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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Top 10 Traditional Cooking Tips

Once upon a time helpful kitchen hints were passed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately, for many of us in the late to post Baby Boom era, we didn't pay close attention to that kitchen wisdom. Now, as we discover the joys of cooking (and particularly baking) we sometimes wish we had these little nuggets of wisdom.

So, here are 10 great traditional cooking tips.
  1. Corn Syrup or honey can be substituted for 1/2 amount of sugar in a recipe if you reduce the liquid measurements by 1/4.
  2. Reduce the odor of cabbage, cauliflower, greens, etc. when cooking by adding a bit of vinegar to the cooking water.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to water to keep egg white from seeping out of a cracked shell when boiling eggs.
  4. To peel a coconut: drain the milk, place coconut in oven until hot to the touch, remove and tap all over with a hammer and especially at the ends. Give it one hard knock and shell will crack. Lift off shell, peel brown skin and cool so you can grate or slice the meat.
  5. When measuring molasses, grease the measuring cup to prevent the molasses from sticking.
  6. To make nut meats come out of shells whole, soak overnight in salt water before cracking.
  7. Adding a pinch of salt to sugar when making icings will help prevent graininess.
  8. To make potatoes light and fluffy add a pinch of baking soda and use hot milk and butter.
  9. To sour sweet milk, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to each cup and let stand for a few minutes. (Lots of old recipes call for "Sour Milk.")
  10. Sugar that has hardened can be softened by placing in a warm oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
There you have some great "Old Timey" tips that have been handed down for generations.

You'll notice quite a few have to do with conserving things in the kitchen that might otherwise be thrown out, such as the tip about hardened sugar. I can remember that my grandmother was quite frugal in the kitchen and did not like to waste anything. In today's throwaway culture we tend to throw away many things that could easily be used in our dishes.

Have a lovely Saturday and we'll be back tomorrow with more recipes and stories!

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