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Feb 16, 2010 06:26 AM

Sins in the Kitchen

After the holiday season I often reevaluate how worthwile it is to have family over by the damage done to knives, cookware, and other food curiosities imported into my home. Of course, it is great to have family, but let's face it: there are also drawbacks.

Non-stick pans, knives, and wine glasses suffer the most in my house, but it got me thinking about other 'sins of the kitchen' that I have seen in the past.

So here are my kitchen pet peaves.

(1) Putting tomatoes in the fridge.
(2) Defrosting meat on the counter.
(3) Using knives on the granite counter top.
(4) Leaving me extra cans of cream of mushroom soup. Thanks.
(5) Treating stemware as if it is tuperware.
(6) Putting wood products and expensive knives in dishwasher.
(7) Using metal utensils on non-stick pans.

My family usually say I am being too anal about my kitchen. Is this true? I think I am being reasonable.


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  1. (3) Using knives on the granite counter top
    This should be considered a crime with a sentence in a correctional facility.

    If they think that just because they don't have to pay for your things, then they should be able to ruin them with no consequences, then I'd suggest no longer having holiday gatherings at your house. You might want to CLEARLY go over your ground rules with everyone first, but, at some point, you have to take a stand for yourself, and not let ppl walk over you even if they are family.

    11 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      I couldn't agree more with the knives. I just got a really nice custom Japanese knife for Christmas (really expensive and nice gift) and I came home from a week away and the tip was bent on it -- ever so slightly but still bent. I even hid it before leaving town but it got taken out to 'show off' I think. After that who knows what happend to it. My family are getting better about using cutting boards, but some new in-laws don't bother to ask where the boards are located.

      1. re: smkit

        I thought only my helpful houseguests would jam the tips of my knives into bone!

      2. re: gordeaux

        How about glass cutting boards? I think the mere existence of glass cutting boards is a sin.

        1. re: Indirect Heat

          What would you do with glass cutting boards if someone gave you a pair? The sound of cutting on them squicks me out.

          1. re: Dax

            Use it to serve cheese, fruit, and crackers.

            1. re: Dax

              I used the one my mother gave me as a trivet.

              1. re: Dax

                I once chopped a pie's worth of rhubarb using my brother's dull-ass knife on his glass cutting board. Ugh.

                1. re: Dax

                  Here's the best use for them. If you've got laminate countertops, use the big glass cutting board under your crockpot. I'm a kitchen designer, and I can't count the number of countertops I've replaced because people's crockpots seared, charred, melted or actually started the tops on fire! The glass cutting boards with the little feet on them make a little air cushion underneath.

                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                    My crockpot lives on a marble slab.

                  2. re: Dax

                    I used them as trivets under my toaster. Just be sure they are tempered glass.

                  3. re: Indirect Heat

                    I have one, but it's more decorative than anything; we bought it at an art gallery because the art on it is the same as the print hanging over the fireplace, and we wanted to see how many people noticed. We keep it next to the sink and coffee pot, using it only to cut lemons for tea. I wouldn't think of using a glass cutting board otherwise.

                2. (8) Putting a hot non-stick pan into water without letting it cool down first. Some years ago I was able to save an expensive Le Creuset non-stick from this fate only by making a screaming dash across the kitchen at the last moment. Some people are just clueless!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: BobB

                    I am clueless. What happens when you put a hot nonstick pan into water?

                    1. re: Petrichor

                      The non-stick coating may be destroyed as the water temperature (even hot sink water is a LOT cooler than a hot pan) causes it to contract more rapidly than the underlying metal. When the pan heats or cools gradually this is not an issue, but the near-instantaneous cooling caused by water can be fatal. Even if it doesn't destroy the coating immediately its bond to the metal will be weakened, shortening the pan's lifespan.

                      1. re: BobB

                        I confess I didn't know LeCreuset made nonstick. Isn't nonstick poisonous? Unless you just mean the porcelain.

                        1. re: lagatta

                          No, these were genuine Le Creuset nonstick with a teflonish coating. Like most such nonstick (all, in fact, except my miraculous Dansk Master Series) they lost their coating after a while and I eventually tossed them.

                          They may not be made anymore - I inherited those from someone who passed away back in 1990 and I have no idea how old they were then - the friend who died had not been much of a cook and may have bought them many years earlier.

                  2. 9) Leaving expensive knives or chopping boards in the sink/submerged.

                    I agree with all of these things, although I'd worry less about the tomatoes - it's just the aromatics that suffer I believe. Your family are wrong, and you are right. If they do 3, 6,7,8 or 9, I say key their car. That'll teach them.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Soop

                      My wife loves but bury my sharp knives under the dishes in the sink. Nice little surprise when I dig in to do them.

                      1. re: chileheadmike

                        Whenever we get a new addition to the kitchen, I gently remind my darling several times what needs to happen; she's quite good with the knives, but I found her whisking something in a non-stick pan (metal whisk) and I was like EEEEEEE!!

