Some old wives’ tales never go out of style – like “a watched pot never boils” and “you are what you eat”. Just like some old-fashioned cooking tips are worth using in your modern kitchen. Some of these tips are aha, while others are smoke-but all are still relevant, despite the fact that home kitchens have all the latest gadgets and appliances.

We polled chefs and other culinary experts for their thoughts on whether these old-school techniques still hold up today, and they all responded with great enthusiasm. Here are 15 clever and creative old-fashioned cooking tips that still ring true. Get ready to be instantly transported to your grandmother’s kitchen with linoleum floors. Plus, don’t miss 15 old-fashioned cooking tips you should never use, and find out how 16 celebrities make the best oatmeal bowl.

cookie dough

This tip may be familiar, says Anne Grossman, founder of Rebel Daughter Cookies, but it’s worth repeating. “Chill the dough. If you want a thicker cookie, harden the butter before baking. In fact, try pre-kneading the dough and then freezing it and letting it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Place the cookies in a cold oven. give the butter a fighting chance against the hot oven.”

mix with a wooden spoon

A wooden spoon is softer and can be mixed better than metal or plastic spoons, says Michael Cook, retired chef, food connoisseur, former owner of two restaurants, and blogger at My Conscious Eating. A wooden spoon also doesn’t conduct heat, meaning you can use it to stir sauces without heating up too quickly.

vegetable scraps

Professional chefs do it all the time, and no doubt your grandmother did too. “Keep your leftovers, then boil them in a large pot of water for a homemade vegetable broth,” says Emily Eggers, Culinary Education Institute-trained chef and owner of Legally Healthy Blonde.

add salt to the pasta water

The salt helps the pasta bind with the sauce for a thicker consistency. “It’s also digested and absorbed into the pasta to give it extra flavor. No step should be missed,” says Aysegul Sanford of Foolproof Living.

combination of fruits and vegetables

“Fruit and vegetables that ripen at the same time of year taste great together,” says Clare Ivatt, founder of Kitchen Time Savers. Recipes that use these types of combinations will be the most successful – peppers combined with tomatoes, squash and sweet corn, and kale and squash are all great combinations.

pasta in vegetable broth

This classic Old World cooking technique from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region (considered the epicenter of Italian cuisine by chefs, historians and culinary travelers) is a must-have for home cooks. Use this tip when making fresh (not boxed) pasta, says chef Wendy Cacciatori, who hails from Bologna and owns Via Emilia 9 in Miami and Nonna Beppa.

In New York City. Most of his dishes have been passed down from his grandmother: tortellini en brodo, tagliatelle with bolognese sauce and hand-cut chicken breast with artichokes. “Water washes out the natural flavor of pasta,” says Wendy, “while broth—preferably vegetable and beef—adds substantial flavor to any pasta dish, even if you’re just serving it with butter and fresh cheese.”

chicken in milk

Because chicken tends to dry out during cooking, this is another classic Old World tip that results in delicious chicken. “As it absorbs, the milk helps soften and add moisture,” says Chef Wendy. “It also works well when cooking turkey.”

wash the cooked pasta

When you rinse it, wash away the starch. And the sauce won’t stick well to the pasta. “Alternatively, finish cooking the pasta in the sauce, with some of the reserved pasta cooking water,” says Brian Theis, author of the cookbook The Infinite Feast: How to Host The Ones You Love, and chef and food blogger at The Infinite Feast.

cook with senses

Rely on your senses as you cook – for smell, color, texture, taste – not just the recipe. “And always taste as you go,” says Theis.

sharpen the cooking knives

“A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife,” says Theis.

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brown your meat

If you are cooking beef or lamb, brown it in a pan before putting it in the oven to the desired temperature. “It will seal in the flavor and make sure that when the juices run out, they add flavor instead of going to waste,” says Christina Russo, Kitchen Community co-founder. It’s a tip she got from her grandmother, she says.

cook on low

When cooking a casserole or a stew in a pot, as long as there is enough liquid, the longer you cook it at a lower temperature, the better it will taste. “Long, low and slow was a rule my grandmother swore by, and it’s one I still stick to,” says Russo of The Kitchen Community.

mortar and pestle

This is an old-fashioned cooking tip that evokes childhood memories from Top Chef 18 and James Beard 2022 semifinalist Chris Viaud. As a child, Viaud helped his Haitian mother prepare dinner each night by grinding herbs and spices in a pestle or mortar. He still uses this technique in preparing his Ansanm Sunday dinners at Greenleaf, his restaurant in Milford, New Hampshire.

take your time when you cook

Read the entire recipe before you begin. “Rushing a recipe only increases your chances of messing things up—like skipping a step or using the wrong measurement,” says Lori Bogedin, chef/owner of Twigs Cafe.

fish stock

Ask your fishmonger about fish trimmings, which are the parts of fish left over after they have been filleted. “Homemade fish roe has subtle aromas and flavors that can’t be replicated in canned or boxed form from the supermarket,” says author Craig Fear. New England soups from the sea.

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