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May 3, 2012 06:57 PM

Say what?? Cooking comments that baffle you

Ever had someone make a comment about cooking that had you scratching your head? Here’s one that happened recently.

SIL stopped by as I was cooking and admired the chef’s knife I was using. I know she spends time in the kitchen so I bought a similar one for her birthday. When I later asked how she liked it, she replied, “I’m scared to use it. It’s too sharp! I might cut myself.” (Huh???)

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  1. the food there is too salty.....and tastes bland.

    11 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      That sounds like something Yogi Berra would say.

      1. re: Spice_zing

        How about this one.....I like my steak rare and the steaks there are never hot enough for me.

        1. re: fourunder

          On the subject of steaks.......The Rib Eye Steaks at that restaurant are no good....the meat is too fatty.

          1. re: fourunder


            Didn't want to reply to the original post because this is about eating not necessarily the past, I've warned my adult son about trying new things while out at a restaurant. He's not a shy eater by any stretch but has never had gorgonzola cheese. He ordered a dish with gorgonzola on it. While eating, he remarked the dish didn't taste right. I asked him to clarify...his response was "I don't know; it tastes bad. Almost moldy."

            He wanted to send it back but I told him it was the cheese and, if he wanted to send it back, he better not say because it tasted moldy. I wanted to smack him!!!

            1. re: Dee S

              Is this where I mention the relative who took the prosciutto out of a hoagie and proceeded to microwave it because "prosciutto is raw meat"?

        2. re: Spice_zing

          One of my favorite Yogi-isms, about a restaurant:

          "Nobody goes there anymore- it's too crowded!"

        3. re: fourunder

          Now that's a comment I actually understand. Sometimes, salt seems to be the only seasoning used, and it blunts the taste of the other ingredients, so all I taste is salty blandness. Since I love salt, though, it usually takes a lot of it, along with inferior ingredients, to elicit this comment from me.

          1. re: Isolda

            Salt is the "spice of choice" in much of the Southern Cone region (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay). Though, maybe I'm exagerating a little. A doctor friend told me that the average Chilean consumes 16 times the recommended daily intake of salt (I think the average US American is at 7 or 8 times, if memory serves me). Consequently high blood pressure is at epidemic proportions. But, if all people can think of is putting salt in their cooking, what else are they going to use (tongue in cheek)?

            1. re: Wawsanham

              That's really interesting. It must also be true of Brazil, since all the Brazilian places I've tried also use tons of salt. However, their food isn't too salty, at least to my taste. As long as the ingredients are good by themselves, and they use other seasonings besides salt, it's usually not bad.

          2. re: fourunder

            Sounds a bit like Woody Allen: "The food here is terrible, and the portions are too small."

          3. I have a friend who recieved a beautiful KitchenAid mixer and set of stainless steel mixing bowls for her wedding and she refuses to use them because she doesn't want to get them dirty. (She's been married for over 2 years now, so it's not like they are just out of the box.)

            55 Replies
                1. re: sandylc

                  I know people who won't cook because they don't want to "dirty" their designer kitchens. Even DS says, when I cook, "be prepared to wash a lot of dishes" ~~ and he cooks!

                  1. re: laliz

                    We did a graduation BBQ gig for a local family a few years ago, and we turned on the oven in the gorgeous designer kitchen to keep some things warm, and there was a distinct new oven smell. We asked our hostess if this was a new remodel, and she said that they had the kitchen done eight years before. THE OVEN HAD NEVER BEEN USED.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Oh, I can top that. Turned on the oven at a friend's house years ago, and set a case of Frito Lay chips on fire, because she used her oven as STORAGE.

                      1. re: Isolda

                        My paternal Gma always did that.

                        1. re: Isolda

                          My aunt did the same thing as my mother's house - not as bad though, since my mother had a double oven - she only rarely used both, so the extra was commonly used for storage.

                          1. re: jw615

                            This is a general post, not specifically in response to jw615...

