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Feb 6, 2012 12:13 PM

What mistake do you always make when you're cooking in a rush?

What cooking mistakes have you made when trying to get dinner on the table when you're pressed for time (i.e., every night of the week in my house)? For me it's opening the oven too often to see if the darn chicken legs are done roasting yet--I know I shouldn't do that because it lets out the heat, but when I'm rushing I'm so anxious to see if they're done...

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  1. Once I sliced off a piece of my thumb with my chef's knife when I was in a hurry. The docs at ER admired the clean cut. Fortunately, I do not "always" make that mistake.

    11 Replies
    1. re: GH1618

      I did the same thing many years ago in the 70s. Sliced off about a third of the thumbnail and the flesh underneath. My friends said, "Save the cut off piece, they'll sew it back on at the hospital." But my cat had already snagged it & run off! Anyway, I was a guitarist and couldn't use my thumb for a month. That was the summer I learned to play slide guitar. The experience left me with a match head sized scar and a humorous (in retrospect) memory.

      1. re: eclecticsynergy

        I don't know which irresponsible relative let me near a mandoline when I was 12, but years and years ago I was slicing tomatoes for salad without using the vegetable 'hat' -- and, predictably, I lopped off the end of my baby finger. My mother drove me to the hospital but I had to carry the finger piece in a zippie bag (on ice, natch). They didn't end up re-attaching the nub, but I sure wouldn't eat sliced tomato for ten years or so.

        And I only accepted a mandoline back into my life last year, in my late 20s. I still don't have a fingerprint on my right pinkie.

          1. re: kattyeyes

            Not a cannibal unless megjp is a cat :)

            1. re: zfalcon

              HA HA, no...wrong post...replying to eclecticsynergy:
              ^^My friends said, "Save the cut off piece, they'll sew it back on at the hospital." But my cat had already snagged it & run off!^^


              1. re: kattyeyes

                Cat who eats cat= cannibal. Cat who eats people = not a cannibal.

                1. re: jvanderh

                  OOPS, that's true. I'm a little slow this week. DUH on my part. It's still creepy to think the cat took off with the piece of finger!

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    Yep, that cat was a true humanitarian!

                  2. re: jvanderh

                    what's this make people who eat cat? fear of which is why a friend of mine won't eat chinese food!

                    1. re: betsydiver

                      Ah yes, a popular but often misnamed menu item: kitten chow mein.

                      Have posted this link elsewhere: the funniest mistranslation of an actual Chinese menu ever. It just gets funnier as one reads down the page. Enjoy!


                      1. re: eclecticsynergy

                        Correction- it's a Japanese menu I guess. Hilarious nonetheless. A few choice selections; these are actual listed items:

                        "Fresh bulb lilycelery west fruit in eyes"

                        "Fragrant bone in garlic in strange flavor"

                        "Big bowl fresh immerse miscellaneous germ"

                        "Red date silk tube-shaped container steams frog"

                        "Double-Boiled Forest Frog Plaster w/Coconut Juie"

                        and the ever-popular "Carbons burns fresh particularly must"

                        plus dozens of others, some of which can't appear here...

        1. Well, certainly not always but I sometimes will forget an ingredient or I will forget to taste and season before serving.

          Interestingly, I, too, have cut a small chunk out of my finger. It wasn't bad enough to go to the E.R, though.

          As Benjamin Franklin once said "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other."

          1. I forget to save some of the cooking water to thin out what ever it is i'm making. It all just goes down the drain. So sad.

            2 Replies
            1. re: adido

              I should add that now I take some water out of the pot while the food is cooking so this happens less frequently.

              1. re: adido

                I try to remember to do that, too--just grab a big scoop with my Pyrex measuring cup or whatever is handy before down-the-drain-e-o!

            2. Cutting or burning myself. I have scars.

              7 Replies
              1. re: wyogal

                That would make me your twin. I even have one from the refrigerator.

                  1. re: JerryMe

                    In my hurry I knocked something over in the frige and had to pull the crisper drawers out to wipe it up. As I reached in to wipe it out- in a hurry- the upside down "T" shape of the shelf above the crisper drawers that has the track for the drawers to slide into ripped the top of my arm open. I have an inch and a half long scar just below my elbow.

                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                      Yikes! I've got scars, for sure but none from THAT appliance . . .yet.

                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                        It's that kind of thing that will put you off cleaning ;) I had a cleaning accident (not in the kitchen) that resulted in the loss of a fingernail, and it had that effect on me.

                        1. re: foiegras

                          So you're saying she should never clean the refrigerator again. I can get behind that.

                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                            It should magically clean itself. I want that patent.

                1. When I'm in a rush, I tend not to taste as I go very much and just do it by the numbers. More than once I've been very unpleasantly surprised to discover, after I've sat down to eat, that I completely forgot to salt something or that slight burnt edge I figured would be no big deal (without tasting it) turned out to pervade the entire dish.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: MikeG

                    I keep fleur de sel on the table so I don't have to worry too much about salt ;)

                    1. re: foiegras

                      It's just not the same, though! Sometimes you can get away with that, but when you forget to salt something like stew, all you can do is salt it, stick in the fridge for a day or 2 and hope for the best - never tastes the same as when you salt is as you go along.

                      1. re: MikeG

                        OK, I've never forgotten to salt stew ;) I salt the stew meat when I'm browning it, and then also taste the stew as I'm cooking.

                        I really hate the texture of table salt on top of my food, so for most of my life, it was really important to get the salt exactly right in the kitchen. But with fleur de sel (took me awhile to 'discover' it), which either melts or has a pleasant texture, you can fix things at the table. If the food is deeper than one layer (like in a bowl), I just salt more than once. It's also good if you're in a hurry and you're cooking something straightforward, you don't have to taste it at all until you get to the table.