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Marks of a bad cook


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If I would go into a friend's kitchen and see a sous vide set-up,I'd assume that they are serious about cooking and probably decent at it. (A KitchenAide mixer wouldn't count though; too many are given as wedding presents and stand as unused kitchen art.)

I wonder if there's anything that's a similar sign of a bad cook. I won't reflexively condemn convenience foods, but perhaps too many Kraft products might be a hint of a problem....or Miracle Whip perhaps.

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Empty refrigerator (minus common condiments) and cabinets (especially no spices).

Edit: Okay, I suppose that's more a sign of someone who doesn't cook, although a lack of spices in the kitchen of someone who does is definitely a problem.

Edited by feedmec00kies (log)

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I generally consider an array of quality vinegars beside the stove to me a pretty good indication that someone knows how to cook. The proper use of acid is one of the last things most cooks learn.

I'd have to say that usually a person who has non-stick pans that are obviously scarred by repeated use of metal implements is the mark of a bad cook. Good cooks understand the proper tools to use and respect their pans.

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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Empty fridge apart from really scary veggies that are beginning to develop sentient life, and ancient condiments; dusty, unopened spices from a bygone era; one badly abused nonstick saucepan; no vinegars, cooking wines, or brandy. Melamine plates. Bad food.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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A shelf dedicated to Rachel Ray magazines and cookbooks.

Maybe a jar of instant coffee or a really dirty/unsanitary kitchen.

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Clearly the signs are legion. Many of the above can be a tip-off. For me it's when I look in the refrigerator door and see either or both of these: a row of commercial bottled salad dressings and/or a plastic lemon squeezy.

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Pots and pans made of thin metal, all nonstick (even the "stockpot"), and all in weird sizes or aspect ratios. A set of stamped, micro-serrated "nev-R-dull" knives that all seem to be about the same size. Easy-access areas in the kitchen dedicated mostly to condiments and miscellany as opposed to oils, vinegars, spices, and salts.

Edit: Though I should add that these tend to be signs of a non-cook rather than a bad cook. In fact, I don't think I can think of someone I know who likes to cook that I would call a bad cook. I guess it's a self-selecting process.

Edited by emannths (log)
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I'm thinking a lot of these are indications that the person rarely cooks. It would be pretty depressing to like to cook and still be bad at it after practice...

My mother in law has cooked 3 meals a day for 40 years and still makes mostly horrible food.

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I'm thinking a lot of these are indications that the person rarely cooks. It would be pretty depressing to like to cook and still be bad at it after practice...

Oh I don't know...

I know several nice people who crank out reheated veg and casseroles made with Lipton mixes and canned onion rings and consider themselves to be good in the kitchen.

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I remember when I liked to mess around in the kitchen and was fairly terrible at it. The idea this might still be the case gives me nightmares sometimes. :sad:

Anyway, antique spices, nonstick or enamel steel everything, all serrated knives (or even worse, only steak knives), plastic spoons and spatulas in place of wood/metal/silicone, unhygienic kitchen, lots of convenience foods and box mixes, tired veg, bottled dressings.

So pretty much what everyone else mentioned.

The only new one I could think of was tired, leathery tortillas. There is no excuse.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Clearly the signs are legion. Many of the above can be a tip-off. For me it's when I look in the refrigerator door and see either or both of these: a row of commercial bottled salad dressings and/or a plastic lemon squeezy.

I'd take issue with both of those.

To a lot of Americans, salad is basically an afterthought and most of them don't care to whip up a dressing every time they have salad. I know literally 20 great cooks who use strictly bottled dressings. I usually make my own but it's because we don't eat much salad in my house so when we do I am usually making something special.

I keep lemon juice concentrate to acidify items that I am canning because the squeezy bottle has a known range of acidity. Fresh lemon can have considerable variance in acidity and is not recommended for canning.

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All of them? :raz:

Hey, I can accept that some good cooks are going to have different habits but some habits are going to be more typical of a good cook than others.

Edited by Dakki (log)

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Not all of them. I'd have to say, most of them though.

I haven't gone to the Greenmarket in a little over a week, so have to find a way to use all the leftover vegs in the fridge between now and Saturday. There's a head of red leaf lettuce that's past its prime for example.

My spice cabinet could use a major revision but not sure when that will happen.

I don't know, threads like this make my eyes bleed sometimes. There's an element of smugness, as if "we're good, and you're not".

I'll let you in on a little secret. The one knife I use the most in my kitchen isn't a French chef's knife that I keep in the kitchen drawer but ...

... can you guess?

No?

It's a regular old serrated steak knife, the one you use to cut steak or a piece of meat on your dinner plate.

At some point I guess I should get a knife sharpener but that'll be a long time coming.

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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[sarcasm] Yes, I'm a bad cook because I don't:

1. Keep my knives in a block or on a strip

2. Respect my pans

3. Have a knife sharpener.

[/sarcasm]

Really?

My mother doesn't do anty of the above either, and her food is amazing.

Generalizations make baby Jesus cry.

Thanks for the laugh, Soba! It was the first of the day, and MUCH needed!

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I'm more likely to look at the food than the gizmos, though a kitchen with more design than substance isn't a good sign. You can tell when people are cooking. They've got stuff in the fridge, and they feel natural in the kitchen.

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