Kitchen Superstitions And Old Wives Tales?

Lounge By chubbyalaskagriz Updated 21 Aug 2010 , 7:27pm by Tiffany29

chubbyalaskagriz Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 10:39pm
post #1 of 25

I was a chef for years at Alaskan resorts and wilderness lodges, and for a period cooked at a fisherman's bunkhouse in Dutch Harbor way out on the Aleutian Island chain. It was bad luck to have bananas on board boats, so when packing box-lunches for crabbers and salmon fishermen leaving to board the vessels, we left bananas out.

As a young kitchen apprentice a chef trained me to always add a touch of milk to the boiling water that we cooked corn on the cobb in. He said it would keep the corn bright yellow and prevent it from fading and getting pale.

I never chill onions today 'cause a supersticious chef once told me that doing so would cause a female in your life to miscarry.

When cooking bean soup I always wait to add salt and tomatoes to the simmering beans at the very last minute 'cause I came up in kitchens being told salting early kept the beans tough and prevented them from getting tender (was told acid from tomatoes also caused toughness). Not sure if this is even true or not simply because I've never dared try NOT salting them at the very end!

Growing up, Dad always told us never to eat olives after supper-time because they caused bad dreams.

Are there any practices or tasks you perform in the kitchen just because that's how you've always done it- or been told to do it? But you're not quite sure even today that it's not just whacko superstition or an old wive's tale?

24 replies
Marina Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 10:46pm
post #2 of 25

My Abuelita always said don't eat raw potatoes because you'll get worms in your stomach icon_eek.gif

PiccoloChellie Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 5:30am
post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chubbyalaskagriz

When cooking bean soup I always wait to add salt and tomatoes to the simmering beans at the very last minute 'cause I came up in kitchens being told salting early kept the beans tough and prevented them from getting tender (was told acid from tomatoes also caused toughness). Not sure if this is even true or not simply because I've never dared try NOT salting them at the very end!




I put a pot of beans on about an hour ago with salt AND tomatoes. It's for beans & rice, not soup, but I make it the same way all the time and the beans are always tender, never tough. thumbs_up.gif


I won't let anyone touch my cast iron or my knives. I think I'm only superstitious that a person other than me handling my essential tools will screw 'em up, though. icon_lol.gif

Texas_Rose Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 6:14am
post #4 of 25

My stove has to face north. I don't have a reason for it, but every place that I've ever lived, the stove has faced north, except for one apartment, and I had the worst luck of my life the year I lived there.

I always add a pinch of baking soda to beans when I'm soaking them, to prevent gassiness.

This isn't exactly a cooking one, but once a year I put a line of salt, sage and cayenne pepper around the foundation of my house.

poohsmomma Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 12:13pm
post #5 of 25

My mom always added a pinch of sugar to green beans and peas so they don't taste "green". I still do it, even though I'm not sure what "green" tastes like.

I also add a little sugar to tomato dishes.

Kayakado Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 3:28pm
post #6 of 25

1. Eggs won't whip if there is a trace of yolk - not true, they just won't whip as high but not enough to matter.

2. If you over whip egg whites that's it throw them away...no, add a single unwhipped white and start again and make sure you stop before you overwhip again

My grandmother told us if we had milk in our tea we would get worms.

deijha Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 5:16pm
post #7 of 25

My grandmother and great grandmother were great believers in old folk tales. One I remember was if you were "on your period" you could not help do the canning. She said the jars would not seal properly and the food would spoil.
Jeanne

indydebi Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 10:05pm
post #8 of 25

When I was a kid,, I heard that "pinch of sugar in vegetables" (including mashed potatoes) was a "southern thang". Just a pinch, mind you.

I love hearing stories about people doing things but dont' know why. My sister tells the story of helping an aunt make salad. Sis starts tearing the outer lettuce leaves off like a wildman and Aunt says, "Whoa! Whoa! You're throwing half the lettuce away!" and explained that sis only needed to tear off the bad leaves..... the brown ones. Sis, who was about 10, explained "Mom always told us to tear the leaves off. She never told us why or how many ... just tear them off."

JaeRodriguez Posted 18 Aug 2010 , 1:37am
post #9 of 25

Texas why the stuff around your foundation?

Texas_Rose Posted 18 Aug 2010 , 2:14am
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaeRodriguez

Texas why the stuff around your foundation?




To keep bad things out icon_biggrin.gif We started doing that after our apartment was broken into, we wanted to come up with something to do to make our kids feel safe, a "ritual" they could participate in.

To keep unwanted guests from knocking on your door, bury a small glass jar full of sharp things like pins and tacks, hot spices, and salt in the ground near the door, with the lid end pointed away from the door.

JaeRodriguez Posted 18 Aug 2010 , 8:09pm
post #11 of 25

That's so cool! :] I will probably do that when I get moved out and my hubby is deployed! (If only to make myself feel more safe! haha)

Elcee Posted 19 Aug 2010 , 12:00am
post #12 of 25

I always cut off the ends of the cucumbers and rub them against the part I'm going to use before discarding them. Why? Because my mother does. Why does my mother do it? Because her mother did...and so on and so on. It's supposed to draw any bitterness out of the cucumber. icon_smile.gif

luvmysmoother Posted 19 Aug 2010 , 2:48pm
post #13 of 25

When I was young my mother told me I'd grow horns if I ate while lying down or on my side. I remember I used to keep touching my scalp to feel if I was growing horns too...old wives tales should be illegal if there isn't any truth in them. They can be traumatizingicon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 19 Aug 2010 , 2:51pm
post #14 of 25

This isn't kitchen related, but when I was in high school, I was an editor on our school newspaper and we did a story on superstitions.

