Cooking is anything but a one-size-fits-all activity. In reality, there are too many "sizes" to count. What I'm trying to say is: People are gonna cook they way they want to cook, and nothing you say (or do) is going to stop them. And ya know what? I'm all for experimentation...within reason.
Recently, we asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share the "cooking opinions or methods they swear by, even if they're downright unpopular." I've gotta say, though foodies would proooobably turn their noses up at most of these, the majority of them have me feeling pretty darn curious. The others? Well, let's just say I severely disagree with several.
1. "I always use boxed cake mix. It's convenient and always comes out good."
"You don't have to worry about precise measurements of all those dry ingredients, and with the time saved by using a boxed mix, you can make your own frosting (as that stuff tastes so much better than the canned junk)."
2. "Those packets of taco seasoning are one of the best seasoning mixes I have in my cabinet full of spices and herbs. I could blend the seasoning mix myself, but why? The store bought stuff tastes great."
3. "I refuse to salt my pasta water. I've gone as far as making a PowerPoint condemning the practice for my salt-favoring friends."
4. "Truffles are overrated. They taste like how old basements smell."
5. "Ketchup can improve SO many dishes..."
"Leafy bitter greens? Add a blob of ketchup to round out the flavor and take away the bitterness. Chili? Add ketchup. Pasta sauce? You guessed it — ketchup. Hamburger patties? Put ketchup into the meat before cooking. None of these dishes will taste like ketchup. They'll just taste better...more rounded."
6. "Scrambled eggs are best when they're overcooked. I like them firm, toothsome, and a little bit browned. Many celebrity chefs' scrambled egg recipes that I see show the eggs being 'done' when they're still wildly undercooked — loose, glossy, gloopy-looking. Yuck. Give me my burnt eggs."
7. "Instant coffee is totally fine. Some brands are particularly delicious, and all you need is a teapot and a coffee mug — maybe some flavored creamer if that's your thing."
8. "Arugula is disgusting. It doesn't taste 'peppery' — it tastes bitter and gross. Anytime I see an otherwise tasty-looking sandwich or salad on a menu with arugula, I'm immediately disappointed. Why has it become so prevalent?"
9. "Chef Boyardee Ravioli is fucking delicious. Nothing compares."
10. "Stove Top stuffing is better than any homemade stuffing. There. I said it."
11. "Tomato paste with a little bit of olive oil (and Italian seasoning, if you'd like) is better than an actual pizza sauce. They're never thick enough for me."
12. "Frozen vegetables that come pre-chopped are just as good as using the whole versions when making soups and stews. Plus, you don't have to wash an extra cutting board!"
13. "To make a 'good' risotto, you don’t have to add the stock in a little at a time and wait until it absorbs before adding more. Just use a wide sauté pan instead of a narrow saucepan."
14. "A steak is not a balloon..."
"If you cut into the middle while it's on the grill (to see if it's cooked to the doneness you like), it won't magically lose all of its juices. You CANNOT detect a difference in taste or juiciness, despite what most people would like you to believe."
15. "Kraft is FAR superior to homemade mac 'n' cheese, any day of the week."
16. "Store-bought matzoh ball soup is better than homemade! Every. Time. Yep, the stuff from the box."
17. "You don’t always need to soak dry beans overnight; just add an extra hour to the total cook time."
"Yeah, that extra hour might feel like a lot in the moment — but it’s less hours than soaking them for at least six!"
18. "Anytime I see 'salt and pepper to taste' in a recipe, I get a slight feeling of rage. I grew up with one parent who didn't like a lot of salt and pepper on their food, and another parent who covered their food in it..."
"Salt and pepper preferences can vary wildly from person to person. Just give me a starting point so I can add more if I need it. It's so hard to get it just right, especially if I'm adding it to raw poultry before cooking it."
19. "Eating out at an inexpensive restaurant (or diner) when you don't have more than two people in your household is just as cheap — if not cheaper — than making food at home."
20. "MSG isn't bad for you, and it's great for boosting flavor."
"One of the reasons that the 'MSG is bad for you' myth became popular was because of restaurants competing with Asian restaurants. The latter cooked with MSG (and became more successful than the former), so the competing restaurants started this myth."
21. "I put parmesan cheese on canned tuna. I do. Not. Care."
22. "Coffee does NOT belong in brownies, cookies, or any other baked goods for that matter."
"It always ends up making the chocolate taste burned to me. Instead, add ground cayenne. It's so amazing."
