What is clarified butter, and what is ghee?

Self-tutoring about cooking: the tutor arrives at the definitions of clarified butter and ghee.

Clarified butter and ghee are not the same but can be explained as follows:

  1. Clarified butter is begun by heating butter at low heat so that it melts.
  2. As the butter melts, solids will sink to the bottom and a foam will form on top.
  3. The clarified butter is just the liquid without the foam or solids.
  4. If the butter is heated for longer, the liquid will deepen in color and the foam will solidify and sink. Then, the liquid is ghee.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Flash point vs fire point: what is the difference?

Self-tutoring about safe temperature to heat cooking oil led the tutor to seek the difference between flash point and fire point.

At the flash point, the vapor is ignitable but will only burn with a continuous source of ignition. At the fire point, the vapor, once ignited, will burn independently, even if the ignition source is removed.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

How to keep eggshell out of your baked goods

Self-tutoring about baking: the tutor shares a simple trick.

When you bake something, you definitely don’t want eggshell in it. Of course, it usually wouldn’t happen. However, the odd time, an egg might crack irregularly, so that a piece of shell separates from the rest and lands in the bowl with the egg.

It’s easy to retrieve the shell fragment if you can see it, which is why I try to remember to use a dark-colored bowl, and put the eggs in first. Then, if a shell fragment lands in the bowl, it’s easy to see and remove.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

A rub for chicken legs

Self-tutoring about cooking: the tutor shares a find.

I searched up a rub to elevate some chicken legs on the barbecue and found this one from Brenda McGrath at allrecipes.com, a site I often visit for recipes.

I rubbed the chicken legs in it, then indirect-grilled them on the barbecue at medium-high heat for about 80 minutes.

One of my kids commented that the chicken legs tasted “like barbecue chips.” Everyone loved the rub. Thanks, Brenda!

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Why flour a cake pan?

Self-tutoring about baking: the tutor wonders why flour a cake pan.

Apparently there are two reasons to flour a cake pan:

  1. Help support the batter as it rises against the pan.
  2. We assume that the pan has been buttered before floured. Then the flour reduces the melting of the butter into the dough.

An idea I read is that, for a chocolate cake, you can dust the pan with cocoa instead of flour to serve the same purpose. Neat, eh?



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Celery: health benefits

Self-tutoring about nutrition: the tutor gives celery a closer look.

As a vegetable, celery is convenient to serve. It needn’t be peeled, just washed and chopped into sticks. It’s not my kids’ favourite, but dietary variety is important.

I wondered if celery is nutritious; apparently, it is, with numerous vitamins and minerals, and significant antioxidants. Moreover, it offers anti-inflammatory benefits, and even helps against cholesterol.

Serving celery with meals seems even easier to justify than I’d thought:)




Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Pearly everlasting

Identifying plants means constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares another find: pearly everlasting.

I know I’ve seen pearly everlasting elsewhere; it grows very commonly on the west coast. Yet, I’ve never thought to identify it.

The flowers really are pearly white, though the centres are darker. The leaves are long, thin, and lance-shaped, and may even gain in prominence as the stem ascends. The blossoms are many, and can last a long time.


Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of Coastal British Columbia. Vancouver: BC Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing, 1994.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Mead vs meed: homonyms

Tutoring English, homonyms always interest. The tutor mentions the pair mead and meed.

mead: alcoholic drink made from fermented honey.

meed: deserved compensation.


Barber, Katherine et al. Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English. Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2005.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

What is the point of gardening?

Self-tutoring: the tutor delves into the philosophy behind urban gardening.

In the late ’80s I talked to a farmer, and survivalist, who lived way up north. He didn’t have a garden. His wife did; he snickered at its mention.

“You’re a survivalist…why don’t you believe in gardening?” he was sometimes asked.

“It’s much cheaper to buy produce at the grocery store,” he would smile. “If you think of the money you could earn for the time spent tending a garden, you come out way behind, gardening.”

He didn’t talk much, that man, and he was almost always right when he did. Back then, he could make $20/hour for working…why would he garden?

My father had a garden in the 80s in a region where agriculture is favourable. Yet, our home sat on a sand hill; our soil wasn’t so good as that of our neighbours across the street, who lived on the flat.

I came to learn that my father loved gardening. Evenings from late spring to early fall, he’d spend out in the back yard. Sometimes he tended the garden, while other times he’d stand there, smoking a cigarette, surveying it. He was proud of the garden. No-one else could see it; our garden lay behind a bluff that backed onto woods. He took personal pride in it, regardless.

About a third of his time out there, he spent planning what he’d do next year. If I went out to talk to him, he’d discuss the crop, but soon begin about how the soil was better than last year, and what he’d yet do to improve it. We were surrounded by deciduous trees whose leaves he collected each autumn, then tilled into the garden. He loved talking about compost.

During our three years there, he improved the soil a great deal, from almost pure sand to darker stuff more like loam. However, he was a military man; we had to move. All that progress was lost to him when we moved away to live on a base.

My father had known, when we arrived there, that we were destined only to move away in a few years. Yet, his compass, first to last, was improving the soil. We ate delicious produce from the garden – I still remember the first tomato we picked from it and how good it tasted. However, he didn’t mainly talk about that. Rather, he talked about how good the soil would be next spring or how much it could improve after ten years of composting.

My only conclusion is that Dad’s point to gardening was to improve the soil. Whatever produce we ate from it – and we certainly did – was a bonus.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: what is a maven?

Self-tutoring about English: the tutor mentions maven, a word he’s long wondered about.

Here and there, I’ve seen the word maven over the years, but never knew what it meant. Finally I got the notion to look it up:

maven: one with expert knowledge on the subject in question.


Mish, Frederick C. (editor). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.