                            Y'know, there are folks who indeed do not use an oven,** or use it rarely even if they cook all the time. Not just the folks described in this subthread with some amazement so far. I myself have used my oven to *cook* food maybe no more than a couple dozen times in the last 5 or 6 years; and on rare occasions to warm up food, and that would usually be for breads or pastry-type/flour-type stuff when the microwave would be the less preferred implement. Yes, I cook a lot, but it is almost wholly stovetop cooking.

                            Then there are cuisines (the various Chinese regional ones, for example) where use of a large oven is simply not a common technique in home cooking; where commercial places do the baked goods (such as they are) or roast meats instead. Think of reports you may have read of some expatriates in Korea or Japan or China who, when they first moved to those countries, tore their hair out because the kitchens did not have ovens. :-)

                            ** I'm referring to the relatively large gas or electric fired ovens that are almost a "standard" part of a kitchen in (e.g.) the US.

                            1. re: huiray

                              I can live without an oven if i _have_ long as there's a gas stove with a good overhead vent and a sufficiently (make that massively) hot burner or two.

                              1. re: huiray

                                Yep, this is true- my boyfriend's mom is Chinese and she only rarely uses her oven (Thanksgiving and the occasional large roast), although she cooks every day on her stovetop. However, there's a definite distinction between people who use their stoves extensively but not their ovens, and people who never touch their kitchens.

                                1. re: tinnywatty

                                  Yeah, once we went 10 months without an oven cuz we blew it up glazing the New Years Day ham. Grilled a lot on the Weber using direct & indirect heat (hubby used a torch to caramelize things, if needed). Finally had to break down & get oven repaired so we could host family Christmas -- 11 months later.

                                2. re: huiray

                                  I mostly use my oven for storage. I do most of my baking and roasting in my toaster oven.

                                3. re: jw615

                                  I do use my oven but a friend who was staying with me didn't. he cleaned up my kitchen and found all those counter top appliances distracting. rice cooker, blender, toaster, and because I had been cooking for a potluck my crock pot. The next afternoon i turned on the oven to preheat as i was making roast beef. 15 minutes later the smell of melting plastic came wafting out of the kitchen. WT....? It was nice. I got nice new small appliances. He had fun shopping for them. He said it was still cheaper than staying in a hotel for a week. All's well that ends well. Good thing my microwave is built in.

                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                    WTH? Who the hell takes it upon himself to re-organize someone else's kitchen?

                                    Glad you profited from it, and that he didn't mind -- but that is just bizarre.

                                    (My husband would have given the warning that Mama Bear will bite you if you screw with her kitchen)

                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                      I had to laugh at this. Didn't you notice or wonder where all your worktop appliances had vanished to when you walked into the kitchen? If someone cleared all mine away I would definitely notice. I'd be able to actually SEE the worktop :P

                                      1. re: DunkTheBiscuit

                                        Oh, i knew he had cleaned the kitchen, he was very proud of it. I never thought to ask where he put things, much less think that they may be hiding in that fancy cabinet under the burners. He honestly had never seen anyone use an oven before. He was nearly as stunned as I was.

                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                          If someone has never seen an oven in use that brings up a lot of questions, but I'll keep the number down to a few. How old is this guy? What kind of household did he grow up in, was he from a wealthy family? Even then, wouldn't he have seen the hired help use the kitchen? Last, what and or where does he eat? I am absolutely stunned that this guy was not aware that people actually cook in their ovens.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            Pending KaimukiMan's response, here are a couple of pics of two kitchens in a modern nation:
                                            Note the nice cabinets beneath the stove, for storing things...

                                            1. re: huiray

                                              I get that some cultures don't have ovens.

                                              But the very appearance of an oven (glass door, metal racks, door hinged the wrong direction) -- should give someone a clue that this is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill cabinet....and if KaimukiMan had actually *used* his oven, there's a good chance there was some baked-on something-or-other inside the thing....

                                              1. re: huiray

                                                Unless otherwise specified (or I already know the poster) I usually assume the kitchens and restaurants discussed here are located in the U.S. or Canada. This site is dominated by North Americans. Of course I know that other cultures do not equip their kitchens the same as most Americans.

