Recipe Regrets: 35+ Cooking Tips That Should’ve Stayed In The Past

By Jhoana C

Kitchen disasters are totally normal. After all, we’re not all culinary artists who can cook a steak like Salt Bae or whip something out of thin air as Anthony Bourdain did, but we might have the acerbic tongue of Gordon Ramsay. Sometimes, this lack of culinary talent can be attributed to the family we grew up in. The one that taught us one way to cook things, but now we find them to be wrong on so many levels.

We don’t blame our families, though. We still love them, but we wish we knew the proper ways to cook food when we were younger because that might have led us to a different path. So, to help you in the kitchen, here are some cooking misconceptions debunked and kitchen life skills for you to learn.

You can’t make much broccoli

Broccoli is packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that have countless benefits for the body. It also has high amounts of fiber, but it happens to be one of the least liked vegetables, partly because it’s misunderstood and people don’t know how to prepare it.

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While we can’t expect everyone to be a chef, it pays to know the many ways of preparing a variety of vegetables. You can steam it, roast it, or boil it. The only problem is you never end up with the same amount as you started.

Make hard-boiled eggs palatable

Folks, you should know that there’s a difference between a hard-boiled egg and a murdered egg, and by murdered, we mean that the egg is so overdone to the point that the yolks have turned grey and no longer look appealing.

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That’s just not the way to do it. If you want palatable eggs all the time, you shouldn’t boil them for no longer than ten minutes. Actually, ten minutes is teetering on the point of no return. Eight minutes is more like it. Keep this in mind.

There are more ways to make food flavorful than with onion soup

We understand the fact that there are people who are partial to a particular flavor, but that doesn’t mean that you should deprive yourself or others of the chance to experience new flavors and dishes, right? We can’t be so closed-minded.

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Well, this person’s mother-in-law just happens to love Lipton’s dry onion soup mix so much that she uses for every dish, even on taco meat and mashed potatoes! There should be a law against subjecting people to food punishment like that.

When cooking, it’s okay to use different techniques

We understand that some cooks want to be a stickler for the rules, so nothing goes wrong with their dish, and that’s ok. If the instructions were tried and tested to produce excellent results, why change them? You shouldn’t fix what’s not broken, after all.

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However, we do need to keep in mind that different people, especially in different countries, can use different techniques in cooking but still produce equally delicious dishes. Sometimes, you shouldn’t treat advice and suggestions as rules to be followed to a T.

Fat doesn’t have to be wrong all the time

Fat is essential in cooking because, without it, you won’t be able to achieve the full spectrum of textures and flavors. It’s one of the four basic elements of good cooking, and in baking, fat also contributes to the tenderness of a product.

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However, fat has received such a bad rep lately, and it’s from obesity statistics. The fact is fat isn’t the problem. Carbs and sugar are. As long as you consume products moderately, you’re not going to have any problems. The keywords here are portion control.

Carrots did a great job before tomatoes entered the picture

If you came from Italy or have Italian relatives who love to cook the traditional way, you know that they can be pretty selective when it comes to ingredients. They want to stay true to their roots, and they only want to use products that their ancestors did.

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It turns out that Italian recipes for red sauces called for carrots to help sweeten them, and for a long time, we thought that only tomatoes can be used for red sauces. But if you ask us, it really doesn’t matter how authentic the ingredients are. If the food tastes good, who cares?

The proper way of boiling eggs

Eggs are something that’s easy and difficult to cook at the same time. Why? Because it’s very easy to ruin them with just a couple of minutes of extra boiling time. You can completely mess them up. You wouldn’t want gross grey eggs, right?

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We have discussed previously how to make the perfect hard-boiled eggs, so read it, understand it, and practice it, so you don’t end up with nasty eggs. But, we guarantee that you’ll find people arguing over how to boil eggs on the Internet.

You can drink milk and eat something with lemon

People still believe that you can’t drink milk while eating something with lemon because it will make the milk curdle in your stomach, and we used to believe that when we were younger. But you know what they say. Don’t believe everything.

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It couldn’t be farther from the truth. Milk curdles in your stomach regardless because of your stomach acids. This is just an old wives’ tale that doesn’t hold any ground. One thing is true, though. You can’t put milk in hibiscus tea because it’s too acidic.

