People Share The Worst Cooking Beliefs Their Parents Taught Them

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit
Someone stirring a pot of food.
Unsplash | Douglas Fehr

When you're a kid, you have little say in what your diet ends up being. That's probably for the better, seeing as if kids got to choose they'd probably have a meal plan of candy and pizza, but that doesn't mean every parent chose exactly right either.

This list, inspired by a post on the cooking subreddit in which someone asked what the worst food-related beliefs peoples' parents had, shares some of those stories.

Drying it out.

A raw cut of meat on a cutting board with some sprigs of rosemary.
Unsplash | Jez Timms

"That meat has to be cooked to a point of total shoe-leather dryness in order to be 'safe' to eat. Neither of my parents would touch a piece of chicken that wasn't [desiccated] through and through nor a piece of beef with a touch of pink."

Nothing beats the original.

A shot of cubed and diced potatoes.
Unsplash | Gilberto Olimpio

"For my entire childhood, I thought mashed potatoes came in a box."

I'm actually a fan of boxed mashed potatoes because there's something wrong with my tastebuds, but there's no denying that proper, real mashed potatoes blow those box mixes out of the water.

Cutting down cooking time.

A plate of hardboiled eggs cut in half atop a green checkered tablecloth.
Unsplash | Tamanna Rumee

"Their method for hard boiled eggs: start them in cold water, boil for 15 minutes, then wait til the water cools to remove them. Gross grey yolks every time. [...] you can boil a perfect egg in 12 minutes, less time if you prefer a jammier yolk. you do not need to waste an hour to make hardboiled eggs buddy."

To a crisp.

Someone cooking burger patties on a barbeque.
Unsplash | Zac Cain

"It took me an entire summer of owning my own barbecue to learn that barbecued does not mean charred past recognition."

Isn't it amazing? When you barbecue things, they can actually have flavor, color, and texture that isn't synonymous with coal!

A whole new world.

A loaf of bread with a slice cut off and a small cube of butter placed on top.
Unsplash | Neetu Laddha

"My entire childhood we had margarine. I thought [restaurants] had some special technique to make their butter taste good. Turns out it was just regular salted butter."

I was the opposite. I'm a notorious margarine lover but never got to try it until later in life, it opened a whole new world for me, especially being able to spread it on bread without the struggle!


A bowl of white mushrooms in a bowl on a kitchen counter with some fresh herbs around the bowl.
Unsplash | Thanh Soledas

"My dad always told me that mushrooms should be added to the dish at the very last minute and barely cooked. I always thought I didn’t really like mushrooms. When I finally ate mushrooms which had been sautéed golden brown I was blown away. Turns out they are way better fully cooked!"

Around and around.

Someone stirring a pot of food.
Unsplash | Douglas Fehr

"When baking, stir everything clockwise or it will be bad."

This is just pure superstition. Or maybe it's witchcraft? Either way, you can stir your food however you want unless you're casting a spell that calls for a certain direction.

Slip 'n' slide.

Dry spaghettis noodles in a pot.
Unsplash | Christine Sandu

"Putting oil in your pasta water keeps the pasta from sticking to itself. This does nothing but waste oil. If you want to keep your pasta from sticking together stir it periodically and when it’s done drain it and put it right into your sauce."


Two hands holding a bundle of potatoes.

"If you don’t have a potato then it is not an actual meal. It wasn’t exactly true then but that was what they knew."

Potatoes are a staple food, sure, and make a great side, but that doesn't mean they need to be had with everything. No, not even if you wish that was true.

Severe consequences.

A black wire basket full of eggs.
Unsplash | Natalie Rhea

"No more than three eggs per week, or you'd die of heat failure from the cholesterol."

Apparently, this was a pretty common belief back in the '60s, and lasted for a few decades afterwards before everyone realized oh, this isn't true at all.

Too many steps.

Chicken quarters laid out on a grill.
Unsplash | Daniel Hooper

"My parents boil any meat that they’re going to 'cook' on the grill because it won’t cook all the way through on a grill. And this is why I thought I hated BBQed chicken. Few years ago I threw a BBQ for them, my Dad insisted I was going to kill them by just grilling the chicken and pork. Then they said, best grilled chicken and pork they ever had. I also grilled the corn on the cob which they thought was some kind of miracle."

The proper preperation.

A center cut of salmon.
Unsplash | Karyna Panchenko

"Salmon. My mom was a decent cook but I thought I detested that nasty dry stuff until I had salmon at a restaurant once and was like holy [expletive], THIS is salmon??"

I also vividly remember the first time I ate good salmon, it's something magical.


A bunch of lemons in a tree.
Unsplash | Ernest Porzi

"You can't drink milk while eating anything with lemon or it will curdle in your stomach and make you severely sick!"

Ew! Just, ew. The thought of that is extremely nasty, so no wonder it would freak kids out. It's freaking this adult out and I know it's fake!

Alternative sweetener.

A bowl containing spaghetti  and meatballs coated in red sauce,
Unsplash | Max Griss

"My dad, whose mother is from Sicily, was really offended when my future SIL sweetened her Bolognese sauce with carrots. I did a little research on a standard Italian sofrito, and it includes carrots. I've since modified my recipe, swapping sugar for carrots, and I think it improves the flavor."

A little less time.

Bacon frying on a pan.
Unsplash | Michelle @New Layer Photography

"Bacon. I assumed it was the solid food equivalent of coffee when I was a kid - smells amazing, tastes like bitter, burnt ashes. My parents err on the side of burnt, and sometimes they err hard. When I was 12 my buddy made us some for breakfast after a sleepover and pulled it off the heat almost still pink and my mind was blown."