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How did the star-rating system for spiciness get started?

At almost any Thai restaurant in the U.S., many dishes can be ordered with a specification of how spicy the dish should be. Usually, this is on a scale of four or five stars (with possibly an extra "Thai hot") at the top. I'm curious as to how this tradition got started and why it's primarily associated with Thai food. (And I guess as a side question, whether this phenomenon extends to Thai restaurants outside of the U.S.) I've tried to do some searching myself, but either the info is hard to find, or I haven't found the right search query to separate the wheat from the chaff. [more inside]
posted by ErWenn on May 30, 2014 - 33 answers

Scotches and Noshes

I need help brainstorming finger foods that pair well with Scotch whiskys! More details inside. [more inside]
posted by anonnymoose on May 29, 2014 - 15 answers

Where to eat in Boston this weekend?

We love to be surprised by cheap and delicious food, or awesome specials that only locals know about. No dietary restrictions. [more inside]
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. on May 28, 2014 - 27 answers

Recipes for a Bake Sale

I'm organizing a bake sale that will take place in a record store; we'll be selling baked goods while a couple different bands perform. It's a benefit for an all-ages nonprofit performance space, so the crowd is going to be more "denim vests and cheap beer" than "PTA fundraiser cake walk." I'd like suggestions for recipes that don't require me to buy an ingredient that I'm only going to use a small portion of, are fairly simple to make, and easy to make into sturdy single servings that don't require plates or forks. Bonus questions: vegan suggestions, jello shots, and savory items. [more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana on May 27, 2014 - 28 answers

Renting time in a commercial kitchen, issues, gotchas, etc.

I'd like to explore leasing time in a "co-op" or shared commercial kitchen to start a small food business, making seasonal preserves and similar items in Washington State. Are there recommended blogs or books that discuss this from the business and planning ends, as far as what to look for, and well as how to deal with legal issues with bringing equipment and ingredients to and from such a facility (like fresh fruit, sugar, etc.). Do people store ingredients off-site, that sort of thing. (I'm mainly looking for non-state-official guides and written materials that deal with this subject from the producer end, just to focus questions away from the business itself or to Google search results to WA guidelines. Thanks!)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 26, 2014 - 2 answers

New York City Travel Question

Will be traveling to NY this summer for work for a week. Need to spend days on upper east side (5th and 104th). Nights I am free. Like to be able to walk to restaurants, windows browsing, perhaps some jazz. Any advice on what neighborhoods to look for hotels? I realize with the transit options perhaps this question doesn't make much sense, but I would rather not spend a lot of time or money in transit. And if you wouldn't mind suggesting some favorite gems of neighborhood restaurants, places that might be worth the trouble to get to?
posted by dougiedd on May 25, 2014 - 8 answers

What to do and see between central Pennsylvania and New Orleans

I'm taking my two daughters to see my family and we're driving, from central Pennsylvania to New Orleans. Here's the basic route. Where should we eat? What should we detour to see? It'll be a two or three day drive. Help us plan it.
posted by Toekneesan on May 24, 2014 - 18 answers

What does it mean when Megan Draper makes spaghetti?

When did spaghetti bolognese (or with meatballs) become the classic Anglo-American middle class dinner in the US? [more inside]
posted by Sara C. on May 23, 2014 - 53 answers

Help me plan a fun girls night in - food questions

I am having some friends over to my house for chill night of catching up and watching movies. I very rarely socialize in my home, so I am somewhat clueless about hosting people. There will be four of us, and one person is breastfeeding so no alcohol for her. I am thinking about daiquiris since they are delicious and can easily be made with no alcohol. But I am stumped for food. [more inside]
posted by seesom on May 22, 2014 - 19 answers

Recipe help: thai egg roll dipping sauce

So I have googled, I promise. But I'm not sure I'm finding the right recipes. I want to make a dipping sauce like the stuff that almost every Thai place around here (Portland area) serves with their fried egg rolls / spring rolls / veggie rolls. [more inside]
posted by peep on May 19, 2014 - 18 answers

A sugarless feast

Give me your favourite diabetic-friendly recipes that would be suitable for my mum - someone who doesn't tend to like/can't get hold of exotic ingredients. [more inside]
posted by mippy on May 14, 2014 - 14 answers

Small food things that are appreciated.

