The 10 Best Cooking Tips We Learned from Our Moms

It’s no secret that your mom is a regular Ina Garten in the kitchen—without her endless culinary know-how (where did she learn it all?), we’d be ordering takeout every single night. From prepping salads to filling the fridge with cheese, here are the ten best cooking tips we got from our moms.

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“My mom always taught me that the secret to a good salad, no matter what's in it, is to dry the ingredients after you wash them. She washes the lettuce, then puts it on paper towels so that all the moisture gets absorbed. She'll do it with other wet ingredients too: cucumbers, strawberries—anything that has the potential to hang on to excess water after rinsing. Only once everything is dry does she assemble the salad. It really works!” – Rachel, Linda’s daughter 

“It is important to have all the right tools when cooking—a good set of pots and pans, the right measuring cups and spoons and good (within the “best use by” dates) ingredients.  These things really make a difference.” – Roberta, Susan’s daughter

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“We are Italian, so lots of olive oil, garlic, roasted veggies, fresh sauce *always*, et cetera. Anyway, I'm pretty sure she has never owned garlic powder. She taught me that fresh garlic is always better and, instead of mincing it, to crush it to bring out the flavor. Then just throw the whole clove into whatever you're cooking. This way you get that nice garlic taste without it being too overbearing.” – Marissa, Fran’s daughter

“Adding a little espresso or coffee enhances chocolate recipes. And calories don't count when eating ice cream straight out of the carton.” – Ali B., Nancy’s daughter

“Big cooking tip from my mom: Always keep a jar of Trader Joe's Bruschetta on hand. In a pinch, it works in the place of tomato sauce and tomato paste, plus it’s the easiest way to dress up pasta, roasted veggies…you name it!” – Dena, Ann’s daughter

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“Any imperfection can be fixed with icing.” – Jillian, Marjie’s daughter

“Always toast your spices—it makes them more flavorful. And the crisper drawer in your fridge? It’s actually a cheese drawer!” – Katherine, Patti’s daughter

“My mom always stressed the importance of cleaning up as you go. That means you’ll always have at least some counter space free for prepping and, even better, the post-dinner cleanup is no big deal because most of it is already done.” – Abby, Judith’s daughter

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“Rub your fingers on metal (like a silver serving spoon) after cooking with garlic to remove the smell.” – Ali F., Naomi’s daughter

“Always read the recipe more than once before you begin, check that you have all the ingredients, and take it slow. But most importantly: Love is the main ingredient in any cooking!” – Lauren, Patricia’s daughter 

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