400s FAQs: Food

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This second page of FAQs deals with show content.

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400) What's the Rice-to-Water ratio? (Power to the Pilaf)
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1 Cup  Rice - 1 1/2 Cup Water

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2 Cups Rice - 2 3/4 Cups Water

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3 Cups Rice - 3 1/2 Cups Water

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401) What's the different smoke points of oils? (Steak Your Claim)
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     Butter - 350

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      Olive - 375

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       Corn - 410

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    Canola - 435

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    Peanut - 450

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Safflower - 450
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You can see from this table that there are 1) a lot of oils and 2) not everyone agrees on the smoke point of certain oils.  This probably depends on the variations of grapes, for example in olive oil, and processing. Just make sure you stay below the lowest temp for that type of oil.

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402) What's the different temps for beef doneness? (Steak Your Claim)
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      Rare: 120 to 130

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Med Rare: 130 to 145

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  Medium: 145 to 155

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     Toast: 155 and up

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403) What are the different types of salt and why does Alton like/not-like them? (Steak Your Claim)
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Sea Salt - Pricey

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Rock Salt - Have to use a grinder

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Table Salt - Iodine and anti-clumping agents added

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Kosher Salt - Pick it up, flakes, doesn't dissolve

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404) What's the stone that Alton used for his pizza? (Flat Is Beautiful)
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Unglazed quarry tile - $0.99 from a building supply store.

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Follow-up: Alton stated in Post 3832.1.2 that one can use Fire Place Bricks. They are heavier and will and take longer to heat up but you can find them in any home supply store.

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405) What are the steps for making Clarified Butter (Ghee)? (The Fungal Gourmet)
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Melt a pound of butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat and slowly cook until the bubbling ceases and the liquid turns clear, 30-40 minutes.

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Strain and cool, being sure to leave any solids in the bottom of the pan.

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Or, once the butter has cleared, remove from heat and add two inches of hot tap water.  Since it's less dense than water, the now clarified butter will float to the top.

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A few hours in the fridge will solidify the butter.  Use or wrap in wax paper and foil and refrigerate.  Can be frozen for up to two months.

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406) What are the conversions for substituting honey for sugar? (Pantry Raid IV: Comb Alone) Deduced from comments about Aunt Verna's cake recipe conversion Alton did.
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Reduce honey by 20% of amount of sugar called or, i.e. 1 1/4 Cup Sugar = 1 Cup Honey.

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Eggs can be added all at once.  Make sure they are all integrated.

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For every cup of honey reduce any liquid in recipe by 3 tablespoons.

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Because honey is slightly acidic and if baking powder is called for, add a pinch of baking soda for each teaspoon of baking powder.

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407) What kind of oil can you use on your cutting board? (Head Games)
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Use a food-grade mineral oil which should be available at your neighborhood pharmacy.

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408) What are the things you change/add for the Thin, Puffy and Chewy cookie recipes that gives each of them their consistency? (Three Chips for Sister Marsha)
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To get thin cookies:
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Add soda: Increasing the baking soda of a recipe by up to half will reduce the acidity of the batter thus raising the temperature at which it sets.

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Replace an egg with milk: eggs tend to puff rather than spread, so replacing one or all of the eggs with milk will promote spreading.

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Use butter: since it has a sharp melting point and butter batter spreads better.

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Keep a higher ratio of white to brown sugar

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To get puffy cookies:
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Use shortening: shortening melts at a higher temperature than butter so it remains solid longer giving the batter time to rise and set before it spreads.

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Increase the ratio of brown to white sugar

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Use cake flour: it has lower protein content than regular flour which will tie up less moisture making it available for steam production. Steam lifts the batter in the oven producing a fluffy, cake-like batter.

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Switch from baking powder to soda: it enhances fluffiness by creating an acidic batter which will set quicker and spread less.

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To get chewy cookies:
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Melt the butter before mixing: the water from the melted butter will combine during agitation with the higher protein of the bread flour therefore producing gluten

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Use bread flour: since bread flour can absorb much more liquid than all purpose flour, more moisture will stay in the cookie.

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Use a dark brown sugar: brown sugar is coated in molasses. Molasses loves moisture.  By increasing the amount of brown sugar the finished cookies are guaranteed to attract H2O from the air keeping them moist.

