Some of the things we do while cooking are done automatically, either because we don’t know how to do it properly and are too lazy to find it out, or because we think it is the way it should be done. Is calamari supposed to taste like rubber bands? Can infants be given food with spices? And is it really reasonable to let hot food cool before putting it into the fridge?
Image Credit: shutterstock.com / Brian A Jackson
#1. Avoiding putting hot food into the fridge
We are used to the assumption that putting hot leftovers into the refrigerator is likely to result in its failure. That’s what our mothers used to say, and what we have believed for a long time. And it was true: old fridges could break down if used to store hot soups and dumplings. Advanced models are different: those that have the No Frost function are armed with special technologies to endure such temperatures, and it makes putting hot dishes in it not only recommended, but a must.
The thing is, if we leave food to cool down at room temperature, germs start multiplying and spreading within a couple of hours, and if the weather is warm or it is hot in the kitchen, it happens within an hour. That is why the best option is to put such food in containers (those made of glass are best) and put it in a fridge that knows what No Frost is.
#2. Overcooking seafood
When it comes to seafood, safety is just as important as with other foods, because if it is not cooked properly, you are likely not only to enjoy its taste, but also to experience the consequences of it, like parasites, for instance.
However, in an attempt to make sure the seafood we are going to eat is safe, we often overcook it. For example, shrimps, depending on their size, should be boiled for 2 to 7 minutes. As for calamari, they are ready after 30 seconds (or 2 minutes) of being boiled. If you did not manage to get them out of water within this short time, you can save the dish and boil your rubber-band-like calamari for another twenty minutes and then leave them to bathe in the same hot water for another 30 minutes.
#3. We don’t give small children food with spices
Many moms strive to ensure everything their child wears, eats, drinks and uses is as natural and healthy as possible. It is the reason why they often avoid spices at all, as they think it could have a detrimental effect on the child’s gastrointestinal tract.
However, it turns out that such a strategy leads to problems when the time comes to introduce new foods and dishes. And why should you avoid non-spicy herbs anyway? It goes without saying that chili, basil, parsley and some other spices are beneficial, and you can start adding them as soon as your child turns 1.5 or 2 years old. It is recommended that you consult a doctor first, but in most cases it is normal and beneficial. Japanese scientists reported that feeding food from the family table promotes acceptance in infants and makes the transition to solid foods easier.
Some cooking strategies have been there for ages, but they need reevaluation, as the scientific evidence accumulating suggests storing food and actually using it is a science in itself. Still, don’t get obsessed with sterility and health, because it can result in disorders and depression!