So I'm trying to up my game a bit in dating my wife. Nothing crazy, as we are home-bound a lot with kids, but I have something specific in mind regarding something that she likes. We are trying to carve out some time together during the week just to chill and enjoy movies together. What I'd like to do is have something special every week that I would make for us in terms of food, beyond chips and popcorn, etc. I'd like this to require some planning and effort, but without a crazy amount of prep time, as we have limited time in the evenings. Are there some fun, snacky (i.e, not a meal) things that are not super low maintenance, but not high maintenance, either, that would impress my wife (just a little bit)?
posted by SpacemanStix on May 13, 2014 - 55 answers

Food in Barcelona

We are visiting Barcelona, Spain for a week, and are having trouble finding decent restaurants that aren't geared towards tourists in the Eixample area. I figure that y'all might know where we can eat. [more inside]
posted by k8lin on May 12, 2014 - 10 answers

Gluten free gift for friend in Australia (when I'm not)

I'm in the US, a friend in Australia is going through a really rough time after surgery... I'd like to get her something nice delivered. I was thinking a food hamper would be nice. The catch is that she can't have gluten or lactose. Does anyone know a site where I could order a gluten free gift/meal service/fruit basket? I'm open to other non-food ideas too.
posted by Caravantea on May 10, 2014 - 2 answers

Novelty Chocolate Recipes

Flavor my chocolates, please? Bonus points for uncommon. [more inside]
posted by aniola on May 9, 2014 - 34 answers

Looking for some food/water storage containers (Cheaper than a Nalgene)

I'm looking for containers to store food in the bilge (under the floor) part of my boat. Something like a Nalgene. But they are too expensive. [more inside]
posted by sully75 on May 6, 2014 - 23 answers

Places to eat during motorcycle trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

A group of us are going to do a motorcycle trip from Guelph, Ontario, Canada to Asheville, NC. I'm hoping I could get some good restaurant stops along the way (vegetation options welcomed!). [more inside]
posted by alvin545 on May 5, 2014 - 8 answers

Appetite for destruction?

Talking about this with others I discovered that I'm not the only one who throws up, and then hours later, the first real meal you want to eat (after nibbling on saltines or something), is something spicy, greasy or fatty. Is there some science-based explanation for this phenomenon? [more inside]
posted by cashman on May 4, 2014 - 8 answers

This is My Design

One of my bestest friends ever has completed several years of an insane schedule of schooling + two jobs to earn a Masters and is now moving on to a residency far far away. My wife and I had our schedule open up, and we're now hosting a last minute dinner on Tuesday. Help me plan the most over-the-top meal possible in less than 48 hours. [more inside]
posted by bfranklin on May 4, 2014 - 14 answers

Favorite meals for a large group with a variety of dietary restrictions?

15 of us are planning our annual weekend trip in a few weeks. I'm responsible for menu planning. We have a variety of different dietary restrictions, and I'm looking for ideas for great meals that can feed these people. [more inside]
posted by linettasky on May 4, 2014 - 9 answers

Help me dress my quinoa salad

I made a greek-inspired quinoa salad with red quinoa, chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, red pepper, parsley, and red onion. Help me give it a dressing or a sauce! [more inside]
posted by shortyJBot on May 4, 2014 - 9 answers

Eating vegetarian in Copenhagen

Me and my friends are visiting Copenhagen in mid-May and I'm having a hard time finding vegetarian restaurants. Help us eat dinner! [more inside]
posted by Tawny Owl on May 4, 2014 - 6 answers

The doritos stalk at midnight...

FoodFilter: My boyfriend likes junk food. The exception being sushi. Otherwise it's all meat, cheese, chips, pizza, and soda. We may be living together at some point in the future as this is getting serious, but this is an issue for me. I've worked hard to get on a healthy diet and I do not keep ANY junk in my house. Sometimes tortilla chips and salsa. I eat mostly paleo, but do have cheese. [more inside]
posted by McSockerson The Great on May 3, 2014 - 49 answers

Hit me with your best banana-free smoothie recipes

I bought a Vitamix last summer, and a book of smoothie recipes. It was all fun and games until I was diagnosed with a banana allergy. Help me make my smoothies taste good again! [more inside]
posted by JoannaC on May 2, 2014 - 16 answers

Is it better to gobble or nibble?

