HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Kitchen Confidential-CH Edition

So, who is willing to make a confession? This one isn't TOO embarrassing;

What "kitchen sins" do you commit in your kitchen when cooking ONLY for yourself that you would not commit when cooking for others?

Por ejemplo, I have no problem biting off of a strand of spaghetti to check for doneness and letting the rest of the strand fall back into the pot.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Letting something fall on the ground, but then putting it back in the pot or whatever.

      1. I use the same cutting board for everything - sometimes I rinse it, but if the vegetables are going in the stir fry with the meat, I can't be bothered.

        I think chicken cooked to 160 is overdone.

        "Washing my hands" means I held at least seven fingers under hot, running water for two seconds or more.

        I will taste a pan sauce by dipping a finger in the sauce and licking it (unless I have a band-aid on it - I have some standards). I will repeat the process until I am happy with the seasoning levels.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MGZ

          I too overcook chicken. I can't help it. I come from a long line of chicken overcookers.

          1. re: MGZ

            I own two cutting boards and I use one.

          2. All of these, except that if it appears harmless (say, the floor was cleaned within the last day or to) I'll do it when cooking for others. I have no chronic communicable diseases, so as far as I'm concerned fretting about passing along lip germs is basically worrying about cooties. I know that many otherwise reasonable people are horrified by these things, so I won't do them if there's anyone but Mrs. O in the kitchen.

            Oh, and I have a chronic rhinitis that attacks every so often, making my nose run. There are no harmful bacteria involved, so I'll not bother washing my hands every time I use a Kleenex. If I did I'd not get anything done! But if I have an actual cold I won't cook for company, usually.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Will Owen

              Thinking on this topic, I realized that I try to not to accumulate bad kitchen habits, as I just *know* they will haunt me at some point (tasting spoon issues, five-second rules, the like).

              But the Kleenex? I'm there with you, Will Owen. I have so many allergies that Kleenex is my bestest and forever friend. I am aware of it when cooking for others and then my best Howard Hughesianess comes out, but for the household? Nah. Like you, I'd never get anything done for the hand washing.

              My corner of the world is awash in ragweed pollen this time of year, and with the kitchen windows open to the breeze I think I've sneezed and honked and wiped about 40 times in the last half hour. While prepping. And have I washed my hands 40 times? Nope. (Don't hate me, folks...I'll be pristine if I am cooking for *you.* <grin>)

              1. re: cayjohan

                How to tell a Chef from a Cook:

                A Chef turns his head when he sneezes

                (From my BIL, in a Coast Guard kitchen)

                1. re: nlgardener

                  It's getting worse (pollen-wise) around here, so I have a new strategy: brace my wrists against the cutting board, bend down from the waist so my head is down near my knees, and just sneeze at the floor. Snuffle in deeply (if ONLY I could clean my floor that way, heh) before returning to standing, and carry on. Does that make me a chef or a cook or a desperate pragmatist? Or an allergic twerker? ;-)

                  1. re: cayjohan

                    DEFINITELY allergic twerker. I've got sneezes that would make Miley blush.

              1. re: ttoommyy

                makin' cocktail weiners, there ttoommyy-boy?

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  After long days at work/school and having to commute home everyday, to me there's nothing better than cooking a comforting meal in my underwear and slippers.

                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    So long as you are not frying in an iron skillet with very hot grease, that should be OK, unless company drops by - watch those hot grease droplets, flying through the air.


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Not so much the very hot grease, but dripping boiling water on the tops of my feet is excruciatng - socks don't offer protection either.
                      I know I look silly enough cooking naked (well the wine helps), but clad in only un-tied running shoes...

                      1. re: porker

                        I don't think your feet should be your biggest worry.

                        1. re: bobbert

                          You're perfectly correct they SHOULDN'T by me biggest worry, but alas, at size 13EEE, they generally stick out the most while cooking...

