Orchid64's Profile

Display Name: Orchid64
Member Since: 4/1/08

Latest Comments...

I'm sure I'll get jumped all over for my lack of taste, but I liked the "Before" better. The "After" looks cool and sterile. The older version was tidy, organized, and human-looking. Okay, go ahead and go for my face. :-p

Before & After: What 5 Extra Feet Of Countertop Space Looks Like
Manhattan Nest

1/18/12 09:12 AM

Isn't this a classic case of, "if it's popular, it must be bad"? I don't put black pepper on everything and I don't douse food in it, but it does add depth of flavor, especially with homemade soup. Like others have said, I don't use it at the table, but I do cook with it a fair amount. I also use garlic a lot.

These types of food judgments always come down to American habits. Writers think nothing of saying, "Americans eat X too much," but they don't question the regular habits of other cultures in this way. Does anyone say that the Japanese use soy sauce too much and need another flavoring? Each culture has its own tastes and there's nothing wrong with certain desires pervading... unless of course we're talking about Americans then it's all wrong. :-p

Black Pepper: Which Spice Should Replace It?
1/8/12 06:32 PM

I've never tried sumo citrus, but I've had lots of dekopon in Japan and they are the best orange I have ever had. That being said, there is variation among dekopon (some are sweeter than others because, as was said on Seinfeld, "fruit is a gamble").

They are far more flavorful and sweet than a navel orange and definitely worth the increased price. Dekopon are just coming into season in Japan and this is a time I always look forward to!

Sumo Citrus: The Sweetest Citrus Ever?
1/4/12 12:04 AM

Most Japanese are buying fried chicken and store-made Christmas cake (essentially, sponge cake with whipped cream frosting and often with strawberries for decoration). It's kind of nice that they have their own tradition, but disappointing that it's so intertwined with bad food.

I'm in Tokyo and have been here for 23 years, and New Year's is the real holiday here in which the native dishes get prepared or eaten. Christmas is like an overblown Valentine's Day in Japan, which always makes me just a little sad because it's all surface stuff - no family gathering, no giving, no emotion, just fried chicken and cake (and no national holiday!).

Christmas Eve in Japan
Holiday Guest Post from Nancy Singleton Hachisu of Indigo Days

12/24/11 06:21 PM

A lot of suggestions here are interesting, but far from "healthy". Pocky is no more guilt-free than an Oreo cookie and KitKats in Japan, while peculiar, are just as unhealthy as any other KitKat around the world. Japanese snacks are lower in sugar and higher in fat than American ones. That means they are sometimes more caloric, but less sweet. I know this because I've written a Japanese snack review blog since 2008 and investigated a wide range of such things.

The blog is here if you want to use it for reference:

As for suggestions, I'd go with dried yuzu, a type of Japanese citrus fruit which is delicately sweetened in its dried form and nutritious. I'd also consider soba boro, delicately sweet buckwheat cookies which have a high concentration of egg. There are also some very nifty varieties of sembei (I've reviewed 59 of them so far), and though they aren't exactly "healthy", they are better for you than the average corn or potato chip. One of my favorites is brown sugar sembei. It's supposed to have essential amino acids in the brown sugar, but I'm not sure if I believe there's enough to qualify them as a health food, but they are tasty and relatively reasonable when it comes to calories. My favorite is Sanko Seika W (double) cream brown sugar sembei. I also adore kinako sembei and they are even lighter than the brown sugar ones.

It's important to remember being Japanese or using unconventional flavors does not make food healthy. Much Japanese cuisine is healthy, but packaged food in general is no better here than it is in other countries. It's just different.

Help Me Put Together Healthy Asian Food Baskets as Gifts
Good Questions

12/22/11 11:26 PM

You can make pumpkin pie with Splenda instead of sugar. The volume is less, but the taste and texture are good. Anything which is egg-based, cream or milk-based adjusts well to sugar-substitutes. Custard, pudding, and cheesecake are fine with Splenda instead of sugar.

I've got a collection of sugar-free recipes here:

Recipes or Ideas for Sugar-Free Thanksgiving Desserts?
Good Questions

11/18/11 06:13 PM

I've done this many times and the egg hasn't exploded, but I do it slightly differently. First, I get the water to 80 degrees (my microwave has a setting that reads temperature). Just get it to a pre-boiling state. If it boils, the egg will get rubbery. Crack the egg into and microwave on medium-high (600 watts for me) for about 40 seconds. Allow it to rest in the water to finish cooking. If you want it harder or softer, take it out of the bath sooner or reduce the cooking time by 5-10 seconds. It has never exploded on me using this method because the water cooks the egg, not the microwave.

How To Poach an Egg in the Microwave
10/5/11 09:38 AM

I also don't understand the derisive attitude toward the appearance of microwaves. How they uglier than a Kitchen Aid mixer, a toaster, blender or coffee maker? Kitchens aren't supposed to be islands of smooth and empty surfaces.

My oven is on a metal shelving unit which has a rollaway shelf under it and a toaster oven above it. It doesn't take up any counter space. I also live in a tiny apartment (that's the way it is in Tokyo) and can't give up surface area for appliances.

