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Mom's Kitchen Tips & Tricks

lynnlato Dec 22, 2008 01:33 PM

I was making cookies today and after they cooled I loaded them up in my Charles Chips tin where my mother always stored her holiday sand tarts and other cookies. It then dawned on me that I needed a piece of soft sandwich bread to put in the tin as well. Mom always did this to keep the cookies soft and fresh. Anyone else do this?

What other tricks did Mom (or Dad, or Grandma) teach you in the kitchen?

  1. todao Dec 22, 2008 01:35 PM

    1. A potato peeler is not a hatchet; use it like a draw knife.
    2. Adding more food coloring than the recipe calls for does not make for a brighter colored cake; it makes for a much heavier cake.
    3. If you develop a habit of using a pot holder when handling all your pots and pans on the stove, even those with "heat proof" handles, you'll avoid experiencing the nasty burns that come from picking up a cast iron skillet without one.
    4. Never use "cream of ..." in a recipe. If you really want to become a good cook, learn to prepare your own basic sauces.
    5. Peparing dough is a process that should never be rushed.

    3 Replies
    1. re: todao
      lynnlato Dec 22, 2008 04:23 PM

      That pot holder tip is a good one. Damn, those cast iron skillets get hot. I'm always burning myself in the kitchen. Not much of a cutter, but definitely a burner. :)

      1. re: lynnlato
        bacchus_is_watching Dec 23, 2008 05:20 AM

        My mom's tip works perfectly here. Whenever you are dealing with a hot pan (as in the handle is hot) put an extra oven mitt on the handle like it was a hand. This way even if you forget the handle is hot you will be safe!

        1. re: bacchus_is_watching
          lynnlato Dec 23, 2008 05:40 AM

          I like that one too, thanks Biw. I'm gonna use these over the holiday. Maybe I'll have my first burn-free holiday? Wish me luck!

    2. jeniyo Dec 22, 2008 01:45 PM

      always stir your meat (ground meat for meat balls or Chinese dumplings) in ONE direction. It locks the moisture and wouldn't leak - from grandma

      resting the dough between forming and kneading the dough. "no poking!"

      still not sure why- but i get yelled at all the time! from either grandma/mother/aunties.

      1. roxlet Dec 22, 2008 01:47 PM

        My mother always rubbed the salad bowl with a cut piece of garlic. I do it too -- it adds a slight tinge of garlic flavor without overwhelming the delicate greens.

        1. chef chicklet Dec 22, 2008 02:04 PM

          Thickening the gravy with the potato water, I always forget, but I loved my Mom's gravy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chef chicklet
            rainey Dec 22, 2008 05:52 PM

            Yup! ...except that I think it makes the gravy tastier not thick.

            But if you set a handful of stuffing aside when you stuff the bird, you can whirl that into the gravy as a thickener and a flavor booster. That's from Shirley O. Corriher's mother. I heard her relate that tip on a radio broadcast at Thanksgiving 2 years ago.

          2. Channa Dec 22, 2008 04:39 PM

            Always pour liquids or measure ingredients over the sink. If anything spills, it will be easy to tidy up.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Channa
              lynnlato Dec 22, 2008 07:13 PM

              You know, every time I measure a teaspoon of salt over the mixing bowl i remind myself that I should not be doing it, but I do it anyway. I'm such a rebel.

            2. m
              masha Dec 23, 2008 06:12 AM

              Clean up as you go along. It was essential in the kitchen of the house where I grew up, as the kitchen was tiny and had minimal work space. Even with a much more spacious kitchen and multiple work counters, I find that I still do it.

              1. c
                cheesecake17 Dec 23, 2008 06:55 AM

                Take out all the ingredients before you start to bake something. As you use each item, put it away.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cheesecake17
                  momskitchen Dec 23, 2008 07:19 AM

                  If you have left over bacon strips, roll them in a coil and freeze them on a plate in the freezer, and then put them in a ziplock bag and you can easily get out how many strips you might need for a future recipe. This isn't my mom's tip, it's mine.


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