Liver and onions with gravy taste great

Many unique and weird dishes are a delicacy all over the world, like balut from the Philippines, haggis from Scotland, and Hakarl or fermented shark from Iceland. Some people would also like to add liver and onions to that list because they think it’s an acquired taste.

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However, some people don’t believe so, although it’s obvious that only a few people like it. They say that it’s actually delicious when not cooked to death. Well, chicken liver wrapped in bacon is another story, but liver and onions?

A few cooking secrets to keep in mind

If you’ve seen your parents or anyone in your house cooking, it’s probable that you have also observed a few of their practices in the kitchen. Some may not have any effect on the food, but others can make or break a dish.

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One of the most common things we’ve heard is to put salt and oil in the water when boiling pasta. But contrary to popular myth, adding oil to water doesn’t stop the pasta from sticking together. And no, you don’t need to peel mushroom caps before cooking because, unlike other vegetables, they grow in clean and sterile environments. 

Fully-cooked mushrooms make a world of difference

We’ve always heard some of the oldies say that mushrooms should be added last when cooking because they’re already soft and they don’t take much to cook. This has caused some people to dislike and even abhor mushrooms. It’s good you’re here so you can learn this hack.

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Try sautéing mushrooms in butter, garlic, and a little parsley until they are golden brown, and they will taste so delicious that you’ll forget your name. Mushrooms are one of the few things that magically transform once cooked.

Salmon salvation

A lot of people thought that they hate fish. They think it’s nasty, stinky, and slimy. Again, this has everything to do with the preparation and cooking. Fish that’s not prepared and cooked well is going to end up in the trash bin.

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Compare salmon sashimi or seared salmon prepared by an amateur to some that are prepared by an expert in a restaurant, and you’ll be blown away by the difference. You’re gonna want to live in the restaurant or go there every payday.

Can you or can you not reheat the rice?

There’s a lot of debate about rice, both online and offline. Some people say you can’t reheat it, but others say it’s completely fine to do so. What do you think? We don’t know about you, but we haven’t heard of people dying or getting hospitalized due to rice poisoning? We could be wrong, though.

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But our question is, why reheat rice when you can make fried rice which tastes much better? Why the fuss about reheated rice when you can literally fry it to perfection? There’s only one downside. We tend to eat much more when fried rice is in front of us.

Salt and other flavors are bad

Growing up, we were told that salt is bad, MSG is bad, and other flavorings are bad, and this has led to many households preparing bland food and people suffering during mealtime due to tasteless food. Again, people, the key here is moderation.

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If your food has no flavor, do you think anyone will enjoy it? The answer is a resounding NO. We’re not telling you to pour MSG on your food, but there are other spices out there, such as cumin, paprika, and others that make a huge difference.

No big meals in the evening

We have heard and read that we shouldn’t eat big meals before bed. Meals should be like an inverted pyramid. You eat more during breakfast and gradually reduce your food intake with dinner, which should be your smallest meal of the day.

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But is there a scientific explanation for this? Or is it another old wives’ tale? The amount of food you consume during nighttime should be relative to the time you go to bed. For example, having a big meal at 7 pm is ok if you’re going to sleep at 11 pm.

For a steak that doesn’t have the texture of a rubber tire

We’ve heard people say that steak is heavenly and tasty. Some only use dreamy adjectives to describe food. Just like the guy who shared this post. We didn’t really get all the hype about steak until we finally learned how to order, and that’s medium rare.

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Eating steak well-done is comparable to eating a rubber tire with an awful texture and a disgusting flavor. It’s a waste of money! Sometimes, we misunderstand food and swear them off for a lifetime, not knowing we’re missing out.

Wash your chicken before cooking

We’ve been told countless times that we should wash produce before cooking and that includes vegetables, fruits, and meat. However, there has been a great debate on the Internet regarding chicken as meat. One group says that chicken shouldn’t be washed before cooking because it can contaminate your kitchen.

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As we all know, raw chicken contains salmonella, and it can wreak havoc, but cooking the meat properly obviously kills bacteria. So, do you wash chicken before cooking or not? We’re gonna side with the CDC and USDA on this one. For years, they have been advising people not to wash raw chicken.

You can’t eat more than three eggs per week

For a few years, especially in the 80s, people believed this statement. They were afraid that consuming more than three eggs a week is going to send their cholesterol levels skyrocketing and that they will never see their families again.

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Well, this has been debunked. According to the American Heart Association, most people can eat one egg a day, and even older people with normal cholesterol levels can eat two eggs per day as long as they also have a healthy diet.

Cooking gives you leeway to substitute other ingredients

Well this is true, in a sense, as long as the ingredient you wish to use as a substitute closely resembles the original ingredient. However, it’s a completely different story when you are baking. You can’t just use random substitutes. You have to follow the recipe to the T.

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Being loose with the recipe in baking is going to result in disasters because it’s a science. It involves chemistry. Also, there are various websites on the Internet that can help generate recipes from random ingredients in your fridge and cupboard, so make good use of them.

Cooking beliefs of old people

We know an old person or two who have weird and sometimes downright ridiculous beliefs or views when it comes to cooking, and it can be quite difficult to deal with them because you certainly don’t want to upset them.

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A few ridiculous cooking views, for example, are never letting anyone use their kitchen or cook their recipes because they are the only ones who can do it right. Some of them look at people who enjoy foreign food as traitors to their country. The last one is a little dramatic if you ask us.

Meat has to be cooked through to be safe to eat

We’ve heard and read this many times before, and this has resulted in a lot of people being repulsed by meat, including steak. Unless we’re talking about chicken, then the answer is no. Meat doesn’t have to be cooked to the point of no return.

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Meat does not have to be dry, unappealing, or tasteless to be safe enough to eat. Beef with a touch of pink is ok and is actually delicious. A lot of people have to learn the basics of cooking before they can let loose in the kitchen.

Spinach is disgusting

People, take your cue from Popeye and eat your spinach if you want to be healthy and strong. A superstar among green leafy vegetables, spinach curbs your appetite, boosts hydration, strengthens the immune system, and even helps prevent osteoporosis.

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We’ve hated spinach since when were young, but now we find ourselves craving it more. We love fresh spinach, but we hate the canned version. It’s slimy and soggy! Cook fresh spinach with some bacon grease, top it with a little vinegar, and you’ll never look back.

Our mothers and their unique recipes

We love our mothers and bless their hearts, but some have unknowingly ruined food for us, especially when they made recipe adjustments that weren’t necessary. This person shared that when he was growing up, he hated enchiladas.

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He hated them mainly because his mother always added a ton of olives to her enchiladas. First off, olives are not even required for enchiladas. When he tasted authentic enchiladas, he realized just how good they were. What our mothers say when it comes to cooking isn’t always the truth.

Bacon has to be burnt

Everyone loves crispy bacon, but nobody loves burnt bacon to the point that they resemble ashes. But to be fair to busy parents and people everywhere, bacon has a tendency to go from crispy to burnt real quick. You have to be attentive when cooking.

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You can’t be scrolling on your phone or watching TV at the same time. One neat hack to keep in mind is to put bacon on baking paper before throwing the tray in the oven because the risk of it charring is drastically reduced.

Again, do away with the tinned or canned spinach

We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again, fresh spinach tastes very different from canned versions. Parents take note. So many childhoods have been ruined by canned spinach, so if you want your children to love the vegetable, buy it fresh.

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The canned version is revolting and slimy, and truth be told, there’s nothing to like about it. A tasty and fresh spinach salad can make a world of difference and teach your children the value of eating fresh and nutritious food that’s inexpensive.

Mashed potatoes must always come in a box

We can’t fault parents for wanting to take shortcuts when it comes to meal preparations. We know they’re busy from work, and most working mothers also need to prepare meals for the whole family once they reach home. Its not easy in the slightest.

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We understand why a lot of them opt to get takeaway food or heat instant meals. One meal that comes in a box that’s easy to prepare is mashed potatoes, but they don’t taste as great as freshly-cooked mashed potatoes. Parents, don’t forget to make the real things for your kids during weekends when you have more time.

Margarine is just as good as butter

Margarine can be a lifesaver when you’re strapped for cash. It’s cheaper than butter, has the same consistency, and makes for a decent substitute. Margarine also contains the same exact fats and calories. However, margarine can never measure up to butter taste-wise.

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Butter is also considered the lesser of two evils. If you grew up in a household where margarine was the star of the show, you’ll be blown away by butter when you first taste it. You’ll never look back, and you’ll load your fridge with it.

It’s perfectly okay to leave stews and soups out

Nope, it’s not perfectly fine to leave your stews and soups on the stove for days on end unless you want to get a bad case of diarrhea or food poisoning. Cooked food must be refrigerated and taken out only when you want to serve it.

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You can take out the portion you want to eat from the fridge and boil it to reheat. Even if you practice this and no one in the family has gotten food poisoning yet, you shouldn’t risk it. It’s not worth the hassle of being admitted to the hospital.

Eggshells will never help with your garbage disposal

Eggshells have many uses that it would be such a waste if you just throw them away. However, the one thing you should never do with eggshells is put them in the garbage disposal because it’s just going to make your landlord very angry.

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Eggshells naturally fertilize your soil, and the other is to make your plants healthier. Put the eggshells in a mason jar with a lid, fill the jar with water and let the shells sit there for at least a day. Use the water for your plants, and you’ll notice a big difference.

Pink pork chops are bad

Perhaps it would be a perfect opportunity for the cooks in the family to attend a class or two about the basics of food and cooking before flexing their culinary skills in the kitchen. Why do we think so? Because it’s going to help make dishes tasteful, as well as get rid of any misconceptions.

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One of the common misconceptions regarding pork meat is that a slight pink tinge is bad and that meat must be cooked thoroughly. This is the reason why quite a few people dislike pork chops because they are usually cooked to death.

There’s only one way to eat asparagus – boiled

There are many ways to eat asparagus, and you don’t always have to boil it. Boiling asparagus is not going to result in the most delicious meal, so you might want to try other ways. Also, you can get fresh and crisp asparagus. You don’t always have to settle for frozen.

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Try broiling asparagus with sea salt, olive oil, and some parm cheese, and you’re going to love it. Other people like to marinate their asparagus in Italian dressing and then grill it on the BBQ. Another fabulous dish is to wrap asparagus in thin slices of smoked salmon.

Spices are not essential

Spices are essential. As a matter of fact, they are non-negotiable. We can’t imagine our food without them, and we don’t want to because food is surely going to taste like cardboard. We pity those who grew up in households where spices were taboo.

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We can’t imagine eating meat that’s only seasoned with salt and pepper when there’s a whole world of flavors out there. At first, herbs and spices can be overwhelming, but once your taste buds open up, your life will be changed dramatically.

Putting oil in pasta will help prevent it from sticking together

The world is divided when it comes to oil in pasta. Is it necessary, or is it an added, worthless step in cooking? The majority seem to believe the latter, and we’re inclined to do so too. According to experts, this does nothing but waste good oil.

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The only thing that can prevent pasta from sticking together is to stir the pasta now and then and after draining it, put the pasta right in the sauce. We’re sure other people have their own secrets that prevent pasta from sticking without using oil.

Eggs can only be cooked to a single level of doneness

It seems that eggs always involve lengthy discussions because we already have two entries on this list concerning them, and yet, here we are again. It’s a sensitive subject that people have much to say about, but we can agree that nobody wants hard-boiled eggs all the time.

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Yes, eggs can be prepared in many different ways, and even boiling eggs has many levels of doneness. The yolk doesn’t always have to be grey. The yolks can be boiled but runny, and they can also be firm and yellow.

It’s barbecued meat, not murdered meat

There are two ways to barbecue meat, you either do it right, or you murder the meat beyond the point of recognition. The former is always more pleasant than the latter because no one wants to eat something they can’t recognize.

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Sometimes, you don’t learn proper cooking skills and techniques at home. There are times when you have to do it on your own, and that’s perfectly alright because nothing beats the feeling of learning and discovering you can do it right.

There’s a proper way to do salads

Salads don’t have to be soggy, tasteless, slimy, and bland. A whole world of delicious greens and a variety of dressings and vinaigrettes are waiting to be discovered out there. So, get rid of your blinders and start exploring.

