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Our Moms' Best Cooking Advice (Also, Their Worst)

Hulton Archive

There's cooking advice that's shared at ladies lunches and there's the real deal that mom's text back and forth to one another. We asked our Editors what secrets their moms spilled, and boy did we learn a lot.

You're spoon-fed cooking tips your entire life. From how to properly set a table (break out those b's and d's on your fingers, kiddos) to adding salt to the water to make it boil faster (because science), there are classic cooking tips, and then there are the real tips you got from mom, the ones she only shared with you in hushed tones away from judgy Aunt Barb. 

We asked our Editors what real world cooking advice they got from their mamas, and they spilled. See our favorites.

"Cook it 'til it's soup."

Translation: It's not done yet.

"You just know when it's done."

Translation: Timers are for rookies.

"Simmer until it looks right."

Translation: This is not my first rodeo.

"Don't buy cheap knives for use in the kitchen."

Translation: Don't get blood on my clean floors.

"Double all the spices."

Translation: Your spices are old as hell and we're on a budget. More is more.

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Related: This amazing mom-approved pot pie

"Always cook more than you need."

Translation: Never be the house that runs out of food. Double down when entertaining or delivering a dish.

"Prep and organize so you have time to pull yourself together before the guests arrive."

Translation: Flour on your cheeks isn't endearing; you're a hot mess.

"Casserole it."

Translation: No leftovers are ever too far gone.

"Never trust a cook time."

Translation: Why calibrate the oven? Check three minutes before something should be done, if baking. And 15 minutes before if cooking meat in the oven.

"When in doubt, add more garlic."

Translation: As long as everyone's eating it, garlic is amazing. Plus, health benefits, naturally.

"Stay away from the microwave. It WILL give you cancer."

Translation: The science oven wants to kill you and dry out your food.

"Cooking is trial, error, and downright failure."

Translation: Let kids loose in the kitchen to find their way. As adults, they'll use recipes as inspirations instead of must-follow instructions.

"When it comes to seafood and veggies, keep it simple."

Translation: Don't overpower the good stuff. Casseroles may need more spice; fresh, in-season veggies need a simple steam or light saute. 

"Frozen pizza is better with Italian seasoning."

Translation: This is now homemade pizza.

Store-Bought Pizza Crust Perfection

"Sheet cakes get a bad rap."

Translation: Cakes don't have to be elaborate or reserved for special occasions. Make one, like now.

"Kids will eat anything if you put it in a muffin tin."

Translation: This mama should've launched Pinterest 20 years ago.

"It IS homemade pasta sauce. I added fresh basil to the jar."

Translation: Try me.

"Boxed brownies are better than from scratch."

Translation: Don't waste your time belaboring the classics.