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What's your worst kitchen habit?


JAZ
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Although I'm not a professional chef or cook, I have decent if not amazing kitchen skills. I teach avocational cooking classes and am adept in the kitchen. But even though I know better and swear virtually every day that I'm going to correct it, I have one really bad habit that I just can't shake.

Because I worked for years in cookware stores, I have a whole rack of knives from which to choose when I cook. So, what I do is this: I use a knife, set it by the sink to wash, and then get another knife for the next task. Somehow, when I'm cleaning the kitchen, the dirty knives are always left at the end. Instead of just washing and drying them -- which would take virtually no time -- I leave them, thinking I'll do them in the morning. Of course I don't, and then when I'm prepping the next meal, I just keep picking up clean knives and adding them to the dirty pile. When I'm down to the 9-inch bread knife and a paring knife, I break down and wash the pile. Then I start over.

Yes, I know better. Yes, I know it's bad for the knives, and easy to remedy. And yet. It's my shameful secret, but I keep doing it.

Now, you might not have this particular bad habit, but I'll bet everyone's got one. So, confess -- what's yours?

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I have a can of oven cleaner that I use for grease that gets baked onto the rangetop and onto pans, but I don't think I've actually cleaned an oven in any place I've lived in maybe 20 years. I have a vague memory of possibly cleaning an oven some time in the '80s, but I can't be certain.

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I am the world's messiest cook. I have more measuring spoons,cups etc, and I use all of them when I am cooking.

I will make a small bet that I can match you with the measuring cups and spoons. :laugh:

When I am prepping for a baking marathon of cookies, cakes and etc., I will set up the bowls and utensils I will need for each recipe on separate trays. This necessitates having multiples of measuring cups &etc.

Here's a photo from Nov. 2004 - I have "collected" a few more since then. :rolleyes:

gallery_17399_60_1099971179.jpg

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I've never been stern or consistent enough to prevent sensible curious cats to stop cruising the kitchen counter while my back is turned during dinner prep.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I have a can of oven cleaner that I use for grease that gets baked onto the rangetop and onto pans, but I don't think I've actually cleaned an oven in any place I've lived in maybe 20 years. I have a vague memory of possibly cleaning an oven some time in the '80s, but I can't be certain.

I can tell you the date I last cleaned an oven: February 12, 1978. My water broke during the process and I gave birth the next day. To be fair to myself, I've mostly owned "self-cleaning" ovens since then.

Edited for birth date. I must be a bad mother. It was two days before Michael Sphinx beat Muhammad Ali in Vegas.

Edited by maggiethecat (log)

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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  1. Failing to reuse the water used for soaking vegetables, even though somewhere on the balcony there's a container collecting used water for our plants.
  2. Balancing a small-ish chopping board on the ledge just before the sink, thinking that its only a tomato how much time will I be spending on this board. Needless to say, this has lead to a number of accidents!
  3. Looking into a fridge, noting that some leafy greens started to look wet and procrastinating the insertion the necessary kitchen towel paper in the relevant containers/bags. Two days later, wilted greens. :blink:

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My habit involves knives, too. I leave them in the sink, dirty, to be washed at the end of the evening by the dishwasher - my husband. I've heard this turns them dull, but since my knives are cheap affairs that I sharpen regularly, I have never particularly cared.

Also, I use abrasives on non-stick pans, and buy new ones as needed.

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Not making sure that the dishwasher is empty and the counters are clear before I start a dish. I'm getting better but it's a constant struggle because I love to cook - I HATE TO CLEAN. :blink: I also have a bad habit of working at the very front edge of my cutting board so that the floor gets even messier than the board.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I have no bad habits in the kitchen, I am an angel. :laugh:

On the other hand, my husband, born of Depression-era parents, puts every single teeny tiny leftover in it's own special little container and packs my fridge with them. Makes me crazy. ITS OK TO THROW OUT THE TWO REMAINING PEAS.

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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I am the world's messiest cook. I have more measuring spoons,cups etc, and I use all of them when I am cooking.

Thems are fighting words. I KNOW my wife would disagree with you.

Now that I have kids "helping" me in the kitchen, I think FEMA should get involved.

