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Trying to replicate that tasty dish you had at a restaurant can prove to be an enormous challenge for the amateur cook.


Even closely following a recipe can be frustrating when the finished product just doesn't capture that burst of flavor found in the foods we eat at restaurants.

Why is that? What are these online recipes cruelly leaving out? Are we doing something wrong?

Usually, an excess of butter or salt should do the trick, but even those quick fixes don't always apply.

Fortunately, chefs online were generous to share some of their secrets from the kitchen when Redditor liberta0407 asked:

"Chefs of Reddit, what's is your single favourite ingredient and why?"

Maybe Not In Your Pantry

Think outside the box and your palate will be awakened.

Asian Market

"Miso paste Gochujang Doubanjiang."

"All good stuff."

Nitemarex

"Sweet Sticky Heaven"

"BLACK GARLIC!!!!. MAKES EVERYTHING 100x better. Most of what I see here is staple pantry items. IF YOU DONT HAVE BLACK GARLIC, GET IT. Crush it into a paste and make a compound butter or anything. B L A C K G A R L I C. SWEET STICKY HEAVEN"

bananapursun

"Garam Masala! I find it to be sooo good in many savory dishes. I replace cumin with it whenever it's called for. It's INCREDIBLE in chili or any Asian-influenced dishes!"

ABeld96

Spice Is Nice

Dried fruit and plant species can add the perfect zing to your favorite meals.

Reddish-Purple Powder

"Sumac. Seriously, get yourself a huge bag for like $15 bucks and thank me later. It's lemony and salty, sweet and smoky and earthy and beautifully red. Sprinkle it on toast, curry, chicken, steak, tacos, devilled eggs, ice cream... Just about everything."

"You can also brew it like tea and it has an intense wild-berry flavor."

Picker-Rick

For Pasta Sauce

"Bay leaves. Like salt you don't want them to be the dominant flavor in anything, but they make a night and day difference in stews, pasta sauce, you name it."

notasparrow

For Baking

"Not a chef, but a baker. Cardamom. It's still not super common in American baked goods, and while I love cinnamon, that flavor isn't special to my palette anymore. Cardamom gives such a warm, floral scent/flavor to whatever you make, and can be paired with so many things. Treat yourself: add some cardamom and orange zest to your next batch of banana bread."

DaygloDago

It's About...

"Thyme"

"Thyme pairs well with meat, tomatoes, and beans."

"It is the main ingredient in the classic French herb combinations Bouquet Garni and Herbes de Provence. These herb blends are frequently used to flavor meat, stews, and soups."

"Can't imagine not having thyme on my side when cooking a wide variety of dishes."

Back2Bach

Nice Pour

A touch of the following can add so much flavor. Just careful with portions.

Queen Of Oilseeds

"roasted sesame seed oil, it adds a light nuttiness and saltiness to a dish."

Ez-lectronic

Use with care though. It's amazing, but it can overtake a dish fast if you use too much."

ratherbewinedrunk

"Nice Umami"

"Chef of 25 years. Personal favorite is worcestershire sauce."

"Use it more at home than in restaurants I've worked. Such a nice umami though."

Bluewolf83

The Missing Ingredient

"Vinegar. It is often the thing that is missing when people go for more salt and spices in their cooking wondering why it doesn't taste quite as good as in a restaurant."

HEAT_IS_DIE

Just A Squeeze

"Chef here"

"Lemon juice, enhances flavour in almost anything. Vinegar is too dominant for me."

mons388

One amateur chef who appeared to be overwhelmed by many of the options contributed something else to consider.

This person suggested, "beer," but not as a secret ingredient for use in food.

"I drink 4 or 5 before cooking and my food tastes 10 times better!" they joked.

Not my personal method, but beer is most definitely a wonderful addition to your recipes if you want to bring out the flavor of meats and vegetables. Just substitute it with water as a simmering liquid.

I'm no chef either, but beer is also an excellent baking agent that adds lightness to your favorite baked goods like banana bread, muffins, or pancakes.

Now go out and get your culinary imaginations brewing.

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Typically, I would write an intro about my own experiences with the weird kids at school, but I WAS the weird kid in school. Not in a bad way, more like a “I had a John Waters phase” when I was 16 and everyone knew it. So like, cool-weird. At least I hope so.