                                                1. re: John E.

                                                  @ sunshine & John E:
                                                  Yes, of course.
                                                  John E did wonder about where this person had grown up and in what sort of environment - suppose he had grown up in such a Japanese-type environment, say, (...and one notes KaimukiMan is in Hawaii) and had never seen other people's kitchens*, say... Just one speculative scenario, a riff on the non-universality of large ovens...

                                                  But as I said earlier, KM would need to explain the actual circumstances. :-)

                                                  *ETA: and had indeed never seen ovens being used in such an environment...

                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                    all I'm saying is that an oven doesn't look anything at all like a regular storage cupboard -- even if you'd never seen an oven before. (metal vs. wood or mdf doors, metal grids vs solid shelves, door hinged at the bottom vs. at the sides -- and a light! How many of you have cabinets that light up when you open them?) then add to the equation that it's completely empty, except for the metal shelves -- and all the other cabinets have stuff in them.

                                                    Even if you had no idea what that metal box under the cooktop actually was...I'm pretty sure you'd recognize that it wasn't the same as the wood boxes on the wall and on either side of the metal box thingy..

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      I'm sure the guy was aware what an oven is but grew up in a household, and still lives somewhere, where the oven is not used. Those are the circumstances in which I'm mildly interested. Heck, I wish we had a second oven. We did in the two houses I lived in as a kid, but the extras were both in the basement, not two wall ovens.

                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                        Yes, like when I thought I was shopping for a small dishwasher in China, and it was a large sanitizer in which cups were stored after the "cycle" was run. Storage for the Important Stuff.

                                              2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                in response to a number of comments

                                                i use the oven infrequently, but it does get used. my friend was raised in asia and there was no oven in his house growing up, just a two burner portable gas ring. at the time he was in his early/mid 20's and had been in the US about a year and a half. Most of that time was spent with people from his own culture.

                                                He knew it was an oven, he just never envisioned that it would get used for anything other than a holiday - like that american one where you cook the "big chicken" after harvest time.

                                                i did have a couple of baking sheets in there, sometimes i remember to take them out, sometimes I don't, but he saw things 'stored' in there so he figured... hey, this is a good place to put things.

                                                and yes, in addition to feeling bad, he felt really dumb afterwards. but I'm certainly not gonna be the one throwing the first stone at someone for doing things that seem incredibly stupid after the fact. Just check out some of my old postings about dumb things we do in the kitchen (and that's just one room.)

                                                oh, and he had no idea that you pre-heat an oven before you put food in it. he couldn't figure out why or how i would turn the oven on without knowing what was in there.

                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                  okay-- if you were storing other things in there, then it's more understandable.

                                                  I still can't fathom taking it upon oneself to re-organize someone else's kitchen when you're just a guest there. Whether he put your stuff in the oven, the refrigerator, another cabinet, or the trash -- that part is still weird.

                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                    I knew there was more to your story. I find your experience less amazing than the born and raised American who left the plastic bag with warranty/product information inside the oven.

                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                      Thanks for the clarifications and the additional details. It seems the story is not inconsistent with that one possible scenario I speculated about, then, in a broad sense. :-)

                                                      (and one reason why I suggested that Japanese scenario was because I knew you lived in Hawaii, with a large Japanese-ancestry population, although that may not be the specific ancestry of your visitor)

                                              3. re: jw615

                                                My mom similarly had a double oven, and she used the upper oven, not for storage, but for things like drying pans or metal utensils (so that they would dry without rusting) and defrosting frozen bread. Anytime we wanted to use the oven to actually bake something, we always had to check first to make sure it was empty.

                                                1. re: webgeekstress

                                                  I have to let everyone here know that my mother also kept cereal and flour, etc., in her unused oven - and very nearly killed herself when she absently (pre-Alzheimers) turned the oven on before going to bed one night. It wasn't the flames that caused the problem (they were contained in the oven), it was the smoke that filled the house, including her bedroom. We were just lucky that I happened to come by and wake her up, put out the fire (it took forever to make all that stuff stop smoldering), and take her home with me). Please, if you know someone who does this, make them stop.

