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What's with the sayings about twice boiled water?

Supposedly tea tastes better with freshly boiled water (as opposed to twice-or-more boiled water) because of the oxygen content in the fresh water. That's because water contains dissolved oxygen, which helps bring out flavors from tea and coffee. When itŐs brought to a boil, though, oxygen is released and minerals are concentrated. Thus you are left with higher concentrations of dissolved minerals and potentially any contaminants from the utensil it is heated in. Considering that lead pots were commonly used in the past, and something that tastes bad, well, tastes bad, the saying has merit. Nowadays it would be most applicable when making tea or coffee.


How can you avoid tearing up over cutting onions?

Lots of ways, apparently. Here are a number of home remedies...
1. Cut out the core of the onion - where the root comes out. This is the section that has the most tear-inducing properties.
2. Soak the onion in water before cutting - water will dilute the sulphuric compounds.
3. Freeze or chill the onion before cutting. (This is the most effective, supposedly.) The sulphuric compound that leads to tears will not react as quickly when it's cold. However, don't freeze it for too long because it can affect taste. 10 minutes should do it.
4. Cut the onion in a well-ventilated room. Give the fumes a chance to escape.
5. Light a candle. A burning flame can burn away the sulphuric fumes.
6. Use a very sharp knife when cutting onions. The enzymes are released when cells are broken or crushed; using a sharp knife slices through the onion rather than crushing and thus, fewer enzymes are released.
7. Turn on the exhaust fan above your stove, stand close to the fan, and when you cut your onion, make sure that the onion is between you and the stove.
8. Chew gum or a piece of bread while cutting the onion.


Can that pungent garlic smell be removed from the fingers after touching it?

Try rubbing the garlic-inflicted hand(s) on the inside of a steel tub to kill the smell.


What's the difference between sorbet, ice cream, sherbert, and gelato?

Not as much as you think, at least between ice cream and gelato. Their main difference is... drum roll... AIR. Ice cream can have up to 60% air, while gelato is fluffed up with only about 20% of the invisible stuff. The more tangible stuff comes from cream, flavorings and, possibly, milk.

A sorbet is made from fruit purée, possibly including the flavorings of herbs and spices but no milk. It is then whipped to lighten its texture. A sherbet is merely a sorbet with some milk (usually no more than 2% milkfat) added to it for a more creamy texture.


What are grits?

So glad you asked so politely, and in an unaccented way - if there were such a thing. Grits come from coarsely ground corn kernels (boiled with water or milk) - and nothing more. Very close to polenta (which is thicker) and farina (which is thinner), grits are usually eaten for breakfast from about Texas to Virginia and all points between and south of thereabouts.

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