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Cooking Tips and Ideas

Things you may or may not find in a book, and some you will not.
Things your mother may or may not have taught you.
Things "they" taught you that aren't necessarily correct.

If it seems a tutorial for you experts, my apologies, but at the age of
forty-four I started from scratch, and I'd bet I'm not alone.

Websites you should know about: - a great place to order, in household quantities, the numerous restaurant bases-not all, or even many are for soup, per se-- which make home cooking so much easier, more varied, and more interesting. Log on and find a treasure trove of products. For you purists (and I applaud you if you have time and energy to do it) you will not be as impressed as the other 99% of us who just want to do special meals with a minimum of effort. This is the place to purchase everything from clarified butter and ready to use sauces, to cooking bases you've never heard of, or even imagined.. They offer myriad suggestions from the manufacturers for their proper use to create unusual meals in a flash (relatively speaking.) - another place to order, in household quantities, a vast array of herbs and spices, including the best curry powders which are available, unless you, yourself, make them up fresh. They vary your cuisine far more than you can envisage, from roast rubs to herbs and spices you're lucky to find at any super-mart or gourmet store . . . and at lower prices. - a third great place to order: authentic stone-ground whole grains, grits and some convenience mixes (mixes are a little pricey.) And a fun place to visit if you're ever in the North West corner of Arkansas.

Worthy substitutes:
If you haven't discovered Land-o-Lakes fat free half-n-half (in the purple container at your store), look for it. It is all but identical to standard half-n-half, with none of the fat, and the calories of whole milk. It works very well as a substitute for cream, half-n-half etc. It doesn't whip, however. If you don't mind the loss of the richness of cream, in exchange for the calorie reduction, it's worth it. I use it all of the time. It's great in coffee and on cereal, as well.