An e-mail asked that. It can be. I was asked to play referee on a house battle between 2 workers where only one currently has a job. $9.00 was actually $9.99 and it was the price of a 64 ounce frozen lasanga. Yes, I would argue that is economical. For two adults? That's going to be at least two meals if not three. So you're talking $4.45 for a meal for two.
Second e-mail: Do I need to add a ham bone if I cook black eyed peas?
No. Just cook the peas.
Third e-mail: I can't cook rice and I can't afford a ricer.
Then you could skip out on rice. Or you could consider buying the microwaveable rice -- which does come in store brand at many grocery stores. It's actually cheaper than the boil in the bag when you calculate it.
Fourth e-mail: A gallon of milk is going for 99 cents at my store. Can I freeze milk?
No, you can't. However, you could cook dishes with milk as an ingredient and freeze those. But as a drinking beverage, milk does not taste good after having been frozen.
Fifth e-mail: If I don't have red pepper as a spice, can I substitute cinnamon since they're both red spices and come in similar bottles?
No, you can't. Cinnamon tastes completely different from red pepper. You are not making the same recipe by any means. Do not use it as a substitute.
I am tossing out those five questions because we all have questions. I still call my mother with cooking questions all these years later. We all have cooking questions, we'll always have them unless we stop cooking. That's just the way it is.
And it's more than okay to have questions. Just find someone you can ask.
Next week is probably the toughest week for cooks in the US. Next week is Thanksgiving. That's a holiday that more people in the US celebrate than even Christmas. Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday so it can appeal to all.
And there are these set notions of what a Thanksgiving meal should be.
No recipe this week because I long ago learned that (a) some of you will seize on it to be on your Thanksgiving table. And the last thing you need in a tough week is to try out a new recipe.
So if you're cooking a whole spread or just taking a dish, ease up on yourself on the holiday. It's really not about the food -- it's about friends and family being together.
And what a year for that. The economy still sucks. Latest unemployment news:
This should have been addressed before the mid-terms. The Dems could have used this against the Republicans. But apparently the Dems weren't committed to unemployment insurance since they refused to make an issue out of it.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday: