So, you finally realized that you will have to do some cooking for yourself? You should feel glad that you are thinking about making this step in your life and that you have no fear about going through with it. A lot of people don’t have the confidence to try and cook something by themselves. They may have tried a couple of times before, failed, and now they think that cooking is something they can’t do.
If this has happened to you as well, think about it a bit more and ask yourself this: did you really prepare yourself for preparing food? The answer is probably no. Preparing for cooking a meal includes many things: getting the right ingredients, using the right dishes, mixing flavors, and actually cooking the food. I know that it may seem complicated, but making decent, tasty meals that are healthy and don’t take much of your time is not that hard.
Forget about professional cooks and their meals; they have been doing their jobs for years. Furthermore, you simply might not have the talent that they do. Still, becoming a decent cook is not hard, and with a learning mindset, work, and a bit of direction, you can do it. Here is what you need to know.
1. Learn to accept failure
The first thing you need to do is to let go of the illusion that everything will go perfectly. Relax — don’t be such a scaredy cat. All famous cooks have thrown out, destroyed, or burned a lot of food before they learned to cook their meals right. Be prepared to make bad meals in the beginning, to fail a couple of times. Remember: you can learn from failure. For example, when you burn a certain ingredient, next time you will know how much heat it can take.
2. Switching tasks
Cooking includes a lot of multitasking and finishing small tasks in a short period of time. As a beginner, all of this may seem chaotic, but when you decide to make that bold move and make an effort to speed-clean your kitchen while cooking, cutting vegetables, and serving the food, you will realize that it’s not that difficult. When cooking, there is almost always downtime, like when roasting meat in the oven. These free windows of time should be used to either clean your workspace or prepare something else that goes along with the meal.
3. Get appropriate kitchen tools
When it comes to cooking a decent meal, you can’t actually make one if you don’t have the necessary tools for it. Some more complex meals simply cannot be prepared well if you don’t use adequate dishes. Furthermore, a low-quality dish can paste together your food and ruin the whole thing. And to think that all these years, you though that the meat you burned was your fault. Here are the essentials you need:
- Knives: A block full of knives may look nice, but you only need to have three different knives — a serrated knife, a chef’s knife, and a paring knife. Don’t buy the cheapest ones you find as it is worth buying more expensive knives. Also get an electric knife sharpener and you can rest assured that they will serve you well for a long time.
- Cooking boards: Get two so that you can switch between them when cooking to avoid mixing flavors.
- Mixing bowls: You should get a set of stainless mixing bowls as they can save a lot of space because they fit in each other.
- Spoons and cups for measuring: Since you aren’t experienced in cooking, these items will come in quite handy for adding adequate doses of ingredients.
- Cookware: Get non-stick skillets to avoid pasting food with the dish. You should avoid scratching the surface with metal objects.
- Electric mixer: Baked food can be prepared much more easily with mixers.
- Blender: With a blender, you can easily make salad dressings or smoothies
4. Get good, healthy, and simple food recipes
Find some decent, simple recipes with which you will start practicing your cooking. You can go with something that you find interesting and tasty as well. Before you start cooking, read a couple of cookbooks to learn simple cooking terms so that you don’t get confused in the middle of frying something. Furthermore, you will learn “the flow” of cooking a meal and in which order things go.
5. Shop for ingredients
Once you choose a meal that you want to cook, go to a nearby grocery store and get the ingredients you need for it. Try and find fresh ingredients only and avoid buying similar items. Ingredients are very important, and if you don’t stick to the recipe or they aren’t fresh, your meal won’t turn out as it’s supposed to. Still, like I’ve said before, you should go with some simple meals that require basic ingredients you can find at any local grocery store. After you get experienced with cooking, you will learn what ingredients you can change, but still make tasty food.
6. Prepare in advance
Before you actually turn on your oven or your stove, you should prepare things that can be prepared in advance. For example, cut all the ingredients, peel vegetables, and set aside all the spices, meat, and other ingredients after measuring them. This way, you will have time to check the cookbook and make sure that you’ve got everything covered. Simply follow the steps and add ingredients as you go. Forgetting about something or getting confused will be much more difficult if you have everything prepared by your side.
Essentials in cooking
Learning a few simple techniques will help you prepare a variety of simple dishes.
A lot of meals include pasta. To make it perfect every time, use a large pot and fill two thirds of it with water. The more water, the lesser the chance that the pasta will stick to your dish when cooking. For a gallon of water, add a teaspoon of salt. Wait until the water boils and then add your pasta. Stir and cook for around 13 minutes. Try it to make sure it’s cooked.
Whip out your cutting board and knife, wash your veggies and dry them. Use your dominant hand to hold the knife and the other to hold the vegetable you are cutting. Curve your fingers so that you hold the vegetable with just the tip of your fingers. This way, you will avoid cutting yourself. Use the knife for cutting only and your other hand for handling vegetables.
Not only are scrambled eggs one of the simplest and tastiest breakfast meals, but once you learn what you can do with eggs, you will also learn how to mix them in other foods. The trick with eggs is to mix them just before you cook them. Use your mixer and mix them for 20 seconds to get that fluffy, yellow mixture. One you put them into the pan, mix them slowly. When you see that they are getting solid, when all of the eggs appear cooked, remove them from the pan. If you leave them too long, they will become dry and lose their texture.
Be creative and always try to learn new things when cooking. Once you cook your first meal, you will be amazed by how satisfying it can be — not just for your belly, but for your mind as well. It’s in human nature to cook and you will see how rewarding it can be to cook for yourself and your friends as well. Always make sure to taste your food and ingredients while preparing them. You can quickly learn by the color of the food or by its taste whether or not it’s well-prepared. Explore cooking and have fun!