Our very clever, very clothed Never Cook Naked columnists, Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein, are at your disposal, able to troubleshoot everything from questionable table etiquette to tricky cooking techniques (as well as, natch, proper cooking attire). Curious to read more solutions to culinary conundrums? You may wish to peruse previously asked questions, starting with the last column’s answers regarding the secret to nonstick grilling, what “reusable disposable” means, and the recurring question of how long you can safely leave meat at room temperature.
Dear Never Cook Naked Guys: When it comes to absentminded roommates, who’s worse—the roommate who routinely uses half an onion and lets the other half hang out on the counter until it rots and needs to be thrown out, or the roommate who always makes too much food and leaves the leftovers in sealed containers that quietly make their way to the back of the fridge and literally stay there for months?—Cranky In A Small Apartment
Dear Cranky: Since you asked, in our esteemed opinion it’s the half-an-onion-on-the-counter roommate. The rotting vegetable has been abandoned in public space. It’s now stinking up the kitchen. And it’s in everyone’s way. Yuck.
Why not the other roommate? Assuming he’s used his own container to store his food in the fridge, so be it. If the container’s sealed properly, it’s not going to do anything for a good while—other than get botulismic. But what he does in the privacy of his own containers is his own business.
If this sort of matter bothers you, forget about marriage. It’s this exact stuff squared. Maybe cubed. Plus forever. And with IRAs.
Dear Never Cook Naked Guys: We once made the most beautiful challah, but it tasted like soap. Turns out we’d proofed the dough in a bowl that had been washed but not adequately rinsed. How could something that still looked so yummy taste like a punishment from childhood?—Kibbutz Dropout
Dear Dropout: Have you ever been on a date with a gorgeous guy who turns out to be an idiot? We have. Repeatedly. So we learned pretty quickly that the way something looks is no guarantee of its quality. Else how would divorce attorneys find work?
Cooking is like romance. It’s all about what happens behind the scenes. In affairs of the heart, it’s really not about his house, his clothes, or his car. It’s about his grooming regimen, his showering habits.
Accordingly, with affairs of the stomach, it’s all about the behind-the-scenes prep. An otherwise lovely soup is ruined by chunks of vegetables too big to fit on a spoon. Cakes are destroyed by improper measuring. And you might as well mix shrimp paste into challah if the bowl is shmutsik.
Nothing’s for sure in this life. The best we can do is to cross our “t’s,” dot our “i’s,” see if he’s got ring around the collar, and rinse our mixing bowls thoroughly.
Got more questions? Good. We do, too. That is, more questions AND answers. In case you missed the mention above, for more cooking etiquette and enigmas explained, you can take a peek at previous columns from our Never Cook Naked Guys. Anything pertaining to food or drink goes. Well, anything within reason. But first, those previously tended-to questions we promised….