After a combined 20 years of dedicated Food Network fandom, we DallasEats girls think it's high time we declared a few culinary lessons officially learned...
Months ago, FoodiePrincess and I started compiling a list of those rules and tips and faded old facts that seem to come up time and again (and again and again) when we're watching our favorite cooking shows or reading foodie magazines. We decided we were ready, with regard to these subjects, to announce "We Get It Already!", thereby encouraging all our beloved hosts and writers to move on past their pre-recorded loops and on to more interesting instruction.
It took us quite a while to whittle the list down to the final top ten - a few items that were only marginally annoying didn't make the cut. Here's hoping we've satisfied all our fellow Food Network frequent fliers...and if not, tell us about your pet peeves in a comment!
The DallasEats We Get it Already! List
1. Salmon, blueberries and sweet potatoes are very nutritious.
No kidding? That's only the 100th time we've heard that. This week. Ditto almonds, whole-grain breads and spinach.
2. A well-stocked pantry saves time and money.
We are totally on board with this fact. However, we're sick and tired of folks telling us what we should be stocking. Sure, a can of cannellini beans can be used to whip up a quick dip when unexpected company drops in, but what if we prefer hummus? (And we're still staring at that orzo from ’06.) We’ll stock our own darned pantry according to our own darned tastes, thank you very much.
3. Adding a pinch of salt to sweet dishes doesn't make them taste "salty".
We know that adding a dash of salt to brownie batter or raspberry coulis will help to bring out all the flavors. We've been doing it for years, and it doesn't scare us even a little.
4. Add salt to aromatics when sauteing, to help them release their natural juices and soften.
Okay, duh. Why would you not add salt to begin with? It's what makes everything taste delicious (see rule number 3).
5. When hosting a party, try to do as much as possible in advance, so that you're not stuck in the kitchen the whole time.
Ina, Giada, Paula, Sandra...we get it. And we agree. But is there any regular viewer of your shows who is still making individual omelettes for New Year's Day brunch? We think not.
6. Always salt the water when cooking pasta.
Indeed, we always have. So did our Moms. Maybe Grandma didn’t, but two generations is proof enough that we’ve got a handle on it. How about going over a specific salt-to-water ratio for a change? That would be helpful.
7. Only use real parmesan cheese.
This rule is one for the ages, but those of us who love to cook gave up the green can and its chalky, salty contents quite a while back. We promise - you can even search our fridges.
8. This one’s for Alton:
We’re sorry, guy, but it’s been years now and we don’t know of one single person who has converted to measuring ingredients by weight. It might be time to throw in the towel. We even have one of those nifty digital scales, but it rarely sees the light of day.
9. Only cook with wine you would drink.
We do not now, nor have we ever, used “cooking wine”, “cooking sherry”, or anything of the sort. Neither does anyone we know. Please put us in touch with these Holland House devotees - we’ll personally deliver a bottle of acceptable cooking (and drinking) wine right to their door, so that we can all move past this tired old lesson.
10. A Final Note on Hand Washing
The last straw for us on this subject came in the form of a recipe we read in the paper recently which began, "Step one: wash hands". Please. We are doubly offended when television hosts remind us to use soap. What is this, Cooking with Toddlers and Hobos? Let's all agree that we are in favor of hand washing, especially after handling raw proteins, and that we pledge to continue doing so even if no one reminds us ever again.
And now, a shameless plug: For news you can really use when it comes to cooking lessons, check out Appetite for Instruction every Thursday on the Dallas Observer City of Ate blog!