On Kitchen Hacks and the Joy of Cooking

From the “we couldn’t have said it better ourselves” department, Cracked.com has broken down “8 Stupid Kitchen Hacks…” and it’s one of the more awesome things you’ll see ever on the internet. NSFW, and here’s a link to the post:¬†8 Stupid Kitchen Hacks Tested for Usefulness. But it got us thinking about a more austere, diplomatic discussion of this pressing issue. Thus, we present: On Kitchen Hacks and the Joy of Cooking.

Hack-free Barbecue

First, the Cracked post. The upshot and/or if you’re a family audience (like ours is), 7 of the 8 “hacks” aren’t time-savers and/or didn’t work. And/or they’re stupid, which, again, Cracked says much more eloquently than we shall. The only one worth a darn, at least according to the article, is this one.

We wholeheartedly agree: that is one awesome kitchen hack. 3-million-plus views on YouTube can’t be wrong. (Or…can they?)

Does EVERYTHING need to be a “Hack?”

Webster’s Dictionary defines “Hack” as “to cough up part of one’s lung.” I made that up, it didn’t actually define it as such, but methinks thou dost hack too much.

For instance, I share the above photo of barbecue because my youngest and I concocted our own barbecue sauce. Or was it a barbecue sauce hack? We took regular old barbecue sauce and doctored it. A little of this, a little of that. Actually…

Doctored Barbecue Sauce

Truth be told, it was quite awesome. A cup of each of the bottled sauce, (yellow) mustard, dijon, and brown sugar; two tablespoons each of hot sauce, vinegar, and honey.

The doctored sauce went on top of ribs, which were also quite awesome. They had to be par boiled first, then roasted in the oven. Sauce went on when they went in the oven. Ribs were devoured.

No hacking was involved. Doctoring, maybe, but not hacking.

On Kitchen Hacks and the Joy of Cooking

Love spending time in the kitchen? Check. Don’t mind putting in a little extra effort to make something awesome? Check.

But what if stuff has a tendency to go bad: like the potatoes sprouting eyes, or the onions (or garlic) sitting on the counter growing new sprouts of onion (or garlic)? What if I’d rather use garlic out of the jar? Does that make me a bad chef?

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Really…it’s enough to really get super-confused. Am I supposed to save time, am I supposed to do it because it looks cool, am I supposed to hack my way into kitchen awesomeness?

Don’t Confuse “Hack” with “Technique”

If you saw our post on Sous Vide and Blow Torches, you probably know where we stand here: we’re all about technique. That doesn’t mean we can’t actually do a hack – after all, making your own Sous Vide “machine” out of a pot of water, a thermometer, and a Ziploc bag is technically a hack. Right? Then so is the blow torch at the end. Then…

When “slow food” became a thing a dozen or so years ago, the argument sorta got boiled down to “it’s the journey, not the destination.” So, sure, peel the garlic by shaking it vigorously between two bowls. You’re now steps closer to roasting that garlic and spreading it on toasted artisan loaves and serving with your Sous Vide Duck.

Our point – trust us, we have one – is this: maybe you don’t need to try to hack your way through everything. It’s valuable to save time in the kitchen, and it’s great to experiment, but at what cost? Just like the point of the Cracked article – maybe the point of the sandwich is that there are imperfections, where meat doesn’t meet bread, and you’re not a five-year-old.

Plus, there appear to be about a thousand ways to boil an egg.

Enjoy the ride, people.

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  1. […] Really, is some guy cooking an egg in a microwave really a “Kitchen Hack?” […]

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