Let’s face it, some people never learned how to cook, never wanted to learn how to cook, or are just plain lazy when it comes to cooking. But there is hope! Yes, some people are gifted in the kitchen, but they had to work at it. You can work at it too and become a better cook in no time!
Confidence is Key
I’m going to be that friend to encourage you to mosey on into the kitchen and fake it till you make it! If you can’t boil an egg that’s okay, have the confidence of a Master Chef and don’t give up until you know how to soft and hard boil an egg! Having confidence certainly affects how well your dishes turn out. If you don’t have confidence then you will have atrocious nerves, and nerves can affect even the top Master Chefs in the world. When Fibromyalgia or POTS is kicking my butt on a particular day I have learned to stay out of the kitchen. I become extremely clumsy when I’m symptomatic. I’ll forget ingredients or miss a step and it will make me frustrated. Depending on how symptomatic I am that day will determine if I want to keep pushing through and finish the meal or if I want to order take out. Now most of you won’t have to deal with that if you don’t suffer from some sort of chronic illness, but you should keep in mind that if you are having an emotionally draining day you may or may not want to cook. If you can do something to uplift your mood, then by all means get in that kitchen!
Having the proper equipment is VERY IMPORTANT when you are a newbie in the kitchen. If you have cheap pots and pans I can promise you that you WILL abandon ship in the next few weeks and will place yellow caution tape at your kitchen’s entrance. Cheap cookware (thin aluminum or cheap Teflon coating) will burn your food, scorch your pans, and will leave you questioning life. Don’t do it to yourself! Some of my favorite brands of cookware are Calphalon, KitchenAid, and Revere Ware. Now, there are a lot of great brands out there that I haven’t tried (yet) such as All-Clad, Lodge, Le Creuset, Mauviel, etc. If you are a newbie, I would highly recommend using non-stick pans which mean the pans are coated with Teflon or a similar material. There’s a reason why your grandmother loved cast iron cookware…it’s the best! I recommend cast iron cookware for novices and skilled chefs. After you have practiced I would recommend for you to switch to stainless steel cookware, specifically TRI-PLY which basically means there are 3 layers of metal that will produce an overall more even heat distribution for your meals. I say that you need practice before you switch to stainless steel because you will notice that your food may cook faster than normal and food will stick a little more easily to stainless steel pans if you are not paying enough attention. I’ll make a future post on cookware and my experiences with non-stick and stainless steel.
You also need to stock up on ingredients! Keep that pantry appropriately supplied so you won’t need to hurriedly run to the grocery store each time you find a new recipe that you want to try. The more you cook, the more you will be able to identify which products you should keep on hand at all times. You guys know I love numerous cuisines so I must keep a plethora of ingredients on hand. I will gladly share in another post my kitchen must haves! For starters, you need to always have milk, butter, eggs, garlic, onions, bell peppers (hot peppers too), herbs, tomatoes, rice (um, grab brown too), pasta, canned tomatoes, and I could go on forever…
Back to the Basics
This may go without saying, but you should probably start with the basics to become a better cook. Now I’m sure you probably make the BEST grilled cheese sandwich in the world and can whip up the most scrumptious tuna salad in your neighborhood. You don’t need practice in that department. lol I want you to become comfortable with dicing and sautéing vegetables, grilling meat and seafood, braising and roasting techniques, making stock from scratch, etc. I know, it sounds daunting, but I have faith in you. There are tons of resources online to learn how to hone your knife skills. I will definitely be sharing recipes in the near future using these techniques. In several months, I want to see you say, “Olive Garden who? What? Perry’s Steakhouse??” lol Remember what I said about confidence.This is where you become acquainted with your Crock-Pot, treat her with tender loving care, and use her… Click To Tweet
Friend, Meet Crock-Pot
Crock-Pots are a kitchen’s best friend and to be perfectly honest, I don’t use mine often enough! This is where I really want you to start in the kitchen. I know you have a busy life to lead and may not have the time or energy to stand at the stove for 2 hours per night. This is where you become acquainted with your Crock-Pot, treat her with tender loving care, and use her faithfully. I was walking through the store the other day and realized just how much Crock-Pots have changed. They have several bells and whistles that I’m not familiar with. My Crock-Pot only has one knob that says “low, med, and high.” I’ll probably buy a new Crock-Pot and review it for you guys since I’m sure some of those new features are extremely useful for a person on the go.
The Oven Needs Love Too
Don’t forget about your oven, it needs lots of love too. Braising and roasting will become your favorite techniques for dinner time. It’s basically like using a slow cooker to cook your meal low and slow. It doesn’t take very much effort to build a great flavor profile through braising and roasting. You can also use your oven’s broiler to quickly grill some steaks, chicken or seafood. Again, it won’t take much effort out of you to use the broiler just make sure you stand nearby while you are using it.
Practice makes perfect.
Practice, practice, and practice some more. It may take you 6 times before you properly grill a chicken breast but you will eventually nail it! Don’t start out trying to cook intermediate or advanced recipes. You will frustrate yourself and will become discouraged. You must work your way up.
Don’t give up, you’ve got this! I’m always here to answer questions. YouTube is a click away and don’t forget to check out other people’s blogs. I’m constantly learning new things from reading others’ material. You will never stop learning in the kitchen. How are you planning to use these tips this week to become a better cook? Comment and tell me below. What scares you the most about being in the kitchen?