Random tip: Reuse pickle vinegar

I was reading the Kindle edition of a really old cookery book. Frankly, most of the recipes were too imprecise and/or filled with lard for me to make much use of them, so I casually flipped through for any non-recipe text in there. I've found that any cookery book, regardless of the main recipe content, will frequently have some darned good advice in it, so I read all the extra bits, like the intro and the rest.

In this one, there was a sort of after the recipes section that contained plenty of down-home, thrifty advice, like don't throw this or that away, and use it for other uses (like old underwear can be used for wash rags). Again, some of the advice was a bit odd, and I ignored it. Until I came to the bit about reusing pickle vinegar for salad dressing.

Huh. I'd never even considered it. I tried it out, and wouldn't you know it? It tasted far better than using just plain vinegar! And it would be fairly obvious, because the vinegar has all the flavourings that they use to spice up the pickles themselves. What a cool idea!

This isn't so much to share this tip that I wrote this blurb. I wrote it so that you go back to the cookery books in your house, and read all the bits that you'd usually flip past, while in the search of the recipes. They contain lots of good solid advice, and if you find a little treasure like that, share it with others. There's a certain cook who shall remained unnamed, who does meals in a certain time frame, and has TV shows, books, and product lines galore. I didn't much care for her style of cooking. However, while flipping through one of her books, she mentioned a trick for measuring spices. She said to put into your hand a tablespoon of sugar, so that you know roughly what a tablespoon of stuff looks like. Then, use the inside of your palm to measure spices. This way, you're not fiddling about with measuring spoons forever, while trying to crank out dinner in a hurry.

Mind you, for a restaurant, that wouldn't work, because our food has to be perfect, and consistent. People get upset when you change a particular recipe. But for home, it's ideal! It means that you can focus on understanding how the whole dish comes together than trying to make something perfectly the same every time, and you can get things moving quickly.

I would not even have picked up the book had I not been at an in-law's house, where they had all her books. I had some idle time, so I read the intro to a couple of them, and picked up a few handy hints along the way. Those parts of books are written to be read. Please go dust off a book whose intro you haven't read, and give it a browse. You might be surprised (pleasantly) to find what new things you've learned!
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