You’re in the supermarket, and you see that a recipe calls for rutabagas. Are you unable to find any? What can you do to substitute turnips?
You’ve been asked to get some condensed milk while you think about this. Isn’t it just as good as evaporated milk?
You will find the answers to these and many other kitchen-related questions in the informative book “What’s the Difference?” : A Recreational Culinary Reference For the Curious and Confused.
Brette Warshaw, author, dives into the complicated worlds of broth and stock, jam versus jelly, jam versus pie, pie versus tart, regional barbeque and the differences between subs, heroes, grinders and hoagies.
She said, “I feel like it hopefully can help people fill in the gaps.” “And even if they know the difference, there are some fun facts they can learn to help make their knowledge more rounded.”
Sophia Foster-Dimino beautifully illustrates the entries. They are concise and precise, revealing Warshaw’s journalistic roots and sometimes betraying Warshaw’s opinions.
Her entry on Parmigiano Reggiano versus Parmesan is an example. The former is strictly regulated and only applies to cheeses from one region of Italy, while the former has looser standards. It doesn’t have to be 100% cheese. Grated supermarket Parmesan may contain cellulose, which is an anti-clumping agent made of wood pulp.
She said that she felt the most egregious thing about the situation was the possibility of all kinds of things passing for Parmigiano Reggiano, but it’s not the same thing. “I do sometimes express my opinions and that felt appropriate.”
She’s not being judgmental. She has seen her fiance sprinkle grated Parmesan all over his pizza. No judgment if you’re willing to eat it.
Warshaw’s research sometimes found no differences between items that are often confused. It may shock readers to learn that Portobello, cremini, and button mushrooms are all one type.
They may be shocked to learn that shrimps and prawns can taste very similar, but are totally different creatures. “That’s an interesting question, because it seems like there’s definitely a difference. It doesn’t really matter in the end.
This book was inspired by a newsletter Warshaw that was started in 2018. It addressed the differences between many things like sea lions, seals, and balconies. It all started with one simple question.
She says, “I was debating with my friends about the difference in sweet potatoes and yams and realized that I didn’t understand the difference.” “I was kinda upset by that.”
Warshaw is a person who can find a gap in her knowledge, and doesn’t shrug. “I did some research and realized how many questions I had that were the what’sthe-difference variety.”
Warshaw focused on food and drinks for the book. She used her food knowledge from stints at Lucky Peach magazine and Food52 to help her.
Karen Rinaldi is a senior vice president at Harper Wave and publisher. She convinced Warshaw to make the book a cookbook.
Rinaldi is a great cook, but she still has trouble understanding the differences between pale ale, IPA and pilsner. She loves cobblers, crackers, and buckles. Now I understand.
Consumers are often confused about the differences between corn oil and canola, and grapeseed, peanut and safflower oils. This is a common question.
She said that neutral oils can be used for similar purposes. “I believe that this is a key difference that can make your life easier. It will help you to understand what you need and what can be swapped.”
For the record, Rutabagas and turnips are not the same thing. Also, don’t confuse condensed and evaporated milk.
Warshaw is still struggling with a single unfinished entry: What’s the difference in frosting, icing, and glaze? Although it seems simple, tons of her research have not produced an adequate answer.
“I don’t have the right answer or a definitive solution. It could be that there isn’t a definitive answer. That’s not an easy thing to accept. “So I believe I will continue to try to figure out the truth.