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Hills Bros Coffee 100% Colombian Medium Roast, 12 Compostable Single Serve Cups, 3.8 Ounce
Hills Bros Coffee 100% Colombian Medium Roast, 12 Compostable Single Serve Cups, 3.8 Ounce
Price: $8.12
2 used & new from $8.12

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good basic coffee..., May 28, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Good tasting coffee, just the right brew if you don't like a lot of sourness in your blend. For me, this is nice for mornings when I want some good basic coffee. It may not be the cup you savor after dinner, but a second cup at my desk keeps me awake, which is always a good thing when one is working, and it's gentle enough that I don't have a coffee tummy a few hours later.

If you are like me and enjoy several cups during the day, this might be a good choice. Non-argumentative, flavorful, always better with the addition of a little honey or cocoa or sugar when you need a treat, and no mess or fuss.

Every coffee maker is now churning out K-cups, so it's easy to find your favorite in this wonderful format. And K-Cups just make life easy. Every morning when I joyfully leap out of bed, chase away the bluebirds and dance my way into the kitchen, it's lovely to know I will be drinking coffee as soon as I push the button. And if you have seem me, no that's not a scythe in my shriveled talon, I'm not wearing a hood, and why not just shut up? Anyway, mornings are so much easier. No more filling the kettle for the French Press. No more realizing I never put the darn filter into the Mister Coffee (you'd think I'd have one of those permanent ones by now, wouldn't you). This is instant gratification. If they could make a K-Cup shrimp and grits maker, life on earth would be perfect.

These K-cups are the soft-bodied kind, fit the machine perfectly, and presented no problems. The product information claims that, with less plastic, these cups are easier on the environment, which is always something to strive for. Except in the morning I kind of forget about environment and citizenship, friends and family. I just want coffee. I have been found huddling in the corner where the dishwasher meets the cupboard, sucking on a k-cup, making feral noises and scaring the cat. It probably would not be a good time to question my environmental footprint.

Hills Bros looks to me like 4 stars -- not stellar coffee, just darn good. Enjoy.
Comment Comments (43) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 10, 2016 8:02 PM PDT

InterDesign York Scrunch Storage Utility Bin, Brown
InterDesign York Scrunch Storage Utility Bin, Brown
Price: $20.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much utility, May 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
To begin with, this utility bin is small: About 16 inches long, a foot wide and ten inches high. It does not hold a great deal. And it has no lid, so it's not good for long-term storage unless you wrap everything in plastic first. The idea is, when not in use, you collapse the thingy and shove it someplace. Then when you need it, you pop it open. Which is nicer in theory than in fact. The sides are soft, there is no bracing, so if you pick it up from the bottom, it collapses and whatever you've put inside can fall out. You may want to make a note to yourself: Always remember to pick up by the handles. And then, also like me, forget about it real fast, so you are always chasing rogue oranges and lamb chops on the lam in your trunk. If you are interested improving your swearing abilities, not to mention the depth and breadth of the bad words, this will come in very, very handy.

In my quest to find something to use this thing for, I decided it could make a decent beach carry-all, but I've seen better and without a lid, you'll be wiping sand off the peaches and shaking it out of the towels. If you transport clothes from your home to a second location, you could cram in a day or two's worth of stuff, or some towels, or a sheet set. But not much more. And remember, no lid, so don't keep this is an attic or someplace dusty or inhabited by cute but horrible rodents.

I finally decided to use mine to hold bags from the supermarket. It's okay for this purpose It can live in the trunk or passenger seat and replaces the collapsing paper box that formerly did the job. I do have to be careful with the thing. The instructions say 'do not machine wash' and that means you can clean the inside, but if you spill something on the outside, you'll have an annoying clean up on your hands. So make sure that your steaks aren't dripping out of the plastic bag or anything. Or add another layer of plastic. And another layer of work.

I'm exhausted already.

The cost is $18.50 and when I compare it to the old box it replaced (one of those bank boxes for transporting papers...heavy duty cardboard, a lid (which I lost) and holes for handles, it seems a little pointless. The box was free, being thrown away by some former employers, so I was already ahead by almost 20 buck. I use a plastic trash bag to line the box, which you could also use to keep the Scrunch Storage Utility Bin clean, but then who would see that tweedy brown fabric you just shelled out good money for? Counter productive. When the box got dirty, I threw it away. I could have foraged another free box. When this gets dirty, I have a cleaning job to deal with. Do I need more of that? Isn't my life short enough, I'm going to spend my golden years washing utility bins? If I clean the kitchen, I invite people in off the street to see. Not that they ever come. Cleaning utility boxes is way, way down on my bucket list.

