Popular Foods That People Cook Wrong


“If you cook it right, it’s the most delightful flavor. If not, it’s a mushy and joyless mess.”

Have you ever tasted the same dish twice and had two totally different reactions? That’s probably because foods taste so different depending on how they’re prepared. So redditor u/JustARandomFuck asked, “What had you been cooking wrong your entire life until you saw it made properly?” Here’s how people responded.


“Brussels sprouts. I always hated them because I’d only had them boiled. Then I tried roasting them, and it made the biggest difference.”


“I wasn’t cooking the corn tortillas from the grocery store for tacos. Just ate them straight out of the bag. Once I realized how to properly heat them up, it was a game changer for tacos and fajitas.”


“Pasta. I was over-cooking the noodles and not letting it finish cooking in the pasta sauce. Now I cook pasta so that it’s just under al dente and then finish it in whatever sauce I’m having. The results are way better.”

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“My mother is a wonderful woman, but cooking just isn’t her thing. Growing up, she’d just dump pasta into a bowl and pour the sauce on top. When I started working in restaurants I learned that pasta should be cooked to just underdone, then added to a pan with some starchy pasta water, the sauce, and maybe a knob of butter to finish cooking. You wouldn’t think it makes a huge difference, but it absolutely does. And it only takes a couple of extra minutes too.”



“Scrambled eggs. Throughout my whole life, I’d only ever seen cook scrambled eggs cooked until they turn dry and rubbery. No butter in the pan, just those zero-calorie sprays. But when I saw that chefs cook scrambled eggs low and slow until they turn custardy, it was my single biggest cooking ah-ha moment. Now, scrambled eggs are one of my favorite meals, cooked with a good amount of butter, gentle heat, and layered on some sourdough with a couple of sliced tomatoes and a healthy amount of black pepper.”


“Rice. It may seem simple, but nobody in my family is skilled at cooking. It wasn’t until I moved out of the house that I learned not to panic, lift the lid, or refill the water when cooking rice. Now I just let it do its thing, and rice comes out great.”


“Pork chops. I always cooked them until they tasted like rubber because a fear of food-borne illness was instilled in me from a young age. Now I use a meat thermometer and cook them until just done.”


“Burgers. You’re not supposed to flatten the patty while it’s cooking. Now, every time I see someone mashing a burger into the grill with the back of their spatula I die a little bit inside.”


“Mushrooms. I always cooked them in oil until I saw a video. Then I realized they should be cooked in a dry pan over medium high heat. Cook the mushrooms until they sweat their moisture and stir, stir, stir. Cooking them this way seriously intensifies the flavors so the umami is off the charts.”


“Aioli. I used to stir it all by hand. But making aioli in a blender (or an immersion blender) is foolproof. I will never attempt it any other way again.”


“Ground beef. I used to crowd the pan so the beef never actually got brown. It would just turn into this weird off-putting grey color. Now I give it enough space to actually brown and crisp up.”


“Proper Italian carbonara with Pecorino cheese, egg yolk, pancetta or guanciale, and black pepper. Honestly I didn’t understand what all the Italians were so defensive about, but the moment I took my first bite of real carbonara felt like a revelation.”


“Mashed potatoes. My mom always made dry, lumpy mashed potatoes when I was younger. They were thick enough and bland enough to make me gag. Then I learned about the joy of butter, and it changed the way I make mashed potatoes.”


“Fried potatoes. You want to blanch them and let them cool down in the fridge or freezer before frying them again. The result are restaurant-quality crunchy fried potatoes that are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside.”


“Poached eggs on toast. it wasn’t until I watched “Julie & Julia” that I realized that I should place the cooked poached eggs on paper towels for a few seconds and gently dab dry the top and bottom before placing them on toast. Duh. No more soggy toast.”


“Steamed green vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, and spinach. They should be crunchy, not mushy. I always used to cook them for too long, but they don’t need any more than five minutes of steaming.”


