Improving Your Home Cooking Skills
Cooking meals at home can help you stay healthier, as you have more control over the ingredients and salt and oil content.
However, if you’re not an experienced cook, the experience can be rather frustrating. You might wonder how others conjure up a full-course meal seemingly from scraps, yet everything is perfectly delicious. If you have a job that keeps you busy and tired, mustering the energy and creativity to cook a special dinner might sometimes be too much.
With all these aspects in mind, it’s easy to see how cooking can become more of a chore than a rewarding and even meditative activity at the end of which you sit down and enjoy a nutritious meal. However, if you take it to step by step and give yourself time to develop your cooking skills, you’ll see it can be a genuinely enjoyable experience. You’ll feel confident to become more creative in the kitchen and feel ready to try more complex recipes or even come up with your original ideas.
Here are some ways to become a more adept home cook that’ll leave your friends and relatives impressed the next time they visit.
If you haven’t cooked all that much before, don’t start by choosing something exceedingly tricky. It will only cause you to become frustrated and might even convince you that cooking isn’t for you. The best way to start is to look for relatively straightforward recipes with simple ingredients. The preparation shouldn’t last long, and the food presentation should also be in line with the basics.
However, there’s a wide variety of meals you could prepare. Where do you start? The best thing you can do is think about what you enjoy most. Which tastes are more appealing to you? What kind of textures do you like? For instance, some people consider soft, gooey dishes light, airy, and silky, while others find them disgusting and prefer crunchier things. Think about which foods you enjoy more. A balanced meal involves a little bit of protein, fibre, healthy fats and carbs.
If you’re a picky eater, cooking your own meals might be when you discover certain ingredients aren’t all that bad, it’s just how they’re cooked that can be unappealing to you. For example, you might not like lean meats because all the ones you’ve eaten so far were dry and overcooked. Cooking at home allows you to develop your palette unconstrained by other people’s tastes or how they personally believe something should be cooked. If you want to add more seasoning or forego it altogether, or if you want to try some unusual combinations, nobody’s stopping you.
All craftsmen need the right equipment before they get down to work. The same applies to cooking. You don’t need to go shopping and buy thousands of pounds worth of cutlery, bowls, and pans. However, a few basic things will help you succeed more in your cooking endeavors. For starters, you should ensure that your kitchen furnishings are resistant. Painted kitchen doors are one of the best options for cabinets. They offer additional protection against scratches and staining due to the extra layer of paint. However, all kitchen furnishings will show some signs of wear and tear after a while. It’s impossible to keep items in pristine condition over a long period, particularly if you’re cooking a lot. Nevertheless, painted cabinets are better at concealing this natural damage than others.
One of the essential tools in any kitchen is a decent knife. You don’t have to break the bank on one. You can even try a knife in your hand before you purchase it to test if it feels comfortable or doesn’t dig into your palm in an uncomfortable way. Remember to keep it sharp. You can sharpen your knives at home or visit a professional sharpener, whichever you prefer. Just be warned that a dull knife will give you ingredients that are chopped and sliced inadequately and can also be a safety hazard.
Some other essentials you should have in your kitchen include a cutting board and a set of pots and pans in two or three different sizes so that you can create dishes of various consistencies, from the thickest stews to the thinnest soups. You should also have basic spices at your disposal, including Kosher salt, black pepper, garlic and onion powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Try them out when you’re cooking to see how much or how little of each you prefer.
You can’t become better at something if you don’t even start. To improve your home cooking skills, you must cook as much and as often as you can. Your first attempt likely won’t be your best, and you can expect that much of the food might be quite far from what you envisioned. However, as you hone your skills and try more and more things, you’ll notice that your food becomes better.
If you lack motivation, you can always put on some music or a podcast you enjoy before rolling up your sleeves and beginning to cook. You can even get someone else to help you or sit in the kitchen and keep you company, whether a friend, relative or family member. If you’re unfamiliar with basic knife skills or are unsure of the difference between braising and roasting, there are plenty of videos you can watch online or blogs you can read. You can even enroll in a cooking class.
If you don’t feel like cooking a particular night because you’re too tired or don’t feel like cooking, you can use leftovers from the night before. Reheating them and adding some sauce or side dishes can make a new meal in just a few minutes. It also means you avoid food waste. You can also cook dishes that can stretch to cover a few days, such as soups, casseroles or lasagna. Making a little extra of something you cook means that you also have the option to eat it the next day.
To sum up, if you want to improve your home cooking, you must be ready to commit yourself to a long-term journey. You won’t become a sous chef overnight, but enhancing your cooking skills will feel very rewarding.