When I was little, I remember being in awe of my mother’s cooking talents. And while I loved her legendary lemon meringue pie and other sweet treats, what really amazed me were the nights we’d have meat and vegetables for dinner.
She was able to get so many parts ready so they were all cooked at the same time—the peas, the potatoes and the lamb chops or sausages. If this sounds impossible, it will be. But if you’re just willing to try, it’s really not hard to learn to make sandwiches and salads. From there, you’ll be baking cakes and cooking pasta.
But it all comes from one thing: being willing to try.
Here are five pieces of advice for how to get started today, even if you’ve never cooked before.
1. Decide that you can cook.
Like anything in life, if you don’t think you’ll be able to do it, it’s probably not going to happen. So this first reason is deceptively simple, but crucial.
You can cook. And one day you might even be able to say you love to cook.
2. Accept that failure IS an option.
Take some advice from a culinary master of a restaurant that’s been ranked one of the best in the world. One of the things that Danish chef Rene Redzepi is passionate about is for his chefs at Noma to “fail” or have disasters from time to time. His philosophy is that if you aren’t failing then you’re not trying hard enough.
People that love to cook know that there are going to be things that don’t work out. It’s expected. Surely if it happens to the best chefs in the world, it’s okay for it to happen to you.
3. Make a salad for yourself.
When you’re in the right headspace and it’s time to actually touch some food, the good news is you don’t need to invest a small fortune on a new set of knives. You don’t even need a kitchen really. A knife and a chopping board can be helpful but they aren’t essential. With limited utensils you could easily toss together a tuna and chili salad. All you need is a can of tuna in chili oil to mix with a bag of pre-washed salad leaves and a lemon for extra flavor.
4. Make a salad for someone else.
One of the things you’ll start loving about cooking is the opportunity to nurture your loved ones. There’s nothing as rewarding as sharing something you’ve made with your own two hands.
The secret is that your meal doesn’t need to be anything fancy. A lovely fresh salad will suffice. And once you’ve had that feeling, it will motivate you to keep cooking.
5. Try some soup.
Soup has to be one of the most underrated meals, and also one of the most forgiving. This makes it the perfect place to start playing with fire, so to speak.
All you need is a pot to cook in and some sort of heat source. The good news is that a tasty soup doesn’t need to be simmering on the stove all day. In fact, you can get a really lovely soup on the table in as little as 10 minutes.
A very simple white bean and tomato soup is perfect to try on a stove top, but there’s no reason you couldn’t whip it up in your microwave at work. Feel free to dress it up with a little pesto or some finely sliced proscuitto or even a handful of fresh basil.
White Bean and Tomato Soup Recipe
Enough for 2
1 can white beans (400g /14oz)
1 jar tomato pasta sauce (or even canned tomatoes)
Parmesan cheese, to serve, optional
1. Combine the beans, the bean canning liquid and the tomato in a heat proof bowl (or 2 bowls).
2. Heat in a saucepan on the stove until hot. Alternatively, microwave for 3-4 minutes or until very hot.
3. Taste. Season. Serve with parmesan shaved over the top, if using.
Featured photo credit: Jules Clancy via flickr.com