First of all, props to my man GI Joe who taught me, and many other kids of the 80s that knowing is half the battle.
Thank god for those public service announcements, right? But….what’s the other half?
GI Joe, my man, left me hanging.
Sometimes I read things or overhear conversations or listen to radio and it becomes obvious that something I thought was common knowledge to everyone, isn’t so.
This is a lesson that I continually remind myself of when preparing a lesson for class. After just over a year of teaching, I learned to not expect much. Now, that may sound harsh, but I think it is better to err on the side of starting too basic and building on a shared base of knowledge than to start too high and risk losing everyone from the get go.
But school? Work stuff? That’s a post for another blog. And talk of that nature is boorrrring.
However, this is also true outside of teaching. I often read extensive, detailed blog posts about something that I consider common or basic – a recipe, technique, idea, whathaveyou – that leaves me smacking myself in the forehead, shaking my head with wonder.
Isn’t that common knowledge?
Things I thought everyone knew:
1. How to boil an egg.
Maybe its because I eat a dozen hard boiled eggs every week (LOVE those little buggers), but I have a technique that works perfectly every time:
Fill a pot with eggs and enough water to just cover them. Bring water to boil and leave alone for 5 minutes. Remove pot from burner and cover for 5 minutes. Pour hot water out and cool eggs in ice water for 2-3 minutes. Peel and store for up to a week. They peel easily every time.
That whole thing about adding baking soda or salt or whatever else pepole say will make them easier to peel?
2. You eat the basil leaves not the flowers.
I won’t mention names here, for the sake of anonymity and extreme embarassment, but let’s just say that I’m not making this up.
3. You can freeze avocado.
Just remove the flesh from the skin and the pit, chop into pieces and store it in a ziplock. You can also mash it and freeze like that, but whatever way you do it, don’t use the thawed avocado to make guacamole, it won’t work.
I recently made a dip with frozen avocado and sweet peas mashed together and it was phenomenal.
4. Cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, gourds, and winter squashes are all in the same genus.
And they are all fruits.
5. Write on the glass jar, not the metal top when you label your storage jars.
When you make extra servings of soups or make a crap load of refridgerator pickles, you can and SHOULD label them with the name and date to identify them in 3 months when you are finally getting around to cleaning out your pantry. (Or for when you have no food for dinner and the grocery store is a ten-minute drive in -10 degree weather away.)
The Sharpie wipes off perfectly with just soapy water.
6. You can roast a whole head of garlic without all that cutting/oiling business.
My method: just take the whole thing and wrap it in tinfoil. Bake at about 425 for 30-40 minutes, cool, and then peel it. It takes the same amount of time, requires zero effort up front and tastes exactly the same.
Similarly, you can cook all the winter squashes whole as well. Just wash the skin, pierce them a few times with a fork, place whole thing on a cookie sheet, and bake at 450 for 40-60 minutes, depending on the size. I usually check it at about 30 minutes, rotating if necessary.
That’s all I can think of right now, but I’m sure there are plenty more.
What kinds of things do you do all the time that you assume are common knowledge? Have you ever met anyone who thought that the basil flowers were the part that everyone loves to eat?
Any tips or tricks that you learned recently and wondered how/why you never figured it out before?