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The supply of fresh produce in the shops here is unreliable at best so when I see nice vegetables I buy them. A lot of them. And then, because I've bought way more than 3 people can eat, half of it rots in the fridge. Such a waste but I can't seem to stop myself.

I too abuse my non-stick pans. And I've never cleaned an oven.

In our "outside" kitchen, I never clean the grill right after I use it. I wait until the next time I want to use it, at which point I find remnants of whatever was last grilled stuck to the grate. So I have to spend half an hour cleaning it before I can use it. It would be so much easier to clean it right after it's used instead of letting the bbq sauce dry out and become one with the grate.

Abigail Blake

Sugar Apple: Posts from the Caribbean

http://www.abigailblake.com/sugarapple

"Sometimes spaghetti likes to be alone." Big Night

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I don't wear aprons when I cook and get stains on my clothes.

Also, I don't use the mise en place method and can sometimes have to really rush getting something chopped and ready for the pot. To be fair, I know this is bad and I do use the method when I'm baking because who really wants to forget to add the vanilla to a cake? :hmmm:

Rhonda

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Just asked the sous-chef, my DH, what my worst kitchen habit is and he replied...and very quickly too...not cleaning up as I go along. My counters and sinks end up looking like a tornado has been through.

He admits his is leaving sharp knives in the sink and also cleaned/uncleaned plastic bags in the sink. That second one really makes me CROSS! :angry:

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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A lot of "me, too"s:

Oven cleaning - the new oven has a self-cleaning feature, but I'm sure it would blow a breaker in our old house. I do clean it before Thanksgiving (and then really only because there are guests who might SEE!).

Aprons - I have many, and they're handy, but . . .

Water re-use - I feel guilty, guilty, guilty.

Cat policing - with two Abys, it's just not always possible.

Also:

Failure to use leftovers - end up throwing them out.

Often forgetting that the dishes in the dishwasher are clean, and adding dirty ones (which must mean there's room and I should have waited until the machine was full -- a double bad).

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It's not so much a bad cooking habit, but somehow, whenever I'm baking, I always seem to be wearing a black shirt.

and whenever I'm making a pan sauce or gravy or wine reduction, I always seem to be wearing a white shirt!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Wastefulness is my big issue.

Even though I walk by multiple markets on the way home, I will sometimes buy vegetables without a plan for them; the reverse side of this is that I don't plan out meals for the week because I can get ingredients at any time.

Plus, I'm terrible at using leftovers. Some things I'll bring to work, but I get bored food-wise very easily, and find it hard to eat the same thing more than 2 times in a row. I should be constructing new dishes with the leftovers, but I'm inconsistent with that. I could also freeze leftovers, but even in our tiny apartment freezer things get lost...

I also have an apron, but never use it. Then again, I rarely wear street clothes when I'm cooking (which is usually at home without guests), and I somehow manage to not make a mess.

My husband, on the other hand...! I thought the person who doesn't cook does the cleaning. :angry: I usually am successful in getting him to clean the cutting board and knife, but the other dishes...

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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Thinking about the measuring cups &etc., I did a survey this morning and found some sets that I don't recall purchasing and weren't giving to me.

I wonder if they (like wire coat hangers) are managing to breed in the dark recesses of some of my cabinets... :blink:

I know I didn't buy some because they are really not designed well for how I work and most of my friends, who are inclined to give me kitchen stuff, know better than to buy such things for me...

There is one set with smallish tab-type handles that would make it impossible to level dry ingredients while holding onto the tab. What were they thinking?!!

I have several aprons that hang just inside the pantry door and I use them all the time. I also have one of the wrap-around lab coats for full coverage when I am going to prepare something really messy. They are great because the fronts can be reversed. (They are left over from when I was still working as an x-ray tech because I didn't like wearing the bulkier lab coats. (And didn't want patients to think I was one of the doctors.)

My worst "bad" habit is preparing too much food for just me. Leftovers are okay but there is a limit. I was raised to be frugal and feel guilty about tossing good food. There are simply some of my favorite recipes that do not work well when prepared for a single person.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I too am guilty of a few of the already mentioned items.