                          1. re: porker

                            I guess cooking doesn't excite you enough:-)

                  2. meatloaf fondling, to name just one.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: beevod

                      My mom taught me to make meatloaf with my hands. She once had a job with the local Farm Bureau office, whose director was trying to spread Enlightenment and Good Hygiene amongst the rural housewives. She was an old sourpuss, which didn't help. She came back to the office from one of those meetings one day in a real snit: "EVERY ONE of those women was using her BARE HANDS to knead the meatloaf!!" Mom, without thinking, said, "Well, how else would you do it?"
                      That did not earn her a raise …

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        My father, whose hands were likely to be immersed in various greases associated with various engines, always liked to announce to the table of meatloaf-eaters that meatloaf-making was the best way to clean one's hands of grease after an engine overhaul. No, he was not the cook; he was just "that way."

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          I can't imagine using a spoon or whatever, to mix meatloaf! Especially since I use a panade and only my hands will get it evenly distributed.

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            How did the director think people would mix meatloaf? I ask this in all seriousness. I can't imagine trying to use a spoon or fork.

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              I don't like getting meat under my nails, so I always wear rubber gloves when mixing meatloaf (chicken salad, potato salad, etc.). In almost all other ways I am filthy and disgusting though.

                              1. re: NonnieMuss

                                "I don't like getting meat under my nails..."

                                Why not? It gives you something to snack on later in the day!

                              2. re: beevod

                                Many years ago, my mother caught me fondling the meatloaf - I almost never lived that down.


                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Didn't they make that into a famous Seinfeld episode?

                                  1. re: bobbert

                                    Yeah, but on Seinfeld, George was using his hands.

                              3. I will cook using ALL the pots and pans and make stock and sauce reductions plating it like a 10 star Michelin restaurant.

                                when cooking for others I buy an instant cake and a frozen steak. they seldom know the difference...

                                1. I can't make rice the "right" way but I will cook it for myself the wrong way, that is, mushy!

                                  Oh, and I use butter. SO MUCH butter. Like two sticks for a dish. I'm sauteing a couple cups of chopped onion? Stick of butter. I'm adding mushrooms to that mix? I add more butter.

                                  I absolutely double/triple/quadruple dip my spoons.

                                  There's a baked pasta thing I make, too, for which I use, um...two pounds of cheese. I like how it reheats in the microwave when there's a lot of cheese!

                                  I'd be way to embarrassed to serve it with that much cheese to anyone else.

                                  1. There are very few "sins" that I make that are only for me as I rarely cook for just myself. My family (and occasionally friends) are subject to dropped food, double dipping/tasting/testing, rinsed chicken, shared cutting boards, etc. I do make a concerted effort to eliminate cross contamination and am a sticker for hand washing.

                                    1. I have been too lazy to grab a clean cloth to wipe plate and bowl edges before serving. Spills get wiped off with my fingers, which I then lick clean.

                                      1. I take leftover cake/pie and, being too lazy to cut a slice, I try, using my fork to eat as close to a straight line as possible so that my wife thinks I actually cut a piece. Seldom get away with it.

                                        1. I was hoping for true Kitchen Confidential stuff a al Tony Bourdain ("such as heavy drinking, drugs, debauchery, Mafiosi and assorted seedy personalities..." or "...horror stories... Heavy drinking, drugs, screwing in the dry-goods area, unappetizing industry-wide practices...")
                                          But its the ahhh, CH home edition...
                                          When cooking only for ourselves:

                                          Sometimes I eat over the sink (no plates, no utensils, carefree spillage, etc etc). Sometimes I'll forego the sink and simply eat outta the fridge.

                                          I used to cook drunk and naked, but because of burns (see above), its now one or the other...

                                          If Mrs Porker isn't around, I'll clean almost any animal, wild-caught or not, in or at the sink (she frowns on that stuff).

                                          In a pinch, I'll use the pressure cooker as a still.

                                          I'll clean up kitchen spills with my sock.

                                          To me, the Best Before Date is only a suggestion - I'll eat it if it smells OK.

                                          I have no problem throwing a strand of spaghetti up to the ceiling to check for doneness and putting it on a plate if it falls.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: porker

                                            <<I'll clean up kitchen spills with my sock>>

                                            Am I married to you?

