Kitchen Hacks

We've Joined with Food Network to Form the Kitchen Squad

by:
July 11, 2016

Who doesn’t want a humming kitchen that brings both joy and good food? That's at-the-ready for solo weeknight meals and snacky parties for eight?

Sounds great—but getting there? Everyone needs a little help with that part.

That's why we joined with Food Network to form the Kitchen Squad. The goal: to give people the little lift they need to get more out of their kitchens, their ingredients, and their time. The method: A (very friendly) home invasion by Food52's Amanda and Merrill and Food Network's Katherine Alford.

Watch the Kitchen Squad on their very first mission, to help recent-grad Madeline throw a housewarming party in her first apartment:

If the Kitchen Squad isn't on their way to your house (but oh, is that the doorbell?), just turn up the volume, pretend your name is Madeline too, and get the recipes, tools, and know-how in the episode:

If the Kitchen Squad stopped by, what would you ask them to do first? Make requests in the comments!

17 Comments

Tim July 14, 2016
As someone on this thread already stated, I'm sure there's a sales/marketing component to some of this. Forgive me, but... All non-stick is a dubious start. (At least they had riveted handles.) Also, not everyone "loves" glass lids. If you think they can't shatter, I can testify that they can, indeed. And generally you can't see what's being cooked anyway because of the steam. I don't see the point of them. <br /><br />I believe I read HERE that measuring tools can vary greatly. An accurate kitchen scale and its many uses would be great advice for a "newbie." Particularly for baking. <br /><br />A personal word of caution: I feel I have pretty good knife skills and practices, but I believe I've accidentally nipped myself more times while snipping herbs with sheers than mincing them with a chef's knife. (Probably more a reflection on me, but my left index finger said I should mention it.)<br /><br />Having said that, the advice on food itself is impeccable. F52 gets no complaints about their food ideas from me.
 
Oui, C. July 11, 2016
Ah forgot, my redo finishes up in two days, the day the movers arrive!!! Yes!<br />A bit nip and tuck!
 
Oui, C. July 11, 2016
The ipad got away from me. After 27 moves with the military in 48 years, my husband promised a redo. We have a lovely home on Lake Vancouver. We are just receiving our household goids from Houston in two days. Havent seen my stuff in 16 months. Ah...... You guys keep up the good work. Cooking is my go to place. You are my go to foodie website. Its a great avenue to new residences.
 
Oui, C. July 11, 2016
I LOVE IT! You can come to my kitchen in the other Vancouver, Washington ,that is. After
 
Panfusine July 11, 2016
I would probably go absolutely bonkers, visions of a crazy puppy like biped who would want to ask everything all at once and in the process go completely tongue tied.. But I do have a fantastic spice cabinet that my guests make a beeline to click a selfie with!
 
Red H. July 11, 2016
COME SEE ME IN VERMONT AMANDA, MERRILL AND KATHERINE! I would love to make you a snack, pour you a cocktail, and then let you arrange my out of control bulk spices ;-)
 
M July 11, 2016
I'm assuming the non-stick cookware is the result of sponsorship or something like that? <br /><br />I understand the realities and cost of these sort of video projects, but I implore you to consider the habits you start in new cooks by suggesting things such as non-stick cookware without --at the very least-- discussing their problems as well as their perks. (The wild variations in quality and safety, ease of scratching, challenges when cleaning and storing, etc.)<br /><br />The easiest potential customer is, of course, the naive customer who knows nothing and looks to experts for recommendations. But it's a weird hazing system we should fight against -- new cooks being told to buy a lot of crap they will gradually learn isn't so great, or not nearly as useful or cost-effective as something else.<br /><br />
 
GigiB July 11, 2016
I thought the same thing for a moment, but I started with non stick and horrible habits of all kinds and finally graduated up to cast iron, stainless, enameled cast iron when I got sick of non stick not browning evenly, starting to flake into food, etc. Non stick is a great recommendation for someone who would be scared out of their minds to cook with anything more high maintenance. I mean no disrespect, and I find a lot of humor in such basic suggestions being offered up on Food 52 of all places, but back when I couldn't cook worth a darn I'd welcome such suggestions and probably run to Target to buy whatever food network branded crap I could find.
 
M July 11, 2016
Exactly my point, and what happened to me as well. <br /><br />I found the "graduating up" form of kitchen stocking so frustrating because it resulted in so much waste of materials and money. Not to mention the times I splurged, thinking I was buying quality, only to learn better later.<br /><br />But the big rub is quality of the end-product. If it costs more to have the pot or pan that cooks things evenly and properly, fine. But sometimes it's cheaper! This topic always makes me think of: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2010/12/equipment-which-is-the-best-cookie-sheet.html <br /><br />The cheapest pan was the easiest to use and had the best results.
 
GigiB July 11, 2016
I enjoyed reading through the link, especially as I'm in need of new cookie sheets. Thanks so much for the response! How can what you've pointed out here be used in a future kitchen squad post? "How to pick quality kitchen ware that you won't have to replace in a year..."
 
Panfusine July 11, 2016
In fact, It was after I discovered Food52 (over 5 yrs ago) that I started to completely phase out my generic Macy's type non stick and thin walled utensils upgrade to the classic cooking pots and pans, (Le Creuset, & thanks to 'Provisions', Staub), the acquisition was slow but steady, but I can never go back to those non stick types ever again. It was completely worth the investment.
 
LT July 11, 2016
agreed. non-stick is BS and just adds to more waste when you finally go for more noble kitchen materials (which don't have to be more expensive!). I found the promotion of it in this video odd and out of sync with Food52.
 
M July 12, 2016
NP! <br /><br />There are lots of ways to tackle the issue. For this one, I would suggest oven-safe stainless steel or similar -- something that can be used on the stove AND in the oven. It's the most cost-effective, versatile, easy to use with a variety of spatulas and cleaners, and if it has a magnetic bottom, can be used on every type of stove. <br /><br />In the future, I'd just be mindful of the tools and things more seasons cooks start to groan about, like non-stick, or pre-grated spices, dull knives, cutting boards, the pitfalls of buying large sets of things.. as well as versatility in recipes, like one chicken = 2 plate dinner, stock and soup, a few sandwiches, etc. The more good habits you instil in the beginning, the easier people will embrace cooking and not waste time and money.<br />
 
witloof July 11, 2016
Seriously, all non stick cookware?
 
Hilde K. July 11, 2016
My pantry is a disaster. Actually, I don't have a pantry - just one cabinet and the hallway to the basement. And it shows - spices, teas, canned goods, and small appliances attack me every time I open the cabinet door. I could use some tips for using up pantry staples as well, to keep things circulating!
 
Jessica July 11, 2016
Definitely could use some tips for organizing my kitchen for more efficient and effective use of work space...especially now that we have a newborn. (This sentence makes more sense in my head, but english is hard when sleep is an illusion)
 
ktr July 11, 2016
Congrats on the baby! <br />We just packed the baby bottles and formula away and it is great to have the additional cupboard space again. We do now have sippy cups to store but they don't take up as much room. And bibs - we actually need more bibs now because they get destroyed with each meal.