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Learning how to cook

Obviously, the discussion of cooking comes up quite often in my life.  What can I say… its something everyone can relate to!  And I can’t tell you how many people will tell me that they “could never cook like [me]”.  I say… ‘Oh yes you can!”  Learning how to cook isn’t nearly as difficult as it seems and I have learned a lot of “shortcuts” over the years.  After all… I was an Efficiency Manager for most of my career and to think I wouldn’t apply that in my personal life is just silly.  From the way I have my kitchen set up (in the order of which I use things) to the quickest way to achieve the same results.  There are some things to keep in mind…

  • The best laid plans… can easily fail!  Never expect everything to come out perfect each time.  Its life and you’re bound to make mistakes.  Just always have a backup plan on hand (i.e. the number to a great, local restaurant that delivers) and buy more ingredients than you need.  Gives you room if you make a mistake to start again or make the dish again if you do it well!
  • Learn tastes.  I’m going to address this in a separate entry because this is the real art to being a good cook.
  • Become a mad scientist! Experiment!  Experiment!  Experiment!  Don’t be afraid to add something, omit something or just plain “wing it!”  Cooking is an adventure, not a chore!  If you are going to look at it like punishment then you’ll never truly being able to enjoy what you’re doing or improve on your talent.
  • Forget everything you know about cooking. Julia Childs was an amazing cook but so help me… I have no desire to create some of the extravagant dishes she demonstrated on her shows.  Rachel Ray might have some great tips and tricks but when it comes to your personal tastes and needs, she has no clue (and technically, neither do I, so you need to cook what you like, not what you’re told).  Emil might throw together some mouth watering entrées but that doesn’t mean you’ll like them or enjoy cooking them.  Again, just learn to be yourself in the kitchen and make what you enjoy!
  • Understand your body and diet.  I cannot stress this point enough!  No matter how yummy a dish might smell, no matter how appealing it looks, if your body cannot handle it, you will only be punishing yourself.  Forgo the rich, creamy sauces if you are lactose intolerant.  Learn to read the ingredient list of your ingredients.  Just because the picture of the burritos looks like a great lunch, doesn’t mean your stomach will agree with you later on.  You’ll enjoy your creations more when you and your body like it.
  • Fancy Schmancy! Most of the dishes I create SOUND amazing… okay, so I hope they taste amazing as well but I’m a writer.  Its my job to make something sound scrumptious.  I am also an amateur photographer, my job is to make it look appealing.  But never assume that something that sounds difficult to make is.  Almost all of MY recipes (not those I posts of other people’s though I do try to find ones similar to mine) are quick, fun and easy.  I love to cook but not spend all day on just one thing!  Pfft!

There you have it.  The basic understanding you’ll need.  Now, just click the “Quick Cooking” guide to start your learning.  I suggest starting off small and expanding your arsenal as you improve or feel confident.  And please, you can always message me with questions and/or comments!