10 Food Hacks That Are Actually Dangerous
In the modern age that we live in, we’re all looking for quicker and easier ways to do things. The ‘Life Hack’ culture has exploded in recent years as we all want to learn tricks to make life easier, and that goes for food too. However, not all of them work! Here are 10 Food Hacks That Are Actually Dangerous.
10. Toaster Grilled Cheese
In theory, there’s nothing easier than making a grilled cheese. Just put some butter on two pieces of bread, slip a slice of good ol’ American cheese in between, fry it up in the pan for a few minutes, and voila! You’ve got yourself an easy, quick, and tasty snack you can eat at any time of the day. It’s pretty hard to imagine this simple recipe getting any easier, right? Well, apparently, people online managed to find a way. With this hack, you no longer need an stove; all you need is a toaster – placed on its side. On the surface, turning your toaster into your trusty grilled cheese press sounds like a pretty good idea. After all, it is designed to toast bread. However, the reality is much scarier. You see, in order to do this hack properly, you simply need to put the cheese on top of a slice of bread and load it in your sideways toaster, cheese-side-up. With such a straightforward approach, what could possibly go wrong? Let us tell you – a lot. As more and more people tried this time-saver grilled cheese trick, more and more people have come forward, begging others not to give this one a try. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – they’re all filled with warnings. Everything from burnt bread, melted cheese all over the place, to small kitchen fires is a possible outcome. So unless you’ve got a solid warranty on your toaster, stick with the good old pan.
9. “Easier” Pasta Draining
Have you ever done something over and over for years before being told you were doing it wrong? Well, that’s how people felt when this pasta draining hack began circulating back in 2017. Usually, draining pasta water is supposed to be as easy as pie – it’s practically one of the first things you learn in the kitchen as a kid. Even though it doesn’t really seem like there could be many ways to do it, apparently, what you were doing all this time was only making your life harder. So, when the word got out that you could drain your pasta a “better” way, with less risk of injury, no one questioned it. Instead of pouring your pot of pasta and boiling water into the colander, you switch up the roles, meaning you place the colander inside the saucepan and turn it upside down. But, before you go on and make yourself some spaghetti to test the theory, we’ll save you the trouble as this hack is even more hazardous than the traditional way. The director of culinary research for the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, James Briscione, had a lot to say about this so-called hack. Not only is it not safe at all, but you always run the risk of melting the colander and ruining your pot, depending on how hot the water is. This method does not save on dishes or time, nor does it make you look more sophisticated – especially if your colander isn’t the right size for your pot.
8. Salmon In The Dishwasher
We know what you’re thinking: wait? what?! Eating salmon from the dishwasher? That’s a thing? As surprising as it might be, yes, there is such a thing as cooking food using the dishwasher, and no, it’s not a very good idea. You know how they say,” just because you can, doesn’t mean you should?” Well, this applies perfectly here. You simply seal up a salmon in foil then run the wash cycle in the dishwasher. The steam and the hot water will gently cook the salmon and have it ready in about two hours, depending on how long your dishwasher cycles are. Could you have the same poached, super-tender fillet in under 30 minutes if you simply made it the regular way? Perhaps, but where is the fun in that? As it turns out, the fun would be in the lack of harmful bacteria your dishwasher can carry. Indeed, if your dishwasher doesn’t come to a high enough temperature, you could find yourself at risk of getting a food-borne illness. While most dishwashers are supposed to reach 170 degrees – which is enough to cook fish – they are not usually programmed to report accurate temperatures, making it hard to know if your salmon is really cooked or not. And, if you don’t wrap your fish correctly, leftover food debris or even soap could get into the foil and ruin your dinner. Plus, hello, fishy-smelling dishes for weeks to come.
7. Bagged Omelet
When you need to make breakfast for a large group, stress and desperation might lead you to take shortcuts in your preparation process. While the feelings are understandable, you probably shouldn’t turn to every hack you find online claiming to help you. For instance, the omelet in a bag trick. All you need to do is crack some eggs into a Ziploc bag and add all the ingredients you want in your hearty breakfast, like ham, cheese, or vegetables, shake it up, then throw it in a pot of boiling water. It sounds like the perfect solution, right? But, think again, this time-saving method might actually be harmful to your health. A lot of research has shown that there are damaging chemicals that can leak into your food, as boiling plastic is not the best thing to do. Scientists have found that Bisphenol A (BPA), which is known to increase the risk of cancer, is very likely to end up in your omelet. And, while some plastic bags do not contain any BPA, there is more than one type of chemical that can find its way into your food. Unless you want to give yourself and your guests food poisoning or long-term health issues, skip the Ziploc hack and cook your eggs the old-fashioned way – you don’t want to end up with a melted bag and a watery omelet.
6. Meat Defrosting
How many times have you been faced with the realization that you forgot to take the meat out of the freezer for dinner? You were specifically told to take it out last night and put it in the fridge, but yet, here you are with frozen chicken. Your first instinct might be to panic and do something rash, but trust us, you’re better off making something else for dinner and avoid cutting corners with this one. Again, this is all about saving some precious time. When faced with this dilemma, some people online will advise you to just pop that meat in the microwave, and you’ll be good to go in a couple of minutes. However, what they don’t tell you is that defrosting your meat in the microwave isn’t the safest way to do so. Microwaves are not ideal when it comes to thawing out meat because they don’t heat up evenly, therefore, some areas of the meat might become too hot and start to cook, meaning you run the risk of overcooking it. It can also quickly bring your meat into the “danger zone,” in which bacteria multiply most rapidly. If you plan on cooking it immediately after, you might still be safe. But the ultimate no-no would be to defrost it with a hairdryer. Yes, it’s a thing people do online, and no, it’s not recommended. Not only will it take forever, but you’ll have the same exact danger as with the microwave. Just leave it out in the fridge overnight, it’s the best and safer way.
