The Eating...Our Words Library: 10 Essential Cookbooks Everyone Should Own and Use

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Monica Fuentes
Cooking, eating and reading: three of our favorite things.

Here at EOW, we take our food seriously. We write about all things culinary every day, and for the most part that passion was born in the kitchen. Whether you dabble with molecular gastronomy or are slowly learning your way around a burner or grill, you all share the same quest for culinary knowledge.

So today we're introducing the Eating...Our Words Library. We will add to it periodically, but we're starting with 10 Essential Cookbooks, volumes we feel should be in everyone's collection.

(Some of you will, no doubt, quibble with our selections. We purposefully left off this list some old standbys that we just assumed you already had, including Fannie Farmer's treasure and those great tomes produced by Escoffier, Point and Carême. But if by chance your library is lacking Physiologie du Goût, ou Méditations de Gastronomie Transcendante; ouvrage théorique, historique et à l'ordre du jour, dédié aux Gastronomes parisiens, par un Professeur, membre de plusieurs sociétés littéraires et savantes, you should get it. There are some great English editions out there, especially the one translated by M.F.K. Fisher.)

Bon appétit, and keep cooking.

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9 Ways Not to Make an Ass of Yourself as a Food Critic

Categories: The Basics

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Hanna Raskin, formerly the food critic for two of our sister papers, just published Yelp Help: How to Write Great Online Restaurant Reviews. The book's a how-to guide for contributors to sites such as our own Voice Places, where you can weigh in with your opinions of local restaurants. We asked her to offer up a few pointers.

If you spend enough time reading online restaurant reviews, you'll come across plenty of laughable examples of eaters assailing pasta shops for not accommodating their gluten-free diets and attacking pho joints for offering up cheap silverware and paper napkins. But you'll also find well-intentioned reviewers openly struggling with how to best put their restaurant experience into words: The phrase "I don't know how to say this" shows up in online reviews almost as frequently as "da bomb."

As a former food critic for the Dallas Observer and Seattle Weekly, I fully appreciate the difficulties of restaurant reviewing. But I also firmly believe that our culinary culture would be tremendously enhanced if users of online reviewing sites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor and Voice Places had the tools they needed to produce valuable write-ups of their meals. That's why I recently wrote Yelp Help: How to Write Great Online Restaurant Reviews, a comprehensive guide to reporting and writing about restaurant visits.

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The Non-Pressure Test: Make The Perfect Pie Crust & Lemon Meringue Like a Masterchef

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Photo by cyclonebill
Masterchef is back (and with another Houstonian in the mix)!

We've been loving the season so far, especially the pressure tests. But with a pissed-off Ramsay, daunting time restraints and cameras right in the contestants' faces waiting for them to break down in an ugly cry in front of the judges and all of America, it's no wonder these contestants succumb to the pressure.

Luckily, we don't have to. Making "stunning" versions of the challenges at home is actually not intimidating at all.

Last week, the contestants tackled a dessert classic: Lemon Meringue Pie. Perfecting the buttery, flaky shortbread crust, light and tart lemon curd filling, and fluffy, slightly crisp meringue topping can seem impossible. But no worries! With the right technique and a few tricks, you'll be mastering this triple threat in no time.

Here's how to make it:

See also:
-The Non-Pressure Test: Make Lava Cake Like a MasterChef
-The Non-Pressure Test: Make Eggs Like A Masterchef Part I
-The Non-Pressure Test: Make Eggs Like A Masterchef Part II
-The Non-Pressure Test: Make Hollandaise & Eggs Benedict Like a MasterChef

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The Non-Pressure Test: Make Hollandaise & Eggs Benedict Like a MasterChef

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Photo by Jon Mountjoy
Masterchef is back (and with another Houstonian in the mix)!

We've been loving the season so far, especially the pressure tests. But with a pissed-off Ramsay, daunting time restraints and cameras right in the contestants' faces waiting for them to break down in an ugly cry in front of the judges and all of America, it's no wonder these contestants succumb to the pressure.

Luckily, we don't have to. Making "stunning" versions of the challenges at home is actually not intimidating at all.

