Confession Time: Our Worst Cooking Habits

November 17, 2015

Start prepping your Thanksgiving stuffing now (or, yesterday). Wrap your bananas in plastic wrap to slow down ripening. Always use a probe thermometer when cooking fish and meats.

All of these are suggestions we've made to you in very recent history.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

And while these are all good ideas (and we still recommend you try them—really!), do we always follow our own advice?

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The short answer: No.

We make messes, too (sometimes on purpose). Photo by James Ransom

It's confession time. Here are some of the cooking habits we just can't break (no matter how many times we've advised you against them):

  • Putting cold water on the pan before it’s cooled
  • Placing plastic items in the bottom level of the dishwasher
  • Using the warming rack/broiler beneath the oven as a storage shelf
  • Not thoroughly drying wooden cutting boards
  • Leaving dirty dishes in the sink for two weeks
  • Not covering food before heating it in the microwave (and not cleaning the microwave)
  • Leaving the handles of pans cooking on the stove pointing outwards
  • Not reading the recipe through before starting to cook
  • Taking too long to do menial and unimportant tasks (like scraping every bit from the pot)
  • NOT taking time to clean mid-cooking, which leaves the kitchen in shambles
  • But also cleaning mid-cooking, which can be a distracting side-track
  • Other cleaning compulsions, like cleaning the drain trap after each washed dish
  • Walking back and forth across the kitchen approximately one million times instead of getting everything out at once
  • Dirtying a million kitchen towels and every pot/pan/serving dish in the kitchen
  • Not washing herbs and salad greens
  • Putting things that shouldn't go in the dishwasher in the dishwasher because of fatigue and laziness (sorry, knives)

What are the kitchen and cooking habits you wish you could break? Or the habits you know or bad but you'd never change? Confess in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Panfusine
  • Aliwaks
  • Sarah Jampel
    Sarah Jampel
  • Bevi
  • Aditi
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Panfusine November 18, 2015
Forget to take my resuable grocery bags and load up on the grocery store plastic bags, which I skip putting away on time... been spooked multiple times by big mozzarella bombs, busting at their plastic seams because they've been sitting on the kitchen floor or worse in the car.
-washing reusable glass jars and sliding them down the counter to accumulate, instead of fastidiously marching them off to the big cardboard box in the basement. .. and then wonder why I don't have counter space.
Ellen Z. November 18, 2015
Are you my twin?
Aliwaks November 18, 2015
I feel like I cook the same amount whether there are 2 or 25. I never remember to put on an apron until its too late which is why all my shirts have weird oil stains on them. I seem incapable of taking that protective plastic layer on yogurt, sour cream , hummus etc all the way off. I horde things like bread tags, rubber bands etc but then forget where I put them so I never ever use them. I am pretty sure there's a mason jar of salad dressing in the back of my fridge that moved with us from Philly to Maine. I use the sink as a garbage bowl- though in my defense I have a horrible counter set up and there's just no room. Oh and I take everything out of the cabinets and never put it back- thus exacerbating the bad cabinet situation.
Sarah J. November 18, 2015
I also tend to invite way too many people to come over for a meal without scaling up the food in proportion.
Bevi November 18, 2015
Not cleaning as I cook, growing science experiments in the refrigerator, freezing pieces of every celebration cake I made in the last 3 years and neither thawing them to eat nor throwing them out.
Aditi November 18, 2015
Not planning well enough to get food ready on time when I call friends over for lunch. They're getting hungry, and I'm rushing my cooking, and it's a big mess :(
Jennifer November 17, 2015
Mise en place--I'm so much happier when I prep ingredients ahead of time, why don't I do it more consistently? The worst is when I calculate how much time I need for a recipe without taking into account the prep time hidden in the ingredient list, e.g., "two cups of chopped onions" and "three slivered garlic cloves."
Panfusine November 17, 2015
Guilty of..
leaving the little strips of plastic from cutting open bags of lentils etc when I store them into canisters, same goes for bottle caps from seltzers,
Kayla November 17, 2015
... Are you telling me that crappy drawer underneath my range is no drawer at all??? ????
Liz D. November 17, 2015
Leaving cupboard doors & drawers open as I take things out. I looked up the other day and had about 5 cupboards & 2 drawers standing open...
Kayla November 17, 2015
This is also me. I can get away with it because I'm short, but I spend a lot of time shouting to my sous-chef-of-the-day (6'0" boyfriend, usually) to watch their head!
claire M. November 17, 2015
I've worked in professional kitchens for almost 2 decades, and my biggest hurdle at work is GETTING STARTED ON MONDAY (well, my Monday at least..). If I don't walk in with a clear plan of attack for the day, my already long workday gets even longer. Luckily for my bosses (but not for me!), I'm salaried, so those extra hours are on me. This will also start a trend for the rest of my week.
At home, I let the dishes pile up all over our tiny kitchen until it looks like we're college kids, then I'll finally wash them, and immediately cook myself something, whose dishes just end up in the sink, starting the cycle all over again. I also will see rotten vegetables at the bottom of the crisper drawer and not do anything about them for weeks, when they're really, really gross. The sludge from leaking rotten veg bags then gets left to cake and dry for even more weeks until I just can't stand it.
aargersi November 17, 2015
Instead of putting the clean dry dishes in the rack away before I start on the next round I will just pile them up on top higher and higher until the potential for an avalanche is too great, then typically my huusband will step in and put stuff away to save us.

I wash my iron skillets with soap and water.

I put cutting boards from carving a chicken on the floor and let Ginger climb aboard and lick it clean (then I scrub them) (AND now no-one will ever eat at my house again)
AntoniaJames November 17, 2015
Abbie, when I visited my sister (who had a baby and a toddler at the time, as did I) and told her that we did not have a dog, she looked at me like I was out of my mind, and then asked, "Who cleans your floor?!" and "Who cleans your kids' faces?" I love it that Ginger licks your cutting board clean. Such a win-win, too, for all concerned. ;o)
amysarah November 17, 2015
Yep, our dogs have also always been my pre-wash cycle for any plate, platter or cutting board that's held meat or poultry. Also had to laugh remembering my toddlers receiving canine deep cleaning facials. So true.
Lindsay-Jean H. November 17, 2015
Loving this visual image Abbie!
AntoniaJames November 17, 2015
Especially, letting Ginger "climb aboard." Too cute! I can just see her little tail wagging happily while she's licking away. ;o)
aargersi November 17, 2015
She does love it! She gets Crazy Eyes, well, crazy EYE now that she's a one eyed jack, and get's that thing chicken free at a molecular level.