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Mom's Kitchen Tips & Tricks

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?

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  1. 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

      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

        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

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: chef chicklet

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: Channa

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

                1 Reply
                1. re: cheesecake17

                  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.

                  MK
                  motherskitchen.blogspot.com