When it comes to food culture in Melbourne, we’re a lofty bunch who take our drinking and dining seriously. However, there area few foodie mistakes that have snuck into our culture that we’d be better off without, whether for the sake of flavour, manners, or just plain common sense. You might be the biggest food fanatic in Melbourne, but we can guarantee that you’ve been doing at least one of these incorrectly for your entire culinary life. The question is, which one is it?
#1: Rubbing chopsticks together
We’ve all been there, rubbing two freshly snapped-apart chopsticks together to remove any perky splinters before tucking into a Japanese feast. Traditionally, this is heralded as one of the most rude gestures there is in Japanese restaurant culture, implying that the chopsticks (and the owners) are cheap. You’d better start risking those splinters to save face!
#2: Keeping coffee in the refrigerator
When it comes to coffee, there’s a common myth that keeping your beans in the fridge or freezer is the best place for them. In fact, keeping your beans dry is key, and the moisture in your fridge can in fact destroy your precious caffeinated cargo. The solution is to store coffee in an air-tight container somewhere that’s cool and dry. Simple as.
#3: ‘Nosing’ whisky by sticking your entire nose into the glass
There are some obvious differences between wine and whisky. Colour, yes and taste, for sure. But the one you need to be most wary of when smelling what’s in your glass is the alcohol content. If you’re sitting down to a good red, feel free to dunk your entire nose into the glass—at 14% proof tops, it’s a fairly safe thing to do. Do the same with a 60+% proof cask strength scotch and you’re likely to burn the inside of your nose because of the alcohol vapours. Either nose your glass from a distance of a few inches, or hold the glass at mouth-level and gently breathe in. Trust me, it works.
#4: Pouring beer into a frosted glass
While frosted glasses often make me feel like a classy beer-drinker (is there such a thing?), I recently learned that that’s just about all they’re good for. While frosted glasses might make you feel like you’ve just stepped off some Alpine slope in a Pilsner ad, they actually make the beer foam unnecessarily, losing heaps of its carbonation and aroma before you can take a sip. Go for a clean, cool, dry glass every time—that way, you’re tasting the beer in tip-top order.
#5: Dunking sushi rice into a saucer of soy sauce
I know there’s heaps of you out there thinking, ‘WHAT?! How the heck else am I meant to eat it?!’ Well, actually, you’re meant to pick it up each piece of nigiri with your thumb and forefinger (clean hands, people!), and dip it gently into your soy sauce fish-side down, then eat it in one tasty mouthful.
#6: Salt and pepper, always together
Someone asks you to pass them the salt, so you pass them the salt, right? WRONG. You should always pass them both the salt and the pepper. I’ve no idea why. The best thing to do is avoid seasoning altogether—if you do, you risk offending the chef by implying that you have a better sense of flavour balance then they do.
#7: Boilermakers: Drinking the whisky sip by sip
Praise the liquor gods for the invention of the Boilermaker! This two-part drink makes it totally acceptable to order a whisky and a beer at the same time (yus….) but where do you start? The whisky? The beer? Both at once? If you’re going old-school, you should shot the whisky first and then sip on the beer as a chaser. If you’re the sort of booze hound who drops the whisky into the beer, that’s a totally different drink altogether, called a depth charge.
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Image credit: Nad's Healthy Kitchen via Pinterest