Did you know .....?

If you sleep in a bean field overnight, you'll go crazy? icon_eek.gif

I kinda wondered how crazy you had to be to start with if you were going to sleep in a bean field!

kansaslaura Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 4:20am
post #15 of 25

Ok, this has got me thinking and I'm sure I'll come up with some others in time. But I remember hearing this as an example of why you question things.. but it fits into this thread.

A daughter was preparing ham for Sunday dinner. She takes out a large knife and proceeds to cut each end of the ham off and place it in her roaster. Her husband has seen her do this several times now and his curiosity has gotten the best of him and he asks why she always cuts the ends off the ham before baking.

She says it's because her mother did. So.. why did your mom do it?? She has no answer and calls her mom.

Her mother did it because HER mother did it, and a call goes out to Grandmother.

Grandmother did it because her roaster was too small to hold a whole ham.

icon_lol.gif

chubbyalaskagriz Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 5:40am
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kansaslaura

Ok, this has got me thinking and I'm sure I'll come up with some others in time. But I remember hearing this as an example of why you question things.. but it fits into this thread.

A daughter was preparing ham for Sunday dinner. She takes out a large knife and proceeds to cut each end of the ham off and place it in her roaster. Her husband has seen her do this several times now and his curiosity has gotten the best of him and he asks why she always cuts the ends off the ham before baking.

She says it's because her mother did. So.. why did your mom do it?? She has no answer and calls her mom.

Her mother did it because HER mother did it, and a call goes out to Grandmother.

Grandmother did it because her roaster was too small to hold a whole ham.

icon_lol.gif




I didn't see that one coming- HILARIOUS! icon_smile.gif

cutthecake Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 1:30pm
post #17 of 25

Don't put shoes on the table--doing so will cause bad luck.

kansaslaura Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 1:40pm
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutthecake

Don't put shoes on the table--doing so will cause bad luck.


It'll cause bad luck all right when I knock you upside the head for putting your shoes on the table!! icon_lol.gif

cutthecake Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 1:45pm
post #19 of 25

If you spill salt, throw some over your shoulder. Or something like that.

cutthecake Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 1:50pm
post #20 of 25

If you give a knife as a gift, it will cut or sever the relationship. So, you're supposed to give a penny with the knife so the recipient can give the penny back and pay for the knife.
I grew up hearing that you should give a penny with a knife, but I never knew why until I googled it and got the above explanation.

kansaslaura Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 2:11pm
post #21 of 25

I had forgotten about this-- Now this is my home kitchen, my broom, and yes it was standing like that--for a LONG time. It was leaning against the fridge and my son opened the door, and when he closed it the broom just stood there. Kinda expected it to start sweeping and singing like something out of a Disney movie.. (yea I know the kitchen is messy--had just done breakfast for the family..)

Sooo--what does this mean?? Or do we need to make something up--or is it a hint I need to tweak my moods or start using this for transportation?? icon_lol.gif

Image

cutthecake Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 2:40pm
post #22 of 25

Zippidty doo dah! That's a Disney moment, isn't it!

jmchao Posted 21 Aug 2010 , 3:23am
post #23 of 25

My grandma used to tell us that if you were washing/drying/putting away silverware and drop something, it means you'd have company. Each piece, fork/knife/spoon, meant either male, female or a couple.

Bluehue Posted 21 Aug 2010 , 10:06am
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose



This isn't exactly a cooking one, but once a year I put a line of salt, sage and cayenne pepper around the foundation of my house.




Amazing icon_surprised.gif - i have 2 friends who do that exact same thing over here in Oz - apparently it keeps *bad spirits* away....and once a year they burn white candles circled around a bowl of salt - as that aparently drives out any bad karma that could be in the house - due to arguments - large debt - previous illness in the household - or people who were not invited and yet insisted on entering your home - icon_surprised.gif as you wrote that your apartment was broken into -
The salt is meant to absorb anything bad thats looming in the house...

Taught never store/eat left over raw onion - or potatoes that have a tinge of green - both are the most dangerous for expecing mothers -
Was told that again many years later when doing my nursing - two greatest causes for miscarriage....during the first 3 months.

Also told that if you have a little whitch figurine hiding in your kitchen somewhere - you will never have a burnt pot.
I have had a little silver witch hiding in my kitchen for many many years - never had a burnt pot - not sure if it was due to her or just me racing to the stove in time - icon_wink.gificon_lol.gif

Bluehue

Tiffany29 Posted 21 Aug 2010 , 7:27pm
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kansaslaura

Quote:
Originally Posted by cutthecake

Don't put shoes on the table--doing so will cause bad luck.

It'll cause bad luck all right when I knock you upside the head for putting your shoes on the table!! icon_lol.gif




Exactly what I was gonna say!

My stepmom does the knife thing. She NEVER loans them out. You HAVE to give her a nickel for it. She covers them up at night too, so if anyone breaks in they aren't easily spotted.

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