Tips for Learning to Cook
By Randi Morse
It always surprises me when I learn that there are people who don't know how to cook. Maybe it's because I grew up in a very rural area but most people I know are at least proficient at cooking, many are downright amazing at it. But I understand how the idea of learning how to cook, especially when you've never cooked before, can be intimidating. If you're looking to learn how to cook, here are some tips that should be able to help make learning to cook easier for you.
Before you learn any new skill, it's important to learn the basics, and when it comes to cooking, the basics are fairly easy. Have you made toast? Great! Then you've cooked something! Basic cooking begins with things like learning how to make scrambled eggs. Don't be afraid to reach for a box mix when you're learning. For example, macaroni and cheese is a very easy recipe to make homemade but it's even easier when you make it from a box. It's a great way to learn some basics, like learning the timing for noodles and how to get your ratios right.
This is probably the thing that took me the longest to learn: knife skills. Using a knife can be very intimidating: how do you know how to cut something? If you think back, you'll realize that you've seen all sorts of different styles of cuts throughout your life, including things like julienne, matchstick, and shredding. One of the best ways to gain knife skills is to look on video websites such as YouTube. If you search for a phrase like "how to cut a tomato," you'll be given tons of different teaching techniques to help you learn how to cut a tomato. With knife skills the important thing is practice.
Pick a Dish
Once you've gotten comfortable with your appliances and your knives, pick a dish. It can be as complicated as you want it to be, but the main theory behind this is that you're going to master that dish. For example, the first dish I learned how to master was a meatloaf. I was terrified about making mashed potatoes so I used instant (box mixes aren't always bad!) and managed to microwave some vegetables with it. Looking back, it wasn't the best meal I've ever made, but I was extremely proud of it.
Cooking is best learned by doing, so don't be afraid to make mistakes! Even the best chef in the world has burned a piece of meat or allowed a pot to boil over.
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