The Beggars Take Your Questions, part 6 – Rapid-fire edition

Has it really been so long since we last answered your questions?  What with all the nuttiness of wedding planning and the World Cup (and Saucer), we’re guilty of neglecting you, the loyal random people who come to us through bizarre Google searches.

But fear not, because with the disruption of the Beautiful Game behind us, and the haunting drone of the vuvuzela already fading into memory, we can now settle in to see how we can help you with your detailed questions.  And because we have so many questions and so little time, we’ll take on a new and exciting way of plowing through the backlog sharing insightful, focused answers:


Do you have your brain set to OH MY GOD SO MUCH INFORMATION?  Because here we go!

1.  Where does Anne Burrell get her clothes?

We have gone on record as having no end of affection for Anne Burrell, mostly because she seems sincere, bucks the trend of the prettyboy Food Network hosts, and is genuinely enthusiastic about her cooking.  But we had no idea so many people were fascinated by the clothes she wears.

Go on, go do a Google search for “Anne Burrell clothes” and be amazed.  People have got a LOT to say about what she wears, and a surprising amount of emotion about how it fits her.  We had no idea there was that much investment in her appearance — we’re still attempting to cope with how much salt she uses, ourselves — but go figure:  People get in a twist about tight sweaters.

So, now you know that the person to blame for your visible curves anxiety is Burrell’s stylist, Marni, who “shops for Burrell at Anthropologie, Ann Taylor Loft and Macy’s, particularly for the INC line. She also shops at Saks, Bloomingdales, Lucky Brand, H&M and a Japanese boutique in SoHo, Uniqlo.”

2.  What do you dip jalapeno poppers in?

We prefer a lovely cilantro-lime yoghurt dip, ourselves.  And wouldn’t you know, Tina just happens to have a suggestion on how to make one!

3.  What does kohlrabi look like?

Kohlrabi resembles kind of a weird, blanched turnip.  You know, like this:

Despite that, it’s much more like a layered leafy green, somewhere between fennel and cabbage.  It can be boiled or pickled, but there’s an awful lot going for it should you decide to simply enjoy it raw.

Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, in a salad with some tangy apple and hearts of palm.

4.  Is there a difference between chana masala and garam masala?

Yes!  One is definitely less embarrassing to order in a restaurant than the other.

Chana Masala is a slightly thick mixed chickpea stew that features onion, tomato and a medley of spices that add up to a quite sumptuous vegetarian dish.

Garam Masala is a mixture of spices that features prominently in Indian food, intense in flavor without being too chili-hot.  Among many others, it is a big contributor to the flavor of a Chana Masala, and indeed in foods served throughout India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

5.  Does it hurt to take gin with medicines?

We’re not ones to wag our fingers or be teetotalers, but generally speaking the answer to this one is a great big YES.  While small amounts of alcohol (particularly gin) have a reputation for being therapeutic, it’s mainly due to its influence as a depressant — more simply, they dull your senses, make you relax and eventually go to sleep.  That can be a blessing when you’ve been coughing for six hours, but there are two points to consider:

a) Alcohol is an Anti-Diuretic Hormone inhibitor, which means that you’ll accelerate fluid loss at a time when you’re ill and your body needs it the most; and

b) there are numerous studies demonstrating the risks associated with combining alcohol with prescription and over-the-counter medications, some of which estimate up to 25% of hospital visits involve a drug/alcohol interaction.

So, will it hurt for sure?  Maybe, maybe not.  But there are likely less debilitating ways to pass the time while you’re splayed out on the couch.

6.  I am a choosy person, how can I find a girl?


Oh lord, asking Google for advice is a TREMENDOUS first step.  Please, ladies — one at a time!

7.  Do you need a tagine if you have a slow cooker?

If it were Tina alone answering this question, the answer would be an unhesitating yes, because secretly she would like one unique cooking instrument for every food item she prepares.

The truth is that a tagine has its advantages and drawbacks, just like any specialized cookpot.  Tagines are larger and can be ungainly to store; on the other hand, they can be used on a gas cooktop and are remarkably good at holding heat.  By virtue of their shape and design, they are better suited to reduction and carmelization; however, they’re not exactly cheap and you can do a lot of the same cooking in a wide-bottomed dutch oven with your stove.

Slow cookers are a slightly different story, in that they aren’t great at reducing the moisture in a dish while it cooks.  As a result, meals can come out of a slow cooker tasting more flat than they might in a tagine.  One solution to that compromise would be to pre-carmelize everything before you put it into your slow-cooker, but whether that’s a reasonable price to pay for set-it-and-forget-it cooking is up to you.

