Food Fun and Facts Cooking Tips & Hints for the Cook

Like Poached Eggs?

Add a few drops of vinegar to the water. It will help keep the egg whites from separating.

Brown sugar a solid rock?

Has your bag or box of brown sugar turned hard as a rock? Try this helpful hint:

Place a slice of fresh bread in the package of sugar and close securely.
Let set for a few hours and your sugar will be as good as new!

Cakes for Kids: 35 Colorful Recipes with Easy-to-Follow Tips & Techniques

What makes an unforgettable birthday party?

The cake! In this colorful, charming cookbook, Matthew Mead has created 35 whimsical cakes sure to be a hit at any party.

Designed for the novice or expert, Cakes for Kids includes basic cake and frosting recipes as well as guidelines for baking, assembling, and decorating 3-D works of art.

The chapters are divided into three levels of difficulty: easy cakes like Over the Rainbow (which uses multicolored candies to do the hard stuff), medium-level masterpieces like the Rockin' Guitar, and trickier designs like the Delicious Dinosaur.

No matter what the level of expertise, step-by-step illustrated instructions make preparing of these confections a piece of cake!

Please click on the above image for more information about this great cooking book for kids!


Remove some of the fat in soups by adding a lettuce leaf to the pot. Remove the leaf after fat removal.

Place a raw potato in salty soup. The potato will absorb the extra salt.
Do not eat potato after this, since it will be very, very salty.

Do a lot of frying but hate the spattering grease?

Sift a little flour (put in a sifter) over the hot fat and the spattering will disappear!
Just a little flour else you will have a sloppy mess.

Keeping Food Fresh

To keep large quantities of yellow cheese, bacon or ham fresh:

Wrap in a cloth that has been soaked in vinegar and wrung out.
From time to time, add more vinegar to the cloth.
This also seems to make ham and bacon more tender.

Finding containers to store food, finding lids for each container and rearranging the refrigerator are tedious tasks, taking up time that could be better spent reflecting on the night’s festivities.

Make Food Storage and Sharing a Snap!


Minimize bacon shrinkage by running bacon under water before frying. This reduces shrinkage by about 50%

Baking Fish

When baking whole fish, wrap in aluminum foil.
When fish is done, it can be lifted from the baking pan without the fish falling apart.

To remove the foil, slip a spatula under the fish and slide foil out after fish is on the platter.

Boiling Corn

Never boil corn for more than 3 minutes.

Be sure to place the corn in boiling water, and do not add salt.

You will find the flavor is much better than cooking for 10 minutes or more.

Corn will never get soft, no matter how long you cook it-it will only lose its taste.

Always season your food while you are cooking.

The seasonings work while the food is cooking and will not be the same if you add it at the table.

Always salt your meat before cooking . The meat will not be so tough and the salt will bring out the juice and flavors.


Adding a little sugar to the batter of pancakes and waffles will make them brown more quickly.
( A teaspoon or tablespoon, depending on the batter amount.)

Grades of Olive Oil
#1 Extra Virgin Highest Grade

#2 Super Fine Next Best Grade

#3 Fine A Step above the Lowest Grade

#4 Virgin Lowest Grade

Dried herbs are approximately twice as strong as fresh herbs!

Fresh Egg Test

Fill a bowl or pan with cold water and add some salt. Place the egg in the water.
If it sinks to the bottom, it is fresh. If the egg rises to the top, the egg is no good.

Save yourself a tummy ache if you are unsure when you last bought your eggs!

Real Vanilla Extract Vs. Imitation Flavoring

A study was done by "Cook’s Illustrated" and it was found that imitation vanilla flavor
gave the same results in baking as did the real extract!
However, this only applies to baking!

How To Break An Egg:
1,453 Kitchen Tips, Food Fixes, Emergency Substitutions and Handy Techniques

Need a cool way to handle hot chiles? Looking to cut down on kitchen clean-up?

Let the readers, contributors, and editors of Fine Cooking magazine show you the way.

How to Break an Egg is a one-of-a-kind resource of more than 1,400 kitchen-tested tips, shortcuts, and ingenious solutions to culinary emergencies, all organized in an easy-to-access format for quick reference or more leisurely reading.

Look under Basil in the Ingredients chapter and you'll find tips for drying it, keeping its bright green color, and making your pesto go further.

Look under Cookies in the Cooking chapter for clever ways to roll out cookie dough without it sticking, or to form perfectly shaped cookies, or to get just the right texture you want in your chocolate chip. You'll also discover tips on cookware and utensils, serving, storage, clean-up, and kitchen safety.

