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Add some color to your cocktails

Colorful cocktails

We are heading into the holiday party season, and you can bet that many of the parties will feature cocktails. While many classic cocktails are delicious, some of them are very drab: various shades of brown or nearly clear. Some of the most brightly colored cocktails are pretty yet far too sweet. Lucky for us the EYB Library contains many lip-smacking cocktails pop with color and aren't saccharine. 

The Aviation may be the only purple cocktail that stands the test of time. Creme de violette adds a blue to purple tint, perhaps to symbolize the sky and hearkening back to the golden days of flying, when people dressed up to board an airplane. Moving along the color wheel, we find a few golden cocktails. The Sparkling Suze cocktail is a vivid yellow. Pineapple juice livens the color of these Pineapple mint daiquiris from Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

Cranberries can add both flavor and color to drinks, as shown in the Cranberry especial from Serious Eats. Homemade grenadine syrup isn't overly sweet nor full of artificial colors, and it adds a garnet hue to cocktails like the Jack Rose. December is the start of blood orange season, and it also provides a lovely color. You can make your own blood orange liqueur to use in the drink of your choice, perhaps this Basil infused blood orange cocktail  from What's Gaby Cooking.

Green isn't as common, but there are few that don't involve creme de menthe or Midori. One is this mint margarita slushy from Cooking Light Magazine. Another is Food & Wine's Cucumber cocktail with chamomile tonic. Finally we have the intriguing El niño from Australian Gourmet Traveller, which features a spicy combo of cilantro, cucumbers, and Tabasco Green Jalapeño Pepper sauce.

Pictured clocwise from top left: Aviation from Food52, Cranberry especial from Serious Eats, El niño from Recipes for a Good Time, and Pineapple mint daiquiris from Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

Featured Cookbooks & Recipes

Finding the best recipes amongst the millions online is not easy - but you don't have to! The team here at Eat Your Books, searches for excerpts from indexed books and magazines and every week we bring you our latest finds. Every day recipes are added from the best blogs and websites.

As a member, you can also add your own favorite online recipes using the Bookmarklet. With EYB, you can have a searchable index of all your recipes in one place!

Happy cooking and baking everyone!

 
From UK books:

15 recipes from Konditor & Cook: Deservedly Legendary Baking by Gerhard Jenne,
indexed by an EYB member
 
 
From AUS/NZ books:

13 recipes from Rosa's Farm: Country Cooking by Rosa Mitchell, indexed by an EYB member

The intriguing history behind Thanksgiving food

Thanksgiving foods

As people in the U.S. sit down to enjoy another holiday meal, they may not think about how traditional Thanksgiving dishes became tradition in the first place. Someone is, however, and is sharing the fascinating history behind ubiquitous food served at this time of year.

Most Americans know the legend of the sharing between Native Americans and Pilgrims that inspires the holiday, even if most of the details aren't actually true. But how did turkey become the favored meat (native turkeys were dry and stringy), and how did we come upon oddities like marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole?

Many dishes can be traced back to effective marketing campaigns. The green bean casserole is one, created by "a home economist named Dorcas Reilly who worked in the Campbell Soup recipe kitchen, whose job it was to think up ways to use canned condensed soup in novel ways." The same can be said for Jell-O molds. Aspics had long been popular, but with the ease of flavored instant gelatin packets came an explosion in the types of "salads" made with them. 

Although not a mass marketing campaign, industrialization played a part in the creation of sweet potato casserole as we know it today. Sweet potatoes had long been a part of celebratory meals. Often they were topped with meringue, and enterprising cooks viewed the mass-produced marshmallow as an easy substitute (the fact that it was also easy to chew in an era of bad teeth didn't hurt). And even though this dish is associated with the southern United States, it was actually invented in the north.

One item, considered a delicacy in the 1700s, that graced tables from that time until the 1970s has all but disappeared from the Thanksgiving table--the olive and relish tray. As with many of the items above, celery's popularity grew due to a successful advertising campaign to promote the celery industry. 

Whatever foods are on your holiday table, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Photos clockwise from top left: Green bean casserolefrom Closet Cooking, Sweet potato casserole from Saveur, Morrocan-spiced olives from Better Homes & Gardens, and Grandma's pineapple cucumber lime jello salad from Simply Recipes

Bleak year for olive oil producers

Infused oilsIf you're a fan of good olive oil, prepare to pay more next year for what is quickly becoming a precious commodity. 2014 is being called "The Black Year of Italian Olive Oil," as the olive harvest throughout much of Italy down a sizeable 35% from last year. Spain's production is also down an estimated 20%.