So I'm stuck with three stars because it does what it says, but there are better ways. Think about it. If you need a handsome storage bin you can leave out for people to enjoy, this is for you. And I'm sure we all have friends who just can't wait to see our storage solutions. On the other hand, you are going to have to spend time figuring out what to store. I thought of firewood (too small; magazines (I don't save them), and I'm down to the schlepping sheets to a country house (which I don't have, but would happily visit you if you are short of guests, and keeping the bags from falling down in the trunk (which the box did cheaper and better).

If you are rich, this may be the plutocrat's solution to cardboard boxes. If you are not rich, keep looking.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 9, 2015 6:34 PM PDT

T-fal E83407 Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Durable Cast Iron Skillet / Fry pan Cookware, 12-Inch, Black
T-fal E83407 Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Durable Cast Iron Skillet / Fry pan Cookware, 12-Inch, Black
Price: $28.75
18 used & new from $28.54

106 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No seasoning!, May 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are real cooks out there, the kind who say stuff like "Hmmmm, fifteen minutes before dinner? I think I'll make a bundt cake." And then there's me. Most of my kitchen time is spent stopping the bleeding and putting out the flames. I like to cook, I would be a better cook if I could, but there is just something missing in my wiring. Paying attention, reading directions, and not eating the better tasting ingredients first could be part of the problem. So the words "season" as applied to a frying pan terrified me. I pictured Mountain Woman doing all sorts of arcane things with hot oils and ovens and forge-like flames. I just learned that it means put oil on the pan and get it hot. Okay, I'm not Mountain Woman. I'm more like one of those gals whose out running around while poor Hank Williams is yodeling for me to get back to him and the kids. But at least now I can season a pan.

But to get back to the review. This 12-inch, extra heavy pan from T-fal says preseasoned, but that doesn't mean you are off the hook. This one got what seems to be a light coating of vegetable oil. And no offence to the T-fal people, I'm not sure how long it sat in a warehouse. So when I got it, I got out a scrubber, put it in hot water, and cleaned it. After it dried, I googled "seasoning a cast iron pan," found the instructions that sounded like they were written by a real human being with a life, not Mrs. Bundt Cake, and then I cooked some bacon. One must always use bacon when testing frying pans. It tastes good, you can eat it on its own or in a sandwich, and gives you a reward for all that labor. Plus it is also playing it's little role in seasoning the pan even more. I've used the pan a few times, always careful to oil it up, and have had no problems.

The pan has a nice design, with a long and nicely shaped handle on one side, and a very essential grab handle on the other. Since the thing weighs a ton, you are going to want to be sure to have a spare pot holder handy so you can carry it with both hands if necessary. There are two drip spouts for pouring off the excess bacon fat (as if there was such a thing).

What I like about cast iron is that you can go with very high temperature. I mean Very. This one is good for up to 600 degrees. I have no immediate plans for becoming Satan's chef, but I also have no immediate plans to reform, so I'll keep the option open. Plus you can start off browning a steak under high heat and then finishing in the oven, or even using it on the barbecue (with a pad). The amazing non-stick of good cast iron means you can do eggs and bacon, pancakes, delicate fish like trout -- all without worrying about stuff sticking to the pan or having it fall apart on you. Fish cooks so fast, you just want to whisk it in, eat a slice of bacon, and whisk it off. (Important kitchen note: If bacon is not handy, chocolate can be eaten instead.) I have several Lodge pans and this seems about as good. The price is not a killer either. 12 inches is not one heck of a lot of frying pan, but it's fine for two people or for side dishes. I figure four trout or two steaks are the perfect fit.

