Learning to cook is a skill that everyone should master to some degree. Not only will it allow you to impress your friends and family, but you’ll be able to whip yourself up a delicious meal whenever you feel like it. Besides that, it’s fun! Many people take up cooking as a form of stress relief or to use their creativity, and you can too.
However, if you’re like a lot of people, you have no idea where to begin. Maybe you can make yourself a few simple meals, but anything more advanced is beyond you. Whether you’re a complete beginner, or you have some experience, it’s easy to learn how to cook properly. Below are 4 methods you can use to learn and get started on creating some amazing dishes.
Find a Family Member or Friend
Perhaps your best resource for learning how to cook is the people already in your life. If you have family members or friends who know how to cook well, ask them to give you some pointers. Most people who love cooking are more than happy to share their knowledge with others. Learning to cook from your friends and family is a great way to spend time together, while also learning some of those secret family recipes.
Take a Class in Person
If you really want to take your cooking skills to a more professional level, you should consider taking an in-person cooking class. Cooking classes are offered all around the country at restaurants, community colleges, and more. When you sign up for a class they will provide all the supplies you need, and you’ll get expert instruction from a professional cook. To make the event even better, consider bringing along a friend, family member or date. Cooking classes can be a little expensive, but it’s one of the best ways to learn how to cook. To find a cooking class near you, you can try a service like Cozymeal.
Take an Online Class
If there are no cooking classes within your vicinity, or you don’t want to spend the money, or you simply don’t want to leave the home, consider taking an online class. There are many instructional videos and courses online that you can subscribe to that will teach you how to cook. You’ll lose the benefit of having an in-person instructor providing specific advice, but it’s a much more convenient learning method. A great place to start is the MasterClass taught by renowned chef Thomas Keller.
Finally, part of the joy of cooking is experimentation. Almost anyone can follow recipes exactly how they are written – it takes a true cook to try new things and find ways to make improvements. So as you’re learning to cook, remember to experiment. Try adding in new flavors, or cooking things in a different way. You may end up spoiling the dish, but you could also end up making something you love. As you experiment more and develop a better cooking sense, you’ll gain a better idea as to what experiments will work and which ones won’t. Then before long, you’ll be developing your own recipes without having to read one out of a cookbook.
Combine Them All
The best way to learn how to cook isn’t to follow just one of the methods listed above. Instead, you should try some combination of them all. Take a cooking class in your area to learn the basics. Then have your grandmother teach you her famous family recipes. Follow that up by experimenting on your own dishes and seeing how that goes. The more sources you can learn how to cook from, the more you’ll learn.
Beginner Cooking Tips
As you begin your journey towards learning how to cook, you may find the beginning particularly difficult. With that in mind, here are a few tips you can use to make things run a little smoother when you’re first starting out.
#1 – Read the Whole Recipe Before Starting
One common mistake new cooks make is performing the actions on a recipe card as they read them. This can lead to mistakes however since you can’t plan if you don’t know what’s coming ahead. Instead, you should read over the entire recipe and ensure you understand each step. Take a moment to visualize the process and see yourself completing each step of the recipe. Once you’ve done that, then you can go back to the beginning and start from Step #1.
#2 – Prepare Everything Prior to Starting
Along with reading the entire recipe before you begin, you should also prep everything. For example, if your recipe calls for adding in diced tomatoes, you should dice up the tomatoes and set them aside before you start cooking. This way you don’t have to rush to prepare things while you’re performing other steps. Preparing beforehand will help to keep you organized so that you can follow the recipe easily.
#3 – Season Along the Way
If your recipe calls for seasoning, it’s better to do this along the way as you cook rather than all at the end. Seasoning just at the end can result in over-seasoning, which you want to avoid. Instead, do a little bit at a time as you cook and give your recipe a taste to make sure it isn’t getting too strong. Doing it this way will also help your seasonings mix into your recipe better.
#4 – Add Some Citrus
The last tip is to add some citrus to your recipe. Circuses like lemon and orange can help to bring out the flavors in a lot of dishes. You’ll want to avoid it in things like tomato sauces, but a little citrus can make a big difference when preparing meats. Here are some additional tips for cooking with citrus to get you started.
Start Developing Your Passion for Cooking
Once you start getting the hang of cooking, you’ll never want to look back. Cooking is an amazing passion to develop, and it doesn’t take too much to learn the basics. Hopefully, the resources above will help, and before long you’ll be preparing some excellent meals for all your friends and family.