Cooking can be a passion for some people—and for some a nightmare of burns and cuts and ruining food. So if you’re a part of the latter, but know you must become a part of the former, how do you go about it? Here’s some tips toward becoming a competent cook.
1. Don’t be afraid to try things. Sure, don’t immediately go for fillet mignon or some other high falutin recipes that are difficult to get just right, but do try to make things that look interesting or out of the norm.
2. If you don’t know it, look it up! There are cooking videos on Youtube that can help you distinguish what it is you need and how to use it. If you have no idea how to sharpen a knife, for example, it’s best you follow some instructions before running off and trying to figure it out. You don’t want to damage the blade on your expensive new professional knife set—so my best advice is to use keywords and look it up. Obviously in the case of knife sharpening, a video would be preferable.
3. If you mess up, it’s ok. Sure, some food might have been wasted, but everyone messes up. You know how much my Mum cooks from scratch? All the time. You know what she’s done? Completely charred some ribs that she left on the stovetop because she forgot about them. She also ran a cake baking business and a couple of times she had cakes fall apart for one reason or another (she made a cow-shaped cake where the head was too heavy and it fell off). So what did she do? She problem solved. In the case of the ribs I believe that we went out to eat. In the case of the cow shaped cake she had to re-make it. This included putting straws in the neck of the cow to strengthen it and keep it from falling over. The lesson to learn here? Everyone messes up. It happens. It’s ok. Don’t panic. Just clean it up, dust off your hands and say you’ll learn to do it better next time.
4. If you don’t like it—change it! That’s been a rule in the kitchen since I was young. Always try a recipe out the first time by following it to a T. Then, if it didn’t turn out the way you would have liked, feel free to change portions of it. I know my favourite thing is to adapt normal recipes to gluten-free ones. It’s mostly out of necessity, but it’s also interesting to figure out how to adapt the recipe to other variables. Of course, if you aren’t comfortable with change, try baby steps. Try making a different flavor first before going for making a normal recipe to gluten-free, for example.
5. If you need help, ask someone. Chances are your parents or aunts and uncles or your grandma know something about it. Don’t be afraid to ask and get useful tips handed down through family or friends. Especially if it’s something silly—ask them and then laugh about it later.
6. If you want to take cooking classes, take them. There are plenty available all over the world, usually quite a few around the cities, so turn up and learn a few things. Maybe you’ll learn a new recipe, maybe a new technique. No matter what, though, I guarantee you’ll have fun and be able to take something away from it (as long as you’ve gone in with an open mind, that is)!
7. Cook with friends. Whether they’re there to watch you make a fool of yourself in the kitchen or actually being helpful, it makes everything more fun and a lot less stressful.
8. Drink a little. Don’t get too drunk, but if you’re of age to—I recommend it. It helps everything to be a little loosened up when you cook. If you don’t trust me, youtube search for drunk cooking. You’ll be convinced after that.
9. Make something you like. If you don’t like it, you probably won’t try it. Therefore, you have to rely on others to tell you if what you made was alright or not.
Hopefully these tips point you in the right direction to become an awesome cook. Because really, anyone can do it and once you can cook you’ll have all manner of people asking you to make them something. So good luck on your cooking endeavors, Audience!