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Alarming, amusing, amazing things other people do

Fat Guy

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Alarming: using the same sponge to wipe the kitchen counter as to wipe up a spill from the floor (and no. . . the floor was not clean enough to eat off!).

Amazing: My husband's cousin's husband (in France) slicing a baguette by holding both the bread and the knife in the air and letting the slices fall into a serving basket several inches below it. He says he always does it that way so he doesn't need to wash a cutting board!


"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Hand"washing" dishes by piling them all into a basin full of soapy, greasy water, swiping them with a rag, then "rinsing" them by passing them under a stream of water for one nanosecond.

That's lucky .... do you know how many times I've watched someone "rinse" their dishes by swirling them around in the dishwater? Apparently if you can't see bubbles there must not be any soap.... :wacko:

I've got a ton but one of the worst was watching my stepmother cook once.... spilled pasta sauce all over her legs and feet, wiped legs and feet with tea towel, returned tea towel to dishrack full of "clean" dishes.

The absolute worst was watching someone scoop the catbox (conveniently located next to the fridge) with a big slotted spoon, then rinse said slotted spoon under the tap and put that in the dishrack. I declined the offered cup of coffee and never went back.

Where is that turning-green-and-vomiting emoticon we've all been asking for?

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Mostly, my irritations spring from being a guest in situations where food is served to me. If I'm not eating there, I don't care what you do in your kitchen.

Clearing the table and placing the dirty dishes and leftover food in serving dishes will-nilly on kitchen counters. Keep them separate, ya hear?

Removing food from pans or serving dishes without using a rubber scraper.

Re-using the frying oil too many times, so the fumes put you under.

Cooking foods in the wrong order, so the damn chicken breasts are even more tough and tasteless from sitting in the heat so long.

Not cooking enough food so as to put their spouse or kids on a diet. A MIL specialty.

Instructing me on how to prepare things I wouldn't have in my kitchen, such as how to bash a head of iceberg lettuce on the counter to remove the core.

Placing "stuff" on display all over the kitchen counters instead of putting them in cupboards and cabinets--especially when there's plenty of room--leaving not an inch of counter space to work on.

Smoking while cooking.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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I love my friend Nancy. I really do. She has many talents, none of which are in the kitchen.

She offered martinis. We all wondered what the black speckles were in them, and she said "why coffee! I spilled ground coffee all over the ice cube trays a couple of weeks ago (as an aside, the ice cubes were OLD). Her kitchen was filthy, but her fridge was worse.

Thankfully, she ran out to get the chicken for the grill once Paul started the grill. Thankfully, as well, I provided the sides.

Some people should never be allowed in the kitchen. (Let't not even menation her chef's knife, missing a full inch of it's tip. Nor the fact that I had to rewash all of the dishes because she just "rinses" them). It's a wonder her girls have survived to high-school age.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Kitchen trash cans without lids. gross.

Complete lack of recycling. hello?!

Knives carelessly placed too close to the edge of a counter. impale a toe, cat or kid. NOT!

I have no space for a garbage can in the kitchen except for under the sink, and no room for a lid. Guilty.

I also live in an apartment complex with no recycling bins. I have no car, and the nearest recycling center is 5 miles away. I'd love to be able to recycle, but it's just not possible. So, guilty again.

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I love my friend Nancy.  I really do.  She has many talents, none of which are in the kitchen.

HEY!! :angry::huh: Oh, you mean another Nancy.

Carry on.

...It's a wonder her girls have survived to high-school age.

Well, how are their immune systems? :laugh:

I think the catbox story upthread has my aunt beat. I didn't see it, but Mama remembers seeing the cousins' cat wandering around on the kitchen counters when food was being prepared. (Well, the cat was fed at one end of the kitchen counter to keep the dog from getting the food.) Mama was prepared to forgive that bit, but when the cat casually strolled along the counter, through the sink and across the cutting board that held the fixings for some salad or other, she quietly resolved to skip certain of her favorite foods that night.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Cats in the kitchen, that could be a whole new thread! I have nothing against cats, don't get me wrong, but......

