My Grandmother’s Cheese Wafers

While I’m giving up the family secrets, my mother and sister asked why I didn’t just go ahead and publish my grandmother’s secret cheese wafer recipe. It’s possible they were being sarcastic, but it’s a darn good idea! I’m always looking for more savory baking recipes.

My grandparents, you must understand, were the very soul of gentility. They lived in an elegant country house my grandfather built. He wore a coat to dinner every night of the week in his own home. Their nightly pre-dinner ritual was a dry gin martini. My grandmother called these here favorite martini blotter (“soaker-upper”). I have very fond memories of these.

10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounces (2 sticks) soft butter
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
About 35 unsalted pecan halves


Making Classic Frosting

I’ve had quite a lot of requests for a “classic” American-style frosting the last few months. And because there’s nothing I won’t do to satisfy my readers, I finally decided to make some. Actually, a standard cake frosting recipe can be a useful thing to have around. My girls, for example, don’t like the richness of real buttercream. Instead they prefer the sweetness of a frosting. Kids. But they’re young yet. The recipe is quite simple. You’ll need:


A post that’s not about chemicals!

Or not about leavening chemicals, anyway. Reader Rachel writes:

I have been trying to eat healthier, so I have been adding ground flax seeds to my morning oatmeal etc. I did a little research and learned that flax seeds can be substituted for eggs in some recipes. I have noticed that the flax seeds cause the liquid in the oatmeal to gelatinize a little. Do you have any idea how flax seeds work as an egg substitute and can they be used in anything or maybe only just recipes that need to be thickened by eggs?


Read my lips: buy new chemicals.

Reader Jud writes:

My wife, the household baker, says why should she replace her baking powder {and soda} every six months as we’ve heard recommended on cooking shows if she is pleased with the results? My response is, to paraphrase, if the results were good with “old” baking powder, why wouldn’t you want even better results by simply using fresh baking powder? Can you tell us about what changes occur with the passage of time and how the effectiveness of the baking powder and soda is affected? It makes sense to me to spend the small amount of money to replace every six months to get the best results possible. How important is it, really?


The Alzheimer’s Issue

I’ve received so many emails and comments on sodium (or potassium) aluminum sulphate and its rumored relationship to Alzheimer’s that it seems a post on the subject is warranted. I tend not to like to wade into matters like these because emotions run high, but I’ll tell you what I know. Around about 1970, some […]


Slow Bananas

There have been precious few pictures this week and that’s due to one reason: the bananas I got on Wednesday were greener than green. I mean electric, neon green…that’s all the local Kroger had. So even though right now they’re undergoing accelerated ripening, stuffed in a paper bag choking on their own ethylene exhaust, they’re […]


Saleratus to Baking Soda

Want to hear something really confusing? Both potassium bicarbonate and sodium bicarbonate were marketed under the name “saleratus” in the 1840’s. Why I have no idea, other than basic principles of branding and competitive differentiation were not well understood at the time. How else to explain why John Dwight, a baker from New York City, went to market selling his bicarbonate of soda as “Dwight’s Saleratus” in 1847?