Even California's olive oil output has been affected by the lingering drought in that state. Consequently, consumers can expect to pay more for the good stuff - if they can even find it. Even before the shortage, olive oil producers were being called out for deceptive labeling practices. With tightening supplies, this is likely to continue so be on the lookout for imposters.

To protect yourself, be sure to pay attention to the label, says Rolando Berementi, an olive oil importer. Due to a quirk in Italian oil labeling laws, producers can label their products by where they are bottled, not necessarily where they are grown. One exception, according to Berementi, is bottles labeled "produced and bottled by," which have to have been grown by the estate that's selling them. Another indicator of the real thing are bottles that are marked with the harvest date.

Tom Mueller, author of a book on olive oil, is less optimistic. He doesn't think label reading alone will guarantee you are getting a quality product and advises consumers to avoid "anything claiming to be Italian oil that costs below, say, $12 per liter...as it virtually can't be Italian from this year's harvest and cost that little."

Photo of Flavorfully infused oils from The Minimalist at The New York Times by Mark Bittman

Load up for leftovers

Mashed potato croquettes

Cooks in the U.S. are in the midst of Thanksgiving meal preparations, and Twitter feeds are stuffed to the gills with holiday recipe ideas. We expect that most of you have already nailed down your menu, so we thought we'd give you a head start on what to do with the leftovers you'll be facing on Friday. These ideas may be especially useful to those with overnight guests because you won't have to traipse around the internet in your Friday morning fog.

Some leftover uses are well-known: turkey tetrazzini, potato pancakes, and turkey pot pie. But you don't have to stop there. Indexed magazine Bon Appetit provides several creative ideas for using the remains of your feast--including the green beans. For those, the magazine suggests you chop them and "toss into a morning-after scramble or mix with farro, feta, and herbs for a simple grain salad." Instead of potato pancakes, they offer potato croquettes (pictured above), because isn't everything better deep fried? And they recommend making a breakfast hash using leftover stuffing.

Cranberry sauce can be swirled into your favorite muffin or pancake batter to add a dash of color and a splash of flavor. Another clever use is a barbecue sauce that starts with a base of leftover cranberry sauce. That link also contains a good tip on freezing leftover mashed potatoes to use as a topping for a future shepherd's pie.

For even more variety, you can spice things up with a recipe for tamales made with leftover turkey. If you have big "Black Friday" plans, fuel up with snacks including a banana pumpkin smoothie or try a twist on a game-day classic: turkey nachos with a spicy cranberry salsa. What is your favorite thing to make with Thanksgiving leftovers?

 

Glass class

If you're like most of us living in the U.S., this week you're currently scrambling with shopping lists and cleaning and agonizing over the weather forecast (which, at least on the East coast of North America, is dire) in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday.

If you're like me, one of the last things on your mind is the wine.  For a variety of reasons mostly relating to middle age, wine consumption has plummeted in our household.  This despite the fact that (again, due to middle age) we feel more like hanging out with our friends and entertaining than ever.

For one reason or another, there's a glut of wine books on the market right now - wine tasting guides, wine pairing guides, wine memoirs.    Sommeliers like Marnie Old (the Philadelphia Daily News and the French Culinary Institute) and Kevin Zraly (Windows on the World) are releasing wine-courses-in-a-book.  And the New York Times has chosen to release Eric Asimov's and Florence Fabricant's Wine With Food this fall as well.

I observe all this with no little envy, and that bittersweet sense of mortality that goes with knowing how many pleasures the world has to offer and how few you actually will have the chance to sample.  So, wine lovers, I must enjoy vicariously through you.  Do you buy wine books? Do you fastidiously match up your beverages with your courses?  Do you consider yourself wine-literate?

November cookbook roundup

Every month Susie Chang reviews new cookbook releases and notes trends in the United States. And she may also occasionally throw in a review of a "not-quite cookbook." And for our non-U.S. members, Jane and Fiona provide similar reviews for new Canada, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand releases.

US

It must be November, because all those high-end coffee table books that you would never buy unless you needed a gift for someone are coming out. The most anticipated release? Probably Gabrielle Hamilton's Prune. Also, a few books to read and browse that aren't exactly cookbooks, but will please food lovers nonetheless (these follow the main list).

