Living in the real world, everyone knows the basic rules that need to be followed – don’t cheat on that exam you forgot to study for, don’t steal your roommate’s leftover Chipotle, don’t punch a random stranger in the face. You get the point. There are obvious rights and wrongs in the world that everyone recognizes.
In similar fashion, there are rules that need to be followed in the food world as well. Here are a couple do’s and don’ts you need to get one step closer to certified foodie status. Beware, you may have committed a few of these food sins in your life already.
1. Ketchup is an Unacceptable Condiment on a Hot Dog
From the dirty water dogs being sold on the streets of NYC to the classic Chicago-style hot dog, one should never top their frankfurter with ketchup. Mustard is the condiment of choice for sausage purists. Some people may enjoy a sprinkling of chopped onions on their hot dog while others will go all out and drown it in chili – these are all acceptable. But to put it simply, meat in tube-form should never be dressed with ketchup.
2. Tacos, Burgers, Pizza = Greasy Fingers. Deal With It
From a simple taco to a juicy burger to a slice of pizza, use your hands. Don’t try to look fancy. There’s a reason silverware isn’t ordinarily available when eating these simple foods, and that’s because the only one way to eat them is with your hands. The mark of a good burger is when the juice starts running down your arm. That grease trail is a badge of honor letting everyone else know you just had a kick-ass burger. A small footnote, I’m probably going to piss off a few Chicagoans by saying this, but I don’t count deep dish pizza as technically pizza because that is a guaranteed fork and knife job.
3. Don’t Ever Order Well-Done
Most meat eaters will tell you that medium-rare is the perfect temperature to order your steak. Personally, I like my steak as bloody as possible; the rarer the better. You definitely want to have some pink in the middle of your steak, so honestly, don’t ever order your steak well-done. Steak needs to be juicy, tender and fatty. It you’re going to order well-done I recommend just getting the chicken. That poor cow has been through enough already. Check out this recipe for a fancy steak dinner.
4. Wine and Ice Cubes Don’t Mix
So maybe you want a little wine with that steak. A nice red would probably work best by perfectly playing off the robust flavors of the red meat. You’ve got a nice bottle you’ve been saving for that special occasion, but you forgot to let it chill in the fridge. What do you do? Well, the one thing you never want to do is drop an ice cube into that fancy wine glass. Sure, the wine will get a bit colder but with every passing second you are slowly diluting that expensive wine with water. So please, just remember to put the bottle in the fridge next time. Here’s a quick article to sharpen up your wine lingo.
5. The Sacred Rules of Pasta
Two simple rules for pasta: 1) don’t ever rinse your pasta when you take it out of the boiling water, 2) don’t ever cut your spaghetti. If you adhere to these two simple rules you’ll never run the risk of having an Italian nonna ever trying to smack you upside the head. Rinsing your pasta under water washes away the starches that you need to help marry that glorious Sunday gravy into a single harmonious dish. And honestly, twirl your spaghetti. Anytime someone cuts their spaghetti I know an Italian is crying deep down inside – it’s sacrilege.
6. Let the Seafood Shine
Everyone knows that seafood should be eaten at the peak of freshness. You want that freshness to shine through whether you’re eating a beautifully seared piece of tuna or a classic linguine with white clam sauce. Seafood needs to be the star of the dish no matter what. That’s why it is absolutely imperative that you not add cheese to your seafood. The cheese will mask the freshness of the seafood, and in all likelihood you’ll probably be tasting more cheese than seafood in your dish. You don’t want to pay for that expensive lobster dinner and not actually be able to taste that sweet lobster meat.
7. Gambling with Gas Station Sushi
Sushi is one of those foods everyone seems to brag about eating. OMG…you had sushi for lunch? Where from? The worst answer you can give is that you bought sushi from a convenience store or, even worse, from a gas station. I’m not here to judge, but if you’re going to have sushi I urge you to just splurge at a well-respected Japanese restaurant. Eat at the bar, have a little sake and order all the fresh seafood your belly can handle. Do you really want to take the risk and eat sushi that’s probably been sitting in the cooler for days? Here’s how you’re really supposed to eat sushi.
8. Caviar is for Fancy Pants
I haven’t eaten too much caviar in my life (the stuff is crazy expensive) but when those moments come I am prepared. One of the biggest no-no’s when eating caviar is to use a metal or silver spoon. When caviar comes into contact with anything metal it actually oxidizes and changes the flavor of those little briny orbs from the deep blue sea. It takes on a metallic flavor overpowering the oceanic salty qualities you should actually be experiencing. Most restaurants actually serve caviar using a little plastic spoon, but if you’re lucky they’ll actually serve it with a pearl spoon.