Whenever I’m feeling blue, I tune into one of cooking legend Gordon Ramsay’s food shows. His screaming is soothing and I love absorbing all the advice on what not to do in the kitchen. You know if I ever end up having to make him lunch at a top-tier restaurant out of the blue. Don’t forget the lamb sauce? Check. Don’t send out raw salmon? Gotcha! Don’t be an idiot sandwich? Roger that! But there are tons of other cooking no-no’s that are extremely useful to know.
And redditor MomosOnSale got other cooking aficionados talking and sharing their advice on what you shouldn’t be doing in the kitchen. We’ve collected the best tips and tricks for you to snack on. Remember to upvote the ones that you found useful and if you’ve got any extra ones to share, drop us a comment below.
Pie artist, baking expert, and cooking diva Jessica Clark-Bojin told Bored Panda all about her kitchen pet peeves, the basic blunders that amateur cooks tend to make, and how to make our meals look enticing, so be sure to read on for her wonderful insights. Jessica recently announced the first book dedicated to pie art, 'Pies Are Awesome: The Definitive Pie Art Book,' and has just sold her very first NFT and the world's first-ever cryptoFoodArt.
Just for the record—ugh! Who uses glass cutting boards?!
Don't pour oils down the drain!
Coming anywhere near my non-stick pan with metal. If you scratch my pan I will scratch your soul.
"Weighing by volume rather than by weight is a big pet peeve of mine," pie artist Jessica shared with me in an interview. "The chemical reactions involved in baking require precise measurements of ingredients, and depending on how densely people pack flour into their measuring cups, they can be using up to 25% more or less than the recipe actually calls for!" Instead, she suggested using kitchen scales as an alternative. They're cheap. And they're much more precise. This leads to far fewer mistakes in the kitchen.
"Working mis en place can eliminate most blunders amateur cooks make… Issues with timing, forgetting certain ingredients, using ingredients at the incorrect temperature, etc.—all of these mistakes can be avoided when you take the time to prep and lay out all tools and ingredients before you start cooking or baking!" Jessica suggested getting everything ready beforehand.
Don't try to catch a dropped knife. Back away and let it fall.
If it has touched raw meat, it can't go anywhere near cooked meat
IN THE WATER
"This way you aren’t wasting time waiting for your butter to chill for pie dough, or waiting for eggs to come to room temperature for meringue, overcooking one ingredient in the wok because you forgot you needed to dice another ingredient first, or suddenly realizing you’re completely out of salt."
For Jessica, food isn't just about the taste—the aesthetics are equally as important! Especially when it comes to making a good first impression. "We eat first with our eyes—and if we’re having a meal with friends over Zoom, we’re only eating with our eyes! Try sprinkling a complimentary spice/powder on your food through a stencil as a quick and easy way to add some aesthetic impact to your food," she suggested.
Don't cut meat immediately after cooking it, more juices will flow out, the meat will become drier. Wait a few minutes
Cooking with unwashed hands
Never and I mean never panic if you start a fire on accident, you need to be calm enough to know if you have to smother it (oil or grease fires) or grab the extinguisher. Panicking can get your house burned down
"You can sprinkle paprika on mashed potatoes, cinnamon on pudding or ice cream, activated charcoal on home baked bread, matcha powder on your tea, cocoa powder on pie dough or toast… there are so many options! All you need is a flat surface and a food safe stencil—either store bought, or you can cut your own from acetate. You could choose a simple pattern, a word, or even a template of your friend’s face that you create on the computer yourself!"
Bored Panda had the pleasure of carving up the world of gastronomy in earlier articles as well. Previously, I spoke about kitchen mistakes with pie artist Jessica about some of the other issues that came pop up in the kitchen. For Jessica, problems in the kitchen can range from the tiny and insignificant to the dangerously disastrous. Distraction and a lack of preparation, in her point of view, are the main villains.
Never pour spices directly into a steaming pot on the stove. The spices will congeal in their containers from the moisture introduced. Instead put the spices in a separate side container then add to a steaming pot.
Don't use a nice knife on anything other than food. (a common offense would be opening a food package with it)
Don't send a nice knife through a dishwasher
Don't leave a sharp knife in the sink
Don't leave a knife wet, even ones claiming to be stainless will often rust if left wet.
Glass cutting boards. Like seriously, just GTFO.
And in a similar vein, dangerously dull knives. I’ve seen some real bludgeons in other people’s kitchens; no wonder they hate prep work.
"Kitchen 'mistakes' can range from the catastrophic, 'I forgot the pot roast in the oven and now the kitchen is on fire' to the more benign, 'I accidentally put paprika in the cookies instead of cinnamon', but in most instances, they stem from the same thing: distraction and a lack of preparation,” she said.
