Food24 team shares cooking tips from our moms
Here are are our lasting cooking tips from mom.
Where would we be without our moms? Who would we be without their love and lessons? When it comes to kitchen wisdom, some moms are better versed than others, and that is okay. Luckily, moms come in more forms than one. There are the ‘deputy moms’ in our older sisters and the OGs of mothering in our grandmothers.
Looking back at some of our fondest memories in the kitchen, the Food24 team shares some of the cooking tips we got from the mother figures in our lives.
For Food24’s head of content, Tessa Purdon, this invaluable baking tip is one that has stuck with her. “My mom is a great baker and growing up I would often watch her making her legendary chocolate cakes. She would always measure everything incredibly precisely. One thing she repeatedly said was that you should always taste your cake batter before putting the cake tin in the oven, as you’ll know immediately if you’ve left something out and can quickly adjust – like the sugar, salt or hint of vanilla. Licking the bowl is kind of the same thing, just less intentional and more hedonistic, I suppose!”
Staying with baking, content producer Bianca Jones says her mom made great scones. “She always said the trick is to handle them very little. The more you work the mixture, the tougher the scones will be. You want to see chunks of butter sitting around in the dough. My mom learned that from her granny who was like the queen of scones – every Sunday after church was scone time.”
She adds another tip: “Never underestimate the value of a pressure cooker. My mom loved making stews and soups, and a pressure cooker helps speed up the cooking process and tenderises even the cheapest cut of meat.”
Commissioning editor Lauren Goldman says her mom makes the best tomato bredie and tuna lasagne. “The tip my mom taught me is to always add a pinch of sugar to tomato-based sauces or dishes because it balances the acidity of the tomato. I really believe this is key.”
For managing editor Lauren Josephs all her knockout cooking tips come from her grandmother. “My mother is not big on cooking, so my dad and I were the resident chefs in our home. My gran was an old-school cooking guru.” Here are the tips that she has inherited from her grandmother:
- Adding a dollop of butter to maize meal and mixing it in well adds to the rich, creamy texture and taste.
- For perfectly boiled potato, peel the vegetable, cut it in half and, using a sharp knife, make an incision in the middle of the potato before placing it into a pot with boiling water and some salt. This method cuts the boiling time in half.
- Garlic always gets added right before you’re about to add your meat, chicken or mince into the pot with the onions and other herbs and spices as garlic tends to burn quickly.
- When you’re boiling eggs, be sure to add a pinch of salt to the water before adding the eggs into the pot. This will prevent it from cracking.
- If you’ve added way too much salt to your soup, peel a potato and drop it into the pot of soup. The potato absorbs the excess salt.
As a nurse with hectic shifts, content producer Kgomotso Moncho-Maripane’s mom hardly cooked. So a lot of what she knows about cooking comes from her eldest sister. But on the occasions her mom did cook, her go-to meals were the comforting, traditional ones. For umngqusho (samp and beans) she would add a bit of the Holsum vegetable oil brick into the dish towards the end of the cook, for a glossy texture. Kgomotso says she has since remixed that with butter, which also works. And with no time to ferment mabele (sorghum) into ting (sour porridge) for our mabele soft porridge breakfast treat, her mom would add brown spirit vinegar to the soft porridge (also towards the end of the cook) to get that acidic zing that would come from fermentation. “Always by instinct with no measurement, this trick works for me every time,” she shares.