Cookbook collageGreens + Grains: Recipes for Deliciously Healthful Meals by Molly Watson: Everything but the meat - dinners made with every progressive grain you can think of.

The Big Book of Bacon: Savory Flirtations, Dalliances, and Indulgences with the Underbelly of the Pig by Jennifer L.S. Pearsall: More than you ever thought possible about many people's favorite food group.

Vintage Pies: Classic American Pies for Today's Home Baker by Anne Collins: No month of the year is complete without at least one pie book being published. These are the classics, along with some nostalgic favorites - like Marlborough, Union, Osgood, and Jefferson Davis pies.

Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton: The highly anticipated debut cookbook by the chef whose memoir rocked the shelves in 2011. You can learn more about the cookbook, view an excerpt of its unique layout, and enter our contest for your chance to win a copy.

Cookbook collageBar Tartine: Techniques and Recipes by Nick Balla and Cortney Burns: This is brunchworthy fare, from the famous bakery's companion restaurant. If you have the patience to work your way through the recipes in Tartine's previous books, perhaps you will for this one as well.

New Feast: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian by Lucy Malouf and Greg Malouf: The Maloufs are back, harvesting their Mediterranean travels for meatless dishes.

Relæ: A Book of Ideas by Christian F. Puglisi: A new kind of chef book, where the elaborate dishes are presented as "ideas" (concept, background, presentation), with the actual recipes relegated to the back - because you're that unlikely to use them.

Ladurée Macarons by Vincent Lemains: Dozens of macaron books have been released, but this one's from the mothership of macarons, Ladurée. Now you have a bonbon of a book to go with the storefront confections.

Cookbook collageFlavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours by Alice Medrich: Ideas from dessert queen Alice Medrich on how to use those specialty flours in your cupboard, including rice flour, oat flour, corn flour, sorghum flour, teff, and more.

Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving by Cathy Barrow: the blogger known as Mrs. Wheelbarrow focuses on food preservation. Read more in our author interview, and don't forget to enter our contest for your chance to win a copy of the book.

Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day, Plus Butters, Sauces & Spreads by Donna Currie: Blogger-turned-author Currie will show you to put time on your side. Learn more about how the cookbook came about, and enter our contest for your chance to win a copy.

In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World by Gabriele Galimberti: National Geographic meets cookbook in this survey of matriarchs' kitchens across the globe. Expect fascinating stories and difficult sourcing.

Cookbook collageLiquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail by Dave Arnold: The noted cocktail guru takes readers behind the bar and into the lab, where Arnold tinkers with temperature, carbonation, sugar concentration and acidity in search of new ways to enhance classic cocktails.

Inside the Test Kitchen by Tyler Florence: For years, while shuttling between his restaurants and TV shoots, Tyler's kept a notebook of ideas. Now the Food Network alum applies these fresh approaches to comfort foods.

Cookbook Book by Annahita Kamali: This compendium of cookbooks was chosen by a panel of experts in the fields of art, design, food and photography. From classics such as Larousse Gastronomique and Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child to surprising quirky choices such as The Mafia Cookbook, each of these cookbooks has influenced home-cooking in its own way.

Ikaria by Diane Kochilas: Kochilas marries lore to lesson and recipe to interview while exploring the Ikarian culinary culture.

Cookbook collagePie School by Kate Lebo: Not content to just share some great pie recipes, Lebo also invites her readers to ruminate on the social history, the meaning and the place of pie in the pantheon of favourite foods.

Hand Made Baking by Kamran Siddiqi: Siddiqi, a self-taught baker and young blogger behind the Sophisticated Gourmet, delivers simple yet sophisticated recipes designed to entice new bakers.

Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts by Brooks Headley: Headley went from punk band drummer to part of the Mario Batali empire, and his unconventional ways followed him there.

Sunday Suppers: Recipes + Gatherings by Karen Mordechai: With her dinner series Sunday Suppers, Karen Mordechai celebrates the magic of gathering, bringing together friends and strangers to connect over the acts of cooking and sharing meals.

Giftable Not-Quite-Cookbooks

Cookbook collageEating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food by Aaron Rezny and Jordan Schaps: A Yiddishkeit tribute to the Lower East Side as it once was.

The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites by Libby O'Connell: A treat for food history buffs, from the Three Sisters crops to today's "superfoods."

Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook by Paul Yee and Judi Chan: The third in a terrific series headed up by children's book author Jane Yolen. A great gift for kids.

