Ask OXOnians: Our Biggest Cooking Challenges
Words Emily Connelly
When it comes to cooking, no two people are exactly alike (we’re pretty sure that’s what makes potlucks work so well). Chances are, though, you’ve run into a task (or many) that you find intimidating.
Despite our expertise, even OXOnians aren’t immune to this — so when we design products, we consider our own challenges and fears, too. We asked OXOnians what they get nervous about when it comes to cooking, and how they solve it.
The make-or-break element of your Eggs Benedict can be tough to tackle – almost every OXOnian we spoke with mentioned poaching eggs as a kitchen thorn in their side. Zab, our Junior Industrial Designer, explained: “I read [poaching] is the hardest way to make eggs,” and her experience proved that — time and again, she found herself attempting to poach eggs, only to end up frustrated, with nothing to show for her efforts but stringy whites or too-hard yolks. However, she soon discovered that at restaurants, she would order brunch dishes based on the presence of a poached egg, so she decided it was about time she learned to make them in her own kitchen. This is why Zab brought home the Silicone Egg Poacher (and a new sense of determination). The real game changer for her? A combination of the right tools and a little bit of research.
Zab says OXO’s Silicone Egg Poacher – in conjunction with very fresh eggs and a splash of white vinegar – has helped her gain confidence when it comes to topping breakfast with poached egg perfection. Her best advice? Give yourself time to test the Poacher so you know exactly how long it takes to cook the yolk to your perfect consistency.
Our next most popular response is practically universally acknowledged for being terrifying – preparing a Thanksgiving turkey.
Evelyn, our Quality Assurance Assistant, was in charge of prepping the bird this year. A self-proclaimed baker who acknowledges that her comfort zone ends before “anything that calls for raw meat and no measuring spoons,” Evelyn explained that the most important thing for her turkey was the brine – she let her bird sit in a bucket (literally) overnight before cooking it (with lots of butter). If the bucket o’ brine method seems unreasonable for your space, Engineer Mack uses a Flavor Injector to fill his bird with brine – the injection method results in tender, juicy meat and crispy skin.
Cooking Steak Indoors
Think steak is only for the grill? Joey on our PR team was intimidated by cooking steak indoors, until he met the Thermocouple Thermometer – now he feels confident cooking up the perfect medium rare piece of meat. He uses these tips and cooks the steak 10 degrees shy of his target temperature, then lets it rest for 10 minutes so juices redistribute. His best tip? Make sure you’re cooking somewhere with plenty of ventilation, since things will get smoky!
Using a Mandoline
Let’s face it – the mandoline can seem like a terrifying kitchen tool. But when used properly, it’s one of the most effective. Eric Stryker, our Category Manager on the Sales team, says he wasn’t truly confident using the tool until he had a cut-resistant glove (just in case!), although he says the Chef’s Mandoline 2.0’s extra large food holder also keeps his fingers perfectly protected while he slices.
Product Manager Shannon, who is a veritable mandoline expert after slicing over 100 lbs of potatoes during testing of the Chef’s Mandoline 2.0, says her best tip is to use the food holder and go fast (even though it may feel scary, the momentum over the blade will create an even cut with less pressure).
Even the basics, like cooking meat and slicing veggies, can be intimidating, but Griffin on our International Sales team has a kitchen fear of his own – he finds that when he sautés vegetables, he’s constantly trying to dodge flying bits of veggies when he tries to break them apart in the pan. When we asked Griffin how he solves for this, he explained: “The Ground Meat Chopper is my solution to this food hazard as it allows me the control and angle to break up firm veggies in the pan in a far more stable manner.”
Of course it’s great for ground meat as the name implies, but vegetarians need not feel excluded – as Griffin found, this tool is an omnivore’s delight.
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