I admit, painful though it is, that I don’t know everything.   I am turning to you, my loyal readers, to help me find answers to these important questions.

  1. Preserved Lemons.  I understand the process of preserving them, but I do not understand how exactly they are used.  Do you rinse them off before using them? Do you peel them, or just chop them up whole and add to a recipe? Do they taste lemon-y, or salty/preserve-y?  So many show hosts and foodies extol the virtues of preserved lemons, but they just presume that everyone knows how to use them.

    These are preserved lemons. I have no clue what to do with them.
  2. Chicken Stock.  I must be doing it wrong.  Are you supposed to remove all of the chicken skin before simmering, or has it been predetermined that once refrigerated, your stock will transform into a gelatinous goo?
  3. Trussing a Chicken.  Is it necessary?  If so, how is it properly done?
  4. Deep frying.  Is it okay to use vegetable (soybean) oil in my deep fryer?  It so much cheaper than peanut oil, but I feel like I’m doing something wrong.
  5. Tipping.  What is the going rate for tipping these days?  I try to tip between 18-20%, but I’ve been reading lately that the acceptable percentage is creeping up into the 20-25% range.  Personal note: I truly resent the practice of tipping, because it has become my responsibility to pay the wages of a waiter, instead of the responsibility of his employer.  But, I also know it’s become so ingrained in our culture that it’s never going away.  So I tip.  Mostly because I really am cheap, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m cheap.
  6. I don’t like fish.  Or, more accurately, I don’t like most fish.  Am I really missing out on key nutrients, or am I okay with the occasional shrimp and maybe a fish fry?

    ...because they are slimy and gross
  7. Why would anyone buy this?
  8. And aren’t you glad I didn’t mention cupcakes at all in this post?