Salt your pasta water, never add oil, and don’t rinse.

Salt the water.

Mario Batali says you should salt your pasta water until it “tastes like the sea”…

Don’t add oil.

NEVER add oil to your pasta water. … Because when you add oil to your pasta you make it slick and the sauce won’t stick well to the pasta.

Don’t rinse.

The starchy water that the pasta boils in has all the goodness in it and helps the sauce adhere to the pasta. Rinsing also makes your pasta get cold quickly.

Use proper measuring tools: Wet vs. Dry Measuring Cups

A liquid cup and a dry cup are exactly the same size. So why do you need both? A dry cup is meant for things like flour, sugar, and other fine granules and you’re supposed to fill the dry measuring cup completely to the top so you can scrape off any excess with the back of a knife. In a liquid measuring cup, you can’t do this. You fill the liquid to the line. Using dry measuring cups for dry ingredients is a more precise way to measure, which is very important in baking.

Don’t put food in a cold pan.

When you put meat into a cold pan, the meat is going to release moisture as it heats up. Unless you like gnawing on dry meat, heat your pan up first so your moisture stays in the meat and doesn’t escape too early. By preheating the pan first, you’re giving your meat a nice searing which holds in all those yummy juices.

Turn your pan handles to the side.

Always turn your pan handles to the side. When things get a little hectic, and you’re racing across the kitchen to grab an ingredient, you could to run into the handles and knock the pan onto the floor.

Even if you’re feeling all zen about cooking, the kiddos could knock down a hot saucepan of boiling water.

Get in the habit of turning your handles to the side and stay safe, cooks!

Don’t overcrowd your pan or baking dish.

When pans get crowded, your food will start to steam itself rather than brown and that will change the texture of the food. Potatoes in the oven won’t be as crisp on the outside, meat won’t brown as well, etc. Give your food ample room in the pan, especially when browning or baking things that need to be crisp (like french fries in the oven or breaded chicken).

Read recipes thoroughly ahead of time. Twice.

Even recipes from published cookbooks can leave out information (or ingredients!) in the list but there it is, hidden further down in the instructions. It’s also possible that you’ll miss that “marinate overnight” instruction or “pour batter into Springform pan” and…ooops…you don’t have a Springform pan.

Be a cool cook. Read, reread, then cook.

When making a whole roast chicken, salt it, then chill it…

…uncovered, in the fridge for the day. This helps season the bird and dries out the skin so it crisps perfectly when cooked. Remove it from the fridge an hour before you plan to put it in the oven, and add herbs and aromatics like garlic or shallots.

 Amanda Hesser, of Food52