Simply put, it’s not a one-to-one swap.  A tagine will produce more authentic results if you’re willing to be around and tend to it, but some extra steps with your slow-cooker or a dutch oven will get you through most daily cooking.  It all depends on your time, the specific food you’re making, and your storage capacity.

8. Do you need to let beef rest after braising?

Simple answer:  no.

The object of resting beef is to allow the meat to re-absorb the juices that were squeezed out of it during the cooking process.  When meat is subjected to heat above about 170F, the muscle proteins contract and shorten, forcing moisture out of them.  The juices are pushed towards the coolest part of the meat (the center), where they collect.  After meat is taken off of the heat, the proteins will relax and the moisture will — to some degree — re-distribute itself.

Fun fact:  This is why when you see people squishing their hamburger patties mightily against their grill to get that awesome sizzling sound, you should ask for a hot dog instead.  The totally wicked whoosh they’re getting is all the juice being squeezed out of the center of the burger, and steaming fabulously in the heat.

This is also why, with braising, the issue is kind of moot.  The very process of braising involves immersing your meat in enough moisture that its loss is less of an issue, even while it’s cooked at just high enough a heat to force tougher cuts to release and relax. Indeed, it’s the time and liquid that are what will determine whether your beef is moist enough, rather than the resting time.

9. How much blue curacao is needed to get you drunk?

Well, let’s remember that Blue Curacao, for all its wimpiness and associations with Romulan Ale, can actually get pretty strong.  Depending on the brand you pick up, you’re going to find a liqueur that’s anywhere between 15% and 40% ABV, and that’s all right.  So on a relative scale, that’s stronger than most glasses of wine and at least three times more hefty than the average beer.

Hey, and you know what’s fun?  Pumping that kind of information through a web-based Blood Alcohol Content calculator, and finding out how trashed you’d be.  When it comes to Curacao, if you were Mike’s height and weight, it’d take just over 1/3 of a liter to get you to the point where you shouldn’t drive.

But that said, if you’ve had that much Blue Curacao, there are likely more deep and crippling problems that you need to deal with than finding out just exactly how drunk you are.

10.  Will Bitchin’ Kitchen be seen in the US?

Hey, we hope so!  We’re avowed fans of the show, and nothing would please us more than to see weird, funny Canadian talent go make it big in the US… again.   As it turns out, there’s a petition you can go sign too — who knows, maybe this will be the Facebook group that will actually make something happen!

And that does it for this round, folks!  Let’s hope the rapid fire didn’t DESTROY YOU WITH KNOWLEDGE, and even if it did, you can probably Google a solution to get you up on your feet, standing proud and finding out how to meet women who meet your high standards in no time flat.

Until next time, keep asking those questions!


    Bitchin Kitchen is a real insult to anyone one with Italian blood or family. Her schtik gets really annoying after 5 minutes.

    I love GIN… GIN rocks. I could drink Tom Collins by the pitcher.

  • Tanya

    Bitchin Kitchen is the stupidest show EVER! Maybe if you watch it drunk it might be ok, but seeing as the minute it starts, I change the channel, I’ve never had that opportunity. Not that I’m drunk that often or anything…

  • Janna

    I know this is gross, but here goes – drinking unreasonable amounts of blue curacao also has a rather alarming side affect the morning after you drink it – bright green waste products. Of course, this is true of anything with a lot of blue food colouring in it (like blue icing).

  • lo

    I’m pretty sure taking your medication with Blue Curacao is even more detrimental to a person’s health than ingesting it with a good quality gin… not to mention the apparent side effects.

  • Tammy

    Are you kidding me? Bitchin’ Kitchen is the funnest kitchen show in a lonnnnngggggg time. I love watching it, and no I am not drunk when I do. Anyways, I am glad FN took a chance and put that show on because their line up was a big snorefest. Hopefully Americans will get to watch it too!

    Oh and RE: An insult to Italians. Have you seen the Soprano’s? Please, nothing can be more stereotypical than that! Ha.

    Learn to take things lightly… laugh a little

    • DAVE ID

      Yeah I’ve seen it once or twice and never again because of just that. But Bitchin Kitchen is Italian tacky kitch taken to a whole new level.

  • Martin

    I think I’ll secretly tape our ‘Family Meetings’ and then shop them around as a reality show called ‘Kitchen Bitchin” – I’ve don’t watch TV but I’ve heard that there aren’t nearly enough shows like this.

    Janna- I once let toddlers run ‘free range’ on a blueberry field for two days straight. The results were similar to what you describe