Monday, October 24, 2011
by Reader's Digest Magazine, on Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:36am PDT
If you think people don’t care about etiquette at the table as much as they used to, think again. One soup slurp or tooth pick is all it takes to turn some people off. So to stay on your toes, here is a quick—and necessary—table manners refresher course from Louise Fox of the Etiquette Ladies, Canada’s Etiquette Experts:
Watch: Top 10 Table Manners You Need to Know
If you are the recipient of a toast, keep your glass at arm’s length—never drink from it. Instead, simply nod your head and graciously say, “Thank you.”
Never take your cocktail to the dinner table.
Allow your food to cool on its own—never blow on anything.
If you wear lipstick, keep it off your plate and napkin by blotting it as soon as you apply it.
Your napkin is there for you to dab your mouth only. Do not use it to wipe off lipstick or (God forbid) blow your nose.
Keep your elbows off the table at all times.
Don’t put your purse, keys, sunglasses, or eyeglasses on the table.
Take food out of your mouth the way it went in. If a piece of steak fat went into your mouth with a fork, spit it out onto the fork.
Remove an olive pit with your thumb and index finger.
Taste everything on your plate before you add salt or pepper.
Leave your plate where it is when you are finished with your meal—don’t push it away from you.
You’ll find even more good-behavior tips at http://www.etiquetteladies.com/etiquette_ladies_home.php.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
By Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D., Associate Nutrition Editor at EatingWell Magazine
Cast-iron skillets may seem like an old-fashioned choice in the kitchen. But this dependable cookware is a must in the modern kitchen. Cast-iron skillets conduct heat beautifully, go from stovetop to oven with no problem and last for decades. (In fact, my most highly prized piece of cookware is a canary-yellow, enamel-coated cast-iron paella pan from the 1960s that I scored at a stoop sale for $5.) As a registered dietitian and associate nutrition editor of EatingWell Magazine, I also know that there are some great health reasons to cook with cast iron.
1. You can cook with less oil when you use a cast-iron pan.
That lovely sheen on cast-iron cookware is the sign of a well-seasoned pan, which renders it virtually nonstick. The health bonus, of course, is that you won’t need to use gads of oil to brown crispy potatoes or sear chicken when cooking in cast-iron. To season your cast-iron skillet, cover the bottom of the pan with a thick layer of kosher salt and a half inch of cooking oil, then heat until the oil starts to smoke. Carefully pour the salt and oil into a bowl, then use a ball of paper towels to rub the inside of the pan until it is smooth. To clean cast iron, never use soap. Simply scrub your skillet with a stiff brush and hot water and dry it completely.
2. Cast iron is a chemical-free alternative to nonstick pans.
Another benefit to using cast-iron pans in place of nonstick pans is that you avoid the harmful chemicals that are found in nonstick pans. The repellent coating that keeps food from sticking to nonstick pots and pans contains PFCs (perfluorocarbons), a chemical that’s linked to liver damage, cancer, developmental problems and, according to one 2011 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, early menopause. PFCs get released—and inhaled—from nonstick pans in the form of fumes when pans are heated on high heat. Likewise, we can ingest them when the surface of the pan gets scratched. Both regular and ceramic-coated cast-iron pans are great alternatives to nonstick pans for this reason.
3. Cooking with cast iron fortifies your food with iron.
While cast iron doesn’t leach chemicals, it can leach some iron into your food...and that’s a good thing. Iron deficiency is fairly common worldwide, especially among women. In fact, 10% of American women are iron-deficient. Cooking food, especially something acidic like tomato sauce in a cast-iron skillet can increase iron content, by as much as 20 times.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Recently retired Chinese NBA star Yao Ming and British tycoon Richard Branson made an appeal in Shanghai against eating shark fins, which are a staple of high-class Chinese banquets. (AP)
Virgin Group head Richard Branson (L) and former NBA player Yao Ming attend a news conference organised by Wildaid, a wildlife conservation group, to promote shark conservation in Shanghai September 21, 2011.