American cookbooks are crazy! (Warning: rant, contains excessive italics and possibly the phrase 'bloody colonials') - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 187 Old 04-14-2008, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Grrr. I've just spent fifteen minutes on allrecipe.com hunting for a good peanut butter chocolate chip refrigerator cookie, which you wouldn't think was asking the world. But all the top-rated recipes contain insane American ingredients! Peanut butter chips... what is a peanut butter chip? Where I come from (the back of beyond, admittedly, but we do have running water, spinning jennies, the wheel, and so on), 'chips' come in chocolate or newspaper, period. And even though Reese's Pieces mini peanut butter cups *are* actually available in NZ now, they're still far too much of a luxury item to be squandered on cookies.

But it's not just peanut butter cookies which suffer from strange and unholy ingredients. I'm sick of finding that all the American fudge recipes online contain marshmallow creme, or that all the American caramel sauce recipes contain '16 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped'. Heck, half the so-called 'homemade' top-rated allrecipes desserts seem to consist of cake mix, pudding mix, bottled topping and whipped topping, whatever that is.

Am I the only person with a whisk whose pantry contains normal ingredients? Flour, sugar, cocoa and the like? Am I the only person who considers it a tad insane to mix canned pumpkin pie filling with premixed pumpkin pie spice, pour it into a bought pastry shell, serve it with more whipped topping and call it a homemade dessert? The only person who sees a recipe calling for 'one package cream cheese frosting' and wants to slap the writer of said recipe upside the head? Crescent roll dough, biscuits sold in rolls, almond bark, butter essence... my world doesn't have those things. More to the point, my supermarket doesn't.

Hmph.

(All right, I couldn't bring myself to use the phrase 'bloody colonials'. I'm Australian, so it cuts both ways. But still, at least WE make our damper from scratch like the good Lord intended!).

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#2 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 01:44 AM
 
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Stay off of allrecipes.com!

If you want from scratch American recipes, go to Martha Stewart.

I work in a professional (allegedly, anyway) kitchen, and we not only have peanut butter chips (2 yrs old, BTW) but chocolate caramel swirl chips (used regularly).

A lot of American cooks use the convenience items. This all stems from back in the 50s/60s when processed foods were just coming into being. It was prestigious to use a cake mix. Ooooh! Technology! Processed food = cutting edge and affluent.

You think what you saw was bad - I collect early cold-war era cookbooks. You would not believe what these women would put jell-o in. I bet at least 20% of the recipes in cookbooks from that time involved jello of one flavor or another. Sick, sick, sick.

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#3 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 01:50 AM
 
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I know what those things are, they DO carry them at the stores here, but I sure as heck don't buy them!

I share your pain!
For example when I see people buy hot chocolate mix I'm sitting there thinking why not just add a spoon of cocoa and sugar into warm milk? and when I asked a friend about that once they replied "because we don't have cocoa and sugar in our pantry" SO I guess you are right. They just don't have that normal stuff in their pantry.
My New Orleans friend asked me why they sell roux at the supermarket when it takes nothing to make yourself.

Do you spend much time on the nutrition and food forums here? Many MDC'ers find that Cool Whip is not fit to eat, "fat free sour cream" (whatever the heck that is) is most intolerable, eating out or with a friend or relative that only serves margarine is a nightmare, etc. The holidays are almost impossible when you are used to eating real food and your family cooks with prepackaged, fake-tasting crap.
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#4 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 01:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
(All right, I couldn't bring myself to use the phrase 'bloody colonials'. I'm Australian, so it cuts both ways. But still, at least WE make our damper from scratch like the good Lord intended!).

Hey, I'm Caribbean, I'll toss out the term Bloody Colonials!! for ya

I totally know what you are talking about.

nothing more to say I guess :
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#5 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 01:53 AM
 
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newspaper chips?

Anyway, I've never heard of a refrigerator cookie recipe with chocolate chips of any other bits in it. All the ones I've seen are always just dough with no pieces of anything. Seems kinda weird to have pieces in it since those kinds of cookies are always sliced.

I've always known almond bark to mean chocolate with almonds in it that is broken into irregular large pieces. Although I have heard in baking it sometimes refers to an artificial "white chocolate" used in candies.

Sounds like you need some good cookbooks. Internet recipes in general suck.
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#6 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 01:54 AM
 
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I like foodtv.com much more than most other internet recipe sites.

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#7 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 01:54 AM
 
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I've given up on cookbooks. I just make up my own recipes now and hope for the best.
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#8 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 01:58 AM
 
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Hmm... try searching for "no-bake peanut butter cookie."