I realy am disgusted by cat hair in my food, and on my dishes, and floating willy-nilly in the air for me to breath! please, keep the cats out of the kitchen! I have a sensitive gag reflex, and the feel of a cat hair, or any hair for that matter, ( I have long hair myself and I shed, but keep it neatly contained during the cooking prep) makes me gag horribly and completely ruins the entire dinner for me. I know you love your companions, as do I, I have two dogs, that stay OUT of the kitchen, but please, don't make me eat they're hair?!


I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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Hells bells, I run all my knives through a dishwasher from time to time to sanitize them; I reckon it's not that big a deal, and I time it so I do it when they're ready to go back on a stone again to re-establish the bevel. I'm obsessive about germs but also practical, with the raw/cook sequence in mind; but if if I'm cutting apart raw red meat (as opposed to commercial chicken, which I somehow feel merits its own HAZMAT containment field) I don't think it's out of line that I might cut up a couple more stalks of celery (say) for a mirepoix that looks skimpy in that regard. Salmonella dies at 165*F, that's it and that's all and anything else is just squeamishness.

My sister, though... my sister. Lord, my sister. Mind you, she's a Thai curry guru. She's a *huge* fan of the ethic put forth in Omnivore's Dilemma and would sooner strangle her children in their sleep than feed them substandard food. Watching her put out a meal (Always delicious, always nutritious, always with ingredients that have a provenance and a pedigree so Bristol-fashion that I wonder if I'm eating food or distilled history) is something that makes me grit my teeth and cram my hands into my pockets so I don't grab the knife out of her hands; mind you, my brother-in-law is as as anal-retentive about it as I am, and any knife in their house is sharp enough for surgery at any time; grab that knife, and make things happen. I console myself that she's not on my time clock and I don't do her evaluations.

Uneven slices, at odd angles, because she broke her arm skiing years ago and it didn't heal right. Splatters on the stove from a month ago. Pots--not in the sink, but out on the drainboard-- filled with something that might make a PETA activist start turning the protest turbine, because even though it's vegetarian, it's wearing a pelt. Only two kids, and be warned I would kill for my niece and my nephew; only two kids but the psychic real estate those two charmers take up at mealtime is acres across. Underfoot? Undermind, more like.

Let's not talk about the cats and the dog (I love that dog, he's one of my very best friends in the whole world, Smoky and I get along famously but he's a little needy) seeing just what they can get away with at mealtime.

I love my sister. I love to eat her food. She knows that I cook for a living and can do most of it better than she can, and is by-God determined to show me that she can do it without my help. I am happy to let her, because her kitchen makes me want to throw my hands in the air and lurch and gibber until it all goes away.

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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I love my sister.  I love to eat her food.  She knows that I cook for a living and can do most of it better than she can, and is by-God determined to show me that she can do it without my help.  I am happy to let her, because her kitchen makes me want to throw my hands in the air and lurch and gibber until it all goes away.

OMG, that is the BEST ! Excuse me while I wipe the wine spew off my monitor, ROFLMAO !!!!!!!!! :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:


"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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The guest who took a one-hour lunch-n-learn with a local sous-chef on knife skills. Picked up my knife and said, "hmmm -- pretty dull, guess I'll have to come over and sharpen it for you." Homicide was narrowly avoided. (It was NOT dull, BTW, I later found out that the instructor in this "class" was as clueless about knife edge geometries as most chefs are, and just handed out a bunch of incorrect information.)

If you have a coupon for it, you don't want it.

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My mother thaws out meat by leaving it out on the counter.

...and??? So does practically everyone I know. How do you suggest we defrost it???

Holy sweet Cruise, you guys are picky. :raz:

oh, and re the chef's knife with the inch of tip missing, as referenced above? Yeah, well, sometimes someone else uses YOUR good and expensive chef's knife for something not involving food, without your permission (in fact, when you're not home), and breaks it and then "forgets" to replace it - for several years. This pisses me off, to the point where I won't buy a new one as a matter of principle. :angry:

I will say that my grandmother used to get practically up to her elbows in schmaltz and then pinch my cheeks. Now THAT was ewwww.


Edited to remove repetition and reference above rather than below, and to add that ok, no, the cat litter thing...not picky. that's completely disgusting. That person should be whapped with a wet dishcloth.

Edited by bergerka (log)

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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My mother thaws out meat by leaving it out on the counter.

...and??? So does practically everyone I know. How do you suggest we defrost it???

In the fridge...