In Jessica’s professional opinion, improving our skills in the kitchen starts with picturing in our minds all the steps that we need to take before diving head-first into the gastronomic fray. If you’re prepared, you’re less likely to run the risk of burning yourself, your kitchen, and your pride.
I'd like to add to this that you should read and understood the entire recipe before you start cooking. You don't have time to boil water when you need to "add boiling water". And it's nice to have the rice ready when you arrive at "serve with rice".
"Taking the few extra minutes to prep will give you a lovely stress-free baking experience!" Jessica believes that it’s hard to mess up if you follow all of these steps. What’s more, following them means that if any mistakes do pop up, you’ll catch them before they cause some serious havoc.
Jessica also revealed to Bored Panda about what cooking’s like in her family. Every member of her family cooks, however, they all have very different dietary preferences! You can imagine what a nightmare that is when it comes to actually getting people to taste the food as it’s being made.
Skipping fresh ingredients.
Just peel & chop garlic! Squeeze a lemon! Skip the jar/ bottle
For the love of god stop mucking about with whatever it is you're cooking. Unless it's something you specifically need to be mixing or stirring constantly, leave it alone! You'll never get proper color on things if they make more contact with your spatula than your pan.
People coming into the kitchen to "help".
“We have family members who are vegetarian, vegan, celiac (and just plain fussy) and it’s not always possible for the cook to taste what they are making for everyone else. But you can always bring in a pinch-taster and get a second opinion!" she said.
Jessica also gave us some useful tips on how to ensure that food products stay fresh longer than usual. “One of my favorite tricks is to serve fruits and veggies in cups with a layer of ice in the bottom. It keeps the snacks fresh and prevents them from getting dried out and floppy," she said.
Learned this the hard way: don't throw fresh chili peppers into a hot pan unless you want to pepper spray the whole house!
Cooking everything on "high" because you want it done faster.
Adding salt as a matter of course, or just because the recipe says to. Taste first, and only add if needed. If you've used stock or a stock cube in your dish you might not even need salt, they already have it.
"They make a pretty little bouquet in the cup, and the individual serving sizes mean no grubby little hands contaminating a communal veggie platter! Which I know is something at the back of all of our minds these days,” she pointed out that this is very useful in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Don't season a liquid before reducing it, it will become too salty after you reduce it.
Don’t press your burgers down as they’re cooking. You’re releasing all the juice. It’ll give you a dry ass burger.
There are such things as smash burgers, but I believe on those, you smash them at the beginning before the fat has a chance to melt so you’re not smashing the juice out.
Meanwhile, Canadian cake designer Darci, the founder of Kake by Darci, also told me earlier what we can do to keep food fresh for longer. She said that products like milk, whipping cream, and fresh fruit spoil the fastest, so you have to use them all ASAP.
“If you have leftover fruit, you can make fillings! Milk, you can freeze into cubes and use later on. Whipping cream is an easy caramel recipe," Darci said.
Never put oil in the pot when cooking pasta, as the sauce will just slip and slide away instead of sticking to the pasta.
Pasta should never, ever be rinsed for a warm dish. The starch in the water is what helps the sauce adhere to your pasta. The only time you should ever rinse your pasta is when you are going to use it in a cold dish like a pasta salad or when you are not going to use it immediately
Cutting with a dull knife. Get yourself a sharpener, even if it's a cheap one.
What useful food prep, cooking, and kitchen tips do you have for us, dear Pandas? What are the biggest kitchen no-no’s that you know of? Which of the things mentioned in this list have you done at least once? Share your thoughts in the comment section with all the other readers.
Resting is part of cooking. That bacon you cooked to perfection that's still in the skillet? Yeah, that's too late. You need to remove things from heat a little earlier than youd think so that the ambient heat continues to do its job. Otherwise you're overcooking it.
Remember, you can't get some stuff back after you add it. Go slow with seasonings, and lightly. You can always add more, but you can't take it back. Don't let your food taste like ocean water.
Using sugar to take the edge off a highly acidic sauce. Just put a damn carrot in it and let it absorb the acidity instead of covering it with a new flavor.
Cranking the heat to reduce the cooking time will leave you with a burnt outside and an under-done inside.
Don't use a cold pan to sear something; get the pan hot first, better sear.
Do not mix hot cooking oil and cool sink water! I saw a girl burn the hell out of herself because she didn't listen to the Home Ec. teacher. She threw her hot oil in a sink with some cool water running. Boom! Sprayed hot oil all over her arm and neck. Let your oil cool folks.
Don't let your baking powder get clumpy. Tiny rocks of baking powder ruin anything you bake.