Sweets, that is. From the person who just ate an entire bag of Easter chocolate (which doesn't bother me, it's a rare occurrence) - I'm curious. Is there any scientific reason why "bad" foods like fats or sweets are better consumed spread out over time rather than consumed all at once? Assuming the same quantity of total consumption. Google has no answers except "don't eat lots of sweets." [more inside]
posted by celtalitha on May 1, 2014 - 19 answers

Help me recreate the first salsa I ever had

The first salsa I ever had was delicious. Chopped fresh tomatoes, lots of coriander/cilantro. I was introduced to it in Petaluma in 1990. A plastic tub. It may have had a picture of a parrot on the top. I'm not sure if I bought it (regularly) at the Safeway or the organic/health food store. Do you remember this salsa? Have you re-created it? Know a close approximation? Please share.
posted by hifimofo on May 1, 2014 - 9 answers

Nerdy Thirty Party Planning

How do I plan, decorate, and successfully pull off a "Nerdy Thirty" birthday party when I have very limited party planning and artistic abilities? [more inside]
posted by Poegar Tryden on Apr 29, 2014 - 12 answers

Someone send that lady a hotdog!

A relative recently had a bran-new baby; she has been missing and craving hot dogs and good beer, so that is what I want to send to her home. But it's turning out to be hard to find! [more inside]
posted by like_a_friend on Apr 28, 2014 - 8 answers

What are all the foods and drinks referenced in Firefly?

Some friends are putting together a Firefly-themed dinner. What foods and drinks are directly referenced or depicted in the Firefly canon? [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Apr 28, 2014 - 32 answers

Help me to reverse-engineer this excellent tom yum soup

A local Chinese restaurant makes the best tom yum vegetable soup I've ever tasted. I'd like to make it at home, but I don't have the recipe. [more inside]
posted by akk2014 on Apr 24, 2014 - 10 answers

What are some gluten free shelf stable proteins and veggies?

We are looking for shelf-stable, packaged proteins and veggies that are gluten free to go in lunches. We know about GoPicnic already, but we'd like some more variety and real vegetables of some sort! Proteins are mostly easy (spreads, dips, cheeses, jerkies), but finding the individual packed shelf stable ones are tough. We have found no veggies that fit the bill at all- we were thinking freeze dried veggies, but that sounds unappetizing and looks really expensive (also not individually packaged).
posted by Brent Parker on Apr 22, 2014 - 29 answers

someday, yummy sundae

we are having a sundae bar at our wedding. what is the best (cheapest) way to get very large quantities of candies and chocolates for a sundae bar for 175 people? We're willing to spend money on delicious, but not on packaging. We are willing to ship stuff, but not to pay extravagant fees to do so. We are willing to buy at Costco, but it seems like cheaper should exist somewhere? Also, what are your favourite sundae toppings that you would be excited to see at a sundae bar? Also, if you have any tips about how we should lay it out in a cute way, please feel free to inspire us. thank you!
posted by andreapandrea on Apr 21, 2014 - 20 answers

Persistant Nausea and eating(YANMD)

I'm going on two months of frequent nausea. Sometimes I throw up, most times I don't. Otherwise I generally feel fine (no fatigue, headaches, other pain aside from my possible endometriosis, sniffles, fever or anything else). I've been to my GP. [more inside]
posted by AlexiaSky on Apr 14, 2014 - 24 answers

Dinner for 10-12: for 5 days.

I have family coming in for a funeral this week. Our house is the hub, so I'm going to be feeding a group of 10-12 for 5 days. Any thoughts on comforting foods, that are relatively easy to prepare for that many? I am a good cook, but will have to spend some time at work this week, so I won't have tons of time to devote to this.
posted by sarajane on Apr 13, 2014 - 17 answers

Translation Filter: German and Czech Food Allergy List

We are travelling to Germany and the Czech Republic later this month. My mom has a set of severe food allergies, and would like to print some translated cards for restaurant staff just to be on the safe side. I'd like to translate this list into both German and Czech please. I'm happy to translate using a dictionary, but I feel that native speakers will have a better handle on subtle details, such as corn and its derivatives (for example, corn flour is not big in Canada, but corn starch and corn meal are in everything). Many thanks Metafilter! [more inside]
posted by jjonajason on Apr 12, 2014 - 9 answers

Your favorite vegetarian frozen meals and convenience foods?

