We usually think about acquiring good cooking habits and ways to improve our masterchef skills by implementing novelties, tips and tricks, and going out of our comfort zone. In fact, we previously wrote a handful of useful posts just about that and you can find them here, here and here.
But the truth is, unless we earn our bread from cooking, most of us are pretty susceptible to daily kitchen mishaps, faux pas and questionable recipes that would make any chef’s hair stand on end. “What bad cooking habits get on your nerves?” asked one Redditor on the Cooking community and added “For me it’s when people use the highest flame setting to cook EVERYTHING. It is wasteful, overcooks food, overboils everything and it really does ruin pans.”
The thread immediately resonated with cooking aficionados who saw it as a perfect opportunity to spill all the bad cooking habits that totally annoy them. And it’s not looking pretty.
“I can’t get my lasagna to taste as good as yours.”
“Did you follow the recipe?”
“Yeah, but I don’t really like pork so I substituted chicken, and instead of salt, I added extra sugar, because I prefer sugar.”
Putting no salt in anything and expecting the salt shaker at the table to do the job. Nothing seasoned at the table with a salt shaker will ever even approach the flavor of something that was seasoned throughout the cooking process.
Parents who only steam veggies and barely use salt or pepper on them and then act all shocked when their kids don’t like it. Of course they won’t like that, most adults would be peeved getting something like that.
Something as simple as roasting veggies with some basic herbs and a good olive oil can make a huge difference.
10 years in kitchens here so bear with me…
crowding pans, moving/scraping cut ingredients with the sharp side of knife, knife in the sink, steaming most veggies, not salting pasta water, watering down beer for brats, way too much water when boiling pasta, adding garlic too early & burning it , not toasting buns, not letting leftovers cool before putting in tupper-ware & fridge, etc etc etc.
edit: add to that impatiently flipping/mixing around food while its cooking! whether it’s burgers/steaks/veggies whatever! sometimes you need a lil color/char
but also if someone else cooks for me, i will love whatever it is sincerely and not say a word.
Boiling vegetables until they are mush. My husband didn’t eat vegetables for more than half of his life because he thought they were disgusting. I found out it was because his grandmother just boiled everything and then covered it in that nasty “0 calorie” spray butter. ROAST THEM. SAUTEE. GRILL. please don’t boil veg unless for something specific like potatoes or you need to blanch something.
My mother’s glass cutting board. I lack the words to explain the torture of using a glass cutting board. Awful. I did finally buy her a couple good knives that she won’t use. This year I am getting her a nice wooden board for her to not use.
My husband “seasons the pan” instead of seasoning the food. As in, he sprinkles salt/pepper/Italian seasoning into a hot pan and then adds plain, unseasoned protein on top. He seems to think this accomplishes the same thing as seasoning the meat directly. It does not.
I can’t deal when they put the onion and garlic in at the same time and expect the onions to be caramelised. I need more time than the garlic will allow !
Following the recipe even when your food is clearly going to sh*t. Looks burnt at 20 mins? Maybe don’t cook it for 25.
There’s a guy I work with that makes me cry when he cooks a steak. Toss a cold steak in a cold pan and cook on med-low, flips it at 15 minutes for another round. Cooked meat should not be gray.
More of a lack of a habit than a habit, but not sharpening knives regularly is one of the worst things to do to your knives. And 9 out of 10 times, people cut themselves on a dull knife, not a sharp one. Its also just better for the food you are going to end up eating; your veggies wont be so bruised, your steaks wont be that little bit extra tenderized from forcing a dull knife through it. The dullest knife ive ever seen couldnt slice through the skin of a baked potato. So it is in your interest and the food’s also.
every. single. Thing. my. Dad. Cooks.
He puts good meat in a slow cooker with nothing but water. Slowly boiled meat. yum.
Puts all ingredients in a pan before he heats the pan
He uses a glass cutting board
“As far as I’m concerned, the microwave is the best way to cook _____.”
A thick layer of aerosol cooking spray on meat before grilling it.
Never give this man a ribeye.
I have had to teach so many of my friends to TASTE THEIR FOOD AS THEY COOK IT. Shocked me that apparently that wasn’t obvious to some people
Dirty cooks. Leaving the knife dirty, not wiping down the counter, cross contaminating everything.
“I don’t cook with salt.”
And people who only use shortcuts that get mad because they tried my recipe and it didn’t work.
Putting the noodles into the water before it’s boiled, like legit the water is straight out of the tap and the stove’s not on yet. Read the goddamn instructions, boiling water takes longer than 3 minutes and thats why your ramen is fucking mushy.
When people press down hard on everything they’re cooking…I am thinking of one person in particular that is an absolute dumpster fire in the kitchen. Making pancakes? She flips them and then mashes them down with the spatula! Fried eggs? Smash em!
Also when people don’t let meat rest after it’s cooked. Or cut with the grain.
My mother uses metal utensils when cooking in our Teflon pans, then complains that they wear so easily. Even AFTER I’ve explained you never use metal in the pans, she does it anyway and says she forgot.
We have gone through 3 non-stick pans so far.
Plating food, then moving a screaming hot pan to the sink and dumping cold water all over it. Had to explain to a friend why she couldn’t do this to her roommate’s brand new Le Creuset braiser.
cross contamination. Whether it’s products or utensils with raw to cooked foods. Washing hands in there too… these things get on my nerves for real.
margarine. It is NOT the same as butter. Got into a fight with my mom last Christmas over her wanting me to use margarine in the macaroni and the mashed potatoes.
Then she tried to cook asparagus in the microwave (with margarine) but I’m hoping that was just a everything.
When people f**k with the timer/burner when I’m cooking. I had some tomato sauce going at a nice even simmer, but apparently someone else in my household thought it should be boiling like pasta water, so they jacked up the temp to high and added more time to the timer…
Starting a big cooking project with dirty dishes in the sink. Not cleaning while you go.
Refusing to use salt when seasoning a dish. My friend thinks that she has “discovered” how to season food with herbs and spices and that she doesn’t need to use boring old salt. It is kind of pretentious and her food is very bland.
When you make the effort to do a BEAUTIFUL roast dinner for someone for the first time and they immediately drown it in cheap sh*tty tomato sauce. Happened to me last week. It cut a little bit, I’ll admit.
Nonstick pans don’t hold heat well. So if you’re trying to get a sear on meat, as soon as you put the meat in the nonstick, the heat transfers and the pan temp goes down. So getting consistent browning and crust is impossible.
I’ve had really expensive pans of all kinds, and nothing has outperformed my $18 cast iron skillet. Everything from searing meat, to browning veggies, to baking pizzas and breads. Nothing compares. If it’s the Maillard Reaction you’re trying to achieve, it’s the best option in my opinion. If you prefer carbon steel or stainless steel, I won’t argue with you because the differences aren’t super noticeable. But from my taste buds and experiences, it’s cast iron.
This is burned into my memory: I was at a friend’s house and she was making guacamole. Her idea of pitting the avocado was wielding the chef knife in a stabbing motion directed point first at the pit, while she was holding the avocado half in each other hand. I thought I was watching a slasher movie. I was TERRIFIED.
Not seasoning food. Unless for health reasons. Also, salting a plate before tasting.
Pots on the stove with the handles sticking out. It’s so easy to elbow-bump one and have boiling water on your knees. Don’t cook barefoot!
I have many but adding garlic on the pan too early and burning it to bitter. Looking at you, Facebook videos I end up watching even when I haven’t subscribed.
People cutting up things one at a time. Example: celery stalks. Grab a few at a time!!!
Note: this post originally had 49 images. It’s been shortened to the top 32 images based on user votes.