Expanding your options
- 1Change what you’ve been cooking. If all you’ve been doing is opening cans and ripping over packages of instant food, it’s time to get daring and dip your fingers into food-from-scratch. Don’t worry––there are plenty of recipes which explain exactly what to do in order to create real food that tastes great.
- 2Visit your local library. Go to the cookbook section and borrow some cookbooks that tickle your fancy. Try to stick with less complicated recipes to begin with though––you don’t want to be put off before you’ve even started.
- Basics cookbooks are very good books to begin with. These books tend to explain terminology and techniques, as well as providing samples of simple but essential recipes. You can learn a lot from even just one such book, and then graduate onto cookbooks that seem like favourites to you.
- When reading a cookbook, check out how recipes are written and look for the basic terms and methods. Also notice that particular types of food (for example, bread, soup, meat, cake, etc.) have specific requirements in common to many recipes within that type of food.
- 3Check out free recipes on the internet. There are recipes everywhere on the internet, including on wikiHow. You have so many choices that it is important to work out which sites you like and trust instead of spending all day collecting recipes, so be discerning in your selection. It also helps to find recipes that allow comments; that way, you can see what others say about the recipes and what changes or additions they suggest.
- Get to know the food bloggers. There are bound to be some you love because they cook the sort of food you like and share interesting anecdotes that make reading their blog worthwhile. You can usually subscribe to such blogs to get regular updates and when you’re game, you can also share comments about your experiences of the recipes they’re suggesting.
- 4Watch cooking shows to get some more ideas. Cooking shows are all over the TV nowadays, so it won’t be hard to find one you like. This can help you learn techniques, find food of interest to you and maybe even get fired up about improving your cooking skills.
- Warning: Cooking shows can be addictive. Try to keep them in perspective and ration the TV viewing.
- 5Talk to other cooks. Learn what motivates and inspires other cooks. Observe them and ask questions. This can a fun and socially engaging way to learn more about cooking.
Part2Testing your cooking
- 1Don’t wait. Get started today. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work, you’re learning and you’ll learn faster by doing than by thinking about it. Expect to make mistakes and some stuff that doesn’t taste so great. And for now, don’t worry how it looks––work on how it tastes to begin with. Indeed, some people never get beyond how it tastes, and that is just fine because everyone loves good tasting food!
- A word of advice: Don’t try anything that requires expensive ingredients, has a very long list of steps, or is notoriously difficult at first. Give yourself a chance!
- 2Begin with affordable ingredients. That way, the errors aren’t so costly and you can repeat until you get it right. And have fun in the process!
- 3Choose simple recipes for your cheap ingredients. That way, you won’t get frustrated and you won’t be stuck at a hot stove or cranky mixing bowl for more than a few minutes at a time.
- 4Keep reading and keep experimenting with your cooking. Taste the food you make, then practice how to make it taste better. A great cook can tell by mere taste what else needs to be added to improve a bland or strange tasting dish and most of this comes from sheer practice and innate decisions. On your side is the fact that you care enough about food to give this a go, so you’ll get the hang of flavoring food in no time.
- It really helps know what kinds of flavors you like and try to get them in your dish.
- 5Fix your errors. There are basic techniques for repairing mistakes, such as thickening or thinning a food, lessening saltiness, and turning a failure into a completely different dish (with nobody the wiser). That said, some mistakes can’t be fixed, such as burnt food (the taste goes all the way through). Learn when to simply throw out something and try again and when you can completely transform an error.
- 6Be confident. In order to be a great cook, you need to be confident. Sometimes, being nervous can spoil your dish. Fake it until you make it (or bake it) and something good is bound to come out!
- Some people truly believe that emotions get cooked into food. Hence, it would be advisable not to cook when you’re angry, if you follow this belief.
- 7Find a brave friend or family member to taste test your new creations. Ask this person to give you honest feedback and to make suggestions for changes. Be prepared to accept constructive feedback; you can’t improve your skills without this.
- QuestionWho else can I let test my cooking?Community AnswerYou can let any trusted person test your cooking, such as a classmate or co-worker. If you are part of a cooking club, you could even let your fellow members try your cooking. Also, if you are attending a party, offer to help with the cooking, and gauge the guests’ reactions.Not Helpful 15Helpful 11
- QuestionDo you have any suggestions for healthy lunch recipes?Community AnswerSalad in a jar. Turkey pita/sandwich. Fruit kebabs. Hard boiled eggs. Meatballs/tortilla. Cobb salad. Black rice and sliced strawberries. Green pork chili soup.Not Helpful 13Helpful 6
- QuestionHow do I know which recipes are simple?Community AnswerSimple recipes = simple ingredients and simple steps. Always choose simple ingredients with few/easy steps when you start. Remember that less is more. And step out of your comfort zone, try all types of cuisines.Not Helpful 14Helpful 6
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- Don’t be afraid to experiment with cheap ingredients, and be ready to add flavors to repair a dish.
- Make sure you know the basic terms and follow recipes carefully at first.
- Start by cooking one dish at a time, not three or four. Too many recipes spoil the novice cook!
- Flavor compendiums can be borrowed from your library. Learning which flavors marry well and which flavors don’t match well can be a really good way to improve your cooking skills.
- Learn to use your tools. A good chef’s knife is your best friend in the kitchen. There are online videos showing you how to use knives properly, or you can take classes run by local chefs.
- Ask someone who cooks well before you cook or use ingredients in a new recipe––they may have some good advice. Or, see what others say in the internet forum or comment section for a recipe. Many forums even let you ask questions and have other fans of cooking reply.
- Always use appropriate care and equipment when working with hot stoves and ovens, hot oil, etc.
- Go easy on the spices and dried herbs, especially when you don’t know their flavor strengths.Too much of a good thing is bad when cooking. The aim is to avoid masking the food’s natural flavor; instead, aim to bring it out.
Things You’ll Need
- Kitchen equipment including a stove, pots, pans, and utensils
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