 

UK

Cookbook collageMs Marmite Lover's Secret Tea Party by Kerstin Rodgers: The second book from the blogger, indexed on EYB, is more than just recipes for afternoon tea. Themes (even a Marie-Antoinette inspired party) and table decorations for the table (and yourself) make these events rather more than your average tea party.

Marmalade: A Bittersweet Cookbook by Sarah Randell: On almost every British breakfast table you will find a jar of marmalade. Here Sarah Randell not only includes recipes using different fruits, herbs and spices, but also includes recipes that use the bounty you have preserved.

Amy's Baking Year by Amy-Beth Ellice: Amy-Beth is just 16 and has been baking since she was 3. Apparently she has celebrity clients and if that isn't enough, she has now produced her first book, full of seasonal recipes.

Slow Cooked by Miss South: The first cookbook from food blogger Miss South (who blogs at northsouthfood.com) is a collection of economical, adventurous food using a slow cooker.

Europe

My Kitchen Alphabet

My Kitchen Alphabet by Christophe Hardiquest: Award winning chef Christophe Hardiquest of Restaurant Bob-Bon in Brussels, one of the top restaurants in Belgium, outlines his favorite 20 ingredients and how he uses them in his signature dishes.

 

 

 

Canada

Desserts from my KitchenDesserts from my Kitchen by Lesley Stowe: Lesley Stowe is a well-known Vancouver chef and the creator of the famous Raincoast Crisps. Here she returns to her first love - desserts - and shows us how to create elegant desserts easily and to serve them with flair even on a busy schedule.Per la Famiglia

 

Per La Famiglia by Emily Richards: Traditional southern Italian food and traditions as filtered by the experiences of an Italian-Canadian.

 

 

 

Australia

Cookbook collageHome by Karen Martini: As a well-known chef and busy working mum Karen Martini shares her favourite flavour-packed dishes to put on the table for family and friends. From quick and healthy lunches to elaborate feasts for special occasions, or simply experimenting with different ingredients, the recipes are all about cooking and eating well. Home also features a Christmas chapter, with eleven inspiring and achievable recipes for any festive occasion.

Organum by Peter Gilmore: When not in the kitchen at Sydney's Quay restaurant, Peter is working in his experimental garden where he grows a huge array of edible plant species. Each component of a plant, from sweet, earthy roots to bitter fronds and fragrant blossoms, is potentially destined for inclusion in one of the 40 exquisite dishes featured here. In his new book, Peter invites the reader to share in his private obsession with nature. Peter also introduces us to the many influences on his cooking, and to the people who grow, catch and source key ingredients. Images include intensely beautiful food and ingredient shots, as well as producers and produce photographed on location.

Family Food: 130 delicious paleo recipes for every day by Pete Evans: In his latest book Pete has created family friendly recipes, following paleo style of eating. There are heaps of quick, healthy and satisfying dinner ideas that can be enjoyed by young and old, there are also specific chapters on baby and toddler food as well as kids' lunches and snacks. Recipes include Pete's special paleo pizza dough, Kale Caesar Salad and Homemade Fruit Roll-ups. Guilt-free paleo treats include Strawberry Bliss Balls, Red Velvet Cupcakes and Blueberry and Chia Ice Cream.

Delicious Love to Eat: Around the World in 120 Simply Delicious Recipes by Valli Little: Love to Eat is the ninth book from Valli, bestselling author and food director of Delicious magazine. 120 new recipes inspired by Valli's favourite flavours from around the world, all translated into simple, exceptionally delicious dishes to take you from weeknight dinners to stress-free entertaining. From Margarita Chicken, Tuscan Pork, and Kashmiri Prawns to Anzac Ice-Cream Sandwiches, Coconut Crepe Layer Cake and Turkish Delight Pavlova.

Cookbook collageAnatolia by Somer Sivrioglu and David Dale: Anatolia is a beautifully illustrated exploration of classic Turkish cuisine and culture, adapted for modern life. Turkish-born chef Somer Sivrioglu and co-author David Dale re-imagine the traditions of Turkish cooking, presenting recipes ranging from the grand banquets of the Ottoman empire to the spicy snacks of Istanbul's street stalls. In doing so they explain their take on the classics and reveal the surrounding rituals, myths, jokes and folk wisdom of both the old and new Turkey. Somer and David bring us more than 150 accessible recipes with rich colour photographs shot on location in Turkey. Also included are feature spreads on local Turkish chefs and producers and their specialities, adding another fascinating layer to the book. Take a unique glimpse into the worlds of old and new Turkey with this beautiful, multidimensional cookbook.