5. Deep-Fried Turkey
When Thanksgiving rolls around, so does all of the stress and pressure in preparing the feast. The whole day consists of hours and hours of nervously cooking tons of dishes to create the perfect meal, but the “piece de resistance” is of course, the turkey. It’s also the item that takes the longest to cook and causes the most anxiety. Wouldn’t it be great to get rid of all that burden and have it cook in a fraction of the usual time and be done with it? Why yes, it would, but unless you want a fiery situation on your hands, you might want to take your sweet time preparing your turkey. It has become somewhat of a trend to deep-fry your turkey in a bucket of oil. Yes, deep-frying your bird does look like a very tasty alternative, but you might want to think twice about going through with it. Every year, fire departments issue warnings against the practice, and for very good reason. An open flame and oil is the perfect recipe for disaster, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. You need to keep a constant eye on the bird and never leave it unattended; otherwise, it’s like inviting an accident with open arms. Not only is it a complicated process, but it also needs to be done perfectly, from the oil temperament to the equipment. Plus, if the turkey isn’t thawed properly or contains too much water, it’ll most likely just combust when it comes in contact with the hot oil. Just don’t do it – it’s not worth it.
4. Instant Dulce De Leche
Unless you’re an avid dessert fan, you might not be familiar with this next hack. Don’t worry; it’s probably a good thing that you’re not. For years, this instant dulce de leche hack has been popping up as one of the greatest dessert shortcuts, and even though it does seem like a winner, it’s not recommended to try. All you need for this is an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot of boiling water and a few hours to kill, and bam! Homemade, easy, and supposedly tasty dulce de leche you can add to all of your favorite recipes. The only problem with this hack is the safety aspect. Milk manufacturer Borden, Inc. has been advising people for decades to stop using this technique to make the sweet treat because you could find yourself with a sweetened condensed milk explosion all over your kitchen. Apparently, certain brands of milk, like Eagle Brand, are not designed to withstand high temperatures and can cause heat expansion inside the can, which can lead to serious injury. If you do happen to find the perfect brand of milk, there are still some risks. If you open the can while it’s still too hot, the pressure inside will most likely result in a dulce de leche hot shower for the whole kitchen. You might be better off finding another way to make your sweet dessert.
3. Blow Torch Wine
Looking for a way to add some pep to your Friday night dinner with your friends and family? Please do anything but try the blow torch wine hack. This unconventional technique has been going around the internet for some time now and some less than desirable outcomes have resulted from this. It is meant for when you want to open your bottle of wine but don’t have a corkscrew on hand. While it is possible to do the job without one, the most dangerous method has got to be the blow torch one. It’s pretty obvious why: fire and glass do not exactly make the best of friends. The idea is to heat the glass just below the cork, and the air will expand underneath and push the cork out. Many people have filmed their attempts and shared them online, and while yes, it did open the bottle, it has also made bottles explode and send glass flying in the process. Another very bad idea? Trying to remove the cork by placing the neck of the bottle over the gas flame of your oven. Again, proving that glass and any type of fire should never play together. If you really want to save yourself some trouble, just buy a darn corkscrew already!
2. Garlic Peeler
Garlic is arguably one of the most popular and beloved ingredients to make any dish better. The only problem? It can be quite a hassle to peel the entire bulb all the time. Thankfully – or not – in 2019, a video went viral on Twitter showing a seemingly very practical new way of peeling garlic, and it left everybody shocked. Basically, what you do is hold the garlic bulb in one hand, rotate it, and carefully jab each section with a knife to remove the individual clove, one by one. Yes, the hack obviously works and saves a lot of time, but is it safe? That’s where cooks have an issue. Frank Proto, director of culinary operations at the Institute of Culinary Education, strongly discourages novice cooks from trying out this hack as it could land them in the hospital, just like with the dreaded “avocado hand” from a few years ago. If you’re not comfortable enough to handle the sharp kitchen knife, exposing yourself to unnecessary injury would be foolish. Proto explained that it doesn’t take a lot of pressure for the garlic clove to come out, so the slipping in shouldn’t be too much of a problem; it’s more about the insertion of the knife that could result in some involuntary stabbing and create a new wave of “garlic bulb hands.”
1. Can Opening
Once again, a hack to make you question your whole existence. Just think about this: how do you normally open your cans? Do you put the opener on the side of the can like everybody else? If so, we’re here to tell you that you’ve been doing it wrong all of your life. At least, according to a video that went viral a couple of years back. Apparently, you’re supposed to put the handle on top of the can, which would allow the lid to come off without falling inside. A lot of people were quick to try out this revolutionizing hack, and they were also quick to realize that this “right method” wasn’t exactly the best way to open a can. Not only does this technique leave you with little bits of the paper label in your food, but it also creates a dangerous metal jagged edge, designed to lead to serious injuries if you’re not careful enough. If you know what you’re doing and use a separate utensil like a fork or spoon to remove the detached lid, you should be fine with this technique, but otherwise, you should probably stay with the regular side technique, you know, to avoid hurting yourself just for show.
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