Chefs Are Giving Us The All-Clear To Commit These Cooking "Crimes"

Sometimes, what the kitchen really needs is a rebel at the helm. Someone who isn’t afraid to test out unique spice combinations or experimental recipes; a chef who sees commonly-held cooking rules as mere suggestions. Everyone from home cooks to celebrity chefs have shared the cooking “crimes” they happily commit, and now you, too, can break the rules in your own home. But be careful: some of these should be taken with a pinch of salt — and with the nearest pizza place on call.

1. Don't add salt to a bland dish

What if we told you that you shouldn’t always add salt to a bland dish? This may sound like the cooking betrayal to end all betrayals, but hear us out. We often turn to salt as the savior of boring dishes, but sometimes, it isn’t the answer: just ask Reddit chef u/FoodandWhining. “When salt isn’t ‘helping’ a dish, what’s missing is acid,” they revealed. u/FoodandWhining described this discovery as an “a-ha” moment for them. “Lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid… transforms a dish in a surprising way,” they wrote. If salt is the lead of the play, then acid is the essential supporting player.

2. Touch raw hamburger beef as it cooks

There’s a common belief that touching raw meat could result in a bacterial disaster of epic proportions. It’s true that consuming or even touching raw meat can cause salmonella or e-coli infections. But if handling raw meat is so dangerous, then how come Bobby Flay says it’s okay? Flay likes to firmly press his thumb into the center of a raw hamburger as it cooks on the grill. This should help it cook more evenly and prevent the beef from puffing up in the center. Of course, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat of any kind!

3. Don't buy that super-popular knife set

It’s easy to get caught up in the new, sharp, and shiny knife sets sold on late-night infomercials. But what’s new and shiny is usually also expensive and, it turns out, unnecessary. “Three good knives of different sizes, properly sharpened and cared for, should be all you need,” Reddit user u/kniebuiging wisely wrote. Another Reddit user got even more specific. “Paring knife, chef’s knife, and bread knife. I have never had a need for anything else,” said u/AugmentedOnionFarmer. At the end of the day, you need sharp knives, not new ones.

4. Don't compost using vegetable scraps

Instead of adding your vegetable scraps to your compost bin — or worse, tossing them into the trash and contributing to food waste — consider this Redditor’s idea. “Make your own stock!” Reddit user _____yikes suggested. “Save the parts of veggies you didn’t use — like ends of onions, innards of peppers, and chicken bones — in a Ziploc in the freezer,” they continued. “When you have enough, put it all straight from the freezer bag into a pot. Cover with water, throw in a few bay leaves, and salt and pepper, and simmer for two hours.” Composting is great, but having your own stock is also pretty cool.