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Regardless of how our parents prepared salads or what they put in them, it’s up to us to open our eyes, expand our horizons, and embrace new and better things, don’t you think? Our parents can only be held accountable for so much.

Everything must be stirred clockwise when baking

Unlike cooking, baking is a science. You can’t just throw caution to the wind, substitute ingredients, or change the measurements. You have to follow the recipe to a T as well as the instructions if you want to produce something that is edible.

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For example, if the recipe says you fold in the ingredients, then you have to do so. You can’t just stir the way you desire. It doesn’t work that way, and no, contrary to what people may tell you, there’s no need to stir everything clockwise when baking.

This guy’s mother told him he needs to leave the pasta in the water

If you’ve ever cooked pasta the right way, you know that the water where it’s cooked needs to be drained right away, or else you risk the pasta getting very soggy or, worst, it will start to dissolve right into the water, and that doesn’t make for a very good spaghetti or Bolognese.

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Anyway, that’s what this guy’s mother told him, and to add insult to injury, his mother would also drown the pasta in butter so it won’t stick. We can only imagine his face when he was finally able to taste pasta cooked the right way.

Bread has to be eaten with every meal

Although bread is a staple food in most parts of Europe, that doesn’t make it necessary to eat bread with everything. True, some food is better when paired with bread, but others are perfectly fine and sometimes even better without it.

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Imagine growing up in a household where everything has to be absolutely eaten with bread. We’re sure it’s going to make you hate bread big time. What else can you do after having eaten so many slices and loaves of bread?

Potatoes on or with every meal

After discussing bread that has to be eaten at every meal, here come potatoes. Apparently, some households consider it an atrocity to have a meal that doesn’t include potatoes. What a travesty! It’s not like you need starch all the time.

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There are many ways to prepare potatoes, such as mashed, baked, roasted, and fried, but a person’s tolerance can only be stretched for so long. There will come a day when you’ll start hating potatoes with all your heart.

How much is a pinch or a grain of salt?

People are going to argue about this, but how much is a pinch of salt? Do you have to be a stickler for the rules and follow the recipe exactly as it is, or do you have some room for adjustments? For us, you’re not competing in a cooking show.

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Unless you are, then you are free to deviate a little. The goal is to cook a dish that people will love to eat and will remember for all the right reasons. Let’s face it. Taste is subjective. What tastes good for you might not be great for others.

Eggs are not good for health

Before further studies were made about eggs, there was this pervading belief that they were bad for health and that their consumption should be limited to two a week. Three would be pushing it too far. Thankfully, those studies saved the day.

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If not, we would still be thinking the same thing now. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, and though they are a bit high in cholesterol, they have countless health-promoting qualities, and eating up to two eggs per day is completely safe.

Forget the rule that says you shouldn’t eat salt when cooking

Another rule that we ought to bury is the no salt when cooking rule. Yes, too much salt can result in bloating, kidney stones, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease, but without salt, you might as well eat paper.

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Again, moderation is important. You can’t use too much or too little. Food just doesn’t taste right without seasoning, and people who grew up in homes where salt was considered a sin may find normal food a bit too salty for their taste.

Back again with the unhealthy eggs

As we are nearing the end of our list, this is going to be our last entry about eggs, and thankfully, this one has nothing to do with the hard-boiled kind. It was brought to our attention that some people were only allowed to eat eggs cooked in certain ways.

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By that, we mean fried sunny side up or omelets. We’re just lucky we didn’t live in such a boring and restrictive world as they did, and we enjoyed our eggs in many ways like eggs benedict, deviled eggs, and poached eggs. you name it, and we had it.

You need to boil meat before grilling to ensure it’s thoroughly cooked

How unlucky can a person be to grow up in a household where it’s a requirement to boil all meat before putting it on the grill? For what purpose, you ask? Ensure that the meat is thoroughly cooked. This has led to many people avoiding barbecued meat at all costs.

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How do you disprove your parents? By throwing them the best barbecue party ever and by not barbecuing your meat the same way they did. They are going to be pleasantly surprised, and they might just well be reformed.