Wastefulness is the thing I would most like to be better about. We belong to a wonderful CSA so I am able to restrain myself at the farmer's market. I buy very little in terms of vegetables from there in the summer months, mostly just meat and fruit. The problem I have is not using enough of my produce from the CSA which means that shamefully, too much goes to waste. I was much better about this last summer but this summer was very busy and I didn't cook as much as I should have or would have liked. I do try to process and freeze as much as I can from our CSA but too much still gets wasted.

My husband accuses me of hoarding food since our cupboards and freezers are so full. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a spouse who doesn't understand having 15+ bottles of vinegar, 6 different rices, multiple types of lentils, different quinoas and multiple other grains, beans etc. I do keep everything relatively neat and organized. Pretty much everything that comes into my kitchen gets put in glass jars before going in a cupboard. This helps keep things from getting too cluttered and it helps me to see what I have.

The multiple freezers is only because I freeze fruit as it is in season to use in pies over the winter (for ourselves and for sale). I am making myself use what's in the freezer vs. buying for meals lately. My problem is I can't plan meals ahead of time. I so envy folks who can create a meal plan for the week but that is just not how I cook, wish I could.

The aprons are hanging on hooks by the pantry and never get used.

My self-peeve is not keeping good track of how I make a dish as I go. How many times have I made an amazing dish only to not be able to exactly duplicate it because I make it up as I go?

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Just asked the sous-chef, my DH, what my worst kitchen habit is and he replied...and very quickly too...not cleaning up as I go along. My counters and sinks end up looking like a tornado has been through.

Just finished making some Sweet & Spicy Pecans from the egg & nut thread from Epicurious through Anna N...and some halvah from Bruce Weinstein, The Ultimate Candy Bookand half the Italian gelato I am making with the inclusions that go into Nougat...and the kitchen is a total mess. I made this bargain with myself, that I would surprise Ed with a cleaner kitchen, but alas! it was not to be. I suspect it is never to be.

Right. I burnt my tongue tasting the halvah and now I won't be able to taste much of anything. Serves me right. :raz:

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Now, this is not my habit, rather the habits of Paul and Diana (problem less by 1/2now that she's at college). What's up with putting a box of Cheerios back on the shelf when there are three Cheerios and a bunch of dust remaining, a box of Triscuits with 1/2 a cracker and the dust, a gallon of milk jug with 1 T of milk back on the shelf? I would have to say that Peter is pretty good about this. He'll leave the box out and note on the grocery list (which is where it's always been since we moved into this house.

I'm sorry family. Although I am a stay at home, I don't shake every box before I go to the supermarket every time.

I use the last of something, I recycle the container, and put the need to replace said item on the grocery list, which is a magnetized list on the fridge with a pen attached.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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My two worst kitchen habits involve my knives which make them dangerous and stupid habits. I don't keep my knives nearly sharp enough (too lazy to learn how to use a steel and too cheap to buy a decent electric knife sharpener) and when I wash dishes (no electric dishwasher)I always include a couple chefs knives in my tub of soapy water to keep things exciting. Though I've never been cut my heart was in my mouth when my husband went rooting around in my dishwater looking for a spoon. I really must stop both of these habits! But then I'd have to work on other terrible habits... :wink:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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I usually clean as I go, I clean my knives with relative promptness, I don't abuse my non-stick (mainly by avoiding its use). But as I sit down to scrape Bar Keeper's Friend out from under my fingernails, I realize that my worst habit is not cleaning the stovetop often enough. It's a white ceramic top, and you'd think persistent ugliness would encourage me, but no.

In our "outside" kitchen, I never clean the grill right after I use it. I wait until the next time I want to use it, at which point I find remnants of whatever was last grilled stuck to the grate. So I have to spend half an hour cleaning it before I can use it. It would be so much easier to clean it right after it's used instead of letting the bbq sauce dry out and become one with the grate.

I don't think you should think of this as a bad habit, but rather efficient time management. A trick I learned from Alton Brown is to not worry about cleaning the grill right after cooking. Instead, the next time you go to use the grill, light your coals and spread them out when they're ready. Let the grates heat up, then clean with a wire brush. Works for me (I have cast-iron grates), especially the no-guilt part. Sometimes all you have to do is redefine the problem.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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