Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Challenge: Dirty cooking secrets

Ok blog buddies, most of you cook. It doesn't matter how often, or how well. In fact, it is ok if you have cooked only a few times in your entire life, or if your cooking triumphs pale in comparison to your cooking tragedies. The topic of this post is irrelevant to these facts.

My real question is: What are your dirty cooking secrets? Those particular techniques that are unorthodox and not recommended, but you follow them anyway? Things that, if you were cooking live with Jamie Oliver or Rachel Ray, you would be embarassed to admit and show the audience?

If you want, you can post some in your blog. We promise not to judge you or report you to the culinary arts police. Unless your improvisations have caused severe food poisoning and could be considered as attempted murder in a court of law, of course... (Just joking!) My own confessions are:

1. I rarely sift my flour and dry ingredients in general when making dessets. Ok, lie detector, you caught me! Actually, I NEVER sift them!

2. I always substitute baking soda with baking powder, even if only the opposite is "allowed". Oddly enough, I have never encountered a "disgusting and bitter baking powder chunk" in my desserts.

3. I never wear gloves when cooking. Actually, I am a freak, and my choice of profession suggests it! I like touching dead stuff (ie meat). But yes, I wash my hands thoroughly. I guess my choice of profession suggests that as well.

4. I don't use shortening. Actually, I don't know what "shortening" is. My knowledge of English doesn't expand to this particular term. Seriously. And as I am too lazy to look it up on a dictionary, over the years, I have come to the conclusion that shortening = butter. What? Shortening is NOT butter exactly? Oh, well, I am too old to change my ways now...

5. I am a student, living on a budget and moving frequently. So, both my income and my lifestyle don't allow me to buy fancy cooking equipment. As a result, I cook using basic stuff only - and I highlighted the word "basic" here. Which would explain why, if I appeared on a show with Jamie, I would look at objects like a garlic press / a springform pan / a crockpot / a rice cooker / a pizza slicer, etc with the same amazement Colombus had when he reached the American continent!

6. Not embarassing enough? Ok, how about this: I don't know how to use a microwave. And of course I don't own a freezer. It's a vicious circle, guys.

7. I love baking, and my friends tell me I have a hand for it. However, I only loosely follow the FRoB (First Rule of Baking) which, as we all know, is: "Thou shalt ALWAYS measure your ingredients". Well, I do measure them. I really, trully do. Only I lack some unnecessary things called "measuring cup" and "measuring spoons"! But hey, at least I always use the same cup to measure when baking something. Unless it needs washing, of course - then I just use another! Duh!

8. I don't know how to de-gut a fish. You know, take all the inside parts of the fish out and make it ready-to-use for cooking. To those who don't really know me, I apologise for it, saying that I think it is plain disgusting. They seem to be ok with it, and show some sympathy. However, Ernesto doesn't. The problem is that he knows me a little too well, and says that I actually thrive on disgusting stuff. So, he seems to imply that I am just to lazy to learn, and pass this chore onto him. My reply? Well... No comment!

9. The most embarassing moment in my cooking history was when I made a mean fruit tart. Actually, you might now it as White chocolate fruit tart on AR, and it was good beyond description. In fact, it was so good, that when Ernesto dropped the last piece on the floor, he didn't hesitate for a moment - he just picked it up and continued eating it!!! (Picture Joey from "Friends", in the scene where a cheesecake piece is lying on the floor. The same cheesecake piece, over which Rachel and Chandler had been fighting for the whole episode. He just comes in, sees them nibble off the floor, takes a fork out of his jacket and drops the killer line "What are we having???!!!)

Um, wait... that's not an embarassing moment for me, but for Ernesto! Oh well... now that it's out there, it's really hard to take it back! (To his defense, I am a hypochondriac, who cleans the floors 12396 times a day - but I know, it's still yuck!)

I know it would have been much better to write 10 things instead of 9. If I had done so, my list would be more "proper" and "decent". But now that I've come to thing about it, there isn't one single thing in this particular list that it's decent anyway... so I'll just leave it the way it is.

That's all folks! Your turn now! Share if you dare!

PS: If you want a cool signature too, you can go here and create your own!


  1. I once cut my finger and bled all over a salad. Also I don't sift either. But no freezer? That's crazy.

  2. Funny! I am a neurotic measurer. I hate making something once and not being able to replicate it. So I measure religiously...

    Weird confession? I love cooking with onions. I love the flavor, but I hate actually eating the onions. I include them in my cooking but in HUGE chunks so I can pull them back out!

    Last week I think that maybe it's possible that I might have just a little bit grated my fingernail into some cheese... shhhh. don't tell!

    OK--so those aren't bad habits, but still, quirky cooking info...

  3. I am w/ you on the sifting, never do it! I also sometimes completely wash mushrooms when Im in a hurry instead of just 'wiping them w/ a damp cloth" Oh, and sometimes..hehehe u can't tell anyone. I 'taste' things w/ my finger or w/ a spoon...that I've already tasted with. ShhH!!! don't tell anyone because I feed a lot of people sometimes!

  4. I NEVER use cake flour. I do try to measure my ingredients pretty accurately when I am baking, and I also never use gloves. I am a horrible person.

  5. First of all, I USE gloves...and I don't think it's a terribly accepted practice. I am teased mercilessly for it. I don't sift my ingredients...one more dish to wash, right? I follow Crystal's example and taste with whatever's handy (including my finger...but I wash my hands?). Around here, in the Midwest USofA, if something drops on the floor, the common saying is "God made dirt and dirt don't hurt." I DO NOT follow this saying...and do NOT let my children eat off the floor...but we are in the minority...Ernesto would be applauded! Now for my big "taboo"...I was taught by the "old school" girls...my mom and grandmother. Some of my food is not the healthiest in the world. Case in point...I keep a covered container in my fridge. What's in the container? Bacon grease. If I'm feeling naughty, I use it instead of butter/olive oil/shortening. Don't shoot me...it's tasty!!!

  6. I am a dump, dollop and splash person, I don't even own a complete set of measuring cups or spoons :)

  7. It's so nice reading your comments. I love the fact that everyone is different - one is a "religious measurer", an other one is the complete opposite. I was kind of relieved that you have dirty cooking secrets to reveal too (don't worry, I won't tell)! I do seem to have the most, *disappointed sigh here*, but I will survive... Ernesto is coming back today (after a 10-day absence in Germany) and I made his favourite dessert of course: Creamy caramel flan! I am almost tempted to do "the floor test" to see how good my dessert is this time! LOL (just kidding)

  8. I only sift flour when making gravy...no lumps! I've been known to taste from the same spoon I am stirring with (but NEVER while sick) I've only cleaned my oven twice in the past 10 1/2 years! Yeah, I know...I'm the "dirty" in dirty little secrets!

  9. I don't clean my oven either...but it's clean because I don't muck it up...cuz I don't want to clean it!!! See how lazy I am!?!?!?!

  10. I've been trying to think of something that would be a "dirty" secret, and I think I've got it. If the dishwasher is full and I'm too tired or lazy to wash pans I put them in the oven so that the kitchen looks clean!