Ten Things I’ve Learned From Living With a Professional Cook: The Fiancee Speaks Out

  1.  Everything is labeled and dated. The item and the date it was made/unwrapped.
  2. Plastic wrap is your new best friend. It should stick to itself, other surfaces, and should have a good, toothed cutter.
  3. Meat and protein that’s preserved (marinated) in oil (fat), keeps far longer than you’d imagine. Good-bye stocking up on store-bought teriyaki sauce. :/
  4. Cheese:  just because it smells bad doesn’t mean it’s rotten. Chef’s definitely have a nose for stinky cheese; I’m always worried it’s overdue to be tossed.  It rarely is.
  5. Quickly learned how not to make frozen package of orange chicken not burn and stick to the pan. Kids, there’s more sugar in those marinade packets than you imagine.  Cook the chicken first, and add sauce at the end.
  6. There are like, three different types of milk in the refrigerator: 1%, coffee creamer, and now heavy cream.  Cream is not the same as milk, half-and-half, or creamer.  Its uses are plentiful and delicious, but cream is just regular-ass heavy cream.
  7. There are now several different types of butter in the refrigerator.  There’s butter spread, salted butter, cultured butter, and then there’s margarine and butter made with olive oil.  None of these are what a cook will give you when asked for butter.  They will give you regular-ass butter. (see my post on Butter: clarified)
  8. I’ve been instructed to save everything, but purge often. See #2.
  9. Salt is out, readily available, and used liberally.  There is such a thing as too much, but the average home cook will probably never use as much as he/she should (and before you jump to criticism, you will find that this is a common thread among professionals, and it may do you some good to take a step back and consider that for a moment).  Read more about it here.
  10. No Instagraming when your food is hot (momentary sad face replaced by excitement of piping hot food). You can take a picture when it gets put in front of you, but eat the food while it’s hot and curate your social media post later.  

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