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409a) How do I season my new cast iron utensil?
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THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR SEASONING LODGE CAST IRON COOKWARE (from Lodge Manufacturing):

  1. Wash utensil in hot, soapy water. Use soap THIS TIME ONLY. Rinse
    utensil and dry completely.

  2. Apply a thin coating of melted shortening (Crisco, for example) to the utensil with a soft cloth or paper towel. Apply INSIDE AND OUTSIDE. (Note: if your utensil has a lid, season it as well.)

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place utensil UPSIDE DOWN on top shelf of oven. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet and put on bottom shelf of oven to catch any drippings. Bake in oven for one hour, turn oven off and let utensil remain in oven until cool.

  4. Utensil should be well seasoned prior to boiling foods of any kind.
    Re-season utensil after cooking beans or acidic foods (such as tomatoes). Frying and cooking foods with fat content helps expedite the seasoning process.

  5. Clean utensil after use while still warm with hot water and a plastic scrub bun or brush.

  6. DO NOT put in dishwater.

  7. DO NOT wash utensil with soap or dishwashing detergents unless you are going to repeat the seasoning process since soap tends to strip the seasoning.

  8. Dry utensil thoroughly after washing then spray lightly with vegetable oil (Pam, for instance). Wipe dry and store. Never store utensil with lid on. (Cast iron needs air circulation.)

  9. Do not use utensil as a food storage vessel.

  10. Remove any heavy food or grease build-up in a self-cleaning oven or with steel wool, SOS pad, sand paper, etc., then re-season.

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The following is from Brian S, a poster on the GEFP Message Board:
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    See that label on your Lodge cast iron? It says that you should bake your piece at 350* for one hour. Tear that label off and throw it away! 350* is for wussies!
    I called and talked to the fine people at Lodge, and they said that your should really cure cast iron at 450-500*. They said that they list 350* on their packaging because they don't want people to wig out if their piece started to smoke at 500*.
    So, with that in mind, here is how you should cure your cast iron.  ~~NOTE~~ If you are using Lodge Logic, which is pre-seasoned, you do NOT need to cure your piece before you use it. It's already been done for you.

  1. Wash and rinse thoroughly. Make sure the skillet is bone dry before trying to cure.

  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place cold skillet in oven while it is preheating. Check on it every couple of minutes. You want to pull it out when it is very warm, but not too hot to handle comfortably.

  3. Remove skillet from oven, put 1 tablespoon of Crisco (solid, not the liquid kind) in the center of the pan. Let it melt most of the way.

  4. Smear the Crisco over every surface and into every nook and cranny. You want an ultra-thin coating. You want to be able to feel it on the iron, but not see it.
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    ~Tip~ If you're curing a skillet lid, don't use a paper towel,
    because the "basting spikes" on the underside of the lid will
    destroy it in no time. Use a sacrificial terry towel. I bought
    a 10-pack of terry "bar towels" at Wal-Mart for $3.

  5. Place into a 500 degree oven and let it bake for 2 hours. Turn on your vent, it may smoke a little bit as the Crisco breaks down.

  6. Leave the skillet in the oven until it is completely cool. For some reason, the iron reacts better to a long, slow cool down time.
        If your cure should come out a little spotty or uneven, don't panic. Just store the skillet in the oven and leave it in while you bake other things. After each heating, take it out and wipe it down with pure canola oil and return it to the oven. Eventually the skillet will turn jet black.

  7. Repeat this process at least one more time before using the skillet for the first time.

  8. For the first actual use, brown ground beef, fry bacon, or best of all fry a chicken. After cooking, wipe out the accumulated fat and bits until a paper towel comes out reasonably clean.
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    ~TIP~ If you need to scrub the skillet, don't use water. Pour
    some kosher salt in the bottom of the pan, pour in enough
    oil to make a paste, and then scrub with a paper towel.
    Wipe out all of the oil and the salt and wipe down with
    fresh oil and you're all set.

  9. Wipe down with pure canola oil while the skillet is still hot. Again, you want the thinnest possible coating of oil.
        Don't use Pam or anything other than pure canola oil. I've found that several canola oil sprays leave a nasty residue on the metal if it reaches a certain temperature, but pure canola oil doesn't. Repeat this step after every single use as maintenance.