                                                  1. re: likeswords

                                                    this is why people should 1) sleep with their bedroom doors closed, and 2) have a working smoke alarm in the bedroom. i know, it's not a food related comment, but its important.

                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                      I try to keep the bedroom door closed because of the damn cat, but I don't always get the cooperation I would like.

                                                      I think storing items other than heat-proof cookware in an oven is asking for trouble.

                                              4. re: Isolda

                                                My grandmother kept her tin of chocolate-chip cookies in the oven -- the pilot light kept it dry, which meant her cookies always tasted crazy fresh.

                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                  My grandmother had a small kitchen and used her oven as storage, too; she just took whatever it was out before using the oven.

                                                  1. re: guilty

                                                    We use our oven proper all the time and only have the racks in there when it's off. But it's one of those models that came with a 'warming drawer' that we've just never needed for warming purposes and works out to be the perfect size and shape to store cookie sheets, sheet pans, and such.

                                                    1. re: guilty

                                                      We have resorted to using the oven for storage sometimes, usually to keep the cats from getting food that isn't cool enough to put in the fridge yet. Sometimes we use the microwave for that also LOL. It's now SOP to check the oven before turning it on, just to be safe. But it's only ever had food in it, not appliances.

                                                    2. re: Isolda

                                                      this happened with someone i date (briefly)! i turned on the oven, and he said, "oh that's how you turn it on..." i chuckled and said yes. i was chopping some stuff, and all of a sudden, there was a funny smell. i can't even describe it. guy says, "woah, what did you put in the oven? what are you making?" patiently, i said, "i haven't put anything in the oven... you've been here the whole time... did you see me put anything in there?" i pull the oven open, and there's a virtual pantry going on in there... canned soup, boxes of gummy snacks, i cried out, "oh my god!" he said apologetically, "oh yeah sorry, i forgot to tell you there's stuff in there. i mean, there are two racks, so you should have room, but if you need to take some stuff out while you ovening and all, that's okay." i think i extricated myself from that relationship the next day (i felt bad just saying you know, you're too dumb, so i'm not even gonna stay for dinner). but for a fleeting moment, i had a horrific flash forward of having kids with him, and him mistakenly lighting one on fire.

                                                      1. re: Emme

                                                        Sorry, but I wonder about you as much as about him...

                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                            that's okay. my mom says the same thing. i was young; he was otherwise sweet...

                                                            1. re: Emme

                                                              I think it is hilarious that he wanted you to just use the other rack. You can't make this stuff up!

                                                              1. re: melpy

                                                                You've got that right! What in the world goes on inside that person's head? It must be painful to be him!

                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                  he's the type of people that i wonder "how does gravity not have a greater effect on you? how do you not fall down more?"

                                                                  i will again note that despite his absolute dearth of common sense, he was a very sweet and chivalrous chap.

                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                      yay! someone got the reference ;)

                                                              2. re: Emme

                                                                Yeah, but Joey was apparently very good at other kinds of ovening. I think I would've just kept the relationship out of the kitchen.

                                                            2. re: roxlet

                                                              In 8 years? That just does not compute.

                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                You must be talking about my neighbor who had her kitchen beautifully remodeled seven or eight years ago and has yet to turn on the stove. They eat out EVERY meal. And over the stove hangs a valuable oil painting.

                                                              2. re: laliz

                                                                Years ago my Mom read in some housekeeping magazine that you could make your kitchen look tidier by storing the dirty dishes in the oven so if I opened my Mom's oven I was likely to find dirty dishes in it.

                                                                in her defense, she never had running water so she did dishes only once a day usually, and she had a small counter top. So the oven was the perfect place.
                                                                Yes, she also used her oven, we grew up on the most wonderful pastries and home made bread.

                                                                I have been known to store stuff in my oven too and have the habit of checking to see if there is anything in the oven before I turn it on.

                                                                1. re: Sparklebright

                                                                  I've got last night's dirty pork chop pan hiding im my oven right now... I made a 7 layer salad for dinner, so it can wait one more day! And I have plenty of running water--just no shame.

