It's the "Mixture" Quiz! Answer These Questions Correctly and Feel Superior Immediately!

A "mixture" of beets? Nope. (Photo by Owen Rubin.)

I’ve been editing a cookbook this past week. Doing so always leads to a new blog post where I need to vent.

This time the food writer is too fond of  the word “mixture.” (What, you thought my favorite over-used word was “delicious?”) So, in an homage to cookbook editor Judith Jones, I’ve been deleting as many “mixtures” as possible and inserting more specific words.

Instead of my usual venting this time, I invented a little game for you to play. It’s my very first “Mixture” Quiz!  (Vigorous applause from our studio audience.) I hope you’ll play. Choose an answer to each question below. Correct answers follow.

Let me know how many of the following seven questions you got right, and whether you think I’m wrong about any of them or have some new ideas for me. There is no reward for correct answers,  just a feeling of superiority. Good luck!


1. Combine the evaporated milk, garlic powder, and the Italian seasoning. Bring the _____ to a boil.

a) milk  b) sauce  c) mixture d) Get rid of second sentence and write “and bring to a boil.”

2. Combine the mashed garbanzo beans, garlic salt, and egg. Divide the ____ into 8 patties.

a) beans  b) Edit second sentence to read “Divide into 8 [Read more…]

Valentine’s Day Despite It All

food writing muffinsThe morning started innocently enough. I decided to make Mark Bittman’s muffins as a treat, instead of the usual cereal or toast. After all, Valentine’s Day demands special effort for a special day.

But then I noticed I only had a half a cup of applesauce, and needed a cup, so I had to make more. I made my husband get up from reading the Sunday comics to stir.

And then I remembered I had made roast chicken the other night because Ruhlman said any idiot could do it, so I felt qualified. It turned out fine, but  I also discovered why I stopped making roast chicken at high temperatures: it throws fat everywhere and destroys the oven. Now the oven had to be cleaned, or it would smoke and perfume my special Valentine’s Day muffins with essence of burned poultry fat.

So while I prepped the wet and dry ingredients for my special treat for my husband, he cleaned the oven on his hands and knees. I was so distracted I forgot the sugar.

Finally, at 1 p.m., we sat down to fresh muffins, fruit and yogurt. I asked my honey if he liked the muffins. He said they were “okay.” We’ve been married so long (20.5 years) I knew what that meant.

Crestfallen, I asked if he would have preferred a big ham and cheese omelet instead of this healthy treat, which I realized appealed more to me than him. He said no. “Just next time, add the sugar.” And then he kissed me.

(Photo of sugarless applesauce muffins by Owen Rubin).