No one likes wasting time in the kitchen. Generally speaking, if there’s a way to remove yourself from the stove and return to the sofa with a wine glass, most people will leap at the opportunity. Small wonder, then, that the concept of “kitchen hacking” is now more popular than ever before.
Even though there are plenty of ways to become legitimately efficient when you cook, that is still not enough for some people. It’s then that corner-cutting can take a turn into darker territory. To help you avoid making a serious mistake in the quest for sofa-sitting, here are seven well known food "hacks" that are actually really dangerous.
1. Sideways Toaster
On the face of it, converting your toaster into a ready-made grilled cheese press sounds like an awesome idea. After all, if all it took to get perfect melted cheese sandwiches every time was turning your toaster to one side, we’d all be up for it. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. As countless Instagram and Twitter posts prove, the end result can be anything from burnt bread to a small kitchen fire.
2. Deep-Fried Turkey
One of the worst things about Thanksgiving is easily the hours of nervously peering into the oven to check on your turkey. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could cook it in a fraction of the time without any of that worry? Despite the growing popularity of speedy, deep-fried birds, fire departments issue warnings every year against the practise, given the risks associated with big buckets of boiling oil.
3. Omelette in a Bag
Cooking enough eggs to feed a crowd can be a daunting prospect. The omelette in a bag trick, which features all the ingredients for a hearty breakfast, thrown together inside a ziploc wrapper, looks like it should be the perfect solution. However, scientists have suggested that cooking eggs in this way could cause dangerous chemicals to leak into your food, with potentially disastrous side effects.
4. Microwave Baby Milk
Microwaves are good for many things around the kitchen, but preparing your baby food isn’t one of them. Even though gently warming your refrigerated milk might seem like a good idea, microwaves heat liquid inconsistently, causing some areas to become boiling hot as others remain cold. This can easily lead to a baby becoming accidentally burned as they drink.
5. Pasta Draining
The battle to find an easy way to drain a heavy pan of pasta water has been ongoing for as long as we’ve had spag bol on the menu. A few years ago, it looked as though a viral video had stumbled across the solution - place the colander inside the the saucepan and turn upside down. Unfortunately, this has since been debunked, since trial and error proved that this just made burning even more of a risk.
6. Can Opening
Earlier this year, it looked as though our collective minds were about to be blown when it emerged that we may have been opening tin cans incorrectly for centuries. According to the “Cinemagraphy” channel, we should have been placing openers on top, rather than to the side of our cans. But, as was quickly discovered, all this apparently revolutionary technique does is leave a dangerous jagged edge.
7. Defrosting Meat
Thanks to the way a microwave works, you can never be sure that you will apply heat to food evenly. This becomes a problem when you try to defrost meat, since some corners can begin to cook while other areas remain frozen, creating a prime environment for bacteria to thrive. This is why it’s best to avoid a shortcut and defrost overnight.
We’ve all got things we’d rather be doing than wasting time with a stubborn turkey or frozen steak. But, as you can see, it’s rarely worth trying to cut cooking corners. The outcome can often be much worse than if you’d just left it alone.