The guy I sat next to in the matatu today kept looking over at the very womanish book I was reading. While this would be taken as lack of etiquette by some, to me it served as a compliment that mine was a pretty interesting read!

So I suggested to him that we take a photo of the book then I would blog about it and share the nuggets inside with the world. He complied. Thank you, guy.

BEST EVER KITCHEN SECRETS is a book by two sisters, Joan and Lydia Wilen. I suggest you read all of it because in this blog I will only rephrase some of their kitchen secrets – those that I loved most. I am sure they will come in handy for every home-maker, man or woman.

However, if you are a man uninterested in home-making (I wouldn’t be surprised), just skim through and see how many of these tips you knew. Score yourself. Be honest.


Who loves washing the blender? Not me. From now onwards, fill it 1/3 way with just boiled water and add a few drops of liquid detergent. When the water cools, toss in a couple of ice-cubes. Put on the lid securely and blend for about 15 seconds. Rinse and store. Your fingers will be thank you.


Put a cracked china cup or plate in a pan and pour in enough milk to cover it. Let it simmer on the stove-top for 45 minutes. That allows enough time for the milk protein (casein) to do what it needs to do; to fill in the fissures.


A good pair of sewing shears is best sharpened by a professional sharpener. I speak for the regular pair of scissors: Fold a piece of aluminium foil, cut it with the scissors at least a dozen times. Then cut a piece of paper and see if the scissors blades are sharper. If still not as sharp as you hoped, repeat the process. Still not satisfied? Then take a piece of sand-paper and cut it up. If all the above fails, please consider buying a new pair of scissors.


We all know that we should keep an open box of baking soda in the fridge so as to eliminate the fridge smells. What we do not all know is that the box should be in the middle shelf in the back of the fridge for maximum efficiency.

Putting uncovered food in the fridge uses extra energy.This is because your fridge has to keep up with the moisture the uncovered food emits. Save your money by putting a lid on the dish.

Putting hot left-overs right into the fridge requires the fridge to use extra energy to cool the food. Wait for the food to reach room temperature before you store it.


Pour ¼ cup of distilled white vinegar in a bowl, then add one tablespoon of baking soda. If it is fresh, it will fizzle. Discard down the drain if it does not, because it will not make your cake light and fluffy in that case


I am talking of the intestinal gas beans create. Actually, some people get truly annoyed (instead of just embarrassed) by bad smells so take this seriously. I only knew of putting whole carrot or ginger root into boiling beans to remove the gas (the carrot/ginger must thereafter never be eaten, toss it out when your beans are ready). From Joan and Lydia I learnt:

Soak dry beans overnight in a pot of water along with ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar. Next morning, thoroughly rinse the beans, put fresh water and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into the pot. Cook as usual.

While beans are cooking, pour in ½ a can of cola to the water. The carbonated soda will not add gas, it will actually prevent gas.


Beans: If you put dried hot pepper in your beans storage container the weevils will stay away from it.

Potatoes: Keep in a cool dark place with a piece of fresh gingerroot for them to stay fresh for longer.

Tomato Paste: Store what is left after opening the can in a resealable plastic bag, counting the number of spoons you put in (write this number on the bag). Flatten out the paste to about ¼ inch thickness and freeze it. Then, whenever a recipe calls for 1 or 2 tablespoons of paste, just bbreak off an appropriate sized piece.

Vegetables: Always store fresh vegetables in the lower fridge fruit/vegetable bin to keep them crisp and fresh. If you put greens in a covered container along with a piece of stainless-steel silverware, they will be fresh for longer.


Prepare your pancake batter the night before and put it in a squeeze bottle (ketchup bottle will do) and put it in the fridge. You will have an easy time forming perfect pancakes in the morning and you can make them in different shapes while at it!

Transfer your jam to a squeeze bottle so that your children have an easier breakfast time ( actually so you stop doing everything for them).

If a piece of eggshell falls into the bowl of eggs, just use a larger piece of egg shell to get the little piece out of the bowl, the larger shell attracts the smaller shell, just like a magnet.Stop fishing with a spoon, seriously.Save time.

Remove spices that are not meant to be eaten (bay leaves, whole cloves, etc) from your food by dropping them into the food while tied in a piece of cheese cloth. Simply pull out the cheesecloth when your food is done. Stop fishing with a spoon…


Whole milk : Make a cup of whole milk for baking by using ¼ cup of dry whole milk plus 7/8 cup of water.

Egg: If you are baking a cake and are short of one egg, mix one teaspoon of distilled white vinegar with one teaspoon of baking soda. This will make up for the missing egg.

Corn starch: If you have run out of cornstarch and need it for a recipe, use double the amount of flour instead.

Bread crumbs: If the recipe calls for some and you have none, lightly toast slices of fresh bread, cut them into pieces and blend them

Buttermilk: If a recipe calls for some, use the same amount of fresh yoghurt, or else mix a tablespoon of lemon juice into one cup of regular milk and wait ten minutes before using it.

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