Dear Readers,

Letters to the Editor welcomes your comments, questions, criticisms and suggestions. Looking for a specific recipe or trying to find a product? Please don't send those requests as a Letter to the Editor—we receive too many individual requests to reply to all of them here. Try our Message Boards or our Search page first.

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- The Editors


The Spin On Spinach

Dear Foodwine.com,

In the Cannelloni with Chicken, Sausage and Almonds recipe from Pasta, Risotto and You, is the spinach used for the filling cooked or just thawed (frozen spinach).

I appreciate your response.

Thank you.


Hiya Estela,

In answer to your question, the spinach is NOT cooked beforehand. It is just thawed and drained very well. You could cook it if you like, but I found that adding that extra step really didn't make a difference in the recipe, so I cut it out.

If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to ask : )

Nancy Caivano


British Conversion

Dear Foodwine.com,

I have a recipe from my British mother-in-law which states everything in ounces (i.e. 4 ounces of flour). Being American, I am used to recipes calling for cups of flour. Do you know the conversion between the two?



Dear Andrea,

Try the Cooking Calculator at this URL: Cooking Resources





Kudos & Comments

Dear Foodwine.com,

I am so glad I chanced upon your web site. I am a working mother of two (still in diapers) and I want to find new and exciting things to cook but don't really have the time to get out. My husband is a very pickey eater (no vegetables) so it is nice to find new ideas to try. Thank you very much!!!!!

Teresa Ryland
Jacksonville, AZ


Dear Foodwine.com,

I have viewed your site from the first time I got a modem in 1996, although not that long, it is as far as my attention is concerned. I enjoy filling out the answers to the trivia one and I enjoyed your Australian food article, although I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it had exciting stuff in it. I would like to say that I would like to see more allergy friendly foods in here, with a regular section especially for it, introducing for example a gluten free, a dairy free, an egg free, an animal free (vegetarian) recipe every week, this would be fantastic!!!!! Please look into this—I would truly enjoy it.



Dear Foodwine.com,

Well, my family and I have planted our first garden.... I was interested on how to go about doing it. I'm still not sure. We put down three different types of soil since our soil was not very good. We also put down manure. We have a compost area started in another area of our yard. Well, not sure what else we need. I know that worms play a big part in the soil. So if you have any other suggestions or ideas please let us know. We planted peas, pumpkin, cauliflower, lettuce and still not sure what else to plant.

Well thank you for reading and again I really thought the site was interesting.

Victoria Gibbons
Virginia Beach, VA


Dear Foodwine.com,

Never a fan of okra—slimy, you know. However, I was recently served a bowl of gumbo in a soul food restaurant, which changed my mind on okra. So, I searched "goto.com" for an okra gumbo recipe, and found the "seafood gumbo" recipe on your site from "The Complete Kwanzaa: Celebrating Our Cultural Harvest" by Dorothy Winbush Riley. Delicious, full of flavor and very simple to make—all the ingredients were already on hand. My entire family loved it so much, I prepared it twice in one week!! I had to let you know how much we enjoyed it.

Carolyn Greathouse & Family
Dallas, Texas


Dear Foodwine.com,

...From downunder, I can smell that there is something good going on in your oh-so-good-site.

Ron Eden
Melbourne, Australia


Dear Foodwine.com,

I love recipes and finding this web on Global Gourmet is quite a find.

Norena Wilson
Lisbon, Ohio


Dear Foodwine.com,

I sent your "How Real Men Light BBQ Grills" to a friend whose brother attended Purdue some years back. She sent me a return email saying. " when I visited an engineering building there, I gawked in astonishment at an open stairwell that rose many stories to the roof, which leaked. Below the leak was a funnel, and below the funnel was an insane concoction of pipes, bends, funnels, catch basins, and more pipes, all the way to the ground floor, where an old bucket caught the drips and they drained away."



[Ed. note: the "Real Men" story appeared in our monthly eGG-Roll newsletter.]


Dear Foodwine.com,

Just terrific, we got all the info that we could possibly digest (no pun intented) re: high fiber diet, and the fiber chart is very well done. This just made our day. Thank you very much.