Are you talking about the oatmeal/peanut butter/cocoa/sugar/butter ones that you just spoon onto a sheet and then refrigerate? 'Cuz those are my FAVORITES. *drools all over keyboard*

But I'm totally with you on the "normal" pantry ingredients.

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#9 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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newspaper chips?
You know, as in fish and chips? Fish and chips do come wrapped in newspaper in America, right?? Or are they served in origami baskets made from Cosmopolitan?

I do have a fairly good selection of cookbooks, but sadly Kiwi cookbooks don't contain recipes for some of the foods I like. Pumpkin pie, for example, is almost unheard-of here (my parents picked up the notion while they were living in the US). Pumpkin breads and muffins, too, are generally only found in American-type cookbooks. Same with a lot of appley recipes, for some reason.

Arduinna: Ooh, I have a fantastic chocolate chip refrigerator cookie recipe! You just need a good sharp knife to cut the log.

So, what are butterscotch chips exactly? Are they like hard little pieces of toffee, or softer? Can you eat them by themselves, or are they strictly for baking? What about vanilla chips?

Also: you can buy roux? That's disgusting. I learned how to make roux when I was, like, eight... it ain't rocket surgery, people!

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#10 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:06 AM
 
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Ya I really don't get that at all. If I was going to cook something from a box I wouldn't need a recipe in the first place.:
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#11 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:13 AM
 
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You know, as in fish and chips? Fish and chips do come wrapped in newspaper in America, right?? Or are they served in origami baskets made from Cosmopolitan?
DANGIT! Now you're making me crave both DH's no-bake cookies AND a fish fry. See, I'm from Central Wisconsin, where Friday Night Fish Fry is a whole category of meal. Most places in the U.S., fish fries aren't a big seller. But us crazy Polish-American Catholics (well... cultural Catholics ) love our fish fry. Traditionally, in that area, it's served with french fries (fine, fine, CHIPS), cole slaw, and rye bread. They're not served in newspaper, though. Usually just on a plate or in one of those red plastic food baskets lined with plain kitchen paper.

But alas... Anchorage, for all its wonderful seafood, isn't as into fish fry as I'd like.

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#12 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:15 AM
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I'm American and I have both cocoa and sugar in my pantry. Most people I know don't cook like I do though. I like recipezaar.com much better for recipes. Although if you are going to make something with cocoa, someone on MDC (superstella, I think) posted a recipe in TAO for banana brownies that are easy to make and oh-so-good.
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#13 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:19 AM
 
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two words for from scratch cooking, cook's illustrated. They have a website, their recipes are always amazing, and no weird ingredients.
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#14 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:23 AM
 
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I really want fish 'n chips now.

Darn you all.
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#15 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:26 AM
 
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Naw, I've never seen french fries served in newspaper in the States. Maybe they do it in the British Pubs? But I never go to those, if we are going to a pub it's an Irish one and they just serve the fish and fries on a plate. A few places serve them on paper in a basket but never ever newspaper. Cosmopolitan origami basket? Ya lost me there.

I just bought Valrhona cocoa powder today when I was restocking the pantry. Yes some of us Americans have cocoa powder, unsweetened chocolate, regular flour ( not that self rising flour popular in the south ) and sugar in our cabinets. I also have vanilla beans
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#16 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:31 AM
 
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This is a common complaint around here. I collect cookbooks and very few of my (American) books are from the modern era, and the ones that are are from high end chefs, the kind that commonly use foie gras and caviar in their recipes. The rest of my cookbooks are from the 70s or earlier. There's still some things like sweetened condensed milk on occasion, but there's no refrigerated biscuit dough, chips refer to chocolate, and pies are actually made from scratch. You have to deal with margarine, but that's an easy substitute.

Now if only candy recipes without corn syrup were as easy to find.

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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
You know, as in fish and chips? Fish and chips do come wrapped in newspaper in America, right?? Or are they served in origami baskets made from Cosmopolitan?
LOL!!

Around here people would think you were insane if you put their food in newspaper. Instead they put it in styrofoam or plastic (styrofoam was recently outlawed in our city).

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So, what are butterscotch chips exactly? Are they like hard little pieces of toffee, or softer? Can you eat them by themselves, or are they strictly for baking? What about vanilla chips?
<shudder>

You ever tried finding a recipe for butterscotch pudding that contains neither butterscotch chips nor scotch? It is NOT easy. Butterscotch chips and vanilla chips both taste like little chunks of artificial flavoring to me. Trust me when I say that if you're familiar with the real thing, you will not enjoy the imitation. They don't even want to melt... if you put them in the oven for 10 minutes, they hold their shape. Texture similar to a chocolate chip, but chalkier.

