Are you always hungry, but the idea of cooking gives you anxiety? Cooking can be a pretty intimidating art, especially if you have never done it before. The measuring, chopping, and simmering can really put on the pressure. I learned that first-hand. So, here are a few tips on how to cook with confidence!
1. Don’t be afraid.
Technically, cooking is a lot easier than baking. When you cook, you can add spices at any time, such as adding more pepper or basil to a bland sauce. It’s even okay that you might not chop up food perfectly because you cut it up while it cooks. If you become afraid of food then it shows in your cooking. Go in confident with your recipe so that you can make it the best that you can.
2. Prepare your ingredients ahead of time.
Mise en place is a French term used in the culinary arts that means “everything in its place.” This means that in order to avoid clutter and have to scavenge your kitchen for ingredients, be sure to have everything you need in front of you before you cook. Measuring spices in bowls, chopped chicken on a plate, or having milk ready in a cup, saves you time and anxiety. You’ll need to act fast with some recipes to avoid burning your food, so put everything where it needs to be before you start.
3. Practice a recipe before letting others taste it.
There are only few other things more stressful than having other people try your food. You can try to cook and bake the way that most people like, but you will never know if it’s going to be a hit. If you’re going to have someone else try your food, especially for a party or a large group of people, it’s always best to practice beforehand. That way, if you make a mistake then you can take notes on what to change or do differently the next time.
4. Watch cooking shows and videos.
Food Network is a big help if you want to gain some cooking skills. Simple things like how to whisk, chop vegetables, and separate egg yolks from an egg all seem like basic skills. However, doing any of these improperly can really backfire when you cook. So, try to pick up some good tricks by watching professional chefs do what they do best.
5. Always taste your food.
While you’re cooking, it’s important to taste your food to see your progress. You can easily avoid the embarrassment of people adding salt to your bland food by testing it beforehand. Some people have a stigma against this, but there is no other way to know how your food will taste unless you try it while it’s being prepared. This small tip can be a lifesaver.
6. Make sure to cook something that you like.
Let’s face it: you know what you like. When you go to a restaurant, you order something that you think is good, so why would you cook something any different? If you’re a fan of cheese, try casseroles or pastas that have cheese in them. Again, you’ll want to taste your food. It is always good to know how something should taste based on your standards.
7. Always follow the instructions.
Cooking and baking are sciences, which is why it’s important to stick to the rules. When you try a recipe for the first time, read through the instructions a couple of times before you make the recipe. Then, stick to the recipe as closely as possible. Feel free to make changes after you’ve tasted the finished product, but it’s better to closely follow the recipe when it’s your first attempt.
8. Find recipes with good feedback.
When you run out of family recipes to try, browse the internet for some inspiration. Websites like food.com, allrecipes.com, and foodnetwork.com are great because people rate the recipes. Go for the recipes that have a near perfect rating, and read comments from people who find ways to make the recipes even better. You should feel part of a community when you cook because there are just as many people out there who may be as lost as you are.
Follow these tips, don’t be afraid and go in confident to make the best dish that you possibly can.
Remember: always have fun!