Category Archives: Food

Best food in Durham

What it the best food in Durham? [3552A]

Because “best” is so subjective, that’s impossible to answer definitively. It’s true, though, that Durham has developed a reputation (at least within the Triangle) of having outstanding restaurants. As a result, it’s difficult to go wrong. On campus, though, Answer Person is obliged to give props to Billy in the Faculty Commons, especially for his Tomato Bisque.

Reservation for two

How the hell did Paul Allen get that 8:30 res at Dorsia?  On A Friday!? [3556A]

As co-founder of Microsoft, owner of the Portland Trailblazers and Seattle Seahawks, and one of the wealthiest and most philanthropic men in America, Answer Person assumes Paul Allen has no problem getting a reservation at any restaurant.

Unwanted guests

I miss the sunny/warm weather but I’m dreading summer already (I’m staying here) because of the cockroaches that kept me company ALL last summer on Central.  How do I tell them that they’ve overstayed and are no longer welcome? [3549B]

[written in answer space:  usually it involves poison of some type]

Tell them they’ve overstayed their welcome by feeding them a mixture that’s four parts borax, two parts flour, and one part cocoa powder. Sprinkle the mixture in a line at the baseboard and get ready to enjoy a roach-free summer.

Food inflation

Why have the prices of food gone up so much in the last year/since last semester? [3388A]

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I don’t know if this is a lame question, as the next person says, but it may be inappropriate for this book if you were hoping to get your paper done on time. There are issues with the demand for ethanol driving up the price of feed corn. There may be more weather events this year: droughts (e.g., NC) or floods (e.g., Texas, Minnesota). The folks at the Reference desk can suggest databases that index articles in this area (business, economics, agriculture, public policy).

Boiling water

You know how some people add salt or other things to water to help it cook faster when they are making a meal? Well, is there a valid reason for that, scientifically?

What is the fastest and most economical (uses the least energy) way to boil a pot of water?

Cheers, eh.

You should go to a very high elevation, and it will boil at a lower temperature, so I assume will require less energy.  But, the energy costs of travel to a place like La Paz may cancel out your cost savings in boiling the water.

You also want pure distilled water.  Dissolved substances will raise the boiling temperature and thus require you to heat it longer to boil.  If boiling water is your goal, this makes it boil slower, not faster, but on the other hand if you need hotter water in which to cook something  then the salt does help increase the temperature of the liquid. (At high elevations, the lower boiling temperature makes it more difficult to cook something without using a pressure cooker.)  The amount of salt typically used, however, may not have a noticeable effect.  This topic is authoritatively discussed by a bunch of PhD types at a U.S. Department of Energy webpage.

Grape Nuts

what country were grape nuts made in?

They’re still made by Post Cereals, now a division of Kraft Foods, which is a US company, so they’re made in the US unless it says otherwise on the box.   Some cereals sold in this country are made in Canada, which would be indicated on the box.