                        I'll probably have nightmares about what happens when I'm not even there. She also managed to scratch the TV in our room by knocking a mirror into it :( And left bits of broken mirror for my feets.

                        1. re: chileheadmike

                          Yep. I forgot about the buried knife trick in my list. My favorite is when the 10+ inch bread knife gets buried in soapy water. The damage done to my hands with that hidden object is amazing. Another lesser danger are my microplane zesters. They also are keen on marinating my wood handle cheese knives in dish water too. Soggy little knives they become.

                          1. re: smkit

                            I recall reading a trick out here once for dealing with such surprises. Before plunging into the unknown depths of a sinkful of soapy water, partially submerge a glass bowl in it first. Let's you see what's down there!

                              1. re: BobB

                                I was just going to mention this. I read about this trick in Cooks Illustrated.

                          2. re: Soop

                            "9) Leaving expensive knives or chopping boards in the sink/submerged"

                            I assume this is about ruining them. Is it wrong to leave a plastic chopping board submerged, or just wooden ones ? And what damage does soaking knives in soapy water do ?

                            1. re: dump123456789

                              I think it was more about knives in water period. If you can't see it, who knows where it is...and the damage that a nice knife can do to a hand...ouch!

                              But, it is never good to leave anything submerged for long periods of time. Many expensive knives are made from natural materials and are handmade. Even though they were sealed during the formation process, they are still liable to soak up moisture, damaging the material permanently. Wood cutting boards should not be left to soak or even submerged because if any water gets into the board (even though it is sealed) it can cause the board to crack as it dries. I don't see anything wrong with leaving a plastic board submerged, but I have found (from personal experience) that they get a strange texture after a few soakings. It is almost like they are peeling. The same thing happens with the dishwasher though, so I would guess it is the heat.

                          3. OK, don't get the problem with the meat...unless you mean NOT on a plate? Ick. My sad story (I've mentioned it elsewhere on CH) was allowing my insistent father and brother-in-law to wash the china after dinner one Christmas Eve. I was busy hostessing out in the living room...

                            Next time we went to use the Wedgwood, we discovered the death toll: two dinner plates, one salad plate, one saucer, the bottom to the gravy set, and two rimmed soups. SCREAM! All cracked. All very, very expensive to replace.

                            Friends don't let friends wash their dishes drunk. My bad.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Beckyleach

                              Defrosting meat at room temperature invites the growth of bacteria. Best to do it in the fridge or cold water changed every so often.

                              1. re: Beckyleach

                                I defrost meat in the kitchen sink. My mother and grandmother did and I don't recall ever having our family down with food poisoning.

                                1. re: lynnlato

                                  We've always defrosted wrapped meat on the counter or in the kitchen sink allowing it to sit for a few hours. I know this is totally against health standards, but in the 49 years I have been alive, not one person in my family, or anyone I have served food to, has gotten sick because of it.

                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                    We have done it too. However, there was an early incident that made us stop.

                                    My wife's grandfather chucked the family machine tool business because he always wanted to own a cattle farm. He provided us amply in the early years of our marriage with freebie cuts from his "beeves". His cube steaks were meltingly tender. My wife, a nurse, worked every other weekend, and on Saturdays I'd make a big lunchtime meal for her before she left for the hospital at 2 p.m.

                                    One Friday night, I set out the cube steaks to thaw as usual. When we got up in the morning, Casey, our first of many cats, was sitting halfway up the stairs to the second floor, having opened the cube steaks in the middle of the night and dragggggged one halfway up the stairs, where she was feasting mightily.

                                    We changed defrosting methods pronto. But Casey loved us more than ever.

                                  2. re: lynnlato

                                    "I've driven my whole life without a seatbelt, and never died in a car accident".

                                    Still, not the best idea in the world...

                                    1. re: Indirect Heat

                                      There's also no real benefit to driving without a seatbeat while there is a huge benefit to defrosting meat on the counter or in the sink. It's a risk/benefit I'm willing to take. YMMV.

                                      1. re: Indirect Heat

                                        Wait a minute - I never said "I've driven my whole life without a seatbelt, and never died in a car accident"???

                                        Either way, I'm with KT. You scaredy cats can follow all the rules and defrost in the fridge, use anti-bacterial soap, and all that other nonsense - I'm not gonna and you can't make me! :-P

                                    2. re: Beckyleach

                                      That is indeed sad, and a hard lesson. But I give you much credit for at least using your Wedgwood, as opposed to leaving it in the cabinet.

                                      I have a friend who inherited from his family some very old, valuable, ceramic ware that was rarely used. His philosophy is, if it's valuable, use it! So he does, every day. It brings a touch of beauty to everyday life.

                                    3. "(4) Leaving me extra cans of cream of mushroom soup. Thanks"

                                      Donate them if you don't want them. Almost all our local libraries have donation barrels.