Kitchen Wisdom Goes Both Ways

Mariel Goodson, a self-described fledgling chef and co-founder of cooking site Feast on the Cheap, has picked up kitchen techniques from mom Mary Anne Rittenhouse, a professional caterer and fellow co-founder, for as long as she’s been able to wield a spatula. But over the years they’ve spent at the stove, Mary Anne started learning a thing or two from her daughter as well. In honor of Mother’s Day, they shared (in their words) the culinary lessons that have made them better cooks—and brought them closer together. They also shared a recipe for Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with Cream Cheese Drizzle—perfect to make for your mom on Sunday.

Lessons Mariel Learned From Her Mom

1. Patience is the single most important skill to master when cooking. From reading a recipe completely before opening a cabinet to caramelizing onions over a low flame for at least 45 minutes, the more time you take, the better the meal.

2. To enjoy filet mignon on a burger budget, whip out the meat tenderizer. With a little elbow grease—and a spiked meat mallet like this—a tougher cut of sirloin becomes nearly as tender as a cut worth six times the price.

3. When it comes to baking (brownies, cakes, cookies) always bake for 5 minutes less than the recipe calls for. It’ll yield a moister, softer treat since dough continues to cook when removed from the oven and can easily dry out.

Lessons Mary Anne Learned From Her Daughter

1. Safety first! Instead of whacking the pit of a halved avocado with a large butcher’s knife like I used to, Mariel showed me the very practical technique of cutting the half with the pit in half once again. The pit pops out easily so you can safely dice.

2. We use our fair share of garlic and as a result we often have pretty stinky hands and cutting boards. Mariel taught me this really neat trick for crushed garlic that keeps everything reek-free: Using the handle of a large kitchen knife, smash peeled cloves of garlic in a zippered plastic bag.

3. Mariel saved the day during one of our shared baking adventures when she rescued a large bag of rock-hard, seemingly unusable dark brown sugar this way: Place the sugar into a microwave safe bowl, sprinkle with a teaspoon of water and then cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 20 to 30 second increments, breaking up the lumps along the way.

Get their Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with Cream Cheese Drizzle recipe here.

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