Schools aren’t always so lucky to have the cool kinds of weird kids though. The spectrum of weird extends even further than that, and can sometimes end up very disasterous.

U/Imaginary_East5786 asked: What was the weirdest thing the weird kid did at school?

​Let’s start with the grossest of the gross. Because why not.

Was it worth it?

peeing ralph wiggum GIF Giphy

He heard that you'd automatically get suspended if you peed your pants at school. He wanted to find out if it was true, peed his pants, got suspended.

Memoryduel

Scientific method:

> Observation: 'I've heard that by peeing your pants you will be suspended'

> Hypothesis: If I pee my pants I will be suspended

> Experiment: I peed my pants and I got suspended

> Conclusion: If I pee my pants I get suspended

Glez_fdezdavila_

Uhhh what was the intention here?

He got mad that he didn't understand how to play a game at lunchtime so he started hitting and punching the nearest person to him, who happened to be me. When I shoved him away and asked him what the hell was he doing, he whipped his unit.out, charged at me and when I shoved him away from me again he started crying and ran away with his member still sticking out.

Kurtles12

​Next ones up are the lowkey (or even highkey) disturbing stories. These weird kids can get a little scary.

Boom theret.

At my middle school, someone decided to get a little attention with a good old fashioned bomb threat. Except they thought that a bomb threat meant literally writing "bomb threat" somewhere. Worse yet, they misspelled the f*ck out of it, and wrote "boom theret."

So we had to go on a brief, very awkward lockdown while the police checked the perimeter for booms.

Angusthedangus

I hope there was no overlap in the columns.

Serial Killer Halloween GIF by GIPHY CAM Giphy

She wrote a list of all the girls and boys she wanted to kiss and murder and then casually passed it out on the playground.

Fun-Acadia-8735

2 separate lists or just the 1?

OppositeYouth

Same list 2 columns lol.

Fun-Acadia-8735

Holy crap.

Had the weird kid in high school ask the teacher to use the bathroom. She said no and this dude legit stabbed his hand with a pencil. Went all the way through then asked if he could now...sh*t was wild.

This was Pearl High School in Mississippi. This was the school Luke Woodham shot and killed his girlfriend and her friend at the school. This kid stabbed himself with the pencil about 2 months after that happened. This was late 1997.

Roberted1982

​Most of the time, however, the weird kids are pretty d*mn funny.

Ok, but this takes a lot of skill.

Had a kid nicknamed "cheeseburger" in the grade ahead of me in high school. He got his nickname because when it was time for his class to go to lunch, he snuck into the roof and crawled his way into the cafeteria, dropped down and proceeded to steal all the cheeseburger put out for lunch. Unfortunately they caught him in the act and sent him to the principal's office.

A year later he was caught stealing a teacher's computer, and in the process of being arrested he bit the officers hand, getting him sent to juvi never to be heard of again.

Theonering1

Every school had the cat girl.

cat dragging GIF Giphy

The weird kid at my highschool tied a string around his pencil case and pulled out around the halls pretending it was a dog. He still lives in my hometown. I think unemployed.

Oh also weird girl in middle school acted like a cat. She would meow and hiss at people, lick the water fountain and rub her body on the teacher's legs. In 8th grade. I have no idea where she ended up.

SendmePMsofyourBMs

Mood.

Weird kid in elementary was a self proclaimed alien. Once, while waiting for the bus, she told me "On my planet we eat people like you" and proceeded to bite me. We later became friends in high school and she used to give me massages during lunch break in the quad. Just realized now she was likely tenderizing me.

Iheartrevolution

I was exactly this kind of weird.

He didn't say much, but if asked, he would go to the front of the class and perform Tip-Toe Through the Tulips with all of the emotion and volume of Tiny Tim, holding nothing back.

The last I heard, he became an energy trader, made a ton of money and married well.

10per

I can definitely relate to that last one. In middle school, my English teacher would let me go to the front of the class and perform monologues or songs from Broadway musicals. Weird, but that’s what happens when schools cut funding for the arts and the theatre kids have no outlet.

As long as you’re not hurting anyone, I say let your freak flag fly, man

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