Cheese, butter, and chocolate chip cookies. 

By Dawn Perry
May 09, 2017
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Sometimes (OK, most of the time) moms know best. Especially when it comes to feeding a family. We asked Real Simple staffers to share the best cooking advice their moms ever gave them. Whether they were avid cooks, enthusiastic bakers or avoided the kitchen altogether, our moms—and grandmas—had plenty of wisdom to share.

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Prep and plan your meals out on Sunday night. Your tired feet will thank you so much on Thursday night. –Pat Rutenberg, mom of Rebecca Longshore, Social Media Manager


Keep the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies (nothing fancy, just the recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House bag) on hand at all times. That way, you’re ready whenever a craving strikes, guests come over, or a snowstorm hits!—Julie Elkus, mom of Grace Elkus, Associate Food Editor


Wooden cutting boards need love and care, too (not just knives)! Oil them every now and then with mineral oil and they will be sleek and gorgeous. Also, don’t let them sit in the bottom of the sink—they get waterlogged and warped.—Sarah Goldman, mom of Heath Goldman, Associate Food Editor


There are very few things fresh ground pepper or a pile of cheddar cheese can’t fix.—Dee Dee Stone Broxson, mom of Brandi Broxson, Associate Editor


Marry a man who is an amazing cook and cooks for you (who married Dave who does all the cooking)—Sally Muir, mom of Heather Muir Maffei, Beauty Director


My mom didn’t cook much but she made a lot of green salads. My main takeaway was “put jicama in everything.”—Dallis Richardson, mom of Wendy Granger, Photo Editor


But your stomach can’t see that the crust is uneven.—Bonnie Yazel, mom of Leslie Yazel, Editor-in-Chief


Clean as you go; You can make a lunch out of almost any leftovers; Don’t flip the pancakes until you see the bubbles!—mom of George Kimmerling, Executive Managing Editor


You only need to know how to cook Italian food, it’s the only thing that matters—Rhena Norling, mom of Hannah Norling, Assistant Producer


You should always have room temperature butter sitting on your counter. No one wants cold butter.—Libba Schatz, mom of Elizabeth Passarella, Contributing Editor


Peanut butter and jelly tastes really good when somebody else makes it for you.—Ann Perry, mom of Dawn Perry, Food Director


Learn what cookies, cakes, etc. look, smell, and feel like when they’re done, and never rely on the bake time in a recipe.—Lorraine Chesek, mom of Rebecca Daly, Senior Fashion Editor


It’s not a sin to put a little sugar on your vegetables.—Peggy Altman, grandma of Liz Steelman, Editorial Assistant


You can never have too much butter!—Paula Arico, great grandmother of Blake Bakkila, Editorial Assistant


The most important ingredient/thing to have on hand in your kitchen is people you love...also a good wooden spoon is v. important.—Linda Weiner, mom of Rachael Weiner, Senior Style and Market Editor