Did you know that we have a ton of useful food knowledge in our stacked and loaded Whatchamacallit section? There are hundreds of factoids, regular facts (what is the difference between factoids and facts again?) graphics, how-to’s and handy tips that need a new home in your kitchen. Take a deep dive into our Q&A section for answers to the food and cooking questions that have plagued you for years. Here are a few of our recent favorites:
Pasta: What Is Spaghettata?
When you come home hungry and still tipsy from a long night out, the last thing you’re going to do is whip up an elaborate meal for yourself and your friends. Chances are, you can toss together a bowl of pasta with whatever’s handy to soak up the excess, replenish spent electrolytes and help you achieve that special kind of drunk sleep. The Italians are one step ahead of you: they call it spaghettata. What is spaghettata? It’s the smartest tradition to ever put a party night to bed.
Fresh vanilla beans are a wonderful luxury in the pastry kitchen and should be used whenever possible over bottled extract. However, they can be really expensive and also a bit tedious to work with. As a professional baker, I honestly find the idea of using fresh vanilla beans in any sort of baked good absurd. This is why vanilla products are so useful and in many cases preferable to fresh beans. There are three main vanilla-based flavoring products: extract, paste and powder. You’ve probably heard of extract and paste, but what is vanilla powder? And more importantly, how do you use it? Let’s break it down.
It’s time for a French egg lesson! Oeufs au miroir or, simply, oeufs miroir, translated as “mirror eggs,” are fried, baked or broiled to form a barely perceptible film or “crown” of white over each yolk. They’re “sunny-side medium-rare,” if you will. Oeufs au plat, also known as oeufs à la poêle (“pan eggs”) are your typical sunny-sides, seasoned with salt, pepper and sometimes a pinch of piment d’espelette — French chili flakes.
Vegan: What Is Nutritional Yeast?
Vegan and craving something with a rich umami punch? Allergic to dairy but still yearning for something cheesy? Turn to nutritional yeast, a flavor-packed solution to your hankering that’s referred to affectionately as “nooch” by its devout fans. What is nutritional yeast? It may not have a sexy name or appearance (it comes in “beige flake” and “chunky yellow powder” forms), but it brings something to the table that’s missing in a lot of animal product–free food. Sprinkle it on, knead it in or blend it up and watch the magic unfold.
Condiments: Why Is Some Ketchup “Fancy”?
You’ve probably seen the word “fancy” on a bottle or packet of ketchup and had one of two reactions: nothing, or “Ooh, fancy ketchup — I hope it’s just the regular stuff.” What exactly is fancy ketchup? Is it Heinz’s caramelized onion– and bacon-flavored ketchup, whose reviews describe its flavor as “chemical and burned” and “not a great reality?” The ketchup you ruin a prime rib with? No, in fact, fancy is somewhat of a misnomer, as containing a higher tomato solid concentrate should really be called something more like “tomatoey-er.”