“If a man’s friends do not take enough interest in him to play a few April Fool jokes on him to-day, he might as well go to a monastery and stay there.” Or so said The Times on April 1, 1892. (Cited in What to Cook, Watch, Listen To and More This Weekend by Michelle L. Dozois And Tim Herrera -March 31, 2017)
Dozois and Herrera (2017) refers us to Julia Moskin’s March 28, 2017 article on NYT Food; 10 Ways to Sharpen Your Kitchen Senses. Moskin has 10 tips for us to sharpen our senses. I will share her suggestions here and here is the link to her website but I will add my own suggestions as well. See my own humble suggestions in red.
- Notice the steady sound of a sizzle when frying in a skillet; popping noises or uneven rhythms mean the heat is too high. (Slow cooking is the way to go. High heat causes acrylamides)
- Practice picking up 1/4 teaspoon of salt in your fingertips and learn what it feels like, so that you can measure without spoons. (It’s okay to use spoons, it won’t kill you)
- Listen to liquids as they cook to learn the different sounds of a simmer, a boil and a hard boil. (Hut ab for this one!)
- Designate one shelf of your refrigerator and cupboard for the ingredients you use most often (flour, lemons, olive oil, soy sauce), so that you can recognize them immediately and grab them quickly. (Dear Julia, I can come and help you de-clutter your kitchen. I think we have way over too much stuff in our kitchens).
- Dedicate an afternoon to learning what bread dough and pie crust should feel like when they have the right balance of flour and water; your fingertips will retain the information forever.
- Listen to your cakes: A cake that is still baking makes little bubbling sounds, while a finished cake goes quiet. (Cakes?? Quinoa is the way to go!)
- Use the blade of a small sharp knife to gauge when fish is cooked. Slide it into the flesh, then press gently to your lips. It should feel pleasantly hot, like a hot shower: not warm, and not scalding. (That burned my lips, ouch!)
- Touch the tops of cookies to decide if they are done: You should feel crisp crust, not soft dough.
- Use your nose and eyes when sautéing garlic in oil, instead of following time guidelines. Garlic is cooked when barely golden and fragrant, whether the process takes 10 seconds or 2 minutes. (Halelalujah Sister!)
- Toss salads with your hands to ensure the leaves are evenly coated with dressing. Touch the greens before tossing to make sure they are fluffy and cool: Limp leaves should go back to the refrigerator for refreshing, covered with a damp kitchen towel. (Hooray to this one!)