Roger Haseltine
Mary Esther, FL


Dear Foodwine.com,

Don't like your site. How come on your list of countries where the recipes are from, there is no Russia? Is it not a country? Do people not eat in Russia?

Feliks fderbar@[email-address-removed]

Dear Feliks,

Sorry you have so much angst, but our Global Destinations area is not complete. Each year we add new countries as time allows us, and hopefully we'll include Russia in the near future.




Freezing Alaska

Hi there,

I hope you can help me! I pulled your recipe for Baked Alaska (under the heading I Love Chocolate) off your site, 'cuz it looks like the very best one I've come across! I want to make this for a dinner party we're going to attend, but have a question about keeping the ice cream/cake cold. I'll make the cake/ice cream ahead of time, but what's the best way to transport it to the party and keep it cold until I'm ready to whip up the meringue right before serving time? Should I pack it in a cooler filled with dry ice? Appreciate any help you can give me.


Hi, Ginny,

I'm glad you liked the sound of my Baked Alaska recipe so much. Transporting it, however, presents problems. As you know, the cake/ice cream assembly needs to be kept cold, but I fear that transporting it in a cooler of dried ice would render it too cold, resulting in a Baked Alaska that will be hard to cut even after time in the oven. (You'd also need a very large cooler.) I have never even heard of anyone transporting a Baked Alaska, in truth. The only suggestion I can offer would be to assemble the cake/ice cream at the site of the dinner party, and leave it there to freeze, but I don't know if that's possible. Otherwise, I'd suggest bringing a different dessert. Sorry I can't be of more assistance here, but if you do end up transporting the cake/ice cream assembly in a cooler of dry ice, please let me know how it works.

Best regards,


Prize Winners


Wanted to send you a big THANK YOU!! The set of five cookbooks from IDG Books came today, and they are just wonderful!! Again, thank you for your wonderful site! and for your generosity in your Gourmet Guess contest!!

Kindest regards,

LouAnn Carter


Dear Foodwine.com,

Hi...came home from work to find a package from UPS. The 8-piece serving set arrived and in excellent condition!!! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SET.......Absolutely gorgeous.....In fact, to celebrate my win, I'm cooking up pasta and putting in grated cheese into the shaker...The condiment dish will hold meatballs. And the tool holder with hold all the spoons and ladles.....

Again, THANKS..........I truly am IMPRESSED with the prize and your site. And THANKS for such quick delivery...

Linda Hemphill


Dear Foodwine.com,

Thank you!

I just want to thank you for the wonderful serving set! I was overwhelmed when I opened up the boxes, and we have certainly used them ever since!

Thanks again!



Dear Foodwine.com,

I received my cookbook and I still don't believe I actually won something. I usually am not that lucky. So, thank you very much. You made my day.

Ginny Carriera


Wine Corner

Dear Foodwine.com,

Help, I have a Screwpull opener that is broken. Need to send it in for repair, but have no phone number or address. Can you help?


Dear Lee,

Sure can. Contact them at 1-877-CREUSET or www.lecreuset.com. They were helpful in repairing my Screwpull wine opener (but it was tough living without it for a few weeks!). Hope your customer service experience with them is equally as satisfying.


Kate Heyhoe


Dear Foodwine.com,

Yes, I'm new with wines but I love to drink fruity type Chardonnays and Champagnes and was wonder if you can give me a list of the best wines I could get in this category. I love wine and I love your website!!


Hi Joe,

Check out Fred's Wine Annex on our site. There are several special wine articles each month, and also check out the archives for specific articles about chardonnays and champagnes, as well as Fred's "Best of" tastings on the bi-weekly Wine Picks page. Of course, Fred also writes about new wines every weekday in WineDay.



Dear Foodwine.com,

I was hoping you could help me out with a question. I was given a case of Elysium California Black Muscat Sweet Dessert Wine 1998. I have not had this particular wine before. I am hosting a dinner party on this coming Monday and would like to serve this wine. My problem is I am not sure what dessert to have with this wine which will go well with it and bring out it's natural flavors. I don't want to serve something that will clash with it. The wine is high in alcohol by volume 15%. Do you have a recipe you could suggest to go well with this wine?



