Sometimes, people can catch you totally off-guard with just how comfortable they are in the kitchen — but other times, you just know their cooking skills will be on point. Sure, maybe the signs won't be altogether obvious, but if you've ever known a great home cook, you've probably been able to identify some tools or features in their kitchen that scream, "Yep, I know exactly what I'm doing."
Recently, u/ArchegosRiskManager asked redditors to share the things that other people have in their kitchens that "immediately tell you they're a good cook," and honestly, I agree with so many of these responses.
BRB while I reorganize my entire kitchen accordingly.
1."Their kitchen is otherwise very clean and orderly, but their baking pans look like they've been to hell and back with burned-on oils."
2."When I'm using their kitchen, I can find anything I need intuitively on my first try."
3."A box of Diamond Crystal kosher salt."
4.And on the subject of salt: "A salt pig."
5."I had a chef come over once, and he saw a shallot on my counter — he said, 'That's how I know you know.'"
6."Those towels with the blue stripe on the side."
"Pure utility towels! No one cooks well and frequently has time or space for fancy textiles in the kitchen."
7."You know someone's a good cook if their default pan is stainless steel rather than nonstick."
8."You don’t find knives in their dishwasher."
9."A well-stocked spice cabinet. I am concerned about a person's cooking abilities when I see they have all of five different spices in their kitchen."
10."They have more than four kinds of whisks in a utensil holder beside the range."
11."Deli containers, in various sizes. They're cheap, reusable, and freezable, and you can see the product inside. These are the workhorses of a well-organized kitchen. Not the least bit sexy, but indispensable."
12."They have many different oils for many different uses, not just the standard collection of olive oil and canola oil."
13.And more importantly than just their oil collection: "If someone has a squeeze bottle of oil sitting out near the stove. Not that decorative tall skinny bottle — a real ass-cheap plastic squeeze bottle."
14."For home cooks, if it’s clean and organized but cluttered and seemingly chaotic at the same time, I know they're a good cook. It’s a sure sign that it gets used a lot."
"I feel the same way about auto mechanics, research labs, and woodworking shops."
15."Blocks of cheese instead of pre-shredded cheese."
16."The absence of a bulk set of shitty knives in a knife block."
17."If they have a Dutch oven that just sits on their stove and it's mostly clean...but you can tell they've been using it twice a week for 10 years."
18."MSG. If you know, you know."
19."An open container (shot glass or small bowl) of coarse finishing salt."
20."A well-seasoned cast iron skillet that stays on the stove. Or, decent pans that have the buildup on the bottom from being used. Most people I know who love to cook invest in at least one high-quality pan — and it is always on the stove."
21."A good, sharp chef's knife that gets used a lot. I feel like I've been in a lot of boomer and Gen X kitchens that have, like, 12 knives in a block and none of them are sharp, let alone a decent chef's knife. Often they're all serrated for some reason..."
22."A well-stocked pantry with seven different vinegars."
23.And finally: "Here's a bad sign. Those twin packs of pre-ground pepper and salt in little cardboard canisters with plastic lids."
If you consider yourself a good cook, or if you happen to know a really good cook, do you agree with these observations? And in your experience, what's something in a kitchen that's a tell-tale indicator that someone knows how to cook? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.