Place Food in Aluminum Foil before Grilling
Why would anyone do this? Most of the flavor is on the surface of the grill, especially if you’re using propane. Placing an aluminum barrier between your food and the cooking surface will only make your food taste bland.
Wearing Plastic Gloves
When people wear gloves in commercial kitchens to prepare food, they get a false sense of cleanliness. I’ve seen cooks wear the same pair of gloves the entire day while preparing vegetables and proteins. Simply wash your hands between tasks with hot soapy water for at least one minute.
Avocado Pits Keep my Guacamole from Becoming Brown
Not true. The best way to keep guacamole from turning brown is to put plastic wrap directly on the avocado mixture instead of over the bowl.
Only Use White Pepper in Mashed Potatoes
When I was in cooking school our instructors always told us to use white pepper so it would look clean. Sometimes it’s a good idea to ignore such instruction, and this is the time. What’s wrong with black pepper flakes in mashed potatoes? Nothing. In fact, it provides a nice color-contrast. Also, the whisk attachment makes the fluffiest mashed potatoes, not the paddle.
Meats and Proteins should be Kept Refrigerated until Cooked
False. I always make sure that the meat I am going to cook has reached room temperature. If you place cold meat on a hot grill it seizes up and become tough. Also remember to let your cooked meat stand for at least 5 minutes before cutting.
Multiple Cutting Boards for Separate Tasks
As long as you thoroughly wash cutting boards with hot soapy water and a small amount of bleach, one board is perfectly safe for all kitchen tasks.
Using Glass Mixing Bowls with a Mixer
This is always a big mistake, in my opinion. If you’re mixing batter with a metal whisk and a glass container, there’s always a chance that the bowl will chip. Stainless steel is the safest vessel to use when using a commercial, or hand mixer.
Relying on Time-Per-Pound for Poultry and Roasts
Most people ask me, “How long should I cook a 20 pound turkey for?” The problem with calculating cooking time this way, is that everyone’s oven runs at varying temperatures. Even though your dial may read 350, an un-calibrated oven can easily be at 325 or 375. It’s important to always have a hand-held meat thermometer in your kitchen.
Don’t Rely on that Expiration Date
Just because your milk expires on Friday doesn’t mean you can’t use it on Saturday. Remember, these are suggested dates of expiration. Simply smell the milk, and if it doesn’t have a sour scent, use it. The same goes for butter, and most other dairy products.
It’s OK to leave butter at room temperature.
True. You can actually keep butter at room temperature for at least 10 days without health risk. As long as the butter is covered, and protected from cross-contamination, it is perfectly safe. There’s nothing worse than trying to butter your bread with hard butter.
Don’t put oil in the pasta water.
True! Residual oil will prevent whatever sauce you are using from sticking to the pasta. It is however, necessary to put salt in the water.
Cold water boils faster than hot water.
In what universe? The hotter your water is, the faster it will reach a boiling point.
Don’t wash those mushrooms!
Mushrooms should never be washed. Remember, the first liquid that fungi are exposed to get absorbed within. Instead of using water to clean mushrooms, use a small cloth to remove dirt and debris.
Brown eggs are better than white.
Not true. The color of the shell has nothing to do with what’s inside. The color of the eggs comes from the coloring of the hen.
Pork has to be cooked until well-done.
Not true. Just like any other meat, pork will become dry and tasteless if over-cooked. The USDA has recently decreased the recommended cooking temperature to 145 degrees. Remember to let your meat rest after it has cooked, and before cutting it.
Chef Chuck Kerber