Clean up is easy. Remember, seasoning eliminates sticking. Just don't use soap on the pan. I use some steel wool and hot water, and then wipe it dry. I have a friend who is a brilliant cook who has pans from her grandmother, and they are rusted up; she just scrubs them down before she uses them, adds some oil and heats them up. No big deal. If you have never ventured from the usual stainless steel or non-stick, this pan is a good beginning and after just a few uses, you'll see why so many people like cast iron. Five mountain-style Stars.
Comment Comments (20) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 8, 2016 4:57 PM PST

Cuisipro Hand Held Mandoline with Hand Guard
Cuisipro Hand Held Mandoline with Hand Guard
Price: $39.93
9 used & new from $27.64

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Slicer for Life!, May 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Until I saw the Cuisipro Mandoline, my newest favorite slicer was the OXO Good Grips Complete Grate and Slicer Set. Nice, lightweight, portable, with storage for the blades inside the vegetable holder. It looked good and even though I could tell it would not last forever, I liked what it did. And then along came Cuisipro, big and brawny, handsome and up to the job. There you go: my second marriage all over again.

Anyway, I switched over to the Cuisipro and like it very much. It has Includes three cutting blades with dual surfaces. YOu can slice, make those crinkle cuts and waffle cuts, or you can grate or julienne. The weight is nice. It does not wiggle around on the counter and it's sturdy as all get out. You slide in the blade, turn the key and you're good to go. The handle is slip-proof, you get a big knuckle guard (essential for people like me who are now officially down to the bone). With five cutting options you can do a lot with the Cuisipro. Even better, you can adjust the thickness from paper thin to zoftig. I like my potatoes with a little heft to them when I make a salad, but I'm thinking of doing some home-made chips and this is going to make it possible. Because, you now, I do need that essential second source of chips. If Frito-Lay ever decides to top playing fast and loose with my arteries, I need a back up system.

Anyway, I have tried the Cuisipro on a bunch of different foods. First out was a big bowl of semi-kim chee, which is a kind of fermented Korean cabbage slaw that I didn't ferment. It had sliced onions, napa cabbage, radishes, carrots, and other stuff along with hot peppers, fish sauce and any number of other herbs and spices. It was pretty good tasting, and the Cuisipro came through the challenge with no problems. Since then, I made some carmelized apples and onions which were a cinch to slice, and the next project is a truck load of potato salad, with a cart full of onions and maybe some carrots and other things that look interesting. With bacon and mayo and vinegar and boiled eggs. Traditional plus bacon, which is the international term for "more." The Cuisipro is big and strong, does what you need it to, makes boring things like slicing your way through a ton of potatoes less unpleasant. The price is $39.95 ($10 more than the OXO, but this looks like it will last longer, so that's a wash). Storage is easy...the mandolin is flat and I put the blades in a plastic bag underneath. It will take me months to lose them all.

So, for a good looking, heavy duty slicer that is easy to use, with blades that are a cinch to install or release and sharp enough to tackle what you want to slice, I don't see how you could go wrong with one of these. On the other hand, that third marriage didn't work out so well: I tend to be an optimist.

Five sharp stars for an excellent slicer.
Comment Comments (52) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2016 5:21 PM PDT

DozzZ Warm Soft Light Weight 87 x 94 Inches Velveteen Fleece Blanket For Autumn, Light Red
DozzZ Warm Soft Light Weight 87 x 94 Inches Velveteen Fleece Blanket For Autumn, Light Red

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soft, warm and plenty big., May 27, 2014
This is a blanket made for snuggling. I moved from Los Angeles to a more northerly and significantly colder climate and waited until I now so I could give the blanket a real test. Evaluating in on a 65 degree L.A. night didn't seem just right. Here is drops down to the high 30s/low 40s, although the days are beautiful and warm and breezy. My first night here, I shivered and got up and put on a pair of sweats. My light as a feather (and featherweight) comforter is fine for tropical nights, but not made for real cold. Next night I broke out the DozzZ blanket. It's so big, it covered my comforter, trapping all the heat under it. Big plus. I was warm. But was I comfortable? You bet. This blanket is soft and fleecy and surprisingly light. The color is a shocking pink...if you like that kind of oooomph in your pallet, you'll love it. Even if you don't, just throw the blanket over yourself and your existing covers on a cold night and you won't worry about whether or not it matches the ecru and robin's egg. You'll be snoring in warm, cozy comfort. Come the morning, fold it up and put it away. No problem.

After a week, I threw it in the washer, used cold water and Tide detergent, let it tumble dry and it came out soft, fluffy and perfect. No stiffness, no pilling, no color fade. If it continues to hold up this way, it's worth the price and then some.

