Our Best Cooking Advice in Just Six Words

November  6, 2015

Earlier this week we spoke with Larry Smith of Six-Word Memoirs, a site devoted to the art of storytelling—in only six words. He just published  The Best Advice in Six Wordsthe newest in a series of Six-Word Memoir books. Feeling inspired, we asked some of our editors to share their best cooking advice in six words or fewer. Here is some Food52 wisdom, shorter:

LeslieEat pie for breakfast on Mondays.

TaylorYour mistakes might taste really good.

Shop the Story

GabiRead instructions first, no surprises later.

CarolineNever skimp on what you eat.

SarahYes, that does need more cream.


Smith told us about his mission to get people to write shorter by whittling down their ideas, stories, and advice down to six simple words. He shared some of his favorite 6-word snippets from the book and why they say so much while saying so little. 

 “Chances are, your editor is right.” —Elizabeth Gilbert

I love the sentiment from Elizabeth Gilbert, one of our time's most successful writers, that we always need an editor. I read her words as meaning an editor in writing, sure, but also in life. That editor could be your mom, best friend, partner, or your own conscience, but we all need help navigating life. 

"There is always room to moonwalk." —Abby Sher

What does she mean by these words? It's hard to know, but something tells me that when I put these six words up on a blackboard during a school talk the kids will talk about how they interpret this advice for an hour. Is it about being a little silly? Stretching your boundaries? Or just invoking your inner MJ? Who knows? And I love it. 

"Secret to happy marriage: separate bathrooms." —Mary McConnell

I've never experienced this situation... but a boy can dream.

sweet potato

When asked what he thought if the challenge were doubled to twelve words, he shot right back with six words of his own: 

"Then we'd all just be rambling."

Photo of cream by Melina Hammer; Photo of casserole by Ashley Rodriguez

We want to hear from you! What are your favorite six words of food wisdom and why? Tell us in the comments!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Schel Fortune
    Schel Fortune
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Gabi Benedit

Written by: Gabi Benedit

domestic dilettante.


Schel F. November 11, 2015
Don't crowd the meat.
Julianna November 11, 2015
Don't serve what you won't eat.
Annie November 11, 2015
Cook with all five senses.
janiesol November 11, 2015
Careful not to burn the garlic!
Jessica November 10, 2015
Cook for taste--nobody remembers presentation.
Jisaela E. November 10, 2015
Use butter. Shop fresh. Be fearless.
Jessica November 10, 2015
Order pizza if you screw up!
Leslie November 10, 2015
Clean up as you go along.
Mom 2. November 10, 2015
Buy the freshest. Taste and season.
dana November 10, 2015
always start with onions and garlic
Teresa M. November 10, 2015
Just a dab will do ya...( What my grandmother always said during family dinners with a gamillion things to choose from and you couldn't fit one more thing on your plate)
H M. November 10, 2015
Don't be afraid. Be brave. Cook.
Chayah L. November 10, 2015
When in doubt, butter usually helps.
Dorothy A. November 10, 2015
Cook by ethnicity, learn your spices.
suzrecipefordisaster November 10, 2015
Salt your food; doesn't take much!
Amanda M. November 10, 2015
Enjoy the process. Cook with love.
Merryworld November 10, 2015
Stir the pot. Simmer, don't boil.
Ramona M. November 10, 2015
Stop watching, water will eventually boil.
Practically E. November 10, 2015
Try. You can always order pizza.
Sian M. November 10, 2015
No more than five ingredients