Ask Kirstin: Cloth Vs. Paper Napkins
- October 09, 2012 |
- by Kirstin Uhrenholdt
Send your questions about ingredients, recipes and cooking techniques to me at email@example.com. This week, I help you choose between cloth and paper napkins, and how to tell the difference between a turnip, a rutabaga and a kohlrabi.
We have an ongoing debate at home. My daughter wants cloth napkins. I hate to iron so I prefer paper napkins, and my husband just plonks a roll of paper towels on the table. What do you suggest? — Rosa L.
I would rather peel 12 pounds of potatoes than iron four napkins, but I agree with your daughter that cloth is better, for a number of reasons. First, it is a greener choice, you are not dabbing a smidgen of BBQ sauce on a big fancy paper napkin, just to throw it away. Second, it just looks and feels nicer, and third, it is a chance to use your heirlooms, which we love, because whether it is the napkins or napkin holders they will remind you of your ancestors, and give you a chance to talk about them and feel like they are joining you at the table.
As far as the ironing part, I have given that up, and I am giving you the permission to as well. Wrinkles are beautiful, on my face and on the table. And if you stuff the napkin in a glass or put it in a napkin holder, no one will notice, and if they do… tell them sweetly where the iron is.
What is the difference between a turnip, a rutabaga and a kohlrabi? — Lisa L.
They are three best friends, the turnip is the slightly peppery fellow, the rutabaga is the sweet one and the kohlrabi is the elegant, yet eccentric one (it looks like a UFO). All of them are delicious raw, sweet and loudly crunchy. Peel them, and try tossing them thinly shaved or diced into salads and do try slicing them to serve as a surprising addition to your crudite. You will have everyone wondering what this delightful crunchy thing is.
Cooked, they are wonderful mashed, either with or without potatoes, braised, roasted or as a great addition to any vegetable soup.
Choose them heavy-for-their-size and smallish, as the youngest ones will be more delicately flavored and textured. The greens (if attached) should be bright-colored and fresh, and are fantastic in their own right, sauteed as you would any tender green.