What are your bad habits in the kitchen?

In a perfect food world, there would never be any cross contamination, surfaces would remain pristine, and everyone would religiously follow food safety rules. In the real world, however, nothing’s perfect – including Jay Rayner. He confesses to some “unsavoury” habits in the kitchen, but he feels secure that he is in good company.

Rayner shares that while filming a cooking segment for television, he was not paying as much attention as he should have to the actual cooking, but instead worried about not breaking any kitchen sanitation rules such as licking the spoon or worse yet, his fingers. He notes that while people might be aghast at that happening with cooks on a television show or chefs in a commercial setting, most of us probably break these food safety rules (and more) at home. Rayner admits to double-dipping and finger licking in the comfort of his home kitchen, but feels that is just fine. “The fact is, home cooks are not the same as the people who get paid for it, and hooray for that.”

I admit to flaunting food safety rules in the kitchen. I eat raw cookie dough and on occasion reuse a spoon when tasting a soup or stew. My theory on the latter is that the soup is happily bubbling away at a temperature well above anything needed to kill any germs (although I usually rinse the spoon anyway for good measure). The television show Mythbusters tackled the practice of “double dipping” a few years back so even though I don’t do it when out, I don’t get upset if I see someone else double dip. Do you have any bad habits at home in the kitchen?

Post a comment


  • tmjellicoe  on  May 18, 2023

    Oh boy, do I! Using the spoon over and over and a finger to taste test is at the top.

    Many years ago, my mom was making potato salad dressing and she, me, and my sister all dipped our fingers in while a friend of my sister watched with horror. We peer pressured her into dipping as well telling her it added to the flavour. πŸ˜„

  • Indio32  on  May 19, 2023

    Still remember years ago when a host dropped a roast chicken on the floor in front of all us guests. Picked it up said something about “the 5 second rule” and carried on as if nothing had happened. They had 2 dogs about and everyone was wearing outside shoes.

  • averythingcooks  on  May 19, 2023

    My biggest rule (phobia?) that I do follow is that anything in contact with raw poultry gets cleaned before touching anything else…cutting boards, knives, hands etc. But yes, I too am a liberal “multiuse use spoon taster” and raw dough eater πŸ™‚
    I do remember having friends over and as I was finishing up dinner prep, one asked if there was more butter for the table. Without turning around, I replied that there was lots on the table. When he replied “well then, none for us but thanks anyways”, I turned to see the cat on table, happily licking away at the butter dish:)

  • Jane  on  May 19, 2023

    I’m guilty of everything Jay owns up to (and more). Whenever my kids raised some objection to my kitchen habits I pointed out I had never given them any kind of tummy bug.

  • FunkyViriditas  on  May 19, 2023

    I’m a huge germ-a-phobe! Anything dropped on the floor gets rinsed. Tasting spoons get rinsed, never dipped back into the food. And, at family dinners, I’m the first one to grab the tin foil and tupperware to put all the food away.

  • gamulholland  on  May 20, 2023

    We go through butter at a rate of knots, so my husband keeps it out on the counter β€” a stick of butter at room temperature in a ramekin, for us and the kids to use. Oh, and the parakeet. It’s his favorite food. And we don’t clean off the part with tiny parakeet nibbles before eating the butter. πŸ™‚ Probably a pretty minor bad habit, since Pippin, the parakeet, weighs 42g (2.2 oz) and is tiny. πŸ™‚

  • ellabee  on  May 25, 2023

    I flout the rule about not eating raw batter/cookie dough, now that I regularly make quick breads. But the truly excellent silicone spatula I got myself a year ago leaves so little behind that the “dose” is surely below danger levels. [Also: eggs in batters are from local, human-scale chicken keepers rather than industrial producers, and never cracked on the mixing bowl.]

  • slimmer  on  May 27, 2023

    In my younger days I used the same cutting board for the protein & veg, figuring it was OK because it was all going to be cooked in the same pan anyway. Now I’m a little more conscientious. Either I cut the veg first, or I flip the board (and rest the dirty side on a towel that later goes into trash or wash).

  • valente347  on  June 8, 2023

    Poultry is where I’m extra conscientious, but at home I taste test many foods while cooking using fingers or reusing spoons. Raw animal proteins are separated from food to be eaten fresh, but I’ll taste a tiny bit of raw meat loaf if I’ve ground the meat myself.

    Food that ends up on the floor is nearly always trash. And if I’m cooking for an event or to give away, I am very meticulous out of respect for the recipients.

  • bittrette  on  June 20, 2023

    So you flaunt food safety rules? Isn’t this blog post about flouting them?

  • bittrette  on  June 20, 2023

    I don’t reuse spoons that I use for tasting, but I have another somewhat bad habit. If I see a dish in the dish drain with a speck or two of dried-on food, I don’t put it back in the cabinet, but I don’t rewash the dish either – at least not right away. I leave it in the drain and use it for the next meal , letting one rewashing suffice for two meals.

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!