New Food Safari by Maeve O'Meara: This is the fourth book from the popular food show Food Safari. New Food Safari takes a trip around the world to cook with exotic ingredients from thirty-four different cuisines. From Germany to Korea, Britain to India, Lebanon to Brazil and beyond, over 260 recipes have been gathered from talented cooks and chefs who have grown up learning from their mothers and grandmothers.

King of the Grill: The Bumper Book of No Nonsense Barbecuing by Ross Dobson: This comprehensive compilation draws together the best of Ross's no-nonsense barbecuing guides Fired Up, More Fired Up and Fired Up Vegetarian as well as selections from Grillhouse. In addition to much-loved traditional Australian classics there are dishes drawing on influences from around the globe - South East Asia, India, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. An introductory section provides invaluable advice on types of barbecue, temperatures and cooking times, techniques and utensils.

Venice: Recipes Lost and Found by Katie Caldesi: Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi have dodged the tourists and unearthed some of the most delicious and authentic recipes that the romantic, alluring city of Venice has to offer. From San Marco to the old Jewish area, the Caldesis draw inspiration from the less obvious areas of the sinking city for their delectable recipes. Recipes include hot polpette (salty pork rissoles), sarde in saor (marinated sardines), traditional Venetian pasta, bigoli, and sweet fritelle, fried dumplings filled with custard that have been served on the streets of Venice for centuries.

Cookbook collageNew Feast: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian by Greg Malouf and Lucy Malouf: New Feast offers a rich and diverse compendium of recipes from North Africa and Moorish Spain, through Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan to Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. The area has long had a vibrant tradition of home-style vegetarian cuisine - from their abundant fresh salads, dips and breads to a diverse collection of delicious and hearty main meals. Based on the freshest ingredients and cooked from the heart, Greg and Lucy Malouf's recipes are designed for sharing and enjoying in company.

Made in Italy: Over 80 Authentic Recipes From the Heart of Italy by Silvia Colloca: In her second cookbook, Italian-born Silvia returns to the villages where she spent her childhood, in the regions of Abruzzo, Marche and Molise. Reuniting with family and close friends, Silvia celebrates the incredible array of fresh produce, its marked regional variations, and how this affects the local cuisine.

New Zealand

Cookbook collageSaison: A Year at the French Cafe by Simon Wright: Consistently voted the top Auckland restaurant, The French Cafe has long been the epitome of excellence. This second cookbook from Simon Wright showcases his glorious approach to food and his respect for the seasons in which ingredients are at their peak. Lavishly produced and beautifully photographed, it's the next best thing to dinner at The French Cafe!

Josh's Backyard Bbq by Josh Emett: With tips on how to barbecue successfully plus an extensive range of classic recipes that cover everything from cooking the perfect steak, tasty lamb chops and chicken wings through to whole stuffed fish, chilli prawns, satays, sliders, salads and vegetables. There's also an excellent array of sauces and marinades, along with breakfast food, hand-held food and desserts.

Hot Pink Spice Saga: An Indian Culinary Travelogue with Recipes by Julie Le Clerc and Peta Mathias: Well known cooks and TV personalities, Peta and Julie are in love with food, in love with travel and in love with India. In her characteristic exuberant, evocative and hilarious style, Peta relates how they got to know this fascinating country through its cuisine: be it street food, feasts, or an everyday meal cooked on the floor of a tiny shack. Over 60 recipes showcase distinct regional traditions, passed on from the generous people they have met. Carefully chosen and adapted to be easy for the home cook, they include such delicacies as Rajasthani white lamb curry, coriander cardamom chicken, almond sweet pudding and rose-petal ice cream.

The Akaroa Cooking School by Ant Bentley and Lou Bentley: Ant and Lou Bentley gave up the corporate rat race in London to realise their dream of running a cooking school in beautiful Akaroa in NZ's South Island. Here they share their story, their recipes and their food philosphy, with ravishing photography to match their ravishing location.

Catalogs, gadgets, and apps

Catalogs

As the holidays approach, one thing is almost guaranteed--a glut of catalogs in your mailbox. No sooner are the Halloween decorations down than the Christmas sales promotions begin (whether you like it or not). Even if your kitchen is very well stocked, there is a certain allure to the stunning images of beautiful serving vessels, cookware, and gadgets. In addition to these cooking tools, each season brings a plethora of new apps for tablets and phones.