The place I go looking for recipes is epicurious.com. It's the only website I use on a regular basis. I do read several food blogs, and will look something up on foodnetwork.com if I'm looking for something in particular, but even there it depends on the recipe author as to whether it will be from scratch or packages. A good place to find cookbooks are used book stores, I've found some great older books for really cheap there.

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#17 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:31 AM
 
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I've seen fish and chips served in paper (not newspaper)...

but it was in Germany.

Call me stupid, but what do you mean by "refrigerator cookie"? A no-bake cookie? Cause I think I have a good peanut butter & chocolate no bake cookie recipe...I mean, I know it's good, I just don't remember if it has p.b. in it, but I think it does.
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#18 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:37 AM
 
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You want Cook's Illustrated for online recipes, dear. Don't worry, not all of us cook that way

ETA: Hah, see, Jwebbal even said it first!

Search for "raw cookies" you'll have better results:
http://consciouskitchen.blogspot.com...w-cookies.html

But you know what? I just have to say "yuck! Don't put my food in a newspaper!" Fish and chips here come in a little paper food tray thingy, with a piece of wax paper or parchment in it.
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#19 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:37 AM
 
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1.) what's a damper?

2.) we don't really have "fish and chips" in america, that's what England is for, maybe in a few remote locations, but definitely not in newspaper, ew! unsanitary!

3.) the best place to search for recipes is BLOGS...if you go to google one of the options is to search blogs and there you will find awesome recipes accompanied by glorious pictures of delectable delights.
Sometimes I even just search Flickr for a picture of what I want to make because people who take pictures of their food usually blog about it too, and they host their blog pics on Flickr.

a good site for baked goods is Joy Of Baking

butterscotch chips: Ingredients: Sugar, palm kernel oil, powdered whey protein concentrate, soya lecithin, sorbitan tristearate, artificial colors (yellow #5 & 6 lake, Blue 1 lake), artificial butterscotch flavor, and vanilla. This product contains soy and dairy and may contain trace amounts of wheat, eggs, peanuts or tree nuts.

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#20 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:38 AM
 
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Saveur.com is also a good website for recipes -- their database isn't huge, but what's there is pretty amazingly good, and they're not embarrassed to have good, solid "American" sort of recipes -- I think they even did an issue on Milwaukee fish fries a couple of years ago. No peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe, though. Sorry.
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#21 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 02:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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America... doesn't have fish and chips shops? Little takeaway shops where you order a scoop of chips, a piece of gurnard and they throw a potato fritter in for free, and hand it over wrapped in white paper and then in newspaper like a square package?

Well now, that makes me want to cry--and I of all people should not be accused of over-romanticising fish and chip shops, given that I worked at one when I was 14. But heck, I wouldn't have made it through my first trimester without our local fish and chip shop!

Prensa: Damper is a yeastless, scone-type bread made by early Australian settlers. It was cooked in a round freeform shape over a fire, although I've also heard of a version made with a thicker dough, twisted round a stick, held over the fire to bake and eaten with jam dropped down the hole. Traditional damper is somewhat doughy and tasteless, I think, but there it is.

Cristeen: Yep, we don't have corn syrup or light corn syrup in NZ. Golden syrup is a vague substitute, but I just tend to avoid those recipes. We don't have 'light' and 'dark' brown sugar either, just one kind; I use it in recipes calling for either and it always seems to turn out fine.

By 'refrigerator cookies' I mean the kind where you shape the dough into a log, chill it, and then cut it into slices and bake (or eat raw, as the mood strikes you; another thing you can't get in NZ is salmonella from egg yolks!).

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#22 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 03:10 AM
 
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Can't you just invent one for the occasion?
What's in it? Peanut Butter, powdered sugar, regular sugar, some butter, flour, and baking powder, right? Just mix some until it's soft enough, refridgerate, bake at 350-400 for 10-20 minutes. Live on the edge!
Want me to guess some for ya?
1 cup peanut butter
1 stick butter
1-2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar, some powdered, some regular
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips

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#23 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 03:13 AM
 
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I hate it when recipes call for processed crap. If I want to eat processed crap, I can buy it already made, I don't have to make it! If I'm cooking, I want to cook!

I've taken to just buying ingredients I like and making up recipes as I go along.

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#24 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 03:13 AM
 
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My made up recipe was not too far off this real recipe:
http://southernfood.about.com/od/pbc...r/bl50827c.htm

Try searching "cooky" instead of "cookie" to get old-fashioned recipes. Also, try "ice box" instead of "refrigerator". I sometimes specify ingredients in my searches, like "ravioli flour butter pumpkin roll inch" to get ravoli recipes that include a pasta recipe. For a peanut butter cookie, I might try "peanut butter cookie butter flour chill wax paper".

