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Unsalted butter and sifted flour are dead to me. (I do have a suspicion that salted butter in the UK is saltier than it is in the USA, hence all their baking recipes calling for unsalted butter, but I cannot confirm.)

My personal pet peeve is "Baking is an exact science." No, it isn't. I have butchered recipes to within an inch of their life and still produced something tasty. I can appreciate the dependability of weighing all the ingredients, but it is not as sacred a road as professional bakers would have me believe.

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Oh I am very with you about the meat fat! The other one for me is mayonnaise, I despise it and how it gets infused into so many American holiday dishes for the sake of “moist”

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Some of my favourite response to this piece are the ones that don't apply to me. I find it so interesting. I love mayonnaise. But I'm probably not very familiar with some of the American uses your'e referring to. Any examples?

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egg salad sandwich, deviled eggs, macaroni salads, but used in baking muffins or biscuits too sometimes. it’s slipped in to unexpected dishes! i’m finding it so interesting reading the responses i’ve not considered either - thanks for this!

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I think I know what you mean now. And I take your point. I've seen a trend for using mayo in place of butter on grilled cheese. Seems a very odd place to slip it in as well

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totally! i know i'm an outlier when it comes to mayo distaste in general, but it is wild to see how it gets used across a lot of dishes that might be better off without haha.

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Aug 12, 2023Liked by Wil Reidie

1. What is the point of blueberries? Look so inviting, but such a thin dreary flavour. More widely anything advertised as a superfood, means that you wouldn’t think of eating it without the erroneous notion that it is somehow “healthy”

2. The overemphasis (esp in TV) on show off restaurant style dinner party food. I like good restaurants, but it’s not what I want to eat every day, even if I could afford it. A proper kitchen supper with generous platefuls of delicious food is where it’s at. I like Simon Hopkinson’s credo that he cooks to please, not to impress. And they should ban anyone who talks about “plating up” outside of a restaurant kitchen

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I've been a fan of Simon's since I first watched his gentle, welcoming TV appearances years ago. And, like I mention in the article, his books are some of my favourites now.

You bring up really good points. Superfood is clearly a marketing term. Here in Finland we don't grow blueberries, instead we eat what we call "mustikka". This normally gets translated as blueberries but they are in fact bilberries which are less watery/juicy but, in my opinion, a bit more concentrated in flavour. I love them.

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Porridge is the devil's semen as far as I am concerned.

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Devil's semen, Nic!! Until I get that image out of my head I think you've ruined porridge for me too.

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*evil cackle*

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I do now need to find a way of working "devil's semen" into a conversation sometime soon.

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you must!

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I was beginning to think I was the only person in the world who had a preference for salted butter. Even in baking!

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You are not alone, Julia. Salted all the way for me!!

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I learn so much from you about food. I have to google images every time, and then walk all day hungry haha. I'm sorry but I'm not eating cucumber peels that may or may not be growing mold at this point (the ones we buy get rotten fast and the taste of the skin is rough if I keep it). I also adore salted butter!

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This is such a very kind thing to say. Thank you for reading, Nadia. Hope you are doing OK.

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Your last point here is spot-on. Apologies for any harm my comments about brioche may have caused. ;)

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No harm done at all. Thanks for getting involved. I'm just very interested in testing some of this exotic wonder bread of which you speak next to brioche...

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Some of the most irritating things (to me) in the cooking world are infantilized words: "veggies", "sammies", and "nom nom nom" all come to mind.

Also, I am very, very tired of all-hard-surface restaurants. Reclaimed wood, concrete, and metal. Uncomfortable chairs, naked Edison bulbs, and servers who ask if I need their menu concept explained to me but don't have the sense to know I might want another glass of wine to replace the empty one in front of me when my main course arrives.

Oh, and any food blogger/Instagrammer/Substacker/TikTokeuse who claims to offer "The Perfect (fill-in-th-blank) for Summer! Or any other season/occasion, for that matter.

I could go on, but I haven't even had my coffee yet.

P.S. Burrata isn't as interesting as most people seem to think it is.

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Aug 11, 2023Liked by Wil Reidie

And the noise level in the all hard surface restaurants. So loud... and you still can't hear your dinner partners.