23. "I add sriracha and maple syrup to my eggs! Started about six years ago, and I just can't stop. It's so good! 😩"
24. "This is the hack I'm proudest of: Remove 15% of the noodles from a box of mac 'n' cheese, but keep the same amount of butter, milk, and cheese powder. It makes the meal better."
25. "I always cook with ranch — specifically Hidden Valley Light Ranch — and I refuse to use anything else."
26. "I only ever use garlic powder anymore — not the fresh stuff. I truly can't even remember the last time I bought a bulb of garlic."
27. "This is the best (and easiest) chip dip in the entire world, even if 'foodies' would think it's gross..."
– A can of cheap light beer (Coors Lite is the best for this)
– Several healthy spoonfuls of Pace medium salsa
Mix it together, melt it up, and you've got a crowd-pleasing hit."
28. "Crab legs are simply boiled crustaceans. There is NO difference between getting them at a high-end seafood restaurant, a Red Lobster, or your grocery store (if you know how to heat the pre-boiled crab legs up correctly)."
29. "Well-done steak doesn't have to be dry. If it is, you're just not that good at cooking it."
"This goes for both the people who turn their steak into shoe-leather and those who insist that 'rare is the only way to go.'"
30. "Spicy does not equal 'flavorful.' You can have non-spicy dishes that are absolutely delicious and packed with flavor. For me, if a chef makes a dish spicy for no real reason, they've ruined it."
31. "I put a dollop of Marmite in my Bolognese sauce. It always adds a wonderful richness and depth to it."
"It’s not the traditional Italian way, and a lot of people hate the stuff, so it’s pretty controversial. I haven’t even told my husband as I’m not sure he’d eat it!"
32. "I use the seasoning packets you get with ramen noodles to make stock."
33. "The best homemade mac 'n' cheese starts with Velveeta. I will not be convinced otherwise."
"I mix in other cheeses, too, but I always use a good-sized chunk of Velveeta as my base. No complaints yet — and I bring it to pretty much every gathering."
34. "I almost never mix my dry ingredients in a separate bowl when baking cakes, cookies, or other baked goods. I just do the wet ones first — normally creamed butter and sugar — and then I add my dry on top. There’s no reason at all to dirty a second bowl for that."
35. "I never make my own marinara sauce. I’ll just take a good jar of marinara (Rao's or Victoria, or something like that) and doctor it up a little. Sometimes, I’ll even use it as a base for vodka sauce!"
"Let's get one thing very clear, though: I'll NEVER use jarred Alfredo. 😑"
36. "I don’t care what people say, processed cheese is delicious. I’m sorry, but when I want a cheese sauce, I simply do not have the time (nor the patience) to be grating a block of cheese, making a roux, and then a bechamel to melt the cheese into."
37. "I personally love my pasta with ketchup. Most of my family and friends call it gross...but it tastes almost like tomato sauce. It's just a little bit sweeter. It’s also perfectly smooth, which I love. I hate chunky tomato sauce."
38. "Most of the time, I completely ignore the complicated prep in recipes."
"I don't peel and grate the ginger, I don't mince a clove of fresh garlic, and more often than not, I don't use fresh herbs. I do not have all the time in the world to prepare a meal, and this is not my job. Jarred garlic and ginger taste just damn fine, and while I do prefer fresh herbs, I'm not going out in 5 degree weather to make it happen."
39. "Worcestershire sauce is the perfect condiment, and it's amazing on just about everything."
40. "Adding Better Than Bouillon stock concentrate to pasta water was a complete game-changer. I've heard 'boil pasta in stock, not water' for years, but we never kept that much stock on hand. Even just a tablespoon of BTB into a pot of water completely amps up the flavor."
41. "Oatmeal is best when it's savory."
"I shove broccoli and cheese in it, and it's so much better than when you add fruit or brown sugar to it."
42. "Using soap on your cast-iron pan won’t destroy it. As long as it’s properly seasoned (as in the oil has actually polymerized) a little soap won’t hurt. Just don’t run it through the dishwasher or anything…"
43. "Don’t come at me, but I think mac 'n' cheese is disgusting..."
"The combination of slimy pasta and goopy cheese really gets to me. It doesn’t matter if it’s Kraft brand or gourmet with shaved truffles and lobster — I still think it’s gross."
44. "Freezing garlic cloves and then grating them ensures that you never have to bite into a big piece of garlic in whatever you're cooking."
"My garlic cloves were always going bad before I froze them. Now they last longer, and you won't give anyone vampire breath."
Do you have any unexpectedly helpful (or just altogether weird) cooking opinions? Drop 'em below.
Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.