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#25 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 03:18 AM
 
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Oh man...I gotta find my mom's recipe for peanut butter criss-cross cookies and add some good dark chocolate chunks to it.

And since when are peanut butter cookies NOT made with peanut butter?!?! Like, from a jar?!

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#26 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 03:32 AM
 
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Since you expounded upon what you were looking for, a lightbulb went off in my head.

My vintage cookbook collection strikes again. Mind you I haven't tried this recipe, but I've never had a recipe from this book fail (1969 Betty Crocker).

Vanilla Refrigerator Cookies
1 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
1tsp salt
1/2 c chopped nuts

PB variation: decrease butter to 1/2 c and add 1/2 c crunchy PB; sub 1c brown sugar for the sugar. Omit nuts.

Mix thoroughly buter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and nuts. Divide dough into 3 equal parts; shape each into roll 1 1/2 inches in diameter and about 7 inches long. Wrap, chill at least 4 hours.

Heat oven to 400F. Place slice 1 inch apart on ungreased sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown.

Makes about 7 dozen.

Lots of other variations, too... PM me if you'd like me to type them up for you. There's also a couple other recipes for refrigerator cookies.

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#27 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 03:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
America... doesn't have fish and chips shops? Little takeaway shops where you order a scoop of chips, a piece of gurnard and they throw a potato fritter in for free, and hand it over wrapped in white paper and then in newspaper like a square package?
errr...we call those "McDonalds" here and the chips are called "fries"

seriously though, unless it was a novelty or a "theme town" I can't see a place like that existing anywhere around here

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Well now, that makes me want to cry--and I of all people should not be accused of over-romanticising fish and chip shops, given that I worked at one when I was 14. But heck, I wouldn't have made it through my first trimester without our local fish and chip shop!

Prensa: Damper is a yeastless, scone-type bread made by early Australian settlers. It was cooked in a round freeform shape over a fire, although I've also heard of a version made with a thicker dough, twisted round a stick, held over the fire to bake and eaten with jam dropped down the hole. Traditional damper is somewhat doughy and tasteless, I think, but there it is.
mmmmm! jam in the hole! sounds good, I'm a sucker for breads though

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Cristeen: Yep, we don't have corn syrup or light corn syrup in NZ. Golden syrup is a vague substitute, but I just tend to avoid those recipes. We don't have 'light' and 'dark' brown sugar either, just one kind; I use it in recipes calling for either and it always seems to turn out fine.
I refill my brown sugar container with alternating bags of dark and light (looks pretty!) and use them interchangeably too and never noticed a big difference. I thing the only difference is dark has more molasses content

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
By 'refrigerator cookies' I mean the kind where you shape the dough into a log, chill it, and then cut it into slices and bake (or eat raw, as the mood strikes you; another thing you can't get in NZ is salmonella from egg yolks!).
didya find a recipe ya like yet?



*I forgot to mention this reminds me of the time I was looking for a recipe for Alfredo Sauce. I searched forEVER and they all started with "open a packet of alfredo sauce mix" or "empty one jar of alfredo sauce into a pan" :

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#28 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 03:55 AM
 
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Naw, I've never seen french fries served in newspaper in the States. Maybe they do it in the British Pubs? But I never go to those, if we are going to a pub it's an Irish one and they just serve the fish and fries on a plate. A few places serve them on paper in a basket but never ever newspaper. Cosmopolitan origami basket? Ya lost me there.
Nope, we don't serve fish and chips in their paper in the pubs. Fish and chips is a takeaway meal served wrapped in blank newsprint, best eaten directly from the paper sitting overlooking a harbour where the fish was landed a few hours earlier. : (I am a total snob about eating in the street, but for this one I make an exception. It was my childhood treat.)

Sadly, I know exactly what you mean, though I've never dared use the words bloody colonials around here. American cookbooks are a strange and bewildering world to me, but I saw peanut butter chips in a Nigella recipe the other day . What IS the world coming to?

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#29 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 03:57 AM
 
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Allrecipes is awful. I don't cook that way either. Epicurious.com is good, or the recipe forums at finerkitchens.com.
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#30 of 187 Old 04-15-2008, 04:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Cristeen, you're a marvel! I'm gonna make those... as soon as I can get hold of some chocolate chips, silly husband couldn't find them at the supermarket.

flapjack: Nigella? How dare she. I think I'll stick with Alison Holst; there's something supremely comforting about a woman who does world tours, has sold tens of millions of copies of her books, and still starts off recipes with 'Normally I consider a three-egg pudding extravagant...'.

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