Some people really embrace the joy of cooking. Others embrace the microwave and the drawer full of take-out menus. But cooking is not only a self-beneficial skill to have, it can also be a great hobby and creative outlet. It’s also a skill that anyone of us can pick up. Will you become a world-class chef? Probably not. Will you learn to make amazing dishes that you and your family can regularly? Most certainly. So if you’re ready to up your game in the kitchen, check out our tips for how to become a better cook.
Take cooking seriously.
For many people, cooking is simply something they do while they’re doing more “important” things. And that’s fine, but they can’t expect to really develop any talent. If you truly want to up your cooking game, you need to put in the time and focus. Dedicate a portion of your night to just cooking. Play some music, ignore the phone and give all your attention to the task at hand. You could find that it is rather boring and you’d rather go back to cooking on the side. But you also could find a new favourite hobby. Cooking can be extremely relaxing and if you put the effort in, you’re paying yourself back in delicious meals.
As with any new skill you’re trying to learn, the more you know about it the easier it is to master. The same philosophy can be applied to cooking as there is a lot of basic knowledge that can help to make you a better cook. Firstly, knowing the right tools to use is always important. Look into the different types of knives, pots, pans. It might all seem the same to you at first, but the more you become experienced, the more you’ll notice those slight yet crucial differences. Also, having a rudimentary knowledge of spices is key. Learn which spices compliment each other and which have combative tastes. These small lessons will make a big difference.
Try different methods.
Cooking can be a very versatile skill to have, and if you’re only focusing on a limited area, you’re cheating yourself out of a great portion of the skill. Once you master one exceptional dish, it can be easy to keep going back to that safe option again and again, but try to mix it up every once and a while. Not just with the types of dishes you make, but the methods of cooking you use as well. Try frying one night, then baking, then the slowcooker, and keep developing your skills in new ways.
Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Part of the fun of cooking is trying new things. When you’re starting out, recipes can be a lifesaver, but eventually they become a crutch. When you develop your skills to a certain point, don’t be afraid to ditch the cookbook and try your own stuff. Want to combine two recipes? Go for it! Feel like adding or subtracting certain things from other meals? Why not? It’s your kitchen so you get to make the decisions. You may just end up inventing the next great dish. But maybe don’t try it when you have company coming.
For some people, cooking can be a relaxing exercise that they prefer doing on their own, while others rightfully want a little help in the kitchen. Cooking can be a very time consuming task and difficult to manage on your own as it often has a lot of things that need tending to simultaneously. It’s perfectly understandable to get a little help. Whether it’s recruiting your kids to chop veggies or tag teaming the whole meal with your partner, the whole thing can be a lot more fun (and go a lot faster) with some help.
Don’t let a few bad dishes stop you.
Here’s the thing, you’re going to make some bad food every once in a while. Sometimes even a little mistake can alter the whole meal. Sometimes you misread the recipe. Sometimes you make a bad judgement call. And sometimes a meal just doesn’t turn out to be as enticing as the photos led you to believe. But don’t go reaching for that take-out menu just yet. Instead of prematurely concluding that you’re a terrible cook, learn from those missteps and become a better cook because of them.