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The noise. That is exactly it! I feel as if I am always eating with my left hand while cupping my ear with my right and sounding like an early mid-20th Century cartoon Grandpappy, said things like, "Eh, what's that? Speak up, Sonny!". It's all a bit too much for me.

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These places really need to consider giving out complimentary ear trumpets.

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Ear trumpets!

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You aren't the first person to bring this point up. And it is a very good point.

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This was a treat to read. I guess the British "sammie" equivalent is "sarnie", but I actually quite like that one, not that anyone under 70 says it anymore I'd wager. No argument with "nonnomnom" or, for that matter, anyone saying "sando" when referring to any normal sandwich, not the Japanese.

Now excuse me, Michael, while I go delete next week's post I had recently scheduled titled "The perfect blancmange for drowning out the meaningless of existence with".

P.S. "TikTokeuse". Nice.

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I am wholly unfamiliar with the term "sarnie", therefore it sounds exotic/exciting to my New World ears. Also, I grew up with the most depressing blancmange, which my Sicilian-American family elders called 'biancamangiata" but the rest of us called "Milk Jell-o". Rather than drown out the meaningless of existence, it only served to underscore the concept for me.

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Then, boy, do I have the blancmange for you! 👍

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I honestly do think I will write about this terrible dish and what the original (non-bastardized name: biancomangiare) is supposed to taste like when made by someone who cares instead of an emotionally withholding woman who hated making desserts for her grandchildren.

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I really want to read this.

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I shall schedule it for autumn then!

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Even when I don’t agree with you (and I agree on most of it), I love your level of irritation. “The perfect (blank) for summer” makes me hate summer, hate “blank,” hate perfection, and even hate “the” a little bit, although that’s harder to do.

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Finally, someone who loves my level of irritation! And perfection is rarely worth attaining.

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Ha! Terrific post, Wil!

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So kind of you to say, Jolene. Thanks!

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I think your dislikes are pretty sensible. I like steak, but wouldn’t want to proselytize on its behalf.

Same with pork belly and that hardcore fat component. I like it, and I eat it once in a while, but it’s not a hill to die on. Giving someone grief for not loving it-- I can’t get behind that.

Undercooked vegetables? I am gradually learning to tolerate vegetables when they’re cooked the way you prefer. But undercooked?

“What fresh hell is this?”, as Dorothy Parker used to say. “No way, José,” to quote Will Shakespeare.

I recently had an opportunity to do an A/B comparison of salted and unsalted butter on fresh bread. My conclusion: sure, I guess you should go with the salted, if you’re one of those lost souls for whom “flavor” is important.

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A/B butter testing sounds like something I can get on board with. (PS part of my day job is AB testing websites. Butter sounds more fun)

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Butter is better than websites. We all forget that at our peril.

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Ha ~ thank you for the mention, Wil. I am sort of with you on the butter. I will say that my favorite thing to eat for breakfast when I was young was a rosetta ~ a crusty, half hollow bread bun (another Roman specialty ~ did you encounter any?) ~ spread thickly with sweet (unsalted) butter and then generously sprinkled with salt. Actually, it’s still my favorite breakfast!

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Hail the conquering hero!

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You're very welcome!! I have a theory that a lot of chefs (myself included) have basically destroyed their tastebuds and perception of salt through overuse. One of the snacks I learnt to enjoy mid-service from an old head chef was basically what you describe as a rosetta, but we just sprinkled salt on salted butter.

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Was that an old “head chef,” or an “old head” chef?

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Haha, a little of column A, a little of column B

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I thought so!

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In the States, cucumbers sold in most shops have been aggressively waxed in order to prolong salability (note that I don’t say freshness). I remove those skins. They’re irredeemable. Wouldn’t be caught using them to color pasta after, though.

I am glad to agree with you on all of this and especially the salted butter. (I shall have to write up my US butter rant sometime.)

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Very excited that I might not be wrong about everything in my life after all... (what a shame about your cucumbers though!)

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I think it says a lot about a person when even their prejudices are reasonable.

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It's something to strive for at least.

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I would read a U.S. butter rant!

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Yes, me too.

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Thirded.

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