If disaster strikes, flip immediately to When Things Go Wrong, an invaluable chapter of troubleshooting charts, whether your souffle is falling, your cheese sauce is curdling, or you've just discovered you don't have the right size pan for the cake you're in the middle of mixing up.

In Handy Kitchen Techniques, you'll find 42 basic prep techniques, from trussing a chicken to clarifying butter, illustrated step-by-step in full color. The perfect reference for cooks at any level, How to Break an Egg will be your indispensable go-to kitchen resource.

Please click on the above image for more information about this great book on cooking tips!

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Betty Crocker Cooking Basics, Second Edition is the only cookbook you need to help you begin cooking with confidence, even if you barely know how to boil water.

Fully updated to include 112 simple and tasty favorites like guacamole, meatloaf, and strawberry shortcake.

The second edition of this comprehensive cooking guide even includes how-to photos for every recipe, advice on kitchen equipment, a reference to cooking terms, food storage tips, and cooking times and nutrition information.

With game plans for special events like Thanksgiving Dinner, you will never go hungry!

Please click on the above image for more information about this great cooking book!

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The Shelf Life of Common Foods
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Did you know that you can turn soured whipping cream into butter?

Take 1/2 pint of heavy cream that has turned sour and pour into a bowl. Beat the cream with an egg beater for about 3 minutes. Do this as you would normally whip cream.

After it is whipped, just keep on with the eggbeater until all of a sudden, the cream separates into butter and buttermilk.

Keep beating with rotary eggbeater until the solid butter is formed. With a knife, remove the butter from the egg beater and put it into a bowl of ice water.

Remove the small lumps of butter from the buttermilk with a spoon and also place in the ice water.

Now, squeeze the butter together with your hands in the ice water until you have just one piece of butter.

From your 1/2 pint of cream that has soured, you now have about a 1/4 pound of unsalted butter, plus, you have your own buttermilk, which is very hard to get in stores when fresh.

This is a fun project for kids they love to see food turn into something else! Even the youngest can help!

Ok, so you don’t want to make butter of your cream that has soured? Want to make it usable again?

Add a pinch of baking soda to the cream and stir. Try a little at first, and adjust the amount till it tastes right.

This is only for cream that has just turned sour, not for complete sour cream!


Did you ever wonder what to use when a recipe calls for shortening?

Shortening is usually used in making pastry, dough and batters.
You may use butter, margarine, salad and cooking oil, solid vegetable fat, such as Crisco.

You may also use drippings from meat and bacon, but remember this may make a difference in the flavor of your pastry.

Do not use fat scraps. Can turn Rancid easily.

Have lemons that seem a little dry?

Don’t throw the lemons away.
You can wake them up by placing them in a bowl and covering the lemons with buttermilk or sour milk.
Let them set for a couple days or longer.

Just be sure to change the milk weekly. See the difference?
Now, you can use the lemon you would have thrown away!

Lemons will also keep for months, if you keep them in a container filled with cold water.
Be sure the container has a tight fitting lid!

Peeling Onions:

Here is an unusual method of preventing your eyes from watering while peeling and chopping onions or grating horseradish:
This is a new tip for me! Never heard of it before!

Take a quarter of a slice of white bread and place the piece between your teethe sure to allow it to stick out of the mouth a
little and keep your mouth slightly open.

Now, you can chop the onions or grate the horseradish and you will have no tears or burning eyes.
Have someone take a pictures of you while you look so silly!
It also helps a bit to run the onion under cold water. (after the dry peels are removed)

Green Beans

Do not buy the larger, knobby beans. They are old and tougher than young beans.

To see if beans are fresh, here is a test.

Break a bean in half and it should snap with a crispy feel. 1 pound of fresh beans will serve 4 people.

You can cook beans whole if they are small. Otherwise cut them in 1 inch pieces.

More String Bean Tips

Cut the beans up in their usual lengths. Spread in the sun to dry. Store them in a bag.
In winter, soak them and cook the beans in the usual way.

Make sure you purchase fresh beans. It does not pay to buy the string beans at the reduced produce counter.
You end up throwing away more than you use and are not really saving any money.

I am a fan of the Reduced Produce Section! You can save a bundle on your weekly shopping bill! A hint:

Grocery stores usually put the reduced produce out in the morning, during weekdays.
For best choice, go to the store in the morning.

Trouble Whipping Cream?

Have trouble making whipped cream? Can’t get it to whip correctly?
Be sure to put the bowl and egg beater in the freezer and let them get ice cold before using!

Measurement Helpers:

1 pound of ground beef equals 2 cups of ground beef.

1/4 pound of butter equals 1/2 cup melted butter.

1 pound of cheese equals 4-5 cups grated cheese.

1 pound of spinach equals 1-1/2 cups cooked spinach.

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