One intriguing new app is a Bluetooth-connected kitchen scale with accompany iPad app that "aims to make baking foolproof." Its combination of recipes and automatic weighing means that the iPad acts as an supervisor of sorts. As the weight of each ingredient is reached, the app automatically moves to the next item to be added or to the next recipe step. As with most cooking apps, however, you are limited to the recipes that come with the app - a dicey proposition.

The NY Times has a video review of more high-tech tools and gadgets that can connect to the internet, including a slow cooker. The app for the slow cooker looks quite complicated and one wonders what, if any, advantage there could be to having it. Inspiration website Remodelista's top picks of kitchen tools for 2014 trends in the other direction. Although it does include an iPhone-connected thermometer with alarm, most of the list has decidedly old-fashioned tools including wooden spoons and a hand-cranked apple peeler.

As you peruse the catalogs in your mailbox, what products do you find yourself adding to your wish list?

Carve out some time to sharpen your knives

Carving knife

Thanksgiving meal plans are coming into focus and you've probably starting a few make-ahead items. When the big day arrives, you'll have more work, up to and including the turkey carving. But before you dice the first onion, there is one important task to complete: sharpening your knives.

Whether it means a trip to the kitchen store to let the pros handle it or digging out the sharpening stones to do it yourself, putting fresh edges on your knives will make meal preparation much easier. If you want to try your hand at sharpening or need a refresher course, the folks at Zwilling J.A. Henckels have enlisted kitchen knife guru Bob Kramer to make a short video demonstrating basic knife sharpening using a stone and a steel.

Don't forget to sharpen the carving knife as well as your chef's and paring knives. You'll need it when slicing that golden, moist, beautiful turkey. You may want to revisit turkey carving techniques before the big day, and luckily it's easy to find many video tutorials, each with a different spin on how to deconstruct the bird.

A few basic items are essential regardless of carving technique. First, let the turkey rest for 15 to 30 minutes after you remove it from the oven to let the juices redistribute. Secure the bird on the cutting board with several paper towels or a clean, damp dishcloth so it doesn't scoot around. This is both for safety while cutting and to prevent the bird from "flying" off the cutting board and onto the floor. Warm your platter or serving tray so the turkey doesn't get too cool in the time it takes to carve it.

Then it all comes down to preferred technique. Butcher Ray Venezia, in a video for the NY Times, uses a short chef's knife to make the major cuts and a longer flexible knife to slice the breast and thigh meat. This video has good coverage of how to spot the joints and a nice treatment on how to remove the breast intact by using a combination of pulling and cutting. He also advises not to cut the breast too thinly or it will dry out before it hits the table. One caveat about his carving: Venezia instructs you to remove the skin because it will dull your knife, but for most of us this would be unthinkable.

Good news for southpaws: The Washington Post's Bonnie Berwick carves a turkey left-handed in this video. She uses the more traditional breast removal technique of using a horizontal cut as well as a vertical one. This video also demonstrates how to remove the "oyster" after the main pieces have been removed. Real Simple's video also features traditional carving techniques, this time by a right-hander using a large chef's knife and a long flexible knife.

It's hard to let go

Spices

It's a sin that most cooks are guilty of committing - buying an unusual herb or spice, using it once (if at all), then leaving it in the spice drawer or cabinet, neglected. A recent study by kitchen electronics company Kenwood shines some light on just how much this happens, at least in Britain. It turns out that Brits keep a whopping £240m worth of unused herbs and spices sitting in their kitchens.

Thirteen percent of the Britons admitted to having herbs or spices that are more than four years old. The study also found that the "average homeowner has 10 different herbs and spices in the kitchen, with the four most-used being basil, chilli, oregano and coriander." Kenwood's trade marketing manager, Seb Goff, said the company was surprised by the response. "We know Brits continually embrace new flavours and cuisines, but it seems we're not confident enough to experiment with them in our own homes."

I suspect that the answers to this survey downplay the extent of herb hoarding. It would be interesting to see how these results stack up against cupboards in other countries, although they would probably be similar. The most popular herbs and spices might be different, however--it seems unlikely that coriander would top the list in the United States.

I count myself among the guilty when it comes to holding on to old spices. While I have good intentions about cleaning out the spice drawer, although I balk when it comes down to actually throwing the unused stuff in the waste bin. How about you? Are your spices fresh or do you have holdovers languishing in your cupboards too?

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!

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