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Stuff to Have in Your Kitchen so Your Food Tastes Better

It’s been said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. While we’re sure that being great at piano, speaking fluent French or beatboxing like Biz Markie are all great things to master, none of those skills taste as good during the 9,999 hours of practice in becoming a master in the kitchen. You also learn so much along the way, from seasoning correctly and chopping onions without chopping off your finger to properly poaching an egg, that by the time you get to even 3,000 hours of practice, you’re probably a better cook than most of your friends.

As two ladies who are both somewhere along the way to the 10,000 hours, we wanted to impart upon you some of our favorite ingredients to have on hand in the kitchen. Get familiar with these kitchen staples to take your food from tasting like 1,000 hours to that coveted 10,000.

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Super Food Nerds: In Pursuit of Hummus

Hi, I’m Jonathan, librarian, Super Food Nerd, and man in the grips of an obsession — an obsession with chickpeas. Or rather with hummus, the highest end a chickpea can aspire to.

In New York City’s Chelsea Market, several floors below Food Network and Cooking Channel’s offices, there is a lunch counter for Ronnybrook Milk Bar, famed for its ice cream. For those in the know, however, there is only one thing to order: hummus with egg. The Milk Bar, it turns out, is helmed by a bonafide hamsani (Middle Eastern hummus vendor), Aylon Hadar, originally from the outskirts of Tel Aviv; a man who, I am absolutely certain, turns out some of the absolute best hummus in NYC.

Aylon’s hummus is everything store-bought hummus is not: light as mousse, smooth as pudding. It is served just a bit warm and made fresh daily, both customary in the Middle East. Aylon begins with a shockingly large quantity of hummus, spread in a concave layer across a rimmed plate. A generous quantity of olive oil is then poured into the center. Atop this, he drizzles a thin white tahini sauce, and finishes with a splash of color in the form of sweet paprika and chopped parsley. The final result is layered, sophisticated, beautiful; a far cry from dense, monochromatic store-bought hummus.

So, with Aylon’s hummus as my grail, I attempted to hack his recipe. Here are some lessons I learned along the way.

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