They say grandma knows best – find out for yourself whether that’s true by trying these traditional French solutions to some common kitchen problems. Merci, mamie!

GET RID OF BAD SMELLS

Put a bowl of white vinegar in the kitchen and it will absorb all those malingering cooking odours, from fish to onions to cabbage. Phew, that’s better!

RESCUE OVER-SEASONED DISHES

If you’ve been a bit heavy-handed with the salt or the chilli powder, don’t panic – peel a potato, pop it in the dish and leave it to do its work − it will absorb the excess spices. Just remember to remove the potato before serving…

PEEL ONIONS WITHOUT THE TEARS

Put some water in your mouth and hold it there while you chop your onions – the stinging tear gas will be absorbed by the water in your mouth rather than your tear ducts.

Grating butter

SOFTEN BUTTER QUICKLY

Need soft butter to make a cake and no time to wait for it to soften at room temperature? Or perhaps you just forgot to take it out of the fridge. Speed up the process by grating the butter and it’s ready to use straight away.

STOP POTATOES SPROUTING

Pop an apple in with your potatoes and store them in a dry, cool, dark place and they will stay firmer for longer and won’t develop those pesky sprouts.

MAKE FRUIT LAST LONGER

Take a cork, cut it in half and pop it in your fruit bowl – it will absorb the excess water from the fruit so it won’t turn black and rot as quickly.

FINAL TASTE BANNER

10 COMMENTS

    • Wine bottles don’t have real corks anymore. They’re all some kind of composite material. I don’t suppose that works as well.

  1. Revitalise stale baguettes by applying a very light layer of water to the surface using your hands, and then put in a 180c oven for 10-12mins.

  2. May try the cork in my fruit bowl. I find when peeling an onion I do not cut off the bottom of the onion (the root) my eyes are not affected by the onion fumes.
    There are also a Special Eye Glass’s one can buy for peeling onions .
    Good Luck

  3. Not traditional, but in prep I peel and chop onions on a cutting board right under the fan on medium setting on the stovetop; it takes all the tear-inducing fumes upward and no more tears.

  4. To avoid tears while peeling onions, try setting up your cutting board on the stove beneath a hood vent, run the vent and it will draw the fumes up and away…

  5. I knew about the potato for too much salt, etc., but not about the cork for fruit!
    Biscuit-making has definitely benefited from grating the butter into the flour. Light, high-rising biscuits!

    Merci!

  6. At 80 + years of age I am just learning the innuendos of the culinary arts. Thank you for the tips. Also love French cheeses but no where near being a connoisseur….. HELP When in the South of France there was a cheese I used to buy Cantel…. mayn’t be the correct spelling, distant memories are somewhat vague….. only know I enjoyed it.

    Thank you for bringing me into the world of haut cuisine minimally for this world traveller maybe who is fascinated to take a peak into haut cuisine momentarily. Merci

    Fond memories of attending Karen”n presentations par excellence many years ago. Never went on a cuisine cruise with her….. one of my bucket list dreams.
    Sincerely,

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