1. One bottle of red wine can last two adults a week and a half. Somewhere around day seven, the cork will disappear; a mashed-up ball of foil jammed into the bottle neck will work just as well.
2. There is no amount of leftovers too small not to bring home in a doggie bag and prepare for lunch the next day. Two bites of salmon can be turned into nearly four tablespoons’ worth of salmon paté.
3. Yogurt never goes bad. Leave it in the fridge forever.
4. Have one favorite mug and one favorite miniature wineglass, but keep them a secret and change which one it is every three years. Gasp in horror if any of your children have mistakenly used them — “I was saving that for my cup of tea in the morning tomorrow!” even though it is four in the afternoon and there is plenty of time to wash it — but never tell them which one it is, so that they could avoid using it.
5. Hide a single bag of candy in your nightstand drawer and a large paper bag full of the best flavor of protein bars in your closet. Never notice how many pieces go missing until you run out, then wander into the kitchen and ask, “Have any of you been eating my [treat I value so highly I won't leave it in the kitchen, where food is]?” Believe them when they lie.
6. The best thing to do with the single potato in your pantry that has sprouted Viking horns and gently waving legs is to let it stay there. Potatoes rot cyclically, so the sprouts will eventually retract and the potato will become safe to eat.
7. Never keep olive oil, root vegetables, tomatoes, eggs, pasta, or any other meal staples in your house, but do make sure to have exactly two Skinny Cow caramel cones and an exploded frozen bottle of root beer in your freezer at all times.
8. Could you own more never-opened jams? You could own more never-opened jams.
9. Always keep two separate boxes of chocolate-covered almonds; one for the house and one specifically for you, and know the exact level of chocolate-covered almonds inside both boxes to within a micron.
10. Remember: it doesn’t matter how empty the fridge itself is, as long as the shelves on both doors are absolutely crammed with mayonnaise bottles, ketchup bottles, four different variations on honey mustard, horseradish you only use for the horseradish sauce you make on Christmas Eve, aloe vera gel for sunburns, and half-drunk bottles of sparkling water you’re going to finish someday after you get them nice and flat.
11. Mallory, close the door, you’re letting all the cold air out. Why do you come over here and poke through the fridge and criticize everything and throw things away? Why don’t you go home? You have your own kitchen there.
Read more Lessons I Have Learned From My Parents’ Kitchen at The Toast.