During the pandemic lockdowns, a lot of people took on new hobbies or decided to brush up on some life skills.
One of the more popular was cooking.
The global online cooking class market made $255.54 million USD in 2021. But even after lockdowns ended, online cooking classes are still going strong.
Most classes will teach tips and tricks to make things easier or produce better quality results.
Reddit user Aurora_Breeze asked:
"What is your special cooking secret that few people know?"
"I used to always over salt my food if I found it a bit bland, but then I read somewhere to use lime juice instead and it really does brighten up the flavors."
"Salt, fat, & acid are where flavor comes from."
"That and bouillon were the trade secrets I picked up when I worked in kitchens back in the day."
"If you want to make a crisp and fresh salad, soak the vegetables in cold water for about 10 minutes before using."
"I use Better Than Bouillon to add flavor to many of the dishes I make. "I keep jars of the chicken, beef, and veggie flavors in the fridge to use as need."
"I use the beef flavor in pretty much anything that has ground beef, a tablespoon per pound when cooking the meat gives it so much more flavor than using just salt."
Cheese And Fish
"Parmesan rind in your tomato sauces, stews, etc..."
"It gives a little flavor boost."
"Anchovy paste cooked in with your aromatics is fantastic it gets nutty and delicious."
"When cooking in a frying pan, don't turn whatever you're cooking unless it moves around freely when you wiggle the pan."
"If it is still stuck to the bottom, that side isn't done yet."
"It'll free up naturally once the crust has formed."
"MSG is not the villain."
"MSG has been proven safe (safer than salt) & doesn’t cause the dumb side effects people thought 10-20 years ago.
“'I’m allergic'—no you’re not, or else you couldn’t eat in a restaurant."
"I keep a shaker of something that I call 'Salt 2: The Long Awaited Sequel To Salt' and you have to say the name in full each time."
"2 parts salt, 2 parts MSG, 1 part garlic granules. You'll never go back to plain old salt again."
"I use carbonated water in pancakes."
"I have a recipe that uses vinegar and baking soda, the best pancakes I have ever eaten bar none!"
"You don’t taste the vinegar at all but they are so fluffy."
"When I cook pasta, I boil barely enough water to cover the pasta (and I use correspondingly less salt), but I stir it for the first couple of minutes to prevent the pasta from sticking together."
"I do this because the resulting pasta water is really starchy, and this starchy pasta water works great for thickening sauces and emulsifying oil-based sauces."
"Boiling your pasta in much less water also means the water comes to a boil much faster because there's less of it to boil."
"For some of my pasta dishes, I cook the pasta 'risotto style' where all the pasta water gets absorbed or boiled off. The resulting concentration of starch is particularly useful for emulsifying in oils. I do spaghetti aglio e olio this way, and it turns out great."
"35 years in the restaurant biz: Prep, patience and timing."
"Few people realize how much time restaurants spend in prep. Prep as much as you possibly can ahead of time. It will make things go SO much easier."
"Be patient with your cooking. If you get in a hurry, things can go south really fast. Low and slow is usually better, depending on the recipe."
"And be realistic about how much time things take. Good example is bacon. I never fry it. I bake it in the oven on a cookie sheet with foil."
"Takes longer, but comes out evenly cooked and most importantly I don’t have to stand over it pretty constantly."
"Okay, this is coming from a professional chef who specializes in baking, so listen up! If you cook anything cake-like and the ridge of the pan is higher than what the thing rose to, then you can add a layer of icing immediately after it comes out of the oven."
"Yes, it'll melt, but then the texture will change to a midway point between ganache and normal icing after it's cooled back down again! Also, the seal it creates is so strong, that it preserves the moisture of the thing underneath."
"Perfect for making brownies that aren't hard as rocks, like most people's!"
"Especially because, after they've cooled, if you cut the brownies up, wrap them individually in plastic wrap, and then freeze them, then they'll have retained enough moisture and crumblyness to end up with a taste and texture that's nearly indistinguishable from an ice cream sandwich!"
"Try it if you don't believe me!"
"There’s a reason genuine San Marzano tomatoes are triple the cost of other canned tomatoes."
"If you’re making quality sauce, buy them and don’t second guess it."
"Silking cheap meat before using in things like stroganoff or fajitas."
"In a bowl, mix some oil, spices/seasoning along with something acidic like soy sauce or port wine."
"Drop the sliced meat in and mix well, then sprinkle baking soda over the top—enough to make everything start foaming—then stir it all again into a foamy stew and leave it on the counter for at least 20 minutes.
"The meat once cooked will be super tender, like in a Chinese takeout dish."
Coffee And Chocolate
"Use a little espresso (powder) in your brownie batter."
"It doesn't give a distinct coffee flavour, but it really brings out the taste of the chocolate."
"Even my coffee hating friends don't notice it, but love my brownies."
Maybe Skip This One...
"If you set a timer and then take a nap, you can create a horrible smell that won't go away for years."
"And no matter how long you soak the pans, the kitchen pixies never remove them and replace them with clean shiny ones."
So, what are your go to cooking secrets?