How to Save Food During Common Cooking Emergencies

Illustration Ever come face to face with that awful moment when you wish you knew how to deal with cooking emergencies? Of course, you have. If you have cooked more than three meals in your life, you almost certainly have had...

Illustration
Illustration

Ever come face to face with that awful moment when you wish you knew how to deal with cooking emergencies? Of course, you have. If you have cooked more than three meals in your life, you almost certainly have had to deal with some of the more common cooking emergencies that are faced every day in thousands of households. Here's the good news: on many of those occasions when disaster seems to be looming over last minute preparations, the fix is so easy that it doesn't even involve a mad dash to the nearest market, much less that much shorter visit to the trash can.

  • Scorched Rice

One cooking emergency is so common that millions of people probably wish they knew how to save the food in question not every year, but every month! Rice is easily scorched whether you are using a risotto pot or a boil-in-bag shortcut. They say a watched pot never boils, but clearly that aphorism doesn't apply to a pot in which rice is boiled. The tell-tale giveaway is that unmistakable odor of something burning. By the time your eyes confirm what the nose already knows, it may seem too late to save the food. But is it? The answer is no and here is how to save scorched rice. Immediately remove the pot from the burner once you realize the rice has scorched. Now cut off the crusty end-piece of any type of bread and cover the rice with it. After about five minutes, the burnt taste of scorched rice should have been absorbed by the bread to the point where nobody will be able to tell that you let things get out of hand.

  • Soggy Snacks 

Ever cook a meal that depends on one particularly crispy fried snack ingredient? You know, things like potato chips or crackers or fried onions? Everything is going fine and then you reach for those crispy chips or crackers or fried onions only to pull out something moist and soggy and just generally yucky? The miracle solution of how to fix this cooking emergency lies somewhere in your kitchen. Probably somewhere high. The microwave! Place soggy fried snack food ingredients into the microwave and heat on the highest setting for at least 30 seconds. Maybe more. For those of you who have refused to indulge in the microwave intrusion into old-school cooking, use your broiler to handle this particular cooking emergency.

  • Sour Milk

How to handle this cooking emergency? First, check the expiration date because this fix really only applies in cases where the milk has just gone sour. Grab that all-important box of baking soda that you keep in your kitchen for any number of other emergencies (and if you don't, then read up on the vast number of emergencies that can be handled with baking soda) and add two teaspoons for each quart of milk that has gone sour. This little cooking emergency tip answers the question of how to make sour milk still perfectly healthy to cook with for another couple of days. And, yes, it will also make the milk drinkable for the same period.

  • Popcorn

If your meal includes popcorn and you find that the kernels are doing the job, you may not need to head down to the store to pick up another batch. Take the kernels that are not popping and sink them into some room temperature water, allowing them to soak for a good five minutes. Drain the water and make sure kernels are dry before trying once more to get them to pop for you.

For more tips on cooking, whether under emergency conditions or not, please contact us.