How are pies different from pies? A new book has the answer

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You’re at the supermarket and a recipe you buy calls for rutabagas. Can’t see any? Can you replace the turnips?

While you are thinking about it, you have also been asked to collect condensed milk. Isn’t it really the same as evaporated milk?

The answers to these and other vexing cooking-related questions can all be found in the Insightful Book What is the difference ? : Recreational culinary reference for the curious and the confused.

Author Brette Warshaw wades through potentially loaded worlds of jam versus jelly, broth and broth, the different types of regional barbecue, pie versus pie, and the potentially combustible differences between grinders, heroes, hoagies, and subs.

“I feel like it can help fill in the gaps for people,” she said. “And while they know the difference, I hope there will be some more fun facts they can take away to further their knowledge.”

The entries – beautifully illustrated by Sophia Foster-Dimino – are short and tight, showing Warshaw’s journalistic roots and sometimes betraying the author’s opinion.

Take his entry on Parmesan vs. Parmigiano-Reggiano. The latter is strictly regulated and refers to cheese from a specific Italian region, while the former has more flexible standards and doesn’t even have to be 100% cheese. She notes that grated supermarket Parmesan cheese may contain cellulose, an anti-caking agent made from wood pulp.

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“For me, what was obvious to me about the whole situation is that all kinds of things could pass for Parmigiano-Reggiano and it is certainly not the same,” she said. “I definitely give off opinions sometimes and it felt like a suitable place. “

But she doesn’t judge. Her fiance has been known to sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on her pizza and she says it’s okay, “The crime isn’t eating her. If you want to eat it and like it, no judgment in that.

Sometimes Warshaw’s research has found no difference between the commonly confused elements. Readers may be shocked to find that button mushrooms, cremini, and portobello are all the same type of mushroom.

Or they may be stunned to find that shrimp and prawns are completely different creatures but taste pretty much the same. “It’s an interesting question, where it’s like there is definitely a difference. But in the end, it doesn’t matter. “

The book is from a Warshaw newsletter launched in 2018 that discusses the differences between all kinds of things, like the fact that sea lions and seals aren’t the same and why balconies aren’t terraces. It started with a simple question.

“I had debated with friends about the difference between a sweet potato and a yam and realized that I didn’t know the difference,” she says. “I was a little upset by this.”

Warshaw turns out to be a person who finds a gap in his knowledge and really doesn’t shrug his shoulders away. “I did some research and then realized how many other questions I had were like ‘what’s the difference’.

For the book, Warshaw focused on food and drink, drawing on her own dietary knowledge that she had gained during periods of work at Food52 and Lucky fishing magazine.

Karen Rinaldi, senior vice president and publisher of Harper Wave, helped convince Warshaw to focus on the book as a culinary resource, calling her a creative and naturally curious person with a large brain.

Rinaldi cooks all the time and always finds things confusing, like the differences between IPA, pale ale and pilsner. The entry she appreciates the most is on cobblers, crisps, curls and crumbles: “This is the one that just delighted me because he was getting into a question we all ask ourselves. time. Now I know.”

One of the infuriating questions many consumers debate is dealt with competently: What is the difference between canola and corn oil, let alone grape seed, peanut, safflower and vegetable oils?

“What a lot of people may not know is that any kind of neutral oil is pretty much good for the same kind of purpose,” she said. “I think that’s actually a difference that hopefully makes your life a bit easier – knowing the basics of what you really need and what can be traded for each other.”

Oh, and for the record: rutabagas aren’t the same as turnips, and don’t confuse condensed milk with evaporated milk.

An unfinished entry still haunts Warshaw, the one that escaped: what’s the difference between frosting, frosting and frosting? It sounds basic, but tons of his research haven’t produced an adequate answer.

“I still don’t really have the answer or a definitive answer. The answer could be that there is no definitive answer. But it is a difficult thing to accept. So I think I’ll always try to get to the bottom of that one.

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