Common Cooking Questions Answered

By Anna Dantoni –

sugarWe’ve all been there. You start making a recipe and realize you’re missing an ingredient. Stop everything and run to the store? Maybe, but a better idea is to consult the book “Food FAQ’s,” a handy guide to substitutions, yields, and equivalents. Organized by Linda Resnik and Dee Brock, this small paperback is so useful on a daily basis that you’ll want to keep it on a bookshelf near the kitchen. It truly will save you time and effort.

Besides a nice long list of foods that are agreeable substitutes for what your recipe calls for, the book has extensive reference sections on yields and equivalents. An example is that a 14-ounce package of flaked coconut equals 5 cups loosely packed. Or how about this one: To get approximately ½ cup of fruit puree, use 4 ounces of fresh berries or 1 cup of cooked and drained berries. And throughout the book are food facts boxed on the pages. For instance, herb flavors are most concentrated in ground form. And, as a general rule, you can expect to get 1½-2 cups of nutmeat from 1 pound of nuts in their shells.

foodfaqHere are a few more helpful bits of information. But for lots more and to have a handy reference at your finger tips, acquire the book and become an expert on what to do when you have to deviate from a recipe.

When using frozen beans, a 9-ounce package will yield approximately 2 cups of thawed beans. An average bunch of greens will cook down to about 1½ cups. Canned beans can be substituted for dried beans in cooking. This is useful information if you want to make soup in a hurry. If the recipe calls for ¾ cup dried beans (that’s before soaking and cooking), substitute a 16-ounce can of beans. Rinse and drain the beans before adding to your recipe.

( “Food FAQ’s” by Linda Resnik and Dee Brock. FAQ’s Press. Paperback. 220 pages including index. $12.95)
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