I defrost on the counter during winter, when it's only 5-10C inside my apartment. But during summer, when it's 30C+ inside and very humid, I defrost in my fridge.

I think the kitty litter litter thing was far from picky, but I don't really understand some of the other things mentioned. I don't have lids on my garbage cans, and I prefer it that way. And in some parts of the world, recycling doesn't even exist. But agreed on the hair--I once found a pubic-looking hair in some French bread and I never ate bread from that place again. Euuuuuwww. That wasn't someone's home, though.

Someone once used my Japanese carbon steel knife and didn't dry it right away, despite my mentioning earlier that if they cooked, they should dry the knives right away. That annoyed me. I also had a pan of oil on the stove, and the same people threw the oil down the sink. First, don't throw anything out in someone's home that doesn't belong to you, and second, what the hell are you doing throwing oil down the sink? That REALLY annoyed me.

Oh, and the same people, even after I told them not to go through my kitchen cupboards (they were a mess, and I was embarrassed), went through all my cupboards to look for stuff, then didn't even put the stuff back when they were done (which is how I knew they went through the cupboards).

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when I am invited to someone's house for a home cooked meal and they pull a box out of the freezer ..heat it in the oven and add parsley to it for a garnish

honestly I do not find anything people do in their homes worth my being upset over it is there home after all and I am invited for a meal ..

I am just so happy to be sharing food with friends I can not imagine being upset about what they do! It is not up to me to choose for other people correct kitchen behavior..

besides if you came to my house I am sure you could find plenty to put on this list..I have impeccable hygiene in the kitchen (as far as cross contaminating) but I am a very messy cook!!!... I do toss garbage across the room into the lidless trash can ..if it had a lid how could I toss garbage in ? and I have good aim so very little ever gets on the floor and if it does ..oh well unless I can slip on it ..it can wait until I am done cooking! ...toss dishes into the sink that is already brimming (but no water in it that is gross to me and I leave a clean side for washing hands and dishes) ..until I am done there is no clean up!!! I clean before I cook and when I am done that is it ..not as I go it is too distracting

I thaw meat on the counter ...yes I do wash my hands all the time ..use one cutting board for meat and one for veggies and another for bread .. all in all I am a very messy cook!!!

I wonder if my guests talk about me behind my back? ...nah they do it to my face and keep coming over so it is all good!!!

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?


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There's a guy I know who:

Reuses ice cubes. He buys bagged ice, uses a few cubes for his soda pop, rinses the leftover cubes and puts them back in the bag which is kept unsealed in the freezer;

Washes his hair in the kitchen sink, sometimes when others in the kitchen are cooking or preparing food;

Keeps the trash can quite some distance from the food prep area;

Thinks nothing of dumping bathroom and other household trash into the kitchen trash can, again while others are preparing or cooking food;

Leaves little containers of half-eaten food in the fridge without covering them and the fridge sometimes smells bad;

Instead of using paper or cloth towels to clean up spills or wipe down the counter, he uses toilet paper "because it's cheaper," and will often reuse little pieces of TP for further cleaning, leaving the used paper on the counter, albeit in an out-of-the-way spot.


Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


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Ah, my favorite above is the mother who set her kitchen on fire twice. During a misspent youth I had a job bellydancing in a Middle Eastern restaurant. Try entertaining the dining room while the kitchen's on fire.

Also in misspent youth I allowed an acquaintance to go into my spotless kitchen to cook. This was an act of off-the-cuff creative and entertaining inspiration for her and about a hour of cleaning greasy handprints off my spice jars for me.

Since it's just us in here, I can say that my father in law has spat in my sink. The memory brings a sour taste into my mouth. Luckily, we moved into the apartment above and I no longer live with that sink, but I know it's down there.

His wife, the MIL, is as the one mentioned above. I am from an Italian family where to have guests means to overfeed as many people as will fit in the kitchen with as many courses as possible until they are about to burst and then send them home with a bunch of wrapped food for later. She once fed twelve people on six eggs, I kid you not. More than once we've had dinner at her house and then sneaked out to get a hamburger. I once assisted her in the kitchen, dredging parsnips in plain flour at her request.

I have a friend who cooks all the time, and I've never eaten at his house, but I saw his kitchen once. The stove was covered (not an exaggeration) with streaks of running brown-black grease. The sort of thing you think you'll see on the six o'clock news when they're exposing the home of a serial killer.

