The Washington Post

Cookbook author Charlotte Druckman recently joined The Washington Post Food staff to answer questions about all things edible. The following are edited excerpts. Recipes whose names are capitalized can be found in the Recipe Finder at

Q: I have two well-used cast-iron Dutch ovens whose enamel coating has worn off inside. Should I get rid of them?

A: You mean the coating has worn off to the point where it’s exposed cast-iron? If so, yes, I’d get rid of them — unless the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty.

— Joe Yonan

Q: If I don’t drink coffee or eggnog, what drinks (preferably warm) can I sprinkle nutmeg on? Because I’ve got multiple nutmeg seeds.

A: Why not try it on a smoothie? Not the green ones. But I’m thinking one made with coconut or banana could use a nice hit of nutmeg. Nutmilks, or nutmilk-based drinks, will also benefit from a touch of that spice. This might be controversial, but I tried dark chocolate flavored with nutmeg and liked it. You might even sprinkle some nutmeg on your cocoa.

— Charlotte Druckman

Q: We were a little overzealous apple picking last weekend and came home with 10 pounds. It seems like applesauce would be a good way to use lots of less-than-perfect apples. Do you have a recipe or technique that doesn’t require a lot of specialty gadgets?

A: Roasted Mashed Apple-Pear Sauce is my favorite way to make applesauce, because you can do it straight up or flavor it with herbs and go savory, or add spices or ginger and go sweet. Toss them in a roasting pan with butter and a little sugar and that’s it. I prefer to keep it a little chunky, to avoid a baby-food texture.

Feel free to make it with just apples, but the pears do add a certain something.

— Bonnie S. Benwick