The Kitchen Tales section is here for any food-related story, whether it's in the kitchen or not. So don't hesitate to contribute some of your interesting tales to us!
* * * * *
When I was still dorming in college, my high school friends would occasionally come to visit. On one of those occasions, I decided to cook dinner for everyone since they planned to stay overnight...but mostly because they requested it. (I'm not gloating...well, maybe just a little bit...) Luckily, I lived in a suite so I had a kitchen and full sized fridge at my disposal.
After a quick stop at the supermarket, it was back in the kitchen and my friends -- sweet and polite as they are -- asked if I needed any help. Well, while this is always a nice offer, I'm the type of person who prefers to get things done on her own in as quick and efficient a manner as possible.
Then again, it was a lot of food to prepare for a group of hungry people.
So I delegated simple tasks such as washing the vegetables to them and turned back to my skillet and contentedly continued cooking our steaks. Harmless, right?
Turning to check on how everyone's doing, I suddenly see one of my friends washing the broccoli...with dish soap.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO THE BROCCOLI?!?!
My friend, startled by my shriek of horror, just stares at me with incomprehension. "I'm washing it." The silent 'duh' hung in the air and I still have this feeling that she was fighting not to roll her eyes. After all, the look on her face clearly said that she thought I was a silly woman who'd never washed her vegetables before.
Our civility quickly devolved into a spiral of confusion and some facepalming on my end. The conversation went something like this:
"Why are you using dish soap to wash the broccoli?!"
"Because I'm washing the broccoli and I'm using the dish soap to clean it." (Insert unspoken "duh" here.)
"...Dish soap is used for washing dishes, not food. That's why it's called dish soap!...And who uses soap to wash their vegetables?!"
"My family does this all the time. How else do you wash your vegetables?"
At this point, I was so exasperated all I wanted to do was save the poor broccoli from drowning further in suds. While I wasn't dramatic enough to throw up my hands and wail "With water, or baking soda, or salt, maybe even some vinegar, just not dish soap!" I was very close to it.
Needless to say, my garlicky broccoli dish that night had a very distinct soapy flavor. I mean really, is it actually possible to wash all the soap out of broccoli? All those tightly packed tiny little leaves in each floret...
Please, please, I'm begging you: DON'T use dish soap or any other chemicals that you wouldn't want associated or anywhere near your food to clean your food...because even though you may think you're cleaning it and getting rid of bacteria and pesticides and what have you, in the end, those chemicals don't wash off easy and then you're the ones who end up ingesting it and suffering the consequences later on (which hopefully is just a minor stomachache at worst).
Most foods shouldn't need to be cleaned with anything besides water -- obviously, this is assuming that your groceries consist of fresh fruits and vegetables from a good supermarket (organic is always the safer bet as well). However, if you really do want to stay on the safe side, some salt or baking soda do wonders for cleaning. You don't need a lot, just a small palmful is more than enough. Be sure to rinse again with clean water afterwards!
Also, for the berry lovers out there, if you want to preserve your berries longer, try rinsing them in a solution of vinegar to water at a 1:4 ratio. No need to wash again afterwards. There's so little vinegar that you don't have to worry about tasting it on the fruit.
* * * * *
Do you have any kitchen stories that you'd like to share? Something you found particularly meaningful, or an event that's just downright hilarious? Maybe even a lesson learned that you'd like to pass on? Let us know!
Simply email your story to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll post them in our newsletter. Feel free to include any pictures as well. We'll be looking forward to reading them!