"I make a good fried egg and a decent soft-boiled one, but for some reason poached eggs elude me. I'm intimidated by the process, I'm weirded out by the loose-whites-in-water situation, and so I generally avoid making poached eggs even though I love to eat them." —Maggie Hoffman, Serious Drinks editor
"According to Matt, my taste-tester and guinea pig of all things that come out of our kitchen, it's cornbread that isn't dry. No matter what I do we're still slapping the butter all over it. One day I will master this. I'm determined." —Jen Weinberg, Ad Sales Director
Poached Eggs, Again
"I can't poach eggs. I've tried and tried (because what isn't better with a poached egg on top?) but the eggs are usually sucked into the vortex of the pot before I can get them out in one piece. To remedy, I bought these neat little poach pods that float on the top of the water and require zero talent, but I feel like I won't be a real cook until I can do it the real way." —Carrie Vasios, Serious Sweets editor
Editor's note: Read this egg-poaching tutorial!
"I have a whole lot of cooking Achilles heels—a maestro in the kitchen, I am not—but I'll just pick one for this post. I suck at salting my food correctly. If a recipe just tells me to "salt to taste" instead of giving me a precise measurement, I will likely not salt it enough in fear of salting it to much. Which means I should learn by this point to just use more salt, but I haven't. I DON'T WANT TO SALT TO TASTE! TELL ME WHAT TO TASTE, RECIPE. TELL MEEEE." —Robyn
Lee, AHT Editor and Photographer
"One of my all-time favorite party foods but I can't seem to conquer the deviled egg. I almost canceled a party once because of the dozens of lumpy egg blobs on my countertop, with cratered surfaces and shell bits everywhere. I haven't attempted them again since. Maybe the eggs were too fresh? I've heard that fresh eggs can be harder to peel. At least there's always egg salad salvation when your deviled eggs are a hot mess." —Erin Zimmer, National Managing Editor
Rice without a Rice Cooker
"The Japanese eat rice, and lots of it. Heck, our word for dinner—"gohan"—even means "rice." So you'd think that growing up in a largely Japanese household, I'd be an expert at cooking it. But here's a secret: Every Japanese household has a rice cooker. What does this mean? It means that even though I ate rice 4 to 6 times a week growing up, I never once learned how to cook it on the stovetop. To this day, it remains the one cooking task that no matter how many times I try, I just can't seem to get right.
I know, I know. Cover the lid. Keep it closed. Use low heat. Let it rest off heat. Rinse the rice. Don't rinse the rice. Blah, blah, blah. I've tried it all, many, many, many times over, and no matter what, my rice comes out too mushy, too dry, too burnt, too sticky, too loose, or some other variation of the infinite forms of imperfect.
Darn you, rice. Darn you to hell. I'm keeping my rice cooker close." —J.Kenji Lopez-Alt, Chief Creative Officer
"Despite the desire to take my BLT game to the next level, I've never successfully made mayonnaise." —Paul Cline, Web Developer
"I can make a good standard vinaigrette but when my son asked, can you give me any more dressings? I said, um, ehh, well, no. I drew a blank. It's all about the ratio and technique, and once you master that, it should be easy. But I can't seem to make anything more exciting than the classic vinaigrette." —Ed Levine, Overlord
Bigger Egg Issues
"I have an egg issue. Though I'm confident cooking just about any meat or vegetable, with eggs, I seize up and panic. Doesn't matter if the egg is fried, poached, or hard boiled; I'll find some way to screw it up. And if by some stroke of luck I manage to get the whites set and the yolk runny, I'll inevitably puncture the yolk trying to get it out of the pan. Numerous times I've realized I need help and that I should figure this out. Perhaps announcing online will finally guilt trip me into some serious action." —Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago editor
"Chicken breasts. I have a palpable, nausea-inducing, not quite rational fear of undercooked chicken, so I tend to cook white meat about 10 times too long. When it's just a single breast I can use a meat thermometer and allay my fears, but when it's in a stir-fry or something like that, I get so paranoid about cooking it too little that I cook it to hell, instead." —Carey Jones, Senior Managing Editor
"I have a hard time frying circular-shaped foods (burgers, pancakes, etc). I always get paranoid that I will burn something and end up horribly undercooking it. What can I say; I'm a baker at heart." —Jessica Leibowitz, Videographer
A Hot Sauce Crutch
"Sometimes it's Sriracha, but more frequently it's another Southeast Asian or Mexican sauce that'll get stirred into beans, drizzled on frozen Chinatown dumplings, or squirted into salad dressing. It's a bad crutch—I don't want all my food to taste like hot sauce!but when it's a matter of getting uninspired sautéd greens on the table in some more exciting form, it's out with that hot sauce once again." —Max Falkowitz, Serious Eats New York Editor
Sautéing Garlic and Onions
"So boring but, I can never seem to saute garlic and onions right. I know it has to do with when you add the oil and how high the heat is etc. etc. but they are either burned or undercooked or slimy with too much oil. And its terrible because sauteed garlic and onions are AMAZING." —Leandra Palermo, Ad Sales and Marketing