good?"Those are going to be pretty different experiences," Keene said.If the mocktail is only going to serve as a reminder for the alcohol you're not having, Keene said she'd want to have a conversation ahead of time with that person to make sure they're prepared to recognize when their body is craving alcohol."I don't expect these drinks to go away," Keene said. "I would still want somebody to have a lot of tools put in place before testing anything that puts established sobriety at risk."
A&E >  Food

In the Kitchen with Ricky: Brighten up winter with a cheery lemon pie

At this time of the year, when the days are darker and colder, it’s nice to have a bright treat. Today’s recipe for Winter Lemon Pie packs a citrusy punch and feels right for a dessert or a mid-morning snack. The buttery crust combined with the citrusy punch is a great match and the hint of vanilla ties it all together.
A&E >  Food

Pantry can help you serve up an easy Lemon Butter Pasta

Lemon, olive oil and garlic are the foundation of so many pantry meals, a harmonious trio I use to flavor pretty much everything – fish, chicken, vegetables, grains – stopping only at dessert because, well, garlic. Often spiked with chile flakes and Parmesan, the combination makes any dish taste deep and complex, without your having to do much to get there. It’s a no-brainer, easy alchemy that never fails.
A&E >  Food

How to make the most of your stand mixer

If you're anything like me, your stand mixer is one of your most prized kitchen possessions. It can do so much, but are you using it right? Whether you've just been gifted one for the holidays or are a practiced hand, here are some tips to help you maximize your stand mixer's potential and avert disaster.1. Get an extra bowlI know, I know, you (or the person who gave you the mixer) probably forked over a significant amount of cash. Still, if you bake a lot and intend to take on more involved recipes, having an extra bowl is worth it. It will help you move seamlessly between recipes on big-batch baking days during the holiday season. It's especially handy for recipes with multiple components, such as cake batters and frostings, or doughs that are separated for different flavors or colors. Because the mixer bowls are so large, I often find myself pulling them out for other tasks, including straining vegetable broth and whisking waffle batter.2. Gradually increase the speedDon't be in a rush to crank up the speed of your mixer. Often, it's best to gradually increase it. Sudden changes can cause ingredients to fly out of the bowl, whether it's flour or a hot sugar syrup. Been there.3. Stick to lower speeds with bread doughKneading bread dough is one of the best things to do with a stand mixer. But there are limits. Using too high a speed while kneading can overtax, even damage, your machine. Manufacturers typically recommend going no higher than low or medium-low (Speed 2 or 3, depending on the model) with yeast doughs. With softer bread dough, say, something like challah, I'm okay with pushing closer to medium if I'm really trying to bring the ingredients together. You can even briefly increase the speed to medium and drop it back down once things are better incorporated. Remember that beyond the risk to your machine, you can overknead the dough. If your dough is especially stiff, as with bagels, stick with the lower end of the spectrum.4. Keep utensils out of the mixer while it's runningI'll admit to giving in to the temptation to try to shove in a spatula or spoon to nudge in a wayward ingredient or push something off the attachment while the mixer is running. Just don't. If you catch it wrong, it's bad for the motor and, of course, you can hurt yourself or break your utensil. Take the extra second to turn off the mixer, during which you can . . .5. Scrape down the bowlA stand mixer is a wonderful machine, but it's not perfect. Ingredients can be left on the sides and bottom of the bowl, as well as the beater. Butter is a prime culprit. So once or twice during mixing, turn off the mixer and scrape everything down with a flexible spatula. I tend to do this between major additions - after I have creamed butter and sugar and before the eggs go in, before I add the dry ingredients, etc. It's also okay to stop using the mixer just before everything is incorporated and finish the job with a quick stir or two by hand to avoid overmixing, lest you end up with tough cookies or cake.6. Stay nearbyYou wouldn't walk away from something in the skillet, would you? Same logic here. Especially if you're mixing something particularly dense or stiff, the mixer can begin to hop around the counter, and you don't want to disappear the second it goes off the edge. (Yes, it's happened to at least one Voraciously staffer!) Also, it's important to be engaged with what's happening in the bowl. Is the mixer starting to sound or smell off? Are your ingredients threatening to fly out of the bowl? Is the mixer changing speeds on its own? (Another true story!) Do you need to mix for less or more time than the recipe says? All of these are good reasons to stay within arm's reach.7. Know when to skip itThe stand mixer does a lot of things well. It's not for everything, however. If you're beating a small amount of cream, or one or two egg whites, the attachment can struggle to make contact with the ingredients and whip them sufficiently. Sometimes it's best to just pull out your hand mixer or even a whisk.
A&E >  Food

Tok seel, a seared bean recipe, showcases the breadth of Mexican food

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 16, 2023

If your idea of Mexican food is dominated by cheese-smothered plates, this recipe, adapted from television host and cookbook author Pati Jinich’s cookbook “Treasures of the Mexican Table,” will be an eye-opener. In it, white beans are seared until lightly browned, then tossed with toasted, ground pumpkin seeds; fresh cilantro; chives; and scallions, and served with a bright squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of chopped, fresh chile.
A&E >  Food

Persian flavors scent this pot of rice and beans

Whenever I got sick as a kid, my mom wouldn’t make chicken soup – she’d serve me mushy rice and yogurt. Many rice-eating cultures eat rice and yogurt together as a meal or to ease an upset stomach. I grew to love the simple meal; it was calming and nourishing enough to sustain me through the worst of a fever. It’s still something I yearn for, whether I’m feeling under the weather or just want a dose of comfort.
A&E >  Food

What we’ll eat in 2023: 10 predictions

Nearly every big change in how we eat starts as a fad, which is really just a shared moment among a subset of diners or cooks that gains traction. Some fads fade away slowly, like wine coolers or molecular gastronomy. Others implode suddenly, like turmeric lattes or the pink sauce that shot up like a rocket on TikTok this year and then exploded.
A&E >  Food

10 simple things you can do to start fresh in the kitchen

The new year is a time for celebration, reflection and housework. I always feel calmer, more creative and more productive when I have a clean and organized space, so when the ball drops, I try to set myself up for as much happiness and success in the next 12 months as I can by starting with a tidy living space. And given that it is often described as the heart of the home – and it's my line of work – the kitchen is of utmost importance. Tackling the entire kitchen can be an intimidating task, so here's a manageable list of things to clean, ingredients to check, equipment to organize and more.