As a mom to young children, I’ve become aware that they copy pretty much everything I do. They use the same expressions I use. They copy my actions and the order in which I do things. They are learning how to exist in this world based on me.

That makes me conscious that I must’ve done the same thing when I was a child. I watched what my mom and dad were doing, and I copied them. If they said, “hi” instead of “hello” that’s what I said too. If they put salt and pepper on their potatoes, than I did too. You get the idea, and you probably have some great examples of how your kids copy you and/or how you copied your parents or caregivers when you were little.

Some of these things that we learn as children stick with us our entire lives, and we end up passing them on to our own children. When it comes to kitchen habits you may have learned from your mother or grandmother, it’s time to stop the cycle.

Here are 7 things you probably learned by watching your mom in the kitchen, and you need to un-learn them fast!

  1. Leaving Leftovers on the Counter

    Perhaps it was after a big breakfast or at a party, but you probably saw this happen. When everyone was done eating, Mom covered the leftovers with plastic wrap and left them on the counter instead of putting them in the refrigerator. We assume this was so we could easily grab a snack later, but food that is left at room temperature for longer than 2 hours is not safe to eat.

  2. Leaving Food at Room Temp to Thaw It

    The correct way to thaw food is to put it in the refrigerator. Perhaps mom was short on time or forget to thaw meat for dinner in advance, but we can remember more than once when mom put some frozen meat in the sink all day to thaw. This is very unsafe because it can cause bacteria to grow quite rapidly. Yikes! If you really need to thaw something quickly, the microwave might be your best friend.

  3. Cleaning Chicken in the Sink

    I can very clearly remember my mother rinsing pieces of chicken in the sink before cooking them. It’s time to stop the madness! Chicken does not need to be washed before you cook it. When you rinse raw chicken in the sink, you are only spreading germs all over your sink, and as far as 3 feet away from your sink! If you can’t bring yourself to believe that chicken does not need to be rinsed, at the very least, be sure to sanitize your sink and the surrounding area after rinsing it off.

  4. The Noodle Test

    Mom probably taught you that when you cook pasta, you’ll know that it’s done if you throw it against the wall and it sticks. While this may be true sometimes, a much easier way to know if it’s done or not is to taste it.

  5. Putting Tomatoes in the Refrigerator

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    The refrigerator’s cold temperature will ruin the flavor and texture of tomatoes and many other fruits and vegetables. It’s much better to store those on the counter and save the refrigerator space for meat, leftovers and other items mom left on the counter instead.

  6. Egg Shells

    What did your mom do with egg shells after she cracked an egg? If she’s anything like my mom, she put the shells back in the egg carton. Why, I have no idea. This is one habit I did not pick up, and you shouldn’t either. Those egg shells should be put in the trash.

  7. Using the Same Dishcloth for Everything

    The magic kitchen dishcloth served as a multi-purpose cleaning tool when I was growing up. It could be used to dry your hands, clean the kitchen counters and even wipe my face when I got food on it. Yuck! Just thinking about the spread of germs makes me feel a little bit sick. A kitchen needs more than one towel. There should be a different one for drying dishes than you use for cleaning the counters, and those towels need to be cleaned frequently.