Kitchen myths, or are they?

Have you seen the latest news? Do you get to watch the latest silly pet video, and read the funny quote that got posted this morning?

The arbiter of life’s wisdom seems to be Facebook these days – if you see something there, it’s for real, especially if it’s in video form.

Well, I have a good old-fashioned news flash for you, folks: not necessarily so. I am here to clarify a few crucial points for you, at least for the kitchen.

You can thank me later.

First, let’s clear up that old wives’ tale: coffee should not be kept in the fridge or freezer. It makes a better brew at room temperature. You see, coffee beans don’t like a build-up of moisture before you pour the boiling water over them that makes your cuppa joe.

The fridge and freezer don’t have lots of moisture, but there will be condensation that occurs on your coffee as you take it out and it warms up to room temperature. Do keep your coffee beans in an airtight container away from the light.

It should be in a cool spot, but not as cold as the fridge.

Just keep the dairy in the fridge. And while we are on the topic, you can keep your bread out of the fridge too. Bread goes stale in the fridge because it absorbs moisture and the starches crystallize.

Next, there is one that my dad used to swear by, so it has always made me smile. I don’t think he’ll mind after all these years if I explain why it’s a myth.

You can use the dull and shiny sides of aluminum foil interchangeably. Although technically daddy was right — the shiny side does reflect more than the dull side — the difference is imperceptible for cooking. (the shiny side reflects 88% of the total heat, while the dull side reflects 80 per cent).

So use it shiny side in or dull side in for your package of potatoes on the barbecue; they will cook just fine either way.

Have you ever heard that you are not supposed to wash mushrooms? As my Gramps used to say, “Hogwash!” Or rather, wash your mushrooms. Just don’t let them sit in water, as they are very porous.

Unless you are re-hydrating dried mushrooms, just rinsing them and wiping them with a paper towel to get any bits of dirt off will suffice.

Here’s a couple you may have heard from your mom or grandma:

  • Cook chicken until the juices run clear when you cut it with a knife. No! This wrong on a bunch of levels. You should not be cutting into a piece of meat you plan on serving as supposedly whole. Also, if you think about this, going just by the colour of the juice to ensure you eat safely cooked poultry is downright dangerous. Please use a meat therometer. Poultry needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165F at the thickest part.
  • Add salt to the pasta water and your noodles will cook faster – Please don't. Salty water will boil at a lower temperature, so this is technically true. But, it would only work if you added enough salt to make the pasta totally inedible.

I’ll give you a few more just for fun. You can impress everyone around the water cooler at work with your wisdom.

  • It’s easier to cut yourself with a sharp knife.” This is silly. It’s easy to cut yourself if you don’t pay attention to what you’re doing. A sharp knife will make a cleaner cut, but it is also more precise, so technically you’re more likely to slip up if your knife is dull, not sharp. Sharpen your knives to make your cutting go smoothly, and practice cutting to be more familiar with your knife. Think of Julia Child and her pile of onions that needed chopping. That being said, even professional chefs cut themselves once in a while.
  • “Marinades make meat more tender.” The opposite is true, as the acid in marinades interacts with the protein in the meat and makes the molecules squeeze more closely together and release liquid. Furthermore, the marinade is only capable of penetrating approximately one millimetre into the meat. If you want to tenderize your meat, try brining. (link for brine recipe)
  • “Brown eggs are healthier to eat than white eggs.” I have to admit I felt a bit silly myself when I learned how the colour of eggs is determined. Brown eggs don’t come from country chickens or necessarily more healthy chickens; they come from certain breeds of chickens. You see, egg colour is related to the hen’s genetics, not her environment. There are also speckled eggs, blue ones and even green (Dr. Seuss didn’t make that part up).

I hope that helps you on your way to a more well-informed life in your kitchen.

You can sit and watch Facebook videos about the latest recipe for a cheese-stuffed something-or-other while you sip on your fresher-tasting coffee with your less-stale toast.

See, I knew you’d thank me later.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories