The Dish


October 22, 2003|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff

Cream of tartar: behind the mystery

Take a look at your favorite baking recipes. Chances are, one of the ingredients is cream of tartar. But what exactly is this stuff?

According to a recent survey conducted by local spice maker McCormick & Co., consumers called cream of tartar the most "intimidating holiday 'spice.' "

Actually, cream of tartar is a fine white powder derived from the crystalline acid that's left on the inside of wine casks once grapes have fermented.

Cream of tartar helps add volume to egg whites in meringues and brings a creamier consistency to candy and frostings. You can even use it to make baking powder. Just combine 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar with 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch to make a teaspoon of baking powder.

Stored in a cool, dark place, cream of tartar can be kept indefinitely.

Having your java -- wherever

For hikers and other on-the-go types who can't go anywhere without their jolt of java, Starbucks offers the Extreme Tumbler. The 16-ounce stainless-steel mug comes with a splash-proof lid and a rubber grip handle that clips onto belts, backpacks, briefcases and bags.

The tumbler is available in Starbucks stores for $22.95.

Take-along tea sachets

When no ordinary tea bag will do, there are silken tea sachets from Harney & Sons.

The bags are available in convenient tins that can be packed in a purse or briefcase whenever you travel. The tea varieties include Chinese Flower, a blend of green teas and flowers accented with citrus flavors; African Autumn, a marriage of herbal Rooibos, cranberry and oranges; Indian Nimbu, which blends lemon and caramel to Darjeeling; and Yellow & Blue, a mixture of chamomile, lavender and corn flowers. The Tagalong tins come with five sachets (except Yellow & Blue, which has three) and sell for $3.50. They are available at

Dessert for one

Looking for a tasty dessert without the leftovers? Piece of cake. Edwards Fine Foods has introduced single-serving cheesecakes and pies in select markets around the country, including Baltimore.

The boxed servings are perfect for small families or for families whose members can't agree on what kind of desert they want.

The varieties include Key Lime, New York-style cheesecake, Chocolate Sundae and Turtle. The pies are available in the frozen-dessert aisles at Giant, Food Lion, Weis, Wal-Mart Supercenters and Acme stores and have a suggested retail price of between $2.39 and $2.99 for two.


* Taste wines of the Rhone 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Donna's at Cross Keys, 5100 Falls Road. $10 for four wines and hors d'oeuvres. No reservations needed.

* Enjoy a Victorian tea noon to 2 p.m. today and tomorrow at the Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 S. Center St., Westminster. $10 per person. Call 410-848-7775 or 410-876-2667.

* Learn Mexican cooking techniques 6 p.m. Monday at A Cook's Table, 717 Light St. $55. Call 410-539-8600.

* Sample wines and talk with wine experts 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Sutton Place Gourmet, 1809 Reisterstown Road. Call 410-484-5501.

* Learn to make appetizing foods and stay on the Atkins diet 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at For the Love of Food in Reisterstown. $45. Call 410-833-5579 or e-mail for directions.

* The Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food will hold a dinner and reception featuring recipes from cookbook author Faye Levy's latest book, Feast From the Mideast, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at Chestnut Ridge Country Club in Lutherville. $55 for members, $66 for nonmembers. For information, call 410-244-0044.

The Dish welcomes food news and notes. Send to The Dish, Attn.: Liz Atwood, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; e-mail

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