People Are Sharing (And Debunking) The Cooking Myths That Are Outdated, Over-Exaggerated, And Just Begging To Be Demystified
"You DON’T have to cook with unsalted butter. When a recipe calls for unsalted butter, I always use salted butter in place of it. I find that it just makes everything taste so much better, especially when used in sweet baked goods."
When it comes to cooking, there are a whole lot of tales and "rules" out there that are either outdated, misunderstood, or just begging to be broken. So, Redditor u/SamMee514 asked, "What are some 'cooking myths' that frustrate you?" Here's what people said.
1."That you should add garlic first to a recipe. So much of my early cooking life was made so much more difficult by thinking that garlic always had to go in at the start. Most of the time, I was fighting for my life trying to keep said garlic from burning."
2."That you should drain the fat when cooking ground beef. So many recipes will tell you to do this. Hell no! Fat is flavor! Use the rendered fat to cook up the veggies you'll use in the dish, and the end results will be so much better."
3."Instant Pot recipes that say you can cook something in six minutes. NO, YOU CAN'T. Pressurizing that thing takes time."
4."That superfoods are some sort of 'magic' food. Anything billed as a superfood may just have slightly more nutrients than other foods. They're not magic — they don't make other, unhealthy foods healthier when paired together."
5."Unless the flour you're baking with is absolutely ancient or full of noticeable lumps, there's no need to sift it each and every time you use it. Just make sure you're thoroughly whisking it into your batter or dough, and there will be virtually no difference in texture."
6."Most internet recipes severely underrate how long things take (for example, they will write that water boils in five minutes, a pan full of sauce reduces by half in 10 minutes, chicken browns on one side in two or three minutes...LIES! Everything takes at least twice as long usually. Rachael Ray and her 30 Minute Meals is probably the worst offender. The timing is straight up fiction."
7."That you should wash chicken before cooking it. Experts actually agree you usually don't need to wash chicken. Everyone we spoke to — including a USDA rep, a germ expert, and a prominent NYC chef — discouraged the practice. Lots of people do it, but it can often be more harmful than helpful."
8."That rule about 'never cleaning mushrooms with water,' comes from standard prep practices in commercial kitchens (which don't even apply to most people). If you're using your mushrooms right away — which, if you're cooking at home, you probably are — rinsing with water is fine! If they'll sit in the fridge for hours or days after being washed, that's when they'll get slimy and gross."
9."That MSG is bad for you. And the most hilarious thing about this is that the people who claim MSG is bad have no idea that it's naturally occurring in some of the foods they buy."
10."That the best way to get potassium is by eating a single banana. There are tons of foods with higher levels of potassium than bananas — including potatoes and many leafy greens."
11."That placing an avocado pit in the center of a bowl of guacamole keeps the top from turning brown. Not the case. Guacamole turns brown when it touches air and oxidizes. You can keep guacamole green by pressing plastic wrap down directly on the surface of it."
12."That moldy cheese should be tossed. Most people throw out a whole block of cheese when there's a little bit of mold on it. But when I find a touch of mold on any hard cheese, I'll generally just chop off the chunk of mold with a knife and carry on enjoying the rest."
13."That adding a raw potato to an over-salted dish will fix it by 'drawing the salt out.' Potatoes may absorb some minuscule amount of the salted water, but they aren't some kind of magic salt-absorbing sponges."
14."That you should cook with unsalted butter. When a recipe calls for unsalted butter, I always use salted butter in place of it. I find that it just makes everything taste so much better, especially when used in sweet baked goods."
15."Adding oil to your pasta water won't prevent the noodles from sticking. The oil largely remains separate from the water, and the tiny bit of oil on the noodles will actually prevent it from soaking up as much of the sauce as it otherwise would."
16."I've heard people say not to put tomatoes or any other acidic into cast iron, but my cast iron Dutch oven is just fine after years of cooking Bolognese and other tomato-based dishes in it. Same goes for cooking with wine in cast iron."
17."That salting pasta water helps it cook faster. Yes, you should salt your pasta water...but not because it will boil or cook faster. Just because it tastes good."
18."That a cast iron pan needs to be babied and treated like a mythical creature."
19."That butter should always be stored in the refrigerator. Despite this popular opinion, various health authorities actually say it's perfectly fine to store a good quality butter for up to 10 days outside of the fridge, as long as the room is moderately cool."
20."Recipes that claim you can caramelize onions in 10 minutes."
21."That expiration dates should be followed precisely. Expiration dates basically mean the longest the manufacturer is willing to guarantee the product for. Usually, they test some quality they think customers care about for a length of time under some specific 'worst case' scenario. Up to the expiration date, the company will guarantee the product is good. Past that, you have to use your own judgment."
22."Internet recipes that call for a quarter teaspoon of salt in a Crockpot full of chili."
23."That the white gunk that comes out of cooked salmon is fat. People often think this, but actually, it's protein. It's easy to mistake the foamy white paste for fat, but in reality, it's a harmless protein called albumin.
24."I ignore that old 'rule' that says don't mix seafood and cheese. I can tell you plenty of instances where the two go together beautifully: Parmesan crusted fish, cheesy garlic shrimp, lobster mac 'n' cheese, spaghetti and clams with garlic and Pecorino, etc."
25."Salad dressing recipes love to tell you to 'slowly mix in the oil' while whisking. Nah, I just throw all the oil into a jar with the rest of the ingredients and give it a good shake. It always tastes good enough for me."
26."That searing meat 'seals in the juices.' This is the reason behind every ruined prime rib I've ever eaten."
27."The whole notion of authenticity of food. We are creative, resourceful humans, and we borrow ideas, techniques, and ingredients from everyone and everywhere. It's beautiful and delicious. Fusion cuisine is not bastardization of food. Acting like there is one recipe and one proper way of doing something is just silly. When you say, 'This dish is authentic,' to who, to what region, to what country, and to what time period? To what kitchen? Your grandma's?"
28."The idea that you have to cook every single protein to 165°F. Pork is the worst offender."
29."The belief that olive oil is the best oil and should be used in every dish no matter the cooking method or temperature."
30."'Nitrate-free' cured meats. Even meats called nitrate-free usually contain large amounts of celery salt, which is just a source of nitrates. If you buy bacon labeled nitrate-free, I can almost guarantee celery salt is on the ingredient list."
31."I've been thawing meat on the counter for 30 years, and I'm doing perfectly fine. I don't believe any of that 'leave it in the fridge overnight' nonsense."
What are some food "myths" or outdated cooking "rules" that irritate you? Tell us in the comments!