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How to Squeeze a Lemon: 1,023 Kitchen Tips, Food Fixes, and Handy Techniques    by Fine Cooking Magazine order for
How to Squeeze a Lemon
by Fine Cooking Magazine
Order:  USA  Can
Taunton Press, 2010 (2010)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Even if you don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen you'll find this book a fascinating read. The guide's subtitle, '1,023 Kitchen Tips, Food Fixes, and Handy Techniques', offers a hint about the type of information you'll find in this helpful collection of material provided by not only the editorial staff but also the contributors and readers of one of the better cooking, culinary periodicals available today.

This is the sequel to How to Break an Egg, the publication's first kitchen tip book that appeared five years ago. Arranged into seven sections, the book's contents range from equipment (pans to appliances and utensils), produce (fruit and veggies), meat, fish and poultry, and things you'd find in the pantry (dairy to dry goods), to techniques for baking and grilling, wine and beer, and how to deal with culinary 'situations that go wrong'.

Although I guess you could read this book from cover to cover or just focus on areas that interest you, I prefer a more serendipitous approach. In other words, I just randomly open the book and begin reading. Or, at other times, I'll page through it quickly and stop whenever something interesting catches my eye.

Here is a sampling of the tips I found as I did some page skimming: Coat your knife with a light film of vegetable oil or cooking spray when chopping sticky stuff like crystallized ginger or dried fruit. A potato ricer works wonders at juicing pomegranates. Use an ice cream scoop to remove squash from a shell after baking. Since humidity is key when trying to keep cheese, store it in a refrigerator drawer.

While the beer and wine section was not really very informative, the one following it, When Things Go Wrong, more than made up for that disappointment.

You'll find 25 pages that state the problem and suggest how to fix it. The problems include dealing with dry muffins, scones and biscuits, bread with too thick crust, and fudge that refuses to set up, to lumpy pan gravy, soggy and greasy fried food, and coatings that fall off fried food.

In the introduction, Laurie Buckle, the editor of Fine Cooking, writes, 'Becoming a good cook is really a long, delicious learning process, and that's where this book comes in. It's a chance for the crack cooks in our Test Kitchen to share some 'Aha!' secrets they've learned ...'

If you are like me, you'll appreciate all the tips and help you can get when it comes to dealing with some of the vagaries that can occur when you stand before the stove trying to whip up a decent meal!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

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