                                                                  1. re: staughton

                                                                    Hehe. I think I just got a cosmic wink from my Mom.

                                                                    Right now I have a pan of cooling fudge in my oven. Not that it needs to be there. It's just that it's a big pan and that kind of real estate isn't common on my counter tops or even dining room table at the moment.

                                                                  2. re: Sparklebright

                                                                    Me too! I have a small kitchen, so the oven has to double as a storage space. I just take the stuff out when I use the oven--which is usually 4-5 times a week.

                                                              3. re: kathleen440

                                                                Me too. To this day I can't figure out why she put the items on her gift registry. And KitchenAids and stainless steel bowls are NOT hard to clean. Oh well, I use my own KitchenAid weekly for loaves of bread and am proud of how used it looks. She can be proud of her clean one. We each find happiness in our own way.

                                                              4. re: Scooter8

                                                                take them off of her hands. she'll be grateful to be absolved of guilt.

                                                              5. 'I've never used my range'. Said proudly in South Fl where the users manual is still in plastic bags inside.

                                                                "I don't like x ......... you can't microwave it".

                                                                8 Replies
                                                                1. re: smartie

                                                                  Said by someone who bought a house with a really good range cooker - who knew I'm a keen cook and wouldn't ever be able to afford one

                                                                  "oh, I can't be bothered to cook - I've only ever used it to reheat some sausage rolls"

                                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                                    “I refuse to cook anymore.”

                                                                    Said by a woman who’d just spent $25,000 and two months in kitchen rehab hell.

                                                                    1. re: smartie

                                                                      I guess they're only worried about the resale value of the house! An unused kitchen will be like new, ha ha.

                                                                      1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                        I went to a friend's potluck party a few years back and had made quiches. When I arrived I turned on her range so I could warm the quiches and after about 10 minutes she suddenly starts to shriek. 'Oh no who turned on my oven, the instructions in their plastic bags are in there we NEVER use the oven'. Luckily for her the plastic hadn't melted yet!!

                                                                        To this day I am still amazed, they have a toaster oven which they use because she says it's too expensive to use the big one!

                                                                        1. re: smartie

                                                                          We redid our kitchen last fall, and at every design stop were introduced as 'the clients who cook. Seriously, they cook.' I live in Southern California, if that helps. haha.

                                                                          1. re: smartie

                                                                            I've been in apartments like that. then again, I was using a CONVECTION oven/microwave. it's smaller and more efficient. (makes wonderful pizzas and pies)

                                                                        2. re: smartie

                                                                          Not possible. I'm 20 years old, I work in foodservice, blah blah, insert credentials here, but before I moved out of my parents' place and into my own apartment, I used to microwave everything.


                                                                          I've microwaved things that should've never seen a microwave. Out of sheer laziness. If you "can't" microwave something, it's out of a lack of creativity. On your part.

                                                                          Slap that person :P

                                                                          1. re: SeefuSefirosu

                                                                            LOL - so funny, SeefuSefirosu. So funny!

                                                                        3. A friend thought I was being pretentious because I used the word saute, she quickly corrected me and said "fry".

                                                                          1. That comment about knives sounds exactly like my mother! I never learned proper knife skills inher kitchen because none of her knives were up to the simplest task. The real shame of it is that she's a very good cook otherwise. Recently, my dad has gotten really into cooking, so II've gotten him several high quality knives, but she refuses to touch them. She still reaches into the "knife drawer" (oh, the horror!) for one of hers.

                                                                            17 Replies
                                                                            1. re: FrauMetzger

                                                                              My grandmother was the same way -- so she kept this huge drawer full of dull knives -- I finally got to where I'd take any kitchen task *except* anything that involved a knife, because the horrid things would inevitably slip off of something and I *would* get cut.

                                                                              She finally asked why I kept cutting myself in her kitchen, but never in mine, where she was scared to death of my knives....but she never quite believed me.

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                Surprised that so many people have sharp knife phobias. Guess SIL is in good company.

