by Rachael from KitchenCourses.com
When I first started cooking, I was intimidated by the process and made all of the mistakes in the book. Trying to do tasks perfectly and striving for end results that looked like cookbook covers were just a few of the commonplace frustrations in my beginner’s kitchen. With much trial and error, I found my way and have learned to love cooking for myself. Here are my 5 must know tips for beginner cooks:
1. Start with the basics, then work up from there. Learning to cook a pot of rice or roast a chicken and vegetables will be invaluable in your lessons in cooking. These basics will be a great foundation for more difficult recipes and techniques down the road. Remember that learning how to make a few dishes (even simple ones) masterfully is better than creating a million ones with mediocrity.
2. Use as many quality and fresh ingredients as possible. While canned fruits and vegetables and dried herbs have their place in the kitchen, fresh produce and herbs always taste better and will produce a more flavorful finished dish. Choosing fresh ingredients in their whole form also means they have more nutritional value than their canned or dried counterparts.
3. Use recipes as a guide to get comfortable cooking, but think outside the box. When first starting out, using cookbooks and recipes that are tried-and-true are a great way to get your feet wet. By relying on recipes that have been time-tested, you can always expect great results. However, don’t get stuck in the trap of thinking that something is worthwhile if it comes from a recipe. Create dishes of your own by mixing flavors that you enjoy to unleash your creativity in the kitchen.
4. Plan your time in the kitchen wisely. Spend a few moments to think through what tasks you have to accomplish before you get started. Think ahead to the tasks that take the longest (like making rice or roasting chicken), so you can leverage this time for preparation of your other shorter tasks (like chopping vegetables or preparing a salad). It’s also helpful to prepare all your ingredients before even turning the stove on, so you don’t risk burning something while finishing up your prep work.
5. It’s okay to not be perfect when you first start cooking, or ever, for that matter. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that dishes need to come out a certain way in order for them to be a success, but be comforted in knowing that if a dish tastes good to you – it’s a success. Some of the best meals to come out of my kitchen have been accidental successes.
As a cook who has gone through many trials, messes, and successes, I hope that you’ll allow yourself some room for patience and grace while you’re getting comfortable. Becoming a home cook takes time, practice, and patience. Keep at it and you’ll be making amazing healthy meals for yourself in no time.
Rachael is the blogger behind KitchenCourses.com and is the author of How to Cook for Yourself: A Complete Beginner’s Guide. She writes about her passion for food, eating well, and inspires people to get familiar with their kitchens and cook for themselves.