Tips of the Trade

From where does your kitchen/food knowledge come? Do you have bits and pieces that you’ve picked up along the way from family, friends and experience?  Do you do certain things without knowing why or realizing that no one else does it that way?

I was reminded of some of my kitchen/food quirks this evening when I was refilling our salt and pepper grinders.

Our salt and pepper shakers. Kind of modern but I love them- they have a light on the bottom so you can see how much you're seasoning your food. And they're automatic. Because you know how much work it is to season your food by hand.

I keep whole peppercorns in the house so that I can fill my pepper grinder.  I use a mixture of white and black peppercorns and a few whole allspice.  This is because my grandmother did it this way.  The smell of the seasonings remind me of her.

I also refilled my sugar bowl.

I keep a whole vanilla bean in my sugar bowl because my grandmother did.  It makes the sugar smell so sweet and gives it a hint of vanilla.  Frankly, I think anything I’m adding sugar to benefits from this.

Looks like a warm but I assure you it's a vanilla bean. The smell when you open the sugar bowl is just fantastic- sweet, tender... like home.

These are tricks I learned from my grandmother.  The other two tips that she lived by to which I also subscribe are as follows:

1.  Whatever you’re making for dinner can always be put in the fridge and served tomorrow if someone calls and invites you out to eat.

2. If you love something (clothing, kitchen gadget, book, etc) buy two of them.  Just in case.


I’ve learned a few tricks by cooking “professionally”- a great buttercream recipe and how to make a frosting rose- and few by eating out like it was my profession.  My favorite of those is to add sliced lemons, oranges and mint to a pitcher of water.  Gives it just a hint of flavor and is delicious.

So, what are your tips?  Share in the comments- I’m always willing to learn more….


2 thoughts on “Tips of the Trade

  1. Always read the recipe twice, maybe even three times. One time should be definitely BEFORE you go to the kitchen to cook. Otherwise the hunter-gatherer that is your husband, who does all the food shopping gets a little cranky after the fourth run to the market. What? You think I am lucky to have such a person? You are absolutely correct, but then again, he wants dinner. If it were up to me alone, I would merely shut the cookbook and go for Chinese.

    • Yes!! I’ve learned the reading first the hard way- though it has led to some rather interesting substitutions (if you add molasses to white sugar, you have brown sugar, for instance). And Grandma would approve- Chinese is always the preferred option!!

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