Lists of things cooks must know are plentiful, and they often include the very basics of cooking—from how to bake fish to how to hard-boil eggs. But what’s less plentiful are lists of the little tips and techniques that a cook with decades of experience knows like the back of their hand, but rarely thinks to impart on their friends, family, and loved ones.
It takes time and practice to be good at anything. But there are definitely things you can do that will help you learn almost anything more efficiently, and that includes cooking. I'm not here to tell you that you're going to be Thomas Keller tomorrow, but I will say that one of the easiest and most helpful tricks I learned on my road from casual home cook to someone who signed up for 100 hours of culinary school is something you can do in less than five minutes.
A good Dutch oven is a kitchen essential. Thick cast-iron walls, wide handles and a heavy lid – this versatile piece of equipment can be used for everything from braising chicken legs to baking bread. But which one do you buy? Do you need to invest in the $500 pot when a $100 one will suffice? Should you get the biggest, deepest casserole, or will a shallow braiser accomplish the task?
It almost goes without saying: Americans love chicken. Each year, the average American eats more than 90 pounds of the bird.
Simple-to-prepare cuts like boneless, skinless chicken breasts and pre-sliced cutlets and tenders reign supreme in popularity. Less expensive poultry picks like chicken thighs and drumsticks still cluck along in favorite dishes, from fried chicken to baked casseroles.
Given that sugar is one of the most commonly used ingredients across the board, it’s no surprise that it comes in many various forms—and yet we sometimes have a hard time differentiating one from another. While all sugars are derived from similar ingredients, not all are created equal—and sugar’s duties can go well beyond providing sweetness to a recipe.