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DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT cure the cast iron with ordinary canola, peanut, or vegetable oil. Using these will result in a sticky, brown, uneven cure.

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409b) How do I re-season my cast iron utensil?
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This is also from Brian S at the GEFP Message Board:
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Ok, say you've got a really crummy cure on your skillet, or that you've got one with a lot of built-up grease and carbon. If you have a rusty skillet, go to the end of this guide for a guide to removing rust.
    You want to strip the piece down to the bare metal and start again. Here's how you do it. There are two ways to strip the cure off of cast iron: burning it off and eating it off.

  1. Burning Off the Cure
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    There are a number of ways to do this, but they all involve
    high heat.

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    Gas Grill

    1. Place your skillet upside down on a cold grill.

    2. Turn the heat to it's highest possible setting, leave the lid down, and let skillet bake for a minimum of one hour.

    3. Check it after one hour. The old cure should either turn into a fine white ash that you can brush off, or it might flake off. It may or may not need more time on the heat.

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    No Gas Grill

    1. Ok, so you don't have a gas grill, what do you do? Well, I don't know about you, but I have a lot of camp grounds in my area and they all have either a fire pit or free-standing BBQ grills/pits.
          Make a day of it, go out in the country, build a bon fire and place your iron in the heart of the fire. Have a picnic, feed the fire, make s'mores, etc. Let the fire die down to embers and CAREFULLY remove the iron. It would be best if you could leave it in the pituntil it cooled completely.

    2. If you can't build a bonfire, use one of these free-standing BBQ pits or grills. This may or may not work, depending on how hot of a fire you can get.
          Get a load of coals going, lay down a layer, put the cast iron directly on top of that layer, pile coals on top of that iron and let it burn.
          Another easy way to burn the cure off is to put your iron in your oven during its self-clean cycle. Since I don't have a self-cleaning oven, I've never tried this method, although others have told me that it works rather well.

  2. After the Heat
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    After your iron is completely cool, remove it from the
    heat. Take a stiff wire-bristled brush and scrub the iron.
    Most or all of the old cure should come off quite easily.
        After you get the old cure off, wash the piece, dry it,
    and start with step 1 of my guide to curing cast iron.

  3. Now, if for some reason you absolutely just CAN NOT get to one of the sources of high heat listed above, there is another way. However, it is extremely dangerous if done incorrectly and involves tubs full of a caustic chemical that is perfectly happy to dissolve human flesh on contact; lye.
        Cast iron is cured with fat, lye will eat fat all day long, so lye is used to "eat" the cure off of the iron.

    Flesh Eating Lye Bath Cleaning Instructions

    1. Soak cast iron pieces in lye water. Mix 1 can of lye (i.e., Red Devil) with 4-5 gallons of water in a plastic container.

    2. Suspend pieces utilizing steel coat hangers. Usually several days to a week for really dirty pieces will be enough. You can leave pieces in the tub for months (yes, months) and they will not rust and are not damaged by this method.

    3. Remove pieces after soaking and rinse with hose and relatively high water pressure. If grease does not wash away, try wiping with stainless steel souring pad or brush.

    4. Repeat the lye bath as required.

    5. After piece(s) are dry, brush with fine steel brush on drill or wire wheel.

    6. Wash the piece in dishwashing soap and warm water and rinse thoroughly. Dry. You can speed the drying by placing in the oven at 200 degrees.

    7. Generously apply oil; completely coating the item. Let stand overnight.

    8. Wipe off excess oil with paper towel and buff with a soft cloth

  4. Rust: Neither lye nor high heat remove rust. To get rid of rust, do the following:

    1. Soak pieces in solution of 50% white vinegar and 50% water for several hours.
          Now this will depend on each piece, BUT remember vinegar is an acid and acids EAT metal You will ruin your piece if you let it in the bath too long. This is NOT like the lye bath.

    2. Remove from vinegar solution, rinse and rub/brush to determine if rust has been removed. Repeat vinegar bath if required.

    3. Dry, oil, wipe, buff as above.

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410) What's the conversion for table salt to kosher salt?
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If you want to use kosher salt for table salt, multiply the table salt quantity by 1.5.
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1 teaspoon table salt = 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

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1 1/2 teaspoon table salt = 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

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2 teaspoons table salt = 3 teaspoons kosher salt

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If you want to use table salt for kosher salt, multiply the kosher salt quantity by 2/3
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1 teaspoon kosher salt = 2/3 teaspoon table salt

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1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt = 1 teaspoon table salt

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2 teaspoon kosher salt = 1 1/3 teaspoon table salt

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Treat pickling salt the same as table salt in respect to volume/mass.

