Common Kitchen Screw Ups
Avoid them and improve your overall cooking experience
I had a visit with TODAY yesterday, always a pleasure, especially getting to hang a little with my old friend, Al Roker, who I’m going to try to get on the podcast (season three of Food will be here soon!). The gist was “kitchen mistakes” — I’m not a huge fan of the word “mistake,” but that’s what these things are, really — and if you can avoid these four things, you can greatly improve your mood while cooking. Here they are, and you can watch the TODAY segment here.
Turning meat too often
If you want to brown meat, the ideal is to let it sit in the pan until it “releases” – which it will do when a crust forms. Like magic! So don’t turn meat until that point, and it will brown perfectly.
Similarly, if you put too much food in a pan it will never brown because so much moisture will cook out of the food it will steam rather than sear. This is true of meat and veg and anything else. Sometimes that’s okay – you don’t want to brown. But if you do want to brown, don’t crowd.
Prepping ingredients as you go
This is a controversial take, always, but I think it’s a waste of time. Start cooking! Then, while your water is boiling, your pan heating, your oil getting warm, whatever – start chopping. While that stuff cooks, prepare whatever comes next. How to Cook Everything Fast is based on this premise — take a look. (There will be a new edition in the fall.)
Using dull knives
You’re more likely to cut yourself with a dull knife than with a really sharp knife. A sharp knife will cut reliably. You don’t need to be obsessive about it, but it’s important. There are some good high-tech not super expensive knife sharpeners out there. (We love the Brod & Taylor Professional Knife Sharpener — it’s small and mighty. This one would also do just fine.) And if you’ve done it before, you know that chopping an onion with a dull knife is one of the worst kitchen “mistakes” you can make!
Oh no……. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. Been guilty of them all.😂🤡🤣
I agree with Ann and Elizabeth - reading the recipe all the way through helps to prioritize next steps (can I prep as I cook, or do I need to prep all ingredients first for recipes that come together quickly). This simple practice also helps to focus on the ingredients list and if everything is on hand before the cooking begins.
Also to add - not a screw up per se, but really helpful to clean as you cook (in much the same way as Mark suggests prepping as you cook)... Tip - a small bowl on the counter for garbage is helpful!