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Too Many Cooks: What are your Best and Worst Kitchen Tasks?

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You'll be hearing from the staff at FOOD52 every week in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more.

When it comes to cooking, everyone has a task that they look forward to doing -- and one that they put off as long as possible. This week, we tackle the question What are your favorite and least favorite kitchen tasks?

The results were surprising and fun -- quite a few of us love doing tasks that others of us can't stand. (Ahem, washing dishes.) Reply with your most and least favorite kitchen tasks in the comments!

Favorite: Kneading bread dough.
Least favorite: Slicing peppers.

Favorite: Deglazing a pan.
Least favorite: Rinsing and drying cilantro.

My new favorite chore is loading and emptying the dishwasher. After almost 5 years living in New York apartments without one and doing testing, I'm loving having one now and using it is awesome. But my all-time favorite task is creaming butter and sugar. It's very satisfying and can turn into so many delicious things!

My least favorite chore is disposing of oil after deep-frying. It smells gross and you have to let it sit around taking up space until it's not hot anymore. And even then it's a bunch of liquid oil that you have to get rid of. Blech. I hate it. I'm also not a fan of cleaning any kind of seafood. Particularly octopi. Those little beaks are so nasty.

Jennifer S. (AKA Jenny)
Favorite: Baking cakes.
Least favorite: Cleaning the food processor.

My favorite kitchen task is washing dishes. Is that weird? As Anne says in Anne of Windy Poplars, "I've always liked washing dishes. It's fun to make dirty things clean and shining again." My least favorite task is caramelizing onions. It's impossible to be that patient -- they're not worth it!

Favorite: Chiffonading. Or maybe dicing zucchini.
Least favorite: Grating semisoft cheeses!

My favorite kitchen task is whipping cream, and my least favorite is whipping egg whites. [Editor's note: when pressed to explain this seeming contradiction, she says only that one takes much longer than the other and stops being fun.]

Jennifer V.
Favorite: chopping an onion.
Least Favorite: I'm with Merrill -- I hate to wash, dry, and prep leafy herbs.

I really enjoy shredding cabbage with a very very sharp knife. I despise chopping garlic, and I hate putting dishes away.

Amanda Li
My favorite task is washing rice with 2+ changes of water, alternating clockwise and counter clockwise to maximize starch removal. Do this without losing a single grain of rice: FIST PUMP BABY. My least favorite task is doing the dishes, period.

No greater joy than the quickness with which a sunny-side up egg becomes a meal -- except maybe when you first dip into the orange gooey yolk. But when a meal becomes a bigger project to feed your hungry friends, then the stacks of caked dishes and unwieldy stemmed glasses are a total buzz-kill after much wine consumption and pleasurable post-dinner conversation.

Peter S.:
My favorite kitchen task? Slicing anything on my new handheld mandoline. It's so fast and the results are so precise and elegant. My Least favorite? Stressing over bones in a fish fillet. Nothing ruins a meal for me more than getting a bone. The same goes for grit in asparagus or scallops. That crunch! of biting into a grain of sand undoes so much effort.

Favorite: Stirring risotto -- it is a very calming and meditative task.
Least Favorite: Washing baking sheets. Their size is just awkward. Somehow I always end up with water splashing everywhere. Yet, I use my baking sheet on a regular basis - I love roasted vegetables. 

My favorite kitchen task is peeling carrots. With a peeler, not a knife. When I was sharing an apartment with a roommate, she played sous chef doing various tasks around the kitchen. On our first night cooking together, I pulled a Tom Sawyer, trying to pawn off the carrot peeling like Tom does with whitewashing the fence. As my friend began to peel carrots, I realized that it really is a therapeutic job and I shouldn't have handed it over so readily! My least favorite chore is cleaning out mesh strainers. No matter how hard I try, there is still some crumb stuck in there. It's futile.

Tags: too many cooks, in the kitchen, food52 staff,

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