Due to being really busy at work, being sad about something in my personal life, and having just moved and not yet finished unpacking or making space for myself in the shared kitchen, I'm having a problem with food/having no appetite, and I can't (don't want to) cook much at the moment. Basically eating has become a giant chore and nothing seems good. To help get through the next week or couple of weeks, I would like your suggestions for the best tasting vegetarian convenience foods and super easy recipes that you know of. [more inside]
posted by treese on Apr 12, 2014 - 52 answers

my cats love fatty things...why?

I have two 10 year old, part Maine Coon cats(pic of Leo) who love fatty things and I'm wondering if it's a deficiency in their diet? [more inside]
posted by fromageball on Apr 10, 2014 - 14 answers

I came here to buy Ceasar... not to overpay for him.

Okay, so I have a friend in Austria who looooves Ceasar salad dressing. (I used to smuggle it in my suitcase from America when I'd visit her.) As a surprise little "I'm thinking about you" gift, I've been thinking of mailing her a bottle or some salad dressing mix, but I just can't figure out how to do it at a reasonable price... German Amazon is asking for $28 to send a $5 bottle of Cardini's to Vienna. Anybody have any other suggestions? Thanks! :D
posted by miss lynnster on Apr 8, 2014 - 12 answers

Humane eggs/dairy/meat near Fall River, Mass?

What are the some places to buy lovingly and humanely raised eggs, dairy and meat near Fall River, Massachusetts? [more inside]
posted by spbmp on Apr 6, 2014 - 8 answers

Hack my diet

I'm trying to lose weight at the moment and could do with some help optimizing my food intake. [more inside]
posted by ellieBOA on Apr 4, 2014 - 17 answers

A Thomas-Keller-level cookbook, but with lighter, healthier fare?

My boyfriend is an amazing cook and has been making delicious, bacon-fat-heavy dishes from Thomas Keller's cookbook. My waistline and tummy prefer lighter, semi-vegetarian fare, but I don't want to discourage his wonderful cooking. Is there a cookbook the two of us might be equally happy with?
posted by enzymatic on Apr 4, 2014 - 14 answers

What is this herb/green?

Help me identify this food plant based on a picture. [more inside]
posted by moonroof on Apr 3, 2014 - 13 answers

Are there It's Its in the San Francisco Airport?

Can I find an It's It ice cream sandwich in the San Francisco airport? [more inside]
posted by petiteviolette on Apr 1, 2014 - 6 answers

can I eat this, special lame-o edition

Made white bean and kale soup (vegetarian broth) with small chunk of parmesan cheese rind. Left out on stove overnight and didn't see it before running to work this morning (as I said, special lame-o edition). Now need dinner. Should I risk the soup?
posted by chicainthecity on Mar 31, 2014 - 19 answers

Best packaged gnocchi

What's your favorite brand of packaged gnocchi? Looking for something tasty without a lot of preservatives or weird ingredients. I live in Seattle so I have access to Fred Meyer/Kroger, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, etc. Thanks!
posted by skycrashesdown on Mar 31, 2014 - 11 answers

What Did I Smell?

I opened a package of Nabisco Nilla Wafers and they smelled strongly of paint. What caused that? [more inside]
posted by COD on Mar 29, 2014 - 4 answers

I want to eat a lot. How should I work out?

What kind of exercise regimen can I get into that will allow me to/require me to eat a lot? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 26, 2014 - 20 answers

What are the most authentic Japanese restaurants in the SF Bay Area?

Especially for those of you who have traveled in or lived in Japan: What are the most authentic Japanese restaurants in the greater SF Bay Area? [more inside]
posted by Infernarl on Mar 25, 2014 - 19 answers

Do I need to refrigerate pickled onions?

I have a jar of homemade curried pickled onions. It has never been opened. If I eat one, do I need to refrigerate the remainder? There's a companion jar without curry, that's been opened and has been at room temperature for some months, and they are still good. Well, subject to taste.
posted by mkb on Mar 25, 2014 - 7 answers

The Search for Delicious: SF Edition

Where should I eat and drink in San Francisco? Specific parameters inside. [more inside]
posted by mlle valentine on Mar 25, 2014 - 33 answers

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