“Fried rice. I always struggled with making it because I was using freshly cooked rice. It changed my life when I realized you’re supposed to use leftover rice so it doesn’t clump together.”


“Steak. It took me 35 years to make steak that doesn’t taste like shoe leather. Once I got a thermometer and learned a thing or two about culinary science, I realized that I don’t have to over-cook my meat. Even if it’s rare, it’s still safe to eat.”


“Alfredo sauce. Proper homemade Alfredo sauce is nothing like the heavy, gloppy, creamy stuff you see everywhere. It’s simple, tasty, and so much better than store-bought.”


“Tofu. So many people think you’re supposed to eat it plain and unseasoned, which is disgusting, so of course you’re going to think you don’t like tofu. But once you realize you can do sooo much with a block of tofu, you’ll see how tasty it is. Now I love to sauté tofu in vegetable oil with peppers and whatever assorted greens I have in my fridge, and it tastes wonderful.”

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“Tofu. If you do it right, it’s the most delightful little flavor sponge. If not, it’s a mushy and joyless mess.”



“Scallops. I thought all scallops had the texture of rubber bands until I worked in a restaurant. Turns out I was just over-cooking scallops my whole life. Once I had the pleasure of tasting prosciutto wrapped scallops in lemon caper butter sauce, my life was truly changed forever.”


“Salad. I grew up eating those horrible ’90s salads that were so in fashion (think: iceberg lettuce, sliced raw carrot, and cherry tomatoes with Italian dressing). I despised salads back then, but now I know how delicious salad can be when the vegetables are treated properly. I love a good grain bowl loaded with roasted veggies and kale or spinach.”


“Any fish like salmon, halibut, or cod. Most people either deep fry fish or they cook it for too long until it’s tasteless. But I’ve realized that cooking delicious fish is so easy. Just season it, lay it on a piece of tin foil, add a little bit of butter, and bake it in the oven. It never fails.”


“Grits. I’ve discovered this dish can be amazing, but you need to cook it for at least an hour and you must use cream. Otherwise it will come out disgusting. I’m convinced that instant grits were invented to keep Northerners out of the South.”


“Bacon. I always fried it in a skillet, but now I put it in the oven. The bacon shrinks much less, the grease doesn’t splatter, and you can make a bunch at one time.”


“Lasagna. I had always made it with cottage cheese because that’s how my mom made it. But then I learned the proper way is with ricotta, and it’s a world of difference. Now all I can think is why cottage cheese?”


“Chicken. My mom never marinated it or seasoned it. She would just bake or grill it plain so that it always tasted bland and dry. I started playing around with different marinades and realized that chicken can taste amazing. Now I make it at least twice a week.”


“Seared tuna. It makes me so angry when people cook tuna so it’s cooked almost all the way through. It should be cold and still red on the inside. What’s the point of buying sashimi-grade fish if you’re just going to kill it with heat.”


“Salmon. Growing up, I always ate salmon that was grilled until it was totally cooked through, dry, and falling apart. It wasn’t until I moved to the Pacific Northwest and started eating salmon often at restaurants that I understood how tasty a rare salmon fillet can be.”


“Asparagus. All I had as a kid was the canned, mushy, weird-tasting stuff. When I finally tried grilling asparagus, it was an entirely different experience.”


“Spiralized zucchini noodles. I used to overcook it so it got all mushy. Now, I throw zucchini noodles into a screaming hot pan just to get some fast color. Once charred, I add basil, olive oil, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and fresh Parmesan. It’s the best summer side dish ever.”


“Yams. My family only ever really ate sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, and they would always be topped with a layer of marshmallow. I don’t love sweets, so I avoided this dish every year. Then I got a job at a restaurant where I tried roasted yams with fresh garlic and herbs, and it totally changed my opinion on this root vegetable.”

What’s a food that you hated until you started cooking it another way? Tell us in the comments below!

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