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Food

Dishes you should never make at home

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Jennifer En
Whether they take too long, use too many obscure ingredients, or simply require an excess of effort, some dishes are simply not worth making at home. While I fully get that nowadays making food from scratch earns you a badge of honor, I am also a strong believer in leaving it to the professionals when it’s the most cost-effective thing to do. I say all this as someone who loves spending time in the kitchen, so believe me when I tell you why you ought to skip making the following dishes at home.

Sushi
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I love ordering sushi at Japanese restaurants because it feels special. Part of the sentiment has to do with going out to enjoy a delicacy prepared by professionals who have spent years to learn how to do that work. While I understand the desire to give sushi-making a try, the fact that it is a practiced craft is one good reason to skip the homemade session. Another reason? Authentic sushi uses raw fish, which can be tricky if you’re not a seasoned pro. From procurement to cleaning to preparation, working with raw seafood can pose serious food safety hazards. As such, sushi really isn’t worth trying to make from scratch, as it’s just one of those things that’s best left to a professional.

Pho and other Vietnamese soups
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There’s something incredibly comforting about sitting down to a steaming order of pho, bun bo hue, or any other insanely flavorful, meaty Vietnamese soup. As such, I totally understand the desire to replicate the experience at home. While there are countless recipes out there for Vietnamese soups, most of them are quasi-authentic takes on the originals at best. The reason is that the bowls of soups you order at Vietnamese restaurants get their delicious appeal from rich and flavorful bone broths that require several hours to make. In most cases, a generously sized bowl of pho can be had in New York City — one of the most expensive cities in the world — for $10 or less. Due to the time-consuming nature of the Vietnamese soup-making process and the relative low cost at restaurants, I really can’t justify making any of these soups at home.

Deep-fried anything
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Deep frying is a culinary activity I find truly annoying. Whenever I have subjected myself to frying foods in my kitchen (sans deep fryer, mind you) I have regretted the experience immediately after it has begun. Sure, I like old-fashioned doughnuts, onion rings, and the occasional fried chicken, but boy, do I hate the mess that ensues. Filling an entire large pot with oil always seems extremely wasteful — and gross — since I know I’m only cooking a small batch of whatever I’m making. Afterward, I inevitably strain the oil and keep it around for a few days until I realize I have nothing else I want to deep fry for another stretch of several months and finally throw it out. Between the splatter, oil burns, and waste, I tend to satisfy my rare cravings for deep-fried foods when I’m eating out instead.

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