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The 25 Most Common Cooking Mistakes

Good slide show and list from Cooking Light, linked on CNN.

Mistakes that struck me:
9. You’re too casual about measuring ingredients.
21. You don’t shock vegetables when they’ve reached the desired texture.
24. You don’t know when to abandon ship and start over.


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  1. this is a really good list. though for some reason #20 - you neglect the nuts you're toasting - struck me as a bit more specialized than the rest. i think a more generalized observation would be better...like not keeping a close enough eye on *anything* you're toasting, simmering or boiling.

    4 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      i only glanced at the list, i didn't click on each one for details...but after reading some of the comments below, perhaps i should have!

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        You can click on View All for a summary snapshot. That's easy.

        1. re: maria lorraine

          that's what i did. but i think some of the other posters were responding to the more detailed copy within each point - which i didn't bother to read.

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

        I thought the same thing when I read it; if we're going to discuss the need to monitor progress of specific foods like nuts, there'll be no end to the possibilities.

        I thought the tip about over-softening butter was a helpful reminder, though. I've been guilty of that one.

      3. #9 also struck me because it's my standard way of cooking. I don't see it as a mistake (except for in baking). I always taste as i go and adapt accordingly. Maybe my basil is a bit weak or strong tasting, or I want more tomato tonight. In fact I can't share many of my dishes in recipe format, it's more of a add this and this to x and taste. And sometimes I just add soemthing cuz I think it'll be good in the dish, yet it's not in the recipe

        3 Replies
        1. re: cosmogrrl

          I completely agree with this. If you know what you're doing, you can easily take a casual attitude towards measuring (baking being the obvious exception.)

          1. re: dagwood

            Even in baking if you know what you are doing, you can be more casual. The pastry chefs I have worked with weren't measuring things that carefully.

          2. re: cosmogrrl

            I found #9 a good reminder -- even to very experienced cooks, like myself -- to not get too loose,
            too confident, with not measuring ingredients.

          3. ""Really look at the food. Even if the wooden pick comes out clean, if the cake is pale, it’s not finished. Let it go another couple of minutes until it has an even, golden brownness.""
            What?! I'd much rather have a perfectly cooked cake at the sacrifice of some color.

            1. poor reporting, lack of originality and not one reference. Who is this person"?

              1. Not being afraid to toss it if it turns out bad - my mom's been saying that for as long as I can remember "when in doubt, throw it out"!

                1. Essentially all of these (supposedly) common mistakes can be summed up this way:

                  "Be mindful when cooking."

                  1. #s 4, 5, and 7 all relate to overheating, which is something my wife does constantly and it drives me crazy. For some reason she can't seem to remember that the large halogen burner on our stove should never be turned to high because it gets to nuclear heat in seconds (and we've only lived with this stove the seven years now). I can't count the number of times she's scorched things because she turns it up to the max "just to preheat the pan" and is always - always! - astonished when two minutes later the kitchen starts filling with smoke.

                    1. 21. You don’t shock vegetables when they’ve reached the desired texture.

                      I have never shocked a vegetable in my life. You cook them just short of how you like them, and then carryover cooking time takes care of the rest. Just like meat. Would you shock a pork tenderloin? Who wants cold, icy vegetables???

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        If they were for a cold salad, I would want cold veggies. In that case I would cook them til they were done and shock them. Or if I were precooking/blanching the veggies to be fully cooked later. Then I shock them.

                        As the article said "This is not a concern if you intend to serve the vegetables immediately."

                        1. re: Sooeygun

                          I've never shocked them for a cold salad either. Actually, they are better left hot, dressed with 1/3 of the dressing so that it soaks in, cooled and then dressed with the remainder of the dressing. I will always be anti-shocking! lol :)