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Anti-Caking Ingredient

From: Holden 
Sent: Sunday, September 16, 2012 2:41 PM
Subject: Anti-Caking Ingredient

Phaed, now and again friends and family receive from us a seasoning blend that we make up from ordinary ingredients found in 'most any pantry.  
Table salt represents about 25% of the volume mixture.  Onion powder represents about 3% (1 TBSP onion powder per approximately 33 TBSP of finished product).  

I mention the onion powder because the bulk product we purchase seems more dense than other such powders.  
Its density may be attributable to elevated moisture, but that's a guess.  

Some batches of the blend have a tendency to "cake."  The addition of raw rice-grains is an anti-caking standby of course, but in your experience, 
is there an addition you'd care to suggest that we could use that would not add bulk to the mixture?  Thanks.

Recognizing that there are probably as many such blends as there are home cooks, I'd be delighted to send to you the recipe if you would wish it.  
The blend is on the order of Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt, but ours is "heartier" and more pleasing to our particular palates.  Let me know. 

By the way, did you ever hear from Jane in connection with the Good Housekeeping Apple Pie?  You may recall she last said she'd gotten a copy of the issue 
in question and had found the recipe -- you had indicated you would inquire of her whether she'd share it, etc.  
This all started with the July 20, 2012 copy of your web publication:  "Good Housekeeping Apple Pie."


Hello Holden,

I wrote to Dawn about the Good Housekeeping apple pie recipe, but received no response from her. Sorry.

There’s a good discussion of anticaking additives here: Anticaking Agent

The criteria for a suitable such additive for home use are:

1) it must be edible
2) it must not change the taste of the product
3) it must be obtainable by the home user

1) and 2) are easy. There are dozens, including magnesium carbonate (used in ordinary table salt) and talc. However, most of the additives used commercially are sold only for industrial use, and are difficult to find in small food-grade quantities for the home user.

There’s a message board discussion of the issue here: The Hot Pepper

Some of them, though, are easy to find. Calcium carbonate is basically powdered chalk. It’s added to salt as an anticaking agent, and it’s sold in health food stores and other places as a dietary calcium supplement. Another one that’s sometimes sold as a calcium/phosphorous dietary supplement is tricalcium phosphate. Read the labels of calcium supplements to find these. If you can find them in capsules, they’ll already be powdered. If you can only find them in tablets or caplets, just crush them to make a powder. Another calcium dietary supplement, calcium citrate, is also listed as an anticaking agent.

Your next question will likely be “how much do I use?”. Sad to say, I was not able to find much of anything about this. I did find a statement in a book that commercial products add 1% (presumably by weight) of anticaking agent. That’s probably a good starting point. You’ll have to experiment.

Yet another common thing that you might try is corn starch. This site has recipes for homemade spice mixes, and recommends 2 tablespoons of cornstarch as an anti-caking additive for a recipe that makes 6 to 8 three- ounce jars of seasoned salt:
Nourish Network

Another anti-caking tip that I saw was this: “don’t grind your herbal ingredients finer than your granulated ingredients(salts).”


 Thanks, Uncle -- cornstarch is the likely solution for us... it seems to meet the criteria you mentioned, is available and el cheapo.  We'll give it a whirl next batch.  

Thanks for the continuing interesting content in your website and for your help and interest in helping culinary enthusiasts and others resolve challenges.


Kapok Tree Corn Fritters

From: Barbara 
Sent: Sunday, September 16, 2012 4:43 PM
Subject: Kapok Tree corn fritters

In the 60’s there were two restaurants in Florida called “The Kapok Tree”. One was near Tampa. They served their meals family style, 
with a basket of fresh hot corn fritters sprinkled with powdered sugar. They had several dining rooms, each decorated in a different style, 
with beautiful gardens to wander through while you waited for your name to be called. I have pleasant memories of their corn fritters.
Would you be able to find that recipe? 
Thanks, Barbara 

Hi Barbara,

That recipe appears in several places, including The Kapok Tree Inn Tribute Site. See:

Benz Place

Family Cookbook

Recipe Source


Mother Leone's White Clam Sauce

From: Jay 
Sent: Sunday, September 16, 2012 11:55 AM
Subject: Mama Leone's white Clam Sauce

I've lost my recipe for this sauce and have looked for several years. Can you help?

Hello Jay,

The recipe below is the only Mama Leone’s white clam sauce recipe that I could find on the web.