Hi Mike,

1) Feature the wine over the dessert.
2) Dessert should not be sweeter than the wine.
3) Dessert should not be real rich.
4) Simple one: Canned pears with vanilla ice cream and sugar cookies.
5) Berries with cream or ice cream and cookies.
6) Fancier: Fresh pears poached in red wine.
7) Berry pie that's tart, not sweet.

I can be there by 7!

Fred McMillin


Dear Foodwine.com,

Hi! I am trying to find someone who can tell me the history of Merlot Wine. I have a bet with a friend who says that Jesus drank Merlot wine while he was on this earth and that it was his favorite. I say no way. Do you have any idea when it was first invented, or discovered? I would appreciate any help or reference you can give me.


Donna Durso

Dear Donna,

Merlot evolved only about three centuries ago in the Bordeaux area. It is well documented. Reference: Vines, Grapes & Wines, J. Robinson, p. 91.

Best regards,

Fred McMillin


Butter Cakes

Dear Foodwine.com,

I wanted to get in touch with Lynn (Culinary Sleuth) and respond concerning the missing German Butter Cake recipe. I don't see her e-mail address so hopefully someone will forward this to her. My father was a German baker from 1936 to 1962 in Philadelphia (I know the bakery on Frankford Avenue and the bakers were friends of my parents). My brother took over the business in 1962 and it in the late '70's. I know my brother has the real German Butter Cake receipe. Ingredients were measured in pounds and ounces, not cups, etc. And of course the recipe would be for a large batch. I'm sure it could be converted. (I also remember licking off the top (butter topping) and getting rid of the rest. Where I live in Hatboro, there are a couple of bakeries that still make butter cake but its not as good as I remember as a child. I remember seeing it being made—the butter topping is definitely put on separately.

Emma Schobel
Hatboro, PA

Dear Emma,

We forwarded your mail to Lynn at the address at the bottom of her column, FoodWriter@[email-address-removed].




Carl's Secrets of Prime Rib

Dear Foodwine.com,

I began cooking prime rib 4 years ago at a popular prime rib room in Laughlin, NV. With the techniques I have learned I am in awe of how difficult people make it to cook exceptional Prime Rib. There is a very simple way to do it and it is fool proof (use boneless prime rib).

1. you need very little knowledge of cooking . what you need to know is as follows.
a. how you like the prime cooked. Rare- 135 Degrees, Med. Rare- 140 degrees, Med.- 150 degrees, well done- 160 degrees
b. how to set up the oven for your cooking temperature, first you turn it on and set the dial to the temp. you want (135, 140,etc.).
c. then you use an oven thermometer to ensure that the oven really is at your desired temp. that's it for knowledge.

2. cooking the prime...
a. select any size boneless prime rib to cook. (size doesn't matter for results)...
b. rub down prime with butter, veg. oil, olive oil, etc. your choice. then season the prime with Coarse pepper and garlic salt...
c. place prime in the oven on the center rack (not in a pan) and place a pan below it to catch drippings...
d. Just let it cook for at least 8 hours (I prefer 10 hours myself—more time will not affect the outcome as the meat will not cook past the desired temp)...
e. Remove at dinner time and carve to desired serving size and serve. meat will be as desired from the middle to the outer edge. (rare will be red, med rare will be reddish pink, medium is pink to brown, well done is brown—all of them will be tender and moist).

There it is, simple and delicious.

Notes...most state health codes feel that 140 degrees is a minimum cooking temperature for protection against bacteria.

........this is the perfect way to start dinner early in the morning and have it ready when you want it. remember the extra time does not affect the outcome.
........a nice Au Jus (juice of the beef) can be prepared using store season packages or beef base and water, mixed to desired taste and heated to desired temp. to dip the prime in or to pour over the prime to warm it as you eat it.
........Prime rib is perfect for people who love the fat and marble for its tenderness and also for people who want it lean. If you look at the prime rib one end is big (fat and marble) and the other end is small(the lean end) this allows prime rib to satisfy all beef lovers at the same time.
........Last but not least is the horseradish. a favorite to prime rib lovers. My favorite brand is ATOMIC brand food products from California. It's powerful and hot, but is also moist and very tasty. Most store brands are dry and bitter. Your local store might be able to order it for you.

Carl Grace
Bullhead City, AZ


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