6 Smart Alternate Locations for the Microwave
10/4/11 02:24 AM

I've made plenty of on-line recipes that had beautiful pictures and recipes which yielded bad results. Politely worded requests for clarification and explanations of what happened (too wet, didn't rise, tough, dry, etc.) are always deleted in moderation. I think the quest for content has a lot of food bloggers putting up recipes they know aren't very good, but they will publish them anyway just because they can take a super close-up shot which looks good.

People really don't take any responsibility for the quality of a recipe because they can silence any voices which aren't saying, "it looks great!" I've noticed few comments come from people who actually try the recipe. It's just from people who look at the pictures. I wouldn't trust comments or photos when considering trying any online recipe since both are specifically angled to make the blogger look good.

Bad Recipes: Have You Ever Been Burned?
9/28/11 07:23 PM

I think the French would disagree that the crust is just adding "heft and calories". If you're just going to focus on fruit, that's okay, but just eat the fresh fruit itself. There's no need to add cream, sugar, etc. if fruit is the focus.

Mark Bittman Disses Pie
9/20/11 09:14 AM

There are a lot of very ignorant comments in this thread about weight loss and eating. People who are overweight do not always get that way by eating food which is not nutritious or drinking sugary sodas. You can get fat off of anything, including healthy food.

These sorts of assumptions and attitudes contribute to a punitive atmosphere about food and weight. You assume such people are careless and gluttonous and that judgment helps no one.

Can You Help Me Enjoy Grapefruit More?
Good Questions

9/1/11 09:53 AM

This looks and sounds a lot like what the Japanese called a "Queeny Muffin". I wonder if it's the same thing.

Falling in Love with Kouign Amman
7/18/11 09:32 PM

Pepsi has already launched a low sugar version in Japan. It's called Pepsi Dry and it was very disappointing. It tasted like generic cola with a club soda aftertaste. Let's hope that the American version has a better formula.


Pepsi's Mid-Calorie Next to Launch in July
Food News for Wednesday, June 15

6/16/11 08:40 AM

Isn't this the second time this "tip" has been published on the Kitchn? I keep seeing it again and again with the same pictures. It's a good tip, but the repetition hardly seems necessary.

Freeze Individual Portions For Expedited Defrosting
Lunch In A Box

6/15/11 01:56 AM

@Proboscidea "Vegetarians have dietary restrictions that prevent them from eating certain foods."

They don't have "dietary restrictions" nor are they "prevented". Such language indicates that their bodies are incapable of digesting meat or they will become ill. Diabetics, those with celiac, etc. are "prevented". Vegetarians have made a choice and are capable of eating meat, but choose not to. Most omnivores also are capable of eating vegetarian, but make the choice not to. When a decision is made based on personal philosophy of any sort (whether it be some ethical viewpoint or dietary one like wanting to get nutrients in a particular way), it's not a "restriction".

Personally, I think that whether or not this is rude depends on the dynamic you have with your friends already. "Hosts" are generally thought to provide for "guests", but many barbecues in the U.S. function as potlucks. In Japan, it would be out of the question to expect guests to provide food (beyond a voluntary gift for the host, and even then it would be understood it is not to be consumed necessarily at the party but for the host to enjoy alone) for a barbecue.

Is It Rude to Ask Guests to Bring Their Own Meat to a BBQ?
Good Questions

6/1/11 07:16 PM

The placebo effect is real and profound. People get better because they expect to, not because what they are doing has a curative effect. This is why some things work for a particular individual, but do not do so in scientific experiments.

To each their own, and there is no need for others to be competitive about their approach as opposed to others.

Can Diets Fight Chronic Pain? The Science Isn't There
Food News for Tuesday, May 10

5/10/11 09:10 PM

Letting it sit overnight pretty much does the trick for me. I can slice thinly and the bread doesn't fall apart or get smashed. The quality of the bread knife (unless it's exceptionally poor) doesn't matter as much as how fresh the bread is.

I can get about 16 very thin slices out of a half-size loaf. I always make whole wheat, and I bag it while still warm to keep the moisture in (as whole wheat is prone to drying out), let it sit overnight, slice, and freeze the sliced bread.

What's the Best Way to Slice Homemade Bread?
Good Question

5/3/11 07:42 PM

In Japan, it's still common in wedding ceremonies to have a large fake cardboard cake that is frosted and has a wedge of real cake in it. This is to make it appear that the cake is more opulent and large than it really is, and to keep down the cost (as wedding cakes are very expensive in Japan).

Throw It At the Bride: A History of the Wedding Cake
Telegraph UK

4/26/11 03:58 AM

Most people who eat boxed macaroni and cheese do it because it is cheaper, especially Kraft. It's the type of thing people who are poor (and college kids who are also poor) tend to buy/make. I always make homemade, but the cost of the cheese is not to be underestimated (particularly in Tokyo where all cheese is expensive and processed cheese is the most common type on sale).

Make or Buy? Macaroni and Cheese
4/23/11 05:20 AM

Braun hand mixers (immersion blenders) have extra attachments which allow you to swap out the immersion attachment and use the motor with an ice crusher, blender or food processor bowl. It's cheaper and smaller than a dedicated blender/ice crusher. You can buy a full kit that includes these, or buy them separately. I've been using mine to crush ice and make blended drinks for many years - no threat to the main purpose or danger to the user.

Can I Use an Immersion Blender to Make Crushed Ice?
Good Questions

4/21/11 10:18 AM