                                            My shoe-averse husband ALWAYS does this. Spill something?Rub it with your foot.

                                            My laundry basket embarrasses me.

                                            1. re: cayjohan

                                              Hah! When asked if he wants a napkin while eating on the sofa, at the ballpark, or at his desk, my sweetie's invariable reply is, "Why? I'm wearing pants." Oh, okay...

                                          2. Mashed potatoes are in big demand in my house. And while I enjoy making my own, if it's a really hot day or if the other parts of the meal are more labor intensive, I serve this:
                                            And I lie about it.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: alliegator

                                              I love my Grandmother's mashed potatoes but apparently when she hit 80 a few years ago and a full spread from scratch Thanksgiving dinner became a bit too much among the ham, three turkeys, lamb, fish, 10 side dishes and 12 desserts that she still makes, she decided to slack a little on the taters and now uses Country Crock with a hefty dose of her special addition - butter and cream. She thought it was hilarious when just about 5 years ago, I commented just how tasty they have been, she fully admits it!

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                You know, they're not *terrible*. When I have, admittedly, used these pre-made potatoes, I read the labels to see which ones uses butter vs margarine and whole milk vs. skim, etc.

                                                I went through a stretch (a stretch that put twenty pounds on me to my chagrin) of eating almost nothing but pre-made potatoes and Safeway chicken strips.

                                                You think living across the street from the market is a plus, but in my case, it just made me fat!

                                                1. re: Violatp


                                                  I have been known to cheat using the bagged precooked potatoes in the produce section for my mashed 'taters. As my husband always says "there are very few things that can't be improved with butter and cream"!

                                              2. re: alliegator

                                                Fldhky, I can't believe your grandmother puts forth that sort of effort at her age--wow!
                                                And Violatp, I find them perfectly ok. I do doctor up a but, but when someone want mash in the middle of a Phoenix summer, I will not be doing all the work.
                                                Rock on, Country Crock!

                                                1. re: alliegator

                                                  I know, right! She's quite the amazing woman and has slowly given in to extra help but I think she really enjoys doing it all herself. Last Christmas I had to take over the reins as she worked herself into a diabetic fainting episode after spending 5 hours cooking breakfast for the rest of us.

                                              3. I eat ramen straight out of the pot I boiled the water in. I drink straight from the milk carton. I "doctor up" spaghettios. I share finger food with my dog and don't wash my hands between his licks and mine.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                  Sometimes, I'll eat ramen right outta the bag.

                                                  1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                    You are a disgusting woman. I think I'll un follow you on Chowhound. Redeem yourself and tell me you've drank booze straight outa the bottle. Please. By the way, I let my cat sit on the counter and watch me filet fish I've caught.

                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                      Out of the bottle? Let's not get fancy, I'll drink it out of my hands. And if I had a nickel for everytime I've been called a disgusting woman..,.

                                                  2. This isn't so much about cooking, but when I'm eating alone (or just with DH), I will shamelessly lick my plate clean if there's an especially tasty sauce on it. Most people use bread for this purpose, but as a low-carber I rarely have that option. So, the tongue it is.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                      Alone, please I do this all the time, OK well just me or just with SO or close close friends/family. I quite often, as in 90% of the time lick my plate clean which to me means I made myself a great meal...no shame in my game :) I'm also a low carber as you know and I so all the glorious meat drippings make it into my mouth and not the dishwasher.

                                                    2. I thought of another: if there's a break in the action while cooking, I'll have a swig right out of my selection of liquor bottle. No mixed drink, no shot glass, just a glug to get the evening rolling along.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: alliegator

                                                        Yeah, I've long felt it was a waste of a glass to pour Irish Whiskey, Rum, or Tequila. Just give me a sleeve to occasionally wipe my mouth on . . . .

                                                      2. I rarely rinse produce when it's just the two of us. Or at my parents' house, except my dad has recently noticed a couple of times and called me on it, so I'm trying to remember. (My mom doesn't care, as she's where I got the habit in the first place.)

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: juster

                                                          Count me in this club of "forgetting" to rinse produce when it's just me and SO.