You can buy a used copy of “Leone’s Italian Cookbook” on Amazon:

Leone's Italian Cookbook


Spaghettini with White Clam Sauce

5 small cans minced or chopped clams, drained, reserving liquid
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh butter
2 oz. (about 1/2 cup) salt pork (do not use fatback), diced into small pieces
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, to taste, mashed/minced
2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, leaves only, chopped
2 tsp. flour
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch of ground black pepper
1 lb. spaghettini (thin pasta), cooked
Parmesan cheese


Open the cans of clams and drain, saving the clam juices.
Combine the olive oil, butter and salt pork in a saucepan and heat until butter is melted.
Chop garlic and parsley together and add to the saucepan.
Cook slowly for 2 minutes.
Do not burn or brown.
Add the chopped clams, without the juices, and cook for several minutes.
Add flour, red and black pepper, and stir well.
Do not add salt as the clams are salty.
Cook for 3 minutes.
Add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the clam juice, but be careful not to make the sauce too liquid.
Bring just to a boil and mix.
The clam sauce is ready to serve over hot cooked spaghetti.
Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese and enjoy! 
Phaed: I have the Leone's Italian Cookbook which was written by Gene Leone, Mother Leone's son, 
published in 1967, and featured a forward by Dwight Eisenhower. The book has a suggested wine 
with each recipe, and there are over 300 recipes.  Luisa was known as Mother Leone, not Mama Leone, 
and her restaurant in New York grew from 20 seats to 1,500 and became a multi-million dollar business. 
It opened in 1906. Gene sold the restaurant in 1959 to Restaurant Associates for 2 1/2 million dollars. 
He said the business had gotten so big that everyone was beginning to tire and the doctor told him 
he was killing himself. There were over 100 people in the kitchen at night. In the morning hours 
25 assistants were prepping.  On a typical night Leone's served over a ton of shrimp and comparable 
quantities of pasta, bread and wine. Theft became a huge problem in the later years. And with the crowds 
and waiting lines, the NYPD had a pickpocket unit assigned to the restaurant. Sadly, it is closed today.

Here is the recipe for Spaghettini with Clam Sauce from that book.

Note there is nothing from a can.

24 medium-sized cherrystone clams
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh creamery butter
1 oz. salt pork
3 medium-sized garlic cloves, mashed
12 fresh parsley sprigs, leaves only
pinch of flour
pinch of crushed red pepper
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghettini

Open the clams, saving any juices. (discard any that are already open) Coarsely chop the clams.  
Combine olive oil , butter ands salt pork in skillet. Cook slowly for two minutes. Do not burn. 
Add chopped clams and cook for five minutes. Add flour and red and black peppers and stir well. 
Do not add salt as the clams are salty. Cook for three minutes. Add about ¼ cup of clam juice, 
but be careful not to make the sauce to liquid. Bring to boil and mix and the clam sauce is ready.

In the meantime have boiling salted water ready for the spaghettini. Cook for 10 minutes. 
(If a heavier spaghetti is used, cook a little longer.) Always taste a strand before removing 
from the heat to be sure it is cooked to your taste. Drain immediately and place back in the 
hot pot in which it was cooked. Pour a little sauce over it and mix. Serve in a warm bowl and 
add the rest of the sauce. Serves 4 or 5. 

Note: You may add a dash of Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon to the balance of the clam juice 
for an invigorating and refreshing cocktail. Or mix clam juice with a glass of Champagne and 
a dash of Tabasco.



Brick Ice Cream

From: Christine 
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2012 12:57 PM
Subject: Ice cream flavor?

Uncle Phaed,

I have tried a variety of searches to no avail.  I have a recipe from 1969 which calls for the use of “Brick” ice cream.  
I think it is a type of vanilla flavor but am not sure.  Can you  help?

Thank you in advance.
Cleveland, Ohio

Hello Christine,

I believe that you are incorrect in looking for a “brick” flavor of ice cream. “Brick” refers to the shape in which a quantity of ice cream is sold, not the flavor. Hard Ice cream is sold in tubs, cups, and rectangle-shaped boxes. The rectangular boxes are called “bricks” because of their rectangular shape. The term is not so much used nowadays as it was in years past. The bricks may be 1-quart, 1/2 gallon, or 1-gallon. The advantage in buying ice cream in bricks is that it can be sliced with a knife. The slices are decorative and easier to serve in some ways. A slice of a brick of ice cream can be put between two slices of cake of the same size or between two cookies of the same shape & size to make an ice cream sandwich. Many different flavors are sold in “bricks”, but, of course, vanilla is the most popular.

See these sites for photos of ice cream “bricks:



AOL Answers


From: Christine 
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2012 4:20 PM
To: 'Phaedrus' 
Subject: RE: brick Ice cream 

Thank you so much, Phaed.  That must answer the question then, because the recipe calls for slicing ice cream to put between something like a rice-krispie treat, 
but it is made with a combination of cocoa krispies, light corn syrup, and peanut butter.  You press it into a pan and let it harden.  
Then you cut it into squares and slices, and then the recipe says to use “brick” ice cream.  In the picture, it sure looks like vanilla, but it is evenly sliced.  
I suppose they meant to do that instead of scooping it out maybe?

Thank you very much.

Christine, Cleveland, OH

Hi Christine,

Yes, I’m sure they mean “buy vanilla ice cream in a ‘brick’” – the rectangular package - then slice it. That way the slices will fit flat between the two layers of cocoa krispie mixture. The slices would work better than trying to sandwich scoops of ice cream between the two layers.


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