Don’t believe everything that you read online or hear in person. Just because something gets repeated over and over again does not make it true. This sort of misinformation isn’t just related to the news, however. You can even find it in the world of gastronomy.
The passionate members of the r/Cooking online community banded together to reveal the top cooking myths that continue to be shared. We’ve collected some of the most egregious ones to be aware of. Read on to check these myths out.
This is more diet than cooking but that fat is bad for you. Fat is flavor and nutrition
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When they open their recipe by saying “add garlic and onions to the pan and caramelize”…. Why do y’all like burnt garlic?
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When people say something isn’t healthy because it isn’t calorie free. “Pasta isn’t healthy. You should use spaghetti squash.” Or “rice isn’t healthy. You should use cauliflower.” I think there is a time and a place for those things, but carbohydrates are actually healthy for you.
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If, at some point in your life, you’ve believed any of these cooking myths, then you’re not alone. It’s a very natural thing. People tend to believe information that they’re exposed to on a constant basis. To put it simply, the more often we hear something, the more likely we are to think that it’s true.
This is known as the illusory truth effect, and it’s how misinformation spreads. We can fall victim to the effects of repetition even if we’re highly educated and self-aware. This is because we’re exposed to so much information in our day-to-day lives that we need to simplify the way we make decisions. The more often we come across certain claims, the more familiar we become with them, meaning we’re more inclined to see them as valid.
Don’t use salt on your raw steak, it will dry out the meat.
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“Put the avocado seed in your guacamole and it won’t turn brown.”
Technically true for the small patch of guac that the seed covers, but otherwise nonsense.
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Wash your meat. (For meat bought at a supermarket, etc… not talking about places where it’s actually necessary…)
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Avoiding the illusory truth effect comes down to having the time and energy to dig a little deeper. That means doing research, even about claims that we think are completely true. It helps to have a more nuanced position.
The general rule of thumb is that if you keep hearing the same claims over and over again, you may want to be slightly skeptical about them. We’ve seen this sort of misinformation in the food industry before.
Anything buzz words like gut health, flushes/cleanses, “unprocessed” food.
Saying MSG is fake and bad for you.
Not a cooking myth, but when someone has really bad knife skills I don’t trust their recipes or advice.
Edit: this was meant to refer to unsafe knife skills. Cutting on a slippery board. Holding the food with your fingers basically parallel/flat against it.
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“You can‘t cook with extra virgin olive oil.” Yes, you can, just don’t heat it past the smoke point.
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A lot of people have misunderstandings about the temperature of food and what is safe. Too many pork chops out there obliterated in the name of “safety”
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For example, last century, we saw lots of bad science and outright misinformation about all fats supposedly being bad for our health. As a result, many people started replacing the energy from fats with sugars. Fat-free foods are not automatically ‘healthier.’
Similarly, sugar isn’t somehow a purely evil supervillain, either. However, many people do eat too much sugar, which can lead to health problems down the line. We all need to avoid excess and embrace moderation in our diets. Too much of anything can be bad for us, whether that’s sugar, bad fats, or caffeine.
“Salting food is unnecessary and bad for you.”
i admit, i believed this for YEARS and never salted my food. and then i met my friend’s then-GF now wife. She was the one who told me why salting food is CRUCIAL. Hell, even desserts need to have salt
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“Don’t clean cast iron with dish soap” is the biggest one for me. Used to be true, but modern dish soap doesn’t contain the lye that was the cause of the seasoning stripping.
Note, if you keep up with your cast iron **LIKE YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO** you’re hardly ever going to need to use soap. Even then, it would be to remove any lingering flavors; Don’t want fish taste in your cobbler!
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“It doesn’t take long to caramelize onions”
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As soon as the word “superfood” appears, I’m out.
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“Don’t forget to put olive oil in your pasta water, otherwise your pasta will stick.”
If you want to prevent boil overs, use a bigger pot & don’t over fill it. This negates the need for the “spoon hack”.
An 8 quart pot is not unreasonable for a pound of dry pasta.
The “rolling boil” is for when you add the noodles to the water. It doesn’t have to bubble like a movie cauldron the whole time. Just turn it down a little. It will still visibly boil.
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The “Detox” trend.
It makes no sense as it’s your liver and kidneys that detox your body.
Just eat a balanced diet and you should be fine.
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Don’t use a meat thermometer, it’ll make the juices leak out
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MSG is bad for you
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Never put seafood and cheese together.
Boy, do you have some discoveries to make. Just put the *right* seafood and the *right* cheese together.
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Stop telling me a recipe takes 25 minutes to make.
It takes me that long to get the ingredients from the fridge and finding the right bowl. Then cleaning out the sink. Need to empty the dishwasher first. Make room on the kitchen bench….
“You can never have too much garlic..” Yes you can, especially in Italian food. Garlic is not a prominent ingredient.
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Use butter and olive oil together for a high smoke point. Somehow separately they have a lower smoke point but when combined magic happens? No.
I can’t believe some people don’t wash their mushrooms. It’s so disgusting. Rare burgers being ok to eat always gets me a side eye and a double side eye when they start complaining about getting the “stomach flu” a lot.
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 450º.
STEPs 2–15: Here’s 45 minutes of work to do while your oven was hot 35 minutes longer than it needed to be.
I may be wrong here, but I’m wiling to die on this hill – there is absolutely no such thing as air frying. What you are doing is convection baking.
— edit: I’m not knocking the appliance here, but the marketing gimmickry annoys the hell out of me. The appliances sold as “air fryers” are more efficient and better in a lot of ways, but stop calling it what it isn’t. This is why we all have trust issues!
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Maybe not a “myth” in the proper sense, but any time someone suggests their recipe guarantees “moist” or “not dry” chicken. Food in general, but definitely meat, is dry when it’s overcooked. If your chicken is constantly dry, it’s because you are doing something wrong. No two ways about it. Using a thermometer doesn’t make you less of a cook.
It’s not a myth exactly, but when people do too much parroting of certain food-isms, true or otherwise, I’m less likely to consider them a worthwhile source. It feels like they don’t have much experience-based knowledge, instead they’re just a collection of food video factoids and reddit comments. It’s all very
Also, non-bakers who do the “baking is a science, not an art” bit. Because most bakers I know and love know that there is actually a good degree of wiggle room when baking and you have to make a few common sense calls.
Cooking lore is like most knowledge- the Pareto principle applies. 80% of your good results probably come from 20% of the advice, but people aren’t always sure which 20% is good, so the whole body of knowledge gets handed down. Something being ineffective (like adding oil to pasta water) isn’t enough to get it removed from the body of knowledge- It’s not getting removed completely unless it is clearly *counter*productive.
That’s why I enjoy people who put all conventional wisdom to the test. A lot of it isn’t completely right, but some of it is.
Someone one told me they don’t use salt when they cook because “people can add salt to their own portion if they want”. Sorry no, that’s not how seasoning works.
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The MSG haters- it is not poison. It DOES have a place in my kitchen and I would miss it and notice the difference without it in a lot of recipes!
The “Detox” trend.
It makes no sense as it’s the normal function of your liver and kidneys that detox your body.
Just eat a balanced diet and you should be fine.
When people suggest eating pudding before you’ve eaten your meat.
That drinking “alkaline” water or foods is good for you. This trend is based on an experiment in essentially a Petrie dish showing cancer cells couldn’t survive at high pH. Know what else can’t survive at high pH? YOU! Your food is digested and your blood (which is pH buffered) stays at the same pH. If it didn’t you’d be in the hospital.
That salt bae is somehow talented or unique.