Roscoe’s Cooking Philosophy

There are no rules when you’re Cookin’ With Roscoe. No kitchen police telling us what to do or what not to do. We believe in being creative when we cook. Trying new things, taking chances. And having fun while we cook. However, having said that, we have found that there are certain things – techniques, practices, habits – that work. This is a general list that will expand over time (so keep checking in), as the philosophies of our cooking evolve.

Conceptually, we want to take food to another level. Of flavor, taste, enjoyment. Following our guidelines usually guarantees that. Or, in the case of failure (hey, it can happen), at least we have fun trying. So here’s guideline number one, maybe the most important after “don’t forget the salt and pepper?”

Well, hardly ever. Almost never. Not if we can help it. And you almost always can. A strange rule, one might think, especially in this particular time in history where everyone walks around with a bottle of water in their hands. We’ve been told (don’t want to use the term brainwashed here) that our bodies need so much more water than we thought and if we don’t do this, we’ll die. Roscoe himself has been caught wailing (let’s face it, he cries his eyes out all the time) over the fact that he never invested in bottled water. So imagine the looks of surprise and incredulity (big word for a site like this, but in this case it fits) when someone hears this guideline. It bears repeating: Never cook with water.

Therefore water can never make anything taste better. And making food taste better is always the goal when you’re Cookin’ With Roscoe.

Hey, boil away. Get that water as hot as you want, because that’s how you make coffee or tea, right? Absolutely right. But think about it for just a second and you’ll figure out what we’re getting at here. You boil the water for the coffee or tea, and suddenly you don’t have water anymore!? You’ve put something in it to make it taste good. Starting to get the picture?

Your recipe calls for a cup and half of water. After you stop laughing, you drop a bouillon cube into the cup and a half, and like magic, you’ve got something that tastes good. It doesn’t matter if you’re boiling water for pasta: put a bouillon cube in it (along with salt and a drop of olive oil, maybe a shot or two of Worcestershire and/or hot sauce), and your pasta will taste a whole lot better, and you’ve achieved the goal: you’ve taken your dish to another level and made it taste better. Same with rice, or anything else that calls for water.

Because there are even more alternatives to water. And when you’re Cookin’ With Roscoe, one of the first alternatives that comes to mind is – beer. It’s a natural. Everyone knows beer is mostly water. But somewhere along the way (okay, right away) other things were added to make it taste good (and ferment, of course). So why not use beer instead of water when the recipe calls for it? How do you think they make beer bread? They use beer instead of water when they mix the dough. So can you. Use beer instead of water when you mix your pizza dough. The alcohol cooks off and you’re left with great taste. And let’s face it: no pot of chili was ever made to taste better by adding water.

Even if you’re making mashed potatoes: throw a chicken or beef bouillon cube in the pot (you can even find cubes for fish and vegetable stock), and it’ll taste better. Same with soup. Toss in a few extra cubes. You can’t lose.

So the next time you read a recipe that calls for water, just remember you’re Cookin’ With Roscoe. The laugh’s on them.


Eyeball it. You don’t need no stinking measuring cups. Or teaspoons. Or tablespoons. Remember, there are no kitchen police in Roscoe’s kitchens. Once you start cooking, you’ll figure out how much of something to use. Your taste buds will dictate. And that’s the way it should be. A pinch of this, a pinch of that, a few shots of hot sauce, Worcestershire, chili sauce; some herbs, veggies, spices; you can’t really go wrong. But hey, if you want to measure, go ahead and measure. It’s just not as much fun.

There are lots of brands and flavors of hot sauce. Tabasco is probably the most well known. Just say Tabasco, and everyone knows what you’re talking about. The Cookin’ With Roscoe test kitchens have tried an awful lot of them, and most are pretty good. Depending on your taste buds, you use as much or as little as it takes to make your dish taste the way you want it to.

ROSCOE RECOMMENDS: CHOLULA CHILI ROAST GARLIC flavor. We find that it has the most amount of flavor with a heat element that’s not out of control.

But again, use what you like. If you read a recipe here that says: a dash or two of Cholula, that’s only our preference. Feel free to substitute with your own favorite.