There are a few hiccups in the description, but none that would be deal-breakers. The description says: The front of the velveteen blanket is Coral fleece, the back is plush throw. Actually they seem identical to me. The velveteen is polyester, not a natural fiber, but for the price, you aren't going to get anything fancier. And that color is a little bright. Not horrible, just not at all shy. I kind of like it. All my life I have had white bed linens, sometimes running wild with a pale beige or a light blue. And all these years there has been coral. What was I thinking. It's loud but pretty. And after all, it's your blanket and your bedroom. If you want coral, go coral. I'm seeing a whole new world out there.

For the price, this is possibly the softest, warmest choice you can make. Totally practical. No fancy stitching, no satin edging, just a warm blanket. And sometimes that's all you need and all you want.

Not bad to wrap yourself up in while watching tv either. I indulged in a three episode House of Cards Binge and this kept me warm all the way through without overheating.

Five stars for the perfect snuggling blanket.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 29, 2014 1:52 PM PDT

KONA French Press Coffee Tea & Espresso Maker, Black 34oz Teapot ~ Best Present Idea For Gifts
KONA French Press Coffee Tea & Espresso Maker, Black 34oz Teapot ~ Best Present Idea For Gifts
Offered by Idylc Homes
Price: $19.97
5 used & new from $19.97

34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My new favorite..., May 11, 2014
I now have five of these coffeemakers in various sizes, from a tiny one-cupper to this six cup (four mug) giant. I started with a Bodum, which is a good place to start, and so far have have never had a problem with any. I like this one for the big size and for the borosilicate pot that can withstand even my fumblefingered acrobatics. It arrived in the mail and I washed it out and gave it a try...but while pouring in the boiling water, I managed to drop the glass carafe, bouncing it off of the sink and onto the floor. It hit hard but didn't crack or break. I did only minor damage to myself, because I was somehow not where the water sprayed, which was also nice. Anyway, it's good to know that this carafe can withstand early morning coordination lapses.

The innards are put together well too, nice and sturdy. The fit is perfect, so you don't get too much in the way of coffee grounds floating into the brew when you depress the plunger. It is as easy to clean as any French Press, just rinses out. I put the plunger in the dishwasher, but generally just rinse the carafe itself to keep it looking new. It certainly is not difficult to keep clean. But the best part is that generous volume. The directions state 32 ounces, which is four filled to the brim mugs, more like four and a half or five. And an easy six to eight regular coffee cup sized cups. Enough for a dinner party without getting up to do it all over again, or for one of those Sunday mornings where you know you are going to do the crossword, keep refilling your cup and to heck with the chores.

This oversized pot is easy to hold, easy to pour. The plastic siding means you don't worry about burning your hand if touch the side. I have nothing but good things to say about this press, and urge anyone who really loves coffee to try one of these coffee makers. You will discover a new way to get a tremendous amount of flavor out of almost any grind (you just don't want anything too fine or slips through the plunger), a brewer that looks good at the table, and a fun addition to your coffee making arsenal.

If you look at the reviews, everyone who tried the Kona French Press liked it. There is one single-star review, but I think the reviewer misses the point. He thinks it is excellent. Someone should tell him. Anyway, this is definitely something to consider and easily worth five stars.
Comment Comments (19) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 22, 2014 2:50 PM PDT

Tide Plus Downy April Fresh Scent Liquid Laundry Detergent, 92 oz, 48 loads
Tide Plus Downy April Fresh Scent Liquid Laundry Detergent, 92 oz, 48 loads

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh and fluffy, May 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I like Tide Liquid, it's a nice cleanser for anything from linens to towels, and the kind of clothes you just throw in the machine without worrying about. There are people who use specially sourced powders and liquids that improve the environment, make their 1000 thread count pillowcases float off the bed, and turn a spa-quality bath towel into a tiny and absorbent piece of heaven. Me, I buy my linens and towels at Big Lots and they're tough enough to handle whatever detergent I throw at 'em.

I used Tide Downy on the criminals in my linen closet and they certainly improved with the contact. Soft and fluffy, nice smelling...I couldn't ask for more. Well, technically I could ask for them to make their own way to the washing machine and to fluff and fold themselves, but let's be realistic. Tidy Downy is fine for normal clothing, sweats and that sort of thing. If you wear antique laces and vintage Chanel, you wouldn't be schlepping with this stuff anyway.

