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Food Wisdom

SmallGoodThings Sep 8, 2010 11:27 AM

My grandmother taught me, among other things, to pick out the sweetest peaches by following the bees and never to buy meat from a butcher shop that puts its prices in the window.

What pieces of food wisdom have you gleaned over the years?

  1. g
    givemecarbs Sep 8, 2010 11:47 AM

    Don't boil really fresh eggs. They will crack for sure. Can be upsetting at Eastertime.

    3 Replies
    1. re: givemecarbs
      SmallGoodThings Sep 8, 2010 12:09 PM

      I've heard something similar about poaching -- that poaching works best with eggs that are on the older end of the spectrum.

      1. re: SmallGoodThings
        LauraGrace Sep 10, 2010 02:13 PM

        Nope, opposite. Fresh eggs are for poaching, older eggs are for hard-boiling. Fresh ones'll never come out of the shell whole, old ones won't hold together in the poaching water.

        1. re: LauraGrace
          SmallGoodThings Sep 13, 2010 12:31 PM

          Oh, right! I always get them confused...Thanks!

    2. Bob W Sep 8, 2010 12:57 PM

      "Good restaurants may have bad bread, but bad restaurants will not have good bread" -- Bob W.

      1. s
        SmallGoodThings Sep 8, 2010 01:34 PM

        And here's another, that my father swears by: "The quality of a restaurant is inversely related to the size of the peppermill."

        1 Reply
        1. re: SmallGoodThings
          LauraGrace Sep 10, 2010 02:13 PM

          Now THAT I can agree with! Hee hee!

        2. b
          beevod Sep 9, 2010 07:31 AM

          1. Greasy pork chops are a vital source.
          2. Inside every nutritionist is a pastry chef screaming to get out.

          1. wekick Sep 10, 2010 03:38 PM

            To pick out a honeydew, drag your fingers over the surface not ripe- the skin is smooth, almostick, ripe your fingers drag and skin is slightly sticky.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wekick
              pdxgastro Sep 13, 2010 09:42 PM

              Good one. Thanks, wekick. With cantaloupes, I smell the 'bellybutton'. If it smells like melon, it's ripe enough to eat. If it doesn't, it'll have to sit and ripen a few days.

            2. Popkin Sep 10, 2010 03:51 PM

              Don't cook with wine you wouldn't drink.

              1. Emme Sep 10, 2010 07:39 PM

                Sometimes there's a reason something is cheaper. And conversely, price isn't necessarily correlated with quality.

                for me personally, double the vanilla.

                aside from some precise baking recipes, recipes are a list of suggested steps and ingredients. don't be afraid to veer.

                (as i watch others cook, including my mother...) anxiety level does not correlate with outcome.

                Salt isn't salt. Cocoa Powder isn't cocoa powder. Butter isn't butter.

                if you like to cook, find friends that like to eat.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Emme
                  wekick Sep 11, 2010 10:22 AM

                  Agree, I hardly ever follow a recipe but conversely if I want a specific result I try to follow exactly even to specific brand of ingredients. I have written out requested recipes with very specific instructions sometimes for friends and they don't follow half of it and then complain it didn't come out. There is a poem about that.

                  1. re: wekick
                    hillsbilly Sep 14, 2010 12:10 AM

                    Agree too about veering from recipes, my only exception would be don't improvise when you're just learning to cook. Find trusted recipes and follow them to the letter.

                    You can veer when you understand what things do to each other and how to treat different ingredients.

                  2. re: Emme
                    Isolda Sep 18, 2010 01:18 PM

                    My daughter swears she will have "Always double the vanilla" engraved on my tombstone because I say it so often.

                  3. h
                    HillJ Sep 11, 2010 10:28 AM

                    Room temp foods are a whole 'nother experience.
                    Your taste buds change as you age.
                    Visit ethnic markets like a new traveler.

                    1. BubblyOne Sep 11, 2010 10:44 AM

                      My Italian grandfather-
                      "You eat good, you sh*t good".

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: BubblyOne
                        pdxgastro Sep 13, 2010 09:44 PM

                        And there is nothing in the world like a good sh*t! LOL. Bless your nonno.

                      2. Will Owen Sep 13, 2010 06:30 PM

                        From Shirley Corriher: heat the skillet before adding the fat, and the eggs are less likely to stick. Corollary to that: get the skillet blazing hot before you drop the meat in. It will stick, but when it's ready to turn over it'll unstick. Handle biscuit dough as little and lightly as possible (I knew that) and pack them into a pan with sides instead of out on a cookie sheet to make them rise taller (I didn't know that).

                        1. hillsbilly Sep 14, 2010 12:18 AM

                          My mother always told me to wipe the top of the can before you open it. I only ever remember when i open a can and the lid sinks in and there's some spec of something going in with it...

                          I really like Michael Pollan's "eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

                          1. Bob W Sep 14, 2010 04:53 AM

                            From my father (a true chowhound): Never order the ravioli.

                            1. bermudagourmetgoddess Sep 14, 2010 11:32 AM

                              Not so much wisdom, but a saying I never forgot from my father...

                              "Knock his horns wipe his ass and put him on the plate"

                              Yes, I do eat my steaks blue to rare...med rare is too done for me ;)

                              1. l
                                lukos7 Sep 17, 2010 06:23 AM

                                My German grandmother, Bertha, in speaking of breads, kuchens, and strudels, always said: "It's not bad for you! It's only sugar, flour, butter, and eggs!"

                                1. w
                                  weezycom Sep 17, 2010 07:37 PM

                                  From the original Alice's Restaurant Cookbook re: international cooking:

                                  Tarragon makes it French;
                                  Oregano makes it Italian;
                                  Basil & feta make it Greek;
                                  Sour cream makes it Russian;
                                  Paprika makes it Hungarian;
                                  Garlic makes it good.

                                  1. achefsbest Sep 18, 2010 11:53 AM

                                    Even though you think you might not like a certain food, try it again, especially if someone else makes it. It might be the cook and not the ingredient.

                                    1. i
                                      Isolda Sep 18, 2010 01:21 PM

                                      Smell the apple before buying it. If it has no discernible scent, it won't be mealy. If it has a strong scent, it is likely to be mealy. Anything in between, it could go either way.

                                      1. c
                                        CarmenR Sep 20, 2010 06:24 PM

                                        Double the garlic
                                        Almost ANY piece of meat can be cooked well low and slow in a crockpot (ok, not so much for a fillet mignon but any sort of pork/poultry)
                                        Cream of whatever soup is NOT cheating

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