There, I feel better.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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I have a friend who cooks all the time, and I've never eaten at his house, but I saw his kitchen once.  The stove was covered (not an exaggeration) with streaks of running brown-black grease.  The sort of thing you think you'll see on the six o'clock news when they're exposing the home of a serial killer.

There, I feel better.

:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh: !!

"A few days ago, I heard a doctor talking on television about the dangers of stress. It can kill you. It can cause a heart attack or stroke. The doctor listed many ways of coping with stress. Exercise. Diet Yoga. Talk a walk. I yelled, "Bake cookies." I often talk to the television. I yelled it again and again. The doctor went on with his list of 12 ways to reduce stress and he never once mentioned my sure-fire treatment......"

Maida Heatter

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It's certain I wouldn't want some of you to eat at my house. I wash what I want in my dishwasher and never feel a speck of guilt about it, either. I'm a good cook and I love having people over to eat, and haven't had any complaints. Things aren't always perfectly clean, but they're sanitary enough.

The way I look at kitchen stuff is that it's there to serve me, not vice versa. I have other things to do that don't involve endlessly fussing over implements. I do have good quality things, and nothing's been ruined so far.

When I'm at someone else's house, some things do bother me, like cats walking on the counters. We have a friend who's a noted artist and she has a wonderful, eclectic, cluttered house, with all kinds of pottery around. And a cat that walks on the cupboard while she makes dinner. I don't say anything, and her food is very good, but I do keep an eye out for stray hairs.

But I can top all of you for kitchen grossness--this was in my own kitchen, but I was unaware of it for a long time. Once, many years ago, I caught my first husband peeing in the kitchen sink! I shrieked, What are you doing?! I wash dishes in there!

He was simply too lazy to go upstairs to use the bathroom. Ugh. Got rid of him, got rid of a whole bunch of problems.

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Assuming that everything will be done faster if you just turn up the heat on every burner...I mean, more flame equals a quicker meal, right?

Even worse is assuming that I might be slightly mad for thinking that it could possibly affect the taste of the food.

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^Terrasanct, I would say you showed great restraint by not killing that guy.

If I were queasy about cat fur and cats on the counter, I would have to run screaming from my own house. I have 6 cats and open doorways into the kitchen, so I can't keep them out without Herculean effort. Even though I don't feed them on the counter, they want to see what is going on so they jump up. I diligently clean up after them, and I do warn all my friends to watch for the errant piece of fur. So far no one has complained, and no one seems to be turning down my invitations to dinner or baked goodies!

I cringe when my neighbor complains about her dull knives, then chops stuff up on a piece of ceramic tile! Drives me batty. She bought a cheap stamped knife and said she got a great deal on a knife "exactly like yours" (Wusthof). Umm, not quite.

People who scrape stuff off their cutting boards with the blade of their knife send shivers down my spine (not the good kind).

You know the kitchens you see on "How Clean is Your House" on BBC America? I have been in ones that make those look like surgical wards. I was in a kitchen once where there was literally just a path to the sink, with rotting foodstuffs piled up on either side, dog feces everywhere, and the nice lady offered me something to eat. No, thanks.

I could write pages on questionable food handling practices I have seen. Yet these same people cook the living shit out of meat "so they won't get sick." What about the chicken "juice" you smeared all over your filthy rag then wiped a piece of silverware with it? :blink:

I wish I could say I saw something amazing in someone's kitchen. I've been served some very good meals, but can't say that I was amazed. That would be cool.

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The cooking with clutter isnt a hygiene thing - its a personal quirk. I like to start any kind of project with plenty of clean horizontal space. Which makes my desk a constant source of amazement to others (because no one has ever seen the surface of it).

Cat-scoop wins hands down. Shudder.

Amazing - friends who cook, well, without recipes, with small kids popping in and out of the kitchen. I'm pretty sure there's some violation of handwashing guidelines etc, but I dont notice. Im too busy being amazed at their ability to multi-task and feed us all well with no injuries, fires or food-flops.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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My mother thaws out meat by leaving it out on the counter.

...and??? So does practically everyone I know. How do you suggest we defrost it???

In the fridge...

If I were to try to defrost in my fridge, it would take DAYS o_O I dont tend to plan my meals out that far in advance.

I am guilty, I am a counter thawer too.

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