I have for you 10 Steps To Becoming A Better Cook. Yes, you. Never fear the kitchen. ;-)
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You are walking through your child’s school, church or at the PTO meeting when someone approaches you. Thinking they just want to talk, you stop with a smile, ready to engage in a conversation. After pleasantries, they hit you with your most feared question: How would you like to make something for our upcoming event? You are still smiling though you just broke out in a cold sweat.
“Make something?” you think as you quickly try to form an excuse, “I can’t cook!” However, before you know it, you say yes. The innocent asker walks away as you stare at their back wondering why in the world you said yes. You also wonder if the local bakery has any good sales this week.
I can cook. I am not a chef or an expert by any means but I make food that people (usually!) enjoy eating. As with most things, some food items taste better than others. I have also burned, mismeasured and just plain read the recipe wrong on numerous occasions. I also wasn’t the best cook when I first got married. I did okay, but only with the basics. (We had a lot of tacos and spaghetti in those days!) I wanted to learn how to cook and bake for my husband and eventually our children. I enjoyed to cook so it wasn’t too much of a task to figure out the ins and outs of cooking. What about you? Do you like to cook or does your talent lie elsewhere? Would you like to learn but don’t know where to get started?
Here are 10 steps to becoming a better cook:
- Start small. Trying to make a leg of lamb with mint sauce on your first go around probably won’t help you succeed. (I’m guessing. Is it easy? I never made lamb…it seems complicated!) ;-) Try making something that will boast your confidence. A four ingredient recipe like this Hamburger Casserole or an easy cookie recipe to start. This Peanut Butter Treat recipe only has four ingredients and no oven involved. Want something other than a dessert? Taco soup is a dump and go main dish. It involves your crock pot. What is a crock pot? Read on.
- Improve your attitude! Attitude really is a lot of the battle, no matter what you are trying to do. A great outlook won’t turn you into Rachael Ray, but it will help you head in that directions. Walking into the kitchen already defeated won’t help you. Forget what happened the other day. Forget the smoke alarm went off. Forget the house still reeks of burnt milk because of the potato soup you scalded. (Ask me how I know.) Today is a new day.
- Use your Crock Pot. Were you just asked to bring something to a potluck or cookout? Never fear, the crock pot is your friend. A crock pot is the dusty appliance that is sitting in the corner your aunt got you for Christmas. I kid, I kid! Take some packages of frozen corn, a little bit of butter and put it on low. Done. Take cans of green beans and put them in the crock pot. Wanna get wild and crazy? Take peeled apples with some brown sugar and cinnamon and place in the crock pot. (Email me if you want the recipe!) Easy peasy. You just brought something. You went into the kitchen and came out with a dish. Little steps, it counts.
- Pay attention to ingredients. One of the things to take careful note of is the ingredients in a recipe. When you are starting out, don’t swap ingredients for other ingredients or you may not get a result you like. For example, if the recipe calls for white sugar, don’t put in brown. Or if the recipe calls for baking powder, don’t put in baking soda. You may not know what the difference is, but your recipe will. As you get to be a more experienced baker, you will know what ingredients you can swap.
- Pay attention to the measurements. It does matter. Teaspoons are not tablespoons. Read the recipe carefully and follow along. I’ll be honest. I am horrible at measuring. Sometimes I can get away with it. Sometimes I can’t. I never measure cinnamon however that is a different topic for a different day, ask my children. :-) I measure the ingredients where it really matters. Thankfully cinnamon is usually forgiving.
Those are the first 5 steps in becoming a better cook. Next time I will talk about the other 5. (Click on the link for part two!) Have any questions? Email me or leave a comment. I will be glad to help!