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411) What's the conversion of regular elbow macaroni's weight to volume? (Use Your Noodle II)
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1/2 pound = 2 Cups

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412) Dude, how do you spell that hot pepper thing loaded with capsaicin? (Chile's Angles)
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CHILLI
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From Good Eats = Aztec word meaning the fruit of the chili plant. 

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Dictionary Def (MW)
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1 a : HOT PEPPER b usually chilli, chiefly British : a pepper whether hot or sweet

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2 a : a thick sauce of meat and chilies b : CHILI CON CARNE

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CHILE
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From Good Eats = Same as above word. The Spanish dropped off the second 'L' and changed the "I" to an "E", CHILLI to CHILE

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PEPPER
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From Good Eats = From Christopher Columbus who promised the Spanish crown that he was going to bring back black pepper. But when he got to the Caribbean, the only thing that came close were the pods we know as chilies. He called them peppers anyway and it stuck. At least they're both berries.

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Dictionary Def (MW)
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1 a : either of two pungent products from the fruit of an East Indian plant that are used as a condiment, carminative, or stimulant: (1) : BLACK PEPPER (2) : WHITE PEPPER b : any of a genus (Piper of the family Piperaceae, the pepper family) of tropical mostly jointed climbing shrubs with aromatic leaves; especially : a woody vine (P. nigrum) with spicate flowers that is widely cultivated in the tropics for its red berries from which black pepper and white pepper are prepared

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2 a : any of several products similar to pepper that are obtained from close relatives of the pepper plant b : any of various pungent condiments obtained from plants of other genera than that of the pepper <coriander pepper>

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3 a : CAPSICUM 1; especially : a New World capsicum (Capsicum annuum) whose fruits are hot peppers or sweet peppers b : the fruit of a pepper that is usually red or yellow when ripe

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CHILI 
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From Good Eats = Short for 'chili carn carn' [sic: chili con carne]. A strictly North American invention that often features chili powder

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Dictionary Def (MW chili con carne)
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: a spiced stew of ground beef and minced chilies or chili powder usually with beans

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CHILI POWDER
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From Good Eats = a mixture of ground chilies and some spices like black peppers, cumin, and sometimes cinnamon.

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Dictionary Def (MW)
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: a condiment made with chilies ground to a powder

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CHILE POWDER
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From Good Eats = dried chilies which have been ground into a fine powder.

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Dictionary Def (MW)
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--none--

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HUUYUB
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From Good Eats = Yucatec for 'to draw breath with puckered mouth after eating chilies'

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413) When is the first time AB used the word "Multi-Tasker"?
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Although he used the term "multi-purpose" for a lid in the season 2 show, Ear Apparent, the first time he referred to his love of "multi-taskers" was 3 shows later in the episode, Pantry Raid II: Seeing Red: and he was referring to a can opener which could also be used as a 2nd class lever.

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Other multi-taskers:
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Food Multi-Taskers:
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Eggs (A Cake On Every Plate)

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Vinegar (Good Wine Gone Bad)

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Sweet Potatoes (Potato My Sweet)

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Waffles (The Waffle Truth)

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Reserved Marinade (The Other Red Meat)

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Cornmeal (True Grits)

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Tool Multi-Taskers:
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Fire Extinguishers (many episodes)

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Grapefruit spoon (The Choke's On You / Tomato Envy)

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A Slotted Spoon (School of Hard Nogs)

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Meat Tenderizer Hammer (The Bulb of the Night)

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Bagel Slicer (Chops Ahoy)

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1 Gallon Zip-Lock Bag (Choux Shine)

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Pizza Roller Slicer (Art of Darkness II)

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Colander (Mussel Bound)

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Bench Scrapper (Olive Me)

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Heating Pad (Tender is the Loin I)

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And others ...

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414) When is the first time AB said to "wash those (insert meat here)-y hands"?
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The first instance was in Season 1 with the episode A Bird in the Pan. Others can be at the bottom of The Quotes page.

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Last Edited on 08/27/2010