Books Cover

Title: Food FAQs: Substitutions, Yields & Equivalents
Author: Linda Resnick and Dee Brock
224 pages; No photographs or illustrations; Softcover
Publisher: FAQs Press, Tyler, TX 2000
Reviewed by, Reviewed for Good Cooking by Pam Rajasekhar 12/02

The review--- Who among us has never felt the frustration of beginning a recipe only to find a key ingredient missing from the pantry? Food FAQs: Substitutions, Yields & Equivalents is a handy kitchen reference designed for such kitchen emergencies. In addition to being a valuable resource in a pinch, Food FAQs is also an excellent technical reference for cooks who need to know approximate yields of ingredients prior to cleaning, washing, cutting, or otherwise preparing them.

The compact paperback volume begins with a comprehensive alphabetical listing of common substitutions for a variety of items ranging from allspice to zest of fruit. The remainder of the book deals with yields and equivalents for all major food categories including dairy products, fruits, herbs and spices, meats, and vegetables. This section provides useful tables of information about volumes and weights of foods before preparation as well as approximate yields after preparation. Scattered throughout the book are "Food FAQs Quick Answers", helpful tidbits of additional information about various types of substitutions or yields. For example, one Quick Answer notes that most grains expand to 2 to 4 times their original size when cooked.

In many cases, the substitutions listed in the book are common sense replacements. The book's authors emphasize that the substitutions are acceptable alternatives, but that the end result will not be identical to the original recipe. I put one of the book's substitutions to the test. The substitution of applesauce as a lower-fat alternative to butter in a standard brownie recipe resulted in a reasonable product. In contrast to the butter brownies, those made with applesauce had a slightly drier crumb and were a bit lighter in color. Overall, the substitution seemed like a reasonable one for the purpose of producing a lower-fat product.

I would particularly recommend Food FAQs to cooks who are interested in larger-scale food production and need to understand yields of particular ingredients. The authors have taken the guesswork out of the food preparation process, saving cooks significant time and money.
See a sample of the book onYields and Equivalents:Dairy Products, from page 113 Good Cooking thinks that this book should be in everyone's cookbook library , if not handy in your kitchen. Whether you are a seasoned professional or home cook, you can benefit from the information compiled by Linda Resnick and Dee Brock.

Good Cooking is looking forward to a 2nd edition!

What Can You Use Instead of Buttermilk?
A. Plain yogurt
B. Canned milk with water and vinegar
C. Sour cream
D. Whole or nonfat milk with lemon juice or vinegar
E. All of the above (the correct answer, if you know the proper proportions) (Tyler, Texas)Finding a substitute for buttermilkseems like afoolish quest until you're ready to prepare your favorite cornbread and you findthere's none in the fridge! It''s holiday time, and it's happened to most of us at one time or another. It's late on Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve, you'd just as soon go to bed, but you want to finish just one more item for tomorrow's family feast. And that's when you find you're missing one key ingredient and, of course, the stores are closed for the holiday.

When it comes to a substitute for buttermilk, Food FAQs offers a total of 10 suitable alternatives. But what about other items frequently called for in holiday recipes?

The accompanying chart offers viable substitutes for a dozen more ingredients you will probably use this season.Keep this chart handy. It might save you some frustration in a season already filled with many stressful situations.

Ingredient and Substitutions:

Apple pie spice (1 tsp.)-(one-half) tsp. ground cinnamon + (one quarter) tsp. ground nutmeg + 1/8(one-eighth) tsp. ground allspice & dash of ground cloves or ginger

Baking powder, double acting (1 tsp.) - (one quarter) tsp. baking soda + (one-half) tsp. cream of tartar; or (one quarter) tsp. baking soda + (one-half) cup buttermilk, sour milk or yogurt (to replace [half] cup liquid in recipe); or (one quarter) tsp baking soda + (one quarter) cup molasses (reduce liquid in recipe by (one quarter) cup; adjust sweeteners); or 2 tsp. quick-acting baking powder

Bourbon or whiskey ( [one-half] cup) - (one quarter) cup unsweetened fruit juice or broth Buttermilk (1 cup) - 1 cup plain yogurt; or (one-half) cup canned milk + (one-half) cup water + 1 Tbsp vinegar; or 1 cup sour cream; or 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar + nonfat or whole milk to equal 1 cup

Chicken broth (1 cup) -1 chicken bouillon cube or 1 tsp. granules or 1 envelope chicken bouillon dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water

Chocolate, semisweet (1 oz) -3 Tbsp. semisweet chocolate pieces; or 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 Tbsp sugar & 1 Tbsp shortening; or (one-half) oz unsweetened chocolate + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar; or 1 oz bittersweet chocolate

Flour, all purpose (1 cup) -1 cup + 2 Tbsp. sifted cake flour; or 1 cup self-rising flour (omit baking powder and salt from recipe); or 1 cup minus 1 Tbsp pre-sifted floor; or 1 cup corn meal; or (three-quarters) cup gluten flour

Heavy cream (1 cup) - (three-quarters) cup milk + 1/3(one-third) cup melted butter or margarine; or 1 cup light cream; or 1/3 (two-thirds) cup evaporated milk; or 1 cup evaporated skim milk; or 2 tsp. cornstarch or 1 Tbsp flour whisked into 1 cup nonfat milk

Molasses (1 cup)- 1 cup honey; or (three-quarters) cup brown or white sugar + (one quarter) cup liquid; or 1 cup dark corn syrup; or 1 cup maple syrup

Orange peel, fresh (1 tsp.)- 1 tsp. dried orange peel; or 1 tsp. orange marmalade; or 1 tsp. lemon or lime zest

Pumpkin (any amount) -equal amount of cooked, pureed winter squash, carrots or sweet potato

Rum ( [one-half] cup) - (one half) cup brandy or cognac; or (one half) cup unsweetened orange juice or apple juice + 1 tsp. corresponding flavored extract or zest

Zest of fruit, fresh (1 tsp.) -1 tsp. dried zest of fruit; or (one-half) tsp. extract of fruit; or 2 Tbsp. fresh juice of fruit; or 2 tsp. grated candied peel of fruit