Without a doubt, most of you have spent hundreds of hours watching and helping your mother cook when you were younger. As time goes by, however, you will need to prepare your own food, and all those hours spent keeping your mother company in the kitchen will finally pay off. Your cooking foundations have already been laid, now you just need to build up.
You are still a long way from becoming an experienced chef, and you need to take it slow, at least at the beginning. Here are some useful pieces of advice for cooking newbies.
- Start with Easy Recipes
Start by preparing the simplest of meals you remember your mother was preparing. No one has learnt to run prior to walk.
- Follow the Recipe
At the beginning, it is crucial that you read and follow cooking recipes to the letter. As you prepare that same meal time after time, you can start experimenting by changing the ratio of the ingredients and even adding new ones. Follow the recipe’s requirements in terms of using the necessary utensils as well.
- The Amount of the Ingredients is Stated for a Reason
Recipes are not only about naming the ingredients and following steps. Every ingredient has a clearly stated amount and you should adhere to them. Make sure you have the necessary tools for measuring dry and liquid ingredients in the appropriate scales. Not following the amount requirements of the ingredients will create a misbalanced meal, and the results can be absolutely disgusting.
Granted, you will have to significantly deviate from the recommended amounts to create a disastrous meal, but do try to follow the recipe to the letter, at least until you gain some cooking experience. Playing with the ingredients to a certain extent will eventually create your own cooking signature.
- No one Is Born Perfect
Even if you follow the recipe as close as you possibly can, the end result might not be as perfect as you expect. It is important not to be too hard on yourself in the first attempts of cooking new meals. You have to work your way to perfection, and it takes time and many failed attempts in the process.
- Pre-heating Is Crucial
This is possibly the most common mistake beginner cooks make. Always pre-heat your pots and pans before actually placing the ingredients in them. It saves on cooking time for one, and it prevents food sticking to the surfaces. Placing your food in a cold pot or a pan is not the world’s greatest error though.
- The Size of the Pots and Pans Matters
Depending on the amount of food you are preparing you need pots and pans in different sizes. While you will eventually succeed in cooking the meal, using a larger pan will result in a significant amount of wasted energy. On the other hand, using a smaller pan for a larger amount of food will take a lot longer to get it done.
- Keep an Eye on the Clock
Different foods require different time for cooking. Always keep an eye on the time and ensure the food has cooked long enough. If you cook several dishes at the same time you should get a kitchen timer to help you keep track of cooking times.
- Get a Quality Freezer
This may not sound as a cooking tip, but it very much is. Using a good freezer to store raw food ingredients in advance will save you time, money and space. You can simply take the necessary ingredients for a certain dish in the morning and leave them thaw by the time you start cooking.
- Invest in Quality Kitchen Knives
A quality kitchen knife will stay sharp for a longer time. All of them go dull in due time and need to be sharpened regularly. You may assume a sharp knife is a risky tool, but you will be surprised to know that dull knives are an even bigger safety hazard. A dull knife requires more force, which can easily lead to it slipping away and ending up somewhere it shouldn’t.
Cooking, as with most things in life, comes easier for some people than others. Everyone can become a proper cook provided they invest the necessary time and effort into it. And it definitely takes a lot of patience as well.