kitchen surfkyMaureen's dream kitchenKENTUCKY (4/26/14) — Maureen is on a mini vacation with “the in-laws” here in Western Kentucky this week.

She offers up Ten Practical Kitchen Tips (in no particular order). She’ll be back next week with your questions.

Share your favorite kitchen tips with Maureen in the comments below, or better send in your best and/or worst in-law moments. And don’t forget — shoot Maureen an email with your need to know kitchen questions at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


  1. Before you drain the cooked pasta, save one cup of salty, starchy water to add to the sauce, or for later on reheat.

  2. Use a grapefruit knife to cull strawberries and ‘maters.

  3. According to Rita Dukes Smith of Sacramento, Ky. “It’s all about the butter.” Add a tablespoon of butter to any sauce and stir until melted before you remove it from the heat to “finish” the sauce.

  4. Here’s a twofer: simmer whole cinnamon sticks in water when you cook fish, or better bake chocolate chip cookies.

  5. This from Ebie at Twin Maple Organics in Anton, Ky. Knead your bread 200 times. Roll back and forth from heel of hand to finger tips.

  6. When rinsing rice, use the three-times rinsing method, according to Kriston Dixon from Within The Wild Alaska Adventures. At each stage of rinse, let the grains slip through your fingers as you think about the past, the present and then the future.

  7. Advice from Maureen’s mom, Margie, “Party today, diet tomorrow.” Loosely translated — if you eat too many chocolate chip cookies on Saturday, eat a little less of everything for the next several days.

  8. Add more salt and butter than normal to get that restaurant quality taste. Unless you have health issues of course.

  9. From Mark Bittman, "How to Cook Everything" Use a box grater to grate hard-boiled eggs.

  10. Add crumbled bacon bits to most any dish if you think you screwed up the recipe. Just kidding. Sort of.

Happy cooking and please share your kitchen tips.



Maureen C. Berry is the copyeditor and food writer at When she’s not writing or cooking, she’s photographing wildlife in her backyard. Maureen founded Center Street Writers' Guild in conjunction with Hopkins County Public Library. CSWG offers free writing/critique workshops. She lives in Western Kentucky with her husband and wire fox terrier, Reagan. Follow her on Twitter @seafoodladyorl.

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Posted on 2/2/14
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