Q: Why do the brand new cast iron skillets I see in the store look so different in color from my grandmother's?
A: The shiny new metal in a cast iron skillet has not had the years of seasoning that darkens used skillets to an even black color. The new pan can be seasoned by first washing with soap, rinsing and drying. Then slowly melt a small amount shortening (preferably vegetable) in the pan. Using a soft cloth, rub the shortening thoroughly over the inside and outside of the pan. Lids should also be seasoned in this manner. Place the pan upside down in a 350-degree oven (with a drip pan underneath) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. These skillets can be reseasoned with use. In cleaning, remove any cooked food immediately and then rinse with hot water and dry very well immediately.
Q: When a recipe calls for adding a can of tomatoes what exactly does it mean? Should I add the juice?
A: A general recipe that simply calls for a can of tomatoes would mean a can of approximately 16 ounces with the juice. This would not mean crushed or stewed. Add the entire contents of the can unless otherwise specified.
Q: I came across a recipe that called for reconstituted butter-flavored mix. What is this and where can I find it?
A: The item that I assume this recipe calls for is the product Butter Buds. These packets of butter-flavored granules are reconstituted by mixing with water. The package directions call for 1 1/2 -ounce package per 1/2 cup of water. The product is available in most supermarkets.
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