Most Common Cooking Mistakes

admin October 5, 2011 1

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Where Does It Go Wrong?

I fell upon this article on and found it very interesting to note that most people make the same mistakes while cooking as I do. So here are my top faults:

1. I always forget to taste as a I cook.

I am always so caught up following the recipe to the tee that I never actually take the time to trust my taste buds. And even when I do remember to try out what’s going on in my pots, I always second guess myself. Trust yourself and remember to taste as you go.

2. Boiling instead of Simmering

This doesn’t happen very often but whenever a recipe calls for simmering action, I always panic. The line between boiling and simmering is so fine that I am continuously scared to cross it and ruin the recipe. So remember, simmering is a bubble breaking the surface of the liquid every second or two, any more vigorous bubbling means you got a boil going.

3. Over softening Butter

I did not even though this could happen! I always forget to leave the butter out to soften, so I usually stick it in the microwave and zap it. WRONG MOVE! Too-soft butter means your cookie dough will be more like batter, and it will spread too much as it bakes and lose shape. Butter that’s too soft also won’t cream properly with sugar, and creaming is essential to creating fluffy, tender cakes with a delicate crumb.

4. Always tempted to turn my meat too early.

They say it’s the hardest lesson in cooking is too just leave the food alone while it’s cooking! I have a really hard time not interfering in the process. I am constantly asking myself “Is it ready?”, “Will I burn it?”, “Does it look right?”. A good trick to know when the meat is ready to flip, it will no longer stick to the pan. You will be able to slide the spatula straight under the meat.

5. My pan is never hot enough.

I am always scared to overheat my pan and burn whatever I throw in there. But do NOT worry, a hot pan is essential to good frying. Here is some great advise from the website’s associate food editor, Tim Cebula: “If you think your pan is hot enough, step back and heat it a couple more minutes. When you’re about ready to call the fire department, then add oil and proceed to cook the food.”

6. I never shock my vegetables.

I was not raised to plunge my boiled/steamed vegetables in ice water after they are removed from the fire, but I think I will need to be changing my ways. By shocking vegetables, the cooking process is stopped and the vegetables will keep their vibrant green color and crisp-tender texture. Failing to do so, they will become limp and  a faded army green.

7. Overcrowding the pan.

I have become better at being patient when it comes to browning a copious amount of meat but I can tell you the first time I tried making General Tao, I threw all my chicken pieces in the pan at once. It wasn’t a pretty sight and the panic set in. Nothing was cooking properly! I eventually ended up taking some of the pieces out to let the rest cook. If you do need to speed things up, use two pans!

These are just but a few of the various mistakes I make while I am cooking but it’s all a learning experience. Cooking is a reflection of life and all experiences whether bad or good help in bettering ourselves and developing character. So keep on trying, that’s what living and cooking is about!

One Comment »

  1. Lus October 12, 2011 at 5:26 am -

    Good post, I’ve made most of those mistakes and a few others myself…

    I find myself prepping too much, mise en place before cooking usually prolongs the whole process…and isn’t entirely necessary, unless it’s cooking a specific recipe you haven’t attempted before…then you might want to prep before hand.

    Cooking can be frustrating if you don’t learn from your mistakes just like anything else…and rewarding if you learn and trust yourself and where you are going with it.

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