Last week, the contestants tackled a brunch staple: Eggs Benedict. The show may make it seem impossible, but with the right timing and a few simple steps, the hollandaise-drizzled dish is incredibly easy...and incredibly delicious.

Here's how to make it:

See also:
-The Non-Pressure Test: Make Lava Cake Like a MasterChef
-The Non-Pressure Test: Make Eggs Like A Masterchef Part I
-The Non-Pressure Test: Make Eggs Like A Masterchef Part II


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Pump Up Your Grill Game: Marinating Dos and Don'ts

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Photo by adactio
Summer's here and it's time to grill.

Step up your grill game by checking out our list of dos and don'ts for marinating meats, poultry, seafood and veggies.

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Holiday Gift Guide: 5 Useful Gifts Under $30

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If all else fails, just get the puppy.
Every week this holiday season, we'll be posting our favorite food-centric gift ideas. This week, we're featuring Useful Kitchen Tools Under $30. Be sure to check back for guides on Gifts for Kids Who Cook, Last Minute Homemade Gifts and even Useless Gifts Nobody Really Wants.

Here are 5 Useful Items That Every Kitchen Needs (and I know this because I don't have/really need half of them):

See also:
- Top 5 Seasonal Booze Gifts
- Top 5 Gifts for Wine Lovers
- Top 5 Gifts for the Baker
- 5 Gifts for the Coffee Snob
- Keeping It Kosher: Top 5 Hanukkah Gifts


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Forget Butter & Jam: Five Other Ways to Use an English Muffin

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Photo by KayOne73
English muffins are a constant in my household. I love the texture of the spongy dough filled with its all-famous nooks and crannies. Crisp up those little guys, and anything goes.

The only rule, in my opinion, is no knife. Using a fork to split them open keeps the integrity of the incredible texture. Besides that, the muffin is your oyster -- breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner, munchies; it all works.

Here are Five Great Ways To Use The English Muffin:

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How To: Eggs Benedict & What I Wish I Had Known

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Photos by Molly Dunn
They were so pretty before the disaster of a Hollandaise sauce was placed on top.
Making the perfect eggs Benedict is pretty difficult, I'm not going to lie. Not only do you need to poach two eggs, but you must create a hollandaise sauce, toast an English muffin (unless you're making your own) and griddle two slices of Canadian bacon.

I've seen Food Network stars make eggs Benedict on their cooking shows and read recipes for classic eggs Benedict, and I thought if I stuck to the recipe, following it to a T, then I could make this challenging breakfast. With a recipe, it can't be that bad, right? Wrong.

After making a few mistakes (crucial ones, might I add), I have developed a guide to making eggs Benedict along with helpful hints and tips I wish I had known about on my first attempt.

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The (Un)United States of Sandwiches: What Do You Call a Sub?

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I grew up calling any sandwich on long French or Italian bread a sub, like any normal human being would. Or so I thought, until I realized my aunt called it a grinder...and my friend called it a hoagie. WTF.

This is three people, from three states (New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania), calling the same sandwich by three different names. Since it really is a regional thing (with most of the variations stemming from crazy Italian-Americans in the Northeast like myself), I decided to take a closer look at who calls what where and if there's even a reason why.

And now I'm exhausted, but here we go:

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Happy Apple Week: Day Three -- Crock-Pot Apple Butter

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Photos by Molly Dunn
My personal jar of apple butter.
Apple butter has always held a special place in my heart. I love putting this cool, smooth and sweet spread on toast, bagels, English muffins or even just eating it by the spoonful. It's technically not a true butter because it has no cream, fat or dairy -- it's just apples, sugar and spices. But that's what makes it so wonderful.

Normally, I buy my apple butter from the Klein Bros. at a local farmer's market or even at the grocery store, but this time I decided to make it at home -- it's apple week! It's super easy to make, and the beauty is you only have to do the prep work because your Crock-Pot or slow cooker will do the rest.

After searching the Web for a good, basic recipe for crockpot apple butter, I found one that stays true to the deliciously sweet flavor of apples by adding the right amount of sugar and spice.


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