A Kettleful of Kitchen Knowledge you Knead

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.

"Great Kitchen Secrets" by Chef Tony Notaro

“Great Kitchen Secrets” by Chef Tony Notaro

For example, did you know that tossing a couple of wine corks into your beef stew will help to tenderize the meat?

Is your beef stew tough? (Photo Credit: www.mysteryloverskitchen.com)

Is your beef stew tough? (Photo Credit: http://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com)

I didn’t know that. Apparently, cork contains an enzyme, which can render a tough cut of meat a little less so.

Toss in a few corks to tenderize your stew! (Photo Credit: www.naturalcomfortkitchen.com)

Toss in a few corks to tenderize your stew! (Photo Credit: http://www.naturalcomfortkitchen.com)

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!

Green celery is SO yesterday! (Photo Credit: www.aliexpress.com)

Green celery is SO yesterday! (Photo Credit: http://www.aliexpress.com)

Why have boring green celery, when you can dye it to match your mood? (Photo Credit: teaching-tiny-tots.com)

Why have boring green celery, when you can dye it to match your mood? (Photo Credit: teaching-tiny-tots.com)

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.

Eating a "foreign" chicken, which smells? Try lemon juice on the bird. He/she will thank you for it! (Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com)

Eating a “foreign” chicken, which smells? Try lemon juice on the bird. He/she will thank you for it! (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

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?)

Never try to make this...(Photo Credit: www.theguardian.com)

Never try to make this…(Photo Credit: http://www.theguardian.com)

...while this is going on! (Photo Credit: www.pixabay.com)

…while this is going on! (Photo Credit: http://www.pixabay.com)

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).

Blowing into a bag with fresh herbs or salad greens will help to preserve them (no spitting, please ) (Photo Credit: www.food-hacks.wonderhowto.com)

Blowing into a bag with fresh herbs or salad greens will help to preserve them (no spitting, please ) (Photo Credit: http://www.food-hacks.wonderhowto.com)

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).

Nothing like lighter-than-air pancakes (Photo Credit: www.dreamstime.com)

Nothing like lighter-than-air pancakes (Photo Credit: http://www.dreamstime.com)

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.

Are your old maids too pooped to pop? (Photo Credit: www.dollhousebettie.com)

Are your old maids too pooped to pop? (Photo Credit: http://www.dollhousebettie.com)

...no, not THOSE old maids, these ones! (Photo Credit: www.en.wikipedia.com)

…no, not THOSE old maids, these old maids! (Photo Credit: http://www.en.wikipedia.com)

 

 

 

 

 

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).

Forgot the bottle opener? Just use your brains (or your forearm!) Photo Credit: www.lifehacker.com)

Forgot the bottle opener? Just use your brains (or your forearm!) Photo Credit: http://www.lifehacker.com)

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!).

Onions aren't just for eating or cleaning. Stuff one into your sock if you have a fever! (Photo Credit: www.sfglobe.com)

Onions aren’t just for eating or cleaning. Stuff one into your sock if you have a fever! (Photo Credit: http://www.sfglobe.com)

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!

(Photo Credit: www.pinerest.com)

(Photo Credit: http://www.pinerest.com)


My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 5,851. What next? More cookbooks, naturally (small ones !)
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