CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY MUSIC
Music – “Beef Stew Blues (1987 Digital Remaster)” from At The Five Spot Cafe by Kenny Burrell. Released: 1987
There are so many books on “kitchen wisdom” out there, that if you read all of them, you would have all the knowledge necessary to be a real whiz-bang in the kitchen. I have several of them, including “Great Kitchen Secrets” by Chef Tony Notaro, “How to Peel a Peach” by Perla Meyers, “How to Slice an Onion” by Bunny Crumpacker, and many others. In thumbing through them recently, I discovered some hitherto unknown (at least to me), unusual kitchen tips.
For example, did you know that tossing a couple of wine corks into your beef stew will help to tenderize the meat?
I didn’t know that. Apparently, cork contains an enzyme, which can render a tough cut of meat a little less so.
Just be careful to remove them before serving time or you may have a lawsuit on your hands.
I always thought celery was meant to be that lovely green colour, but apparently, if you’re bored with green, by using a bit of food colour, you can tint your celery to match your mood or theme : red for Valentine’s Day, blue for the Fourth of July, etc. How cool is that!
As for eating poultry from “foreign” countries, Chef Tony Notaro in “Great Kitchen Secrets“, suggests that if you notice any odour, rub a small amount of lemon juice into the skin of the bird.
He claims that “The bird will enjoy this and it will totally remove the odor” (the jury is out on whether the birds really look forward to this treatment). Chef Notaro also says that one should never attempt to make homemade mayonnaise during a thunderstorm, because the static electricity will prevent it from thickening (perhaps he had the misfortune of having a lightning bolt strike his kitchen as he was making mayo?)
Another tip you “knead” to know: to prolong the life of fresh herbs (and salad greens), place them into a plastic bag and breathe into the bag, sealing it tightly afterwards. Allegedly, the carbon dioxide from your breath will help to preserve them (try not to spit, though).
Want pancakes that are so light, they defy gravity and take flight? Try using soda or seltzer water instead of milk or water. According to Chef Notaro, they will be so light, they will “...float around the house” (stand by with a butterfly net to catch them).
We all know what “old maids” are: haggard, time-worn old women, or the unpopped kernels at the bottom of your popcorn maker. If your kernels are “too pooped to pop“, Chef Notaro suggests that you put them into a container with a tablespoon of water, shake for a couple of minutes and place them in a cool spot for 3 days.
This allegedly gives them back their vigour and they should pop successfully after that (seems like a lot of trouble for a handful of old maids!)
On a picnic with a cooler full of Buds and forgot to bring the bottle opener? No need to worry: just use your forearm to get that little piece of metal off of the bottle (be prepared to have a nice bruise for your trouble).
I once knew a gentleman, who used to use his teeth to pry off the cap, but dentists frown on this.
Onions are not just for eating. You can spear one at the end of a long fork and use it to clean your barbeque, and if you have a fever, just cut a slice and put inside one of your socks (while on your foot!).
I’m not sure how this works, but perhaps it’s better to smell like an onion than to suffer from a fever. Now, get into your kitchen and start thinking outside of the box!