I prefer liquid to powder detergents because I have been known to overfill the washer and that results in powder trails. No such problem with liquids. This is effective, all purpose and does what most of us require from a detergent. Highy recommended
Comment Comments (23) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 23, 2014 6:01 PM PDT

Kernel Season's Spicy Seasoning Variety Pack, 2.85 Ounce Shakers (Pack of 3)
Kernel Season's Spicy Seasoning Variety Pack, 2.85 Ounce Shakers (Pack of 3)
Price: $9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dances with Sodium..., May 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These toppings are just plain good. They give variety to popcorn and don't require that you slather it with rich, sweet butter and big clouds of freshly grated cheese. Sure, you can, but you're watching Real Housewife of New Jersey, do you really want to waste time with the gourmet popcorn fixing? Nah. Microwave, shake, eat. It's not just good, it's Reality TV good.

I got my package a couple of days ago and shared with my friends. Everyone gave a thumbs up for the flavors but no one was impressed with the 'spice.' The Buffalo Wing tastes like the flavoring on the buffalo wings they serve you at a bar when you are pouring back the beer and would probably eat one of the darts and think it was chicken if the feather was long enough. The Bacon Cheddar tastes like both and no sane person on the planet will argue with that, and the cheesy Jalapeno tastes, well cheesy, but not necessarily jalapenoid. I believe spicy means SPICY. One jalapeno is invisible. A half a bottle is a serving. Once my best friend and I got into a Thai food eating contests that left us both with lip blisters. I still can't say things like "sylvester" without something falling out of my mouth. Or body cavity.

If the Buffalo Wing and Cheesy Jalapeno had the slightest bit of heat to them, I'd amp it up to five stars. But there is no discernable heat at work here, and if you have the world's most mild palette, you can enjoy these without worry. The rest of us can sprinkle on some cayenne. Or, if you are a deranged Martha Stewart type, get some really good gruyere cheese and grate it until it's like a cloud; you want a lot of cheese, so that when it melts, the popcorn kernels get glued together with its cheesy goodness. Really delicious. And for something weird but inexplicably delicious, try this blend. Trust me. People will eat their own fingers trying to cram this stuff down. The mixture is nothing special individually, but put together, tastes like nothing else on earth and makes popcorn the food of the angels:
3 tablespoons brewers' yeast
2 tablespoons garlic salt
2 tablespoons celery salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Lots of options: you can dig out the cheese and grater, go rummaging in the spice cabinet, or just unscrew the Kernel Seasons stuff and pour away. Three bowls, three seasonings, who could ask for more. Enjoy.
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 12, 2014 6:45 PM PDT

Mead Zipper Binder with Maximum Storage, 3 Ring Binder, 2 Inch, Blue (72192)
Mead Zipper Binder with Maximum Storage, 3 Ring Binder, 2 Inch, Blue (72192)
Offered by Mike's Online Solutions
Price: $32.87
9 used & new from $31.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Convenient workhorse for the price, May 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is not the binder of your dreams, it's not beautiful, one reviewer points out it doesn't have a handle. Well, no. It doesn't have wheels and a handlebar either, so I couldn't ride it to work. I checked my other binders for handles and they all grinned with embarrassment and looked around like they wanted to get outta there. Apparently I have been living in a world of handle-less binders, the last knuckle-dragging Neanderthal in the Cromagnon world. Here it is: I'm a simple woman.

First of all, all I ask from the binder is that it hold paper, and the Mead holds a lot, maybe a whole ream. I use lined and unlined, and various forms in mine. The purpose is business related. It holds the paper, it holds the dividers. I'm not looking for more. Reviewers say there aren't enough places to keep things--phones, pads, ipod, keys, parking ID, pencils, calculators and other stuff; they prefer a binder with lots of pockets. I am more efficient: I save time by losing the accessories as soon as I get them, or just throwing them in my purse and then losing the purse. A good system is hard to beat.

Anyway, if you want a binder that serves as your personal assistant and porter, this is not it. There are 3 storage places; on the outside you get one made for a pen and a pencil, and another where a phone could fit, or perhaps a card case. The inside pocket is fine for a tiny address book or notebook. To be frank, I don't have much more stuff, so even this limited accommodation seems lavish to me.