                                                                              2. re: FrauMetzger

                                                                                My knife skills suck and that's the main reason I want really sharp ones. I figure I can do less damage with a sharp one than a dull one, and experience has proven me correct. I've cut myself several times using the awful knives in our church kitchen.

                                                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                                                  Be careful Isolda. I assure you the damage from a really sharp knife can do more harm. Knife skills are more important with razor sharp knives

                                                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                    yes and no -- the damage from a sharp knife will be more severe -- but your *chances* of cutting yourself are much lower with a tool that actually does what it's supposed to do.

                                                                                    I rarely cut myself with my very-sharp knives -- but yes, when I do, it's a doozy.

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      Isolda commented on having poor knife skills. If you have sharp knive you better sharpen up on your knife skills. Just saying

                                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                        No argument on having good knife skills...just that there's a sliding scale there.

                                                                                        I'm in the camp that good knife skills are one of the most important things to have in the kitchen -- your work is easier, goes faster, requires less specialized equipment (I can do a LOT of knife work in the time it takes to get out a food processor, put it together, do the work, take it apart, clean it, and put it away...) -- and you're much less likely to hurt yourself in the process.

                                                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                          I agree with you, but I go slowly and proceed carefully. I should clarify that I'm not without training. I dated a cook for about a year, and he did teach me a few things, but I still have a lot to learn! I guess I'd say I'm probably a little better than the average home cook, but not anywhere near the level of some of the people on these boards.

                                                                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                            Agreed. I was halving plums last week with a dull 12" chef's knife, and it slipped off of the plum (somehow) and dug into my index finger on my left hand. I've never been so glad that I didn't correctly maintain a blade before. Damned thing would've cut the whole knuckle off if it had been correctly sharpened.

                                                                                            1. re: SeefuSefirosu

                                                                                              but it likely would have never slipped off of the plum in the first place if it hadn't been dull.

                                                                                              It's a tradeoff.

                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                A good point you make there. Also wouldn't have been a problem if I'd just done what I very quickly thereafter learned to do; de-seed the plum. You still get two halves, but it's easier to deal with the seed if you just cut around it and then twist the plum in half. One half is always clean, the other contains the whole pit.

                                                                                          2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            In my experience, a sharp knife is more likely to nick you than a dull knife. It also makes it easy to lop off the ends of your fingertips if you're a little sloppy with your off-hand - I've done that and it's no fun.

                                                                                            But because it's more likely to slip and you have to use more pressure while cutting, a dull knife is more likely to give you a deep, jagged, slow-to-heal wound.

                                                                                            Either way, good knife skills are important.

                                                                                            I'd wondered why my sister-in-law reliably avoids sharp knives, even going so far as to find the only old junky knife at my place so she didn't have to touch any of my quite-sharp chef knives. She's a hell of a baker, and knows a decent bit about cooking in general too, so I was a little baffled. After I got rid of the old junk knife (nothing to do with her) she cooked something at my place and this time cut without touching the food - her off-hand was nowhere near the cutting board. It occurred to me then that she's deeply afraid of blood, and even a small nick would bother her a lot. It's an unfortunate phobia for someone who loves to cook.

                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                              Dang! And ouch! I have to say, I've only had a couple of knife accidents at home, and although they did involve stitches, they didn't involve chopping off fingertips.

                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                Not that I am pro-dull knives, but I think part of the problem with sharp knives and injuries is that you CAN go so quickly. A sharp knife can make work in the kitchen almost TOO easy. I took a knife skills class at a good school in Baltimore last year and the teacher scolded me at one point for going to quickly (for my lack of experience).

                                                                                            2. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                              I wouldn't call mine razors. Rather, they are very sharp and well above the quality of the cardboard church knives I sometimes work with. Actually, I've started bringing my own when I know we'll be chopping a lot of stuff.

                                                                                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                these are all valid, but take it from someone who has filleted fingers with x-acto knives AND dull ones (thx architects and boy scouts), the clean cut is deeper but heals up a lot faster with fewer stitches.