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Never mix up the powder and the soda.

Byline: FOOD DUDE By Lewis Taylor The Register-Guard

Food Dude is on record defending unusual pizza toppings. I cited barbecue chicken pizza as my evidence and quoted the owner of a local pizzeria.

"What we've found with most people is that if they like a particular kind of food, they like it on their pizza as well,' the pizza dude explained.

Being pretty progressive when it comes to hand-held food, I agreed with the dough tosser that people needed to broaden their pizza horizons, but now I'm recanting my statement. This is a trend that has gone too far. They're now putting refried beans on Italian pies.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for fusion cooking, but mixing and matching ingredients doesn't always work out so well.

Sometimes great tastes don't go so well together.

It's like when you were a kid and made a suicide fountain drink at the 7-Eleven. Mountain Dew, Coca-Cola, Mug Root Beer and orange Fanta may be delicious on their own, but mix them together and you've got a cup of carbonated dishwater that only an 11-year-old could love.

If you've got something to say, say it to the Food Dude. Write to the address at the end of the column.

Dear Food Dude: Help! I put baking powder in a recipe that calls for baking soda and my cookies taste metallic. Is there anything I can do to rescue the rest of the dough I've got sitting in the fridge? Do you have any tips on keeping these two ingredients straight?

- I'm a dummy

Dear Dummy: I think you're going to have to toss your cookies, so to speak.

Bonnie Hathaway, owner of Eugene's Monster Cookie, says there's no quick fix for your problem. And although she's never made the same mistake in her kitchen, she knows what it's like to have to say goodbye to a perfectly good batch of treats.

"Once, somebody accidentally put salt instead of sugar into (the mixer)," she says. "It was like eating a little bit of the beach. We threw away 20 dozen cookies."

While baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents and both are used in various cookie recipes, Hathaway says the two ingredients are not interchangeable. And unfortunately, there's no easy-to-remember rule of thumb for when to use one and when to use the other.

"Maybe you could label the bottles better," she suggests.

It also might help to know a little about how the two leavening agents work. Baking soda is bicarbonate of soda. Baking powder often includes baking soda along with several other ingredients. Most baking powders are comprised of bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and cornstarch. Baking soda is basic (nonacidic). Baking powder contains acid. Recipes that call for baking soda require an acid such as lemon juice or buttermilk to activate the leavening.

Since you're going to throw away your dough anyway, it might be worth adding some baking soda to see what happens. Shawn Harding, a manager at the Muffin Mill, doubts you will see positive results. He predicts the cookies will spread and turn darker than they should be since baking soda serves to neutralize the acidity in the dough.

In general, an excess of baking powder in a recipe that calls for baking soda will tend to make cookies cakier, says Catherine Reinhart, co-owner of Sweet Life Patisserie. She says the metallic flavor may be from the type of baking powder. Some powders contain sodium aluminum sulfate. If that's the case, you may want to consider replacing yours.

"Personally," Reinhart says, "I don't care to eat aluminum."

Talk to the Food Dude at www.registerguard.com/fooddude.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:May 30, 2007
Words:612
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