If you want to be a stickler, this binder is shaped a little oddly as well...not regulation size. It's much wider. I have no problem with that, having lived with my hips all my life. But you will not be able to carry this in a backpack. Again, not a problem for me. I am not of the backpack generation. I don't camp, I don't schlep. And when I was in school, we used a rubber strap to hold our books. Even back then, every girl carried a purse where you kept your money, lipstick and tissues and your lunch. Boys stuffed things like this into a back pocket. They walked funny but it worked.

Before that, we carried book bags, like fat briefcases only with pictures of Scout the Wonderhorse or Barbie. You could fit the sofa in one of those. Little kids also had to carry a lunchbox with a picture of a famous horse or Barbie on the front, plus it had a thermos which you broke or lost the first day. The thermos was for soup, but I never knew any kid to bring soup and a sandwich to school. Maybe in the suburbs. We just brought the chopped ham on a kaiser with mustard, maybe some cookies if we were lucky. This was before Juice In A Box. There were little juice cans, tiny things, but they cost a lot and your mom always 'forget' them. "Drink water" was her advice. Or you could buy milk at school. No vending machines, no choices. And no soda.

But getting back to the binder. Complaints from reviewers include no locks (a locking binder? Who are these people? Enrico Fermi? Another reviewer complains that a pen or pencil might fall out of the front holding spot, which is, of course, a rather sobering possibility. I generally get my writing supplies out of someone else's purse or office, so it doesn't really bother me when I lose one. And if I have to buy a pen, I generally get a truck load down at the 99C store. One buck gets you enough pens to drop behind the sofa for the rest of your life. Live it up.

For ten dollars, give or take, the Mead is just fine in that it gives you a good place to hold paper and dividers. There are some extras, which are nice. My other divider just has the three rings plus a slit in the plastic to hold "documents." It makes the Mead 2 Inch Zipper Binder with Zipper Storage look like something out of Mission Impossible. If that's still cutting edge. Or The Matrix? Anyway, compared to my other binders, this one has a few more bells and whistles, and it's worth the money. Five luddite stars.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 11, 2014 11:24 AM PDT

The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook
The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook
by America's Test Kitchen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.76
105 used & new from $9.79

28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eating for two?, May 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I saw a refrigerator magnet that said "Dance Like Nobody's Looking." Cute, but really, why would you. Dancing is a good time to show off. Or slink off the floor before that elbow takes out somebody's eye. Forget dancing. Eat like nobody's looking -- that's the thing...and the newest release from America's Test Kitchen tempts us to do just that.

The editors take a lot of trouble with their instructions. I understand they scout around and locate a few 'best ways' to cook something and then make their choice. I came to these books late...I have no idea why I waited, but they are always good, always have the info you need and, in fact, most of the time, it is the best way to roast pork or cook cauliflower or make cranberry relish.

In this case, ATK took about 650 of its favorite recipes from other books and revamped them to suit two people. Brilliant idea. There comes a point in every life, sometimes two or three points, where the number of people you cook for changes. Maybe you cook for yourself, then two, then a family, back to two or one, up and down. That's how it went for me. Now I'm down to one, and soon it will be two again. I can cook, but I can't cut down. I make that six serving casserole and the freezer is full of ancient stuff that was good but has worn out its welcome. Cutting recipes down just doesn't work. If I want a stew for two, what do I do with the rest of that lamb shoulder after I cut off enough for us? Measurements, food amounts, cooking times, everything is calculated for the deuce. You don't get an unspiced curry or an overcooked piece of fish.

The other thing I love about ATK is that they don't assume we automatically know something. They tell us what do to from the gitgo. I'm a long term cook of the so-so variety, and they've shown me I still have a lot to learn. For instance, this book includes a basic cooking guide and the smartest advice on how treat an egg that I've ever seen. There are tips on how to shop for two so you don't end up with furry tomatoes or squishy mushrooms, and they also tell you how to store things so they stay fresh longer.

Since there are 650 different goodies to cook, you have an entire repertoire between two covers, from parties to weekday meals, breakfasts, lunches and dinners, soups and salads, everything, in other words, that two people will be eating. Feeling romantic? Want a hearty dish for a cold night or something cool and crisp for the dog days of summer? You got it. Plus dessert.

Whether you are new to the stove or a seasoned vet, ATK's The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook is a gem. And it's fun to read. Plus you will never be forced to stuff down that third or fourth helping of mousse because the recipe was double what you needed. OKay, we can skip that part. The rest of the book is worth it.
Comment Comments (22) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 28, 2016 6:47 PM PDT

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