A lot of people think that home cook are either good at cooking or great cooks and can do anything that they set their minds on.
Well, this couldn’t be further from the truth, but first, a little bit of history so you don’t get it wrong.
First, the definition of what a good home cook is will tell you where home cooks are going wrong.
A good home cook is somebody who has their act together in the kitchen, they have their recipes memorized, they know how to cook, they know how to shop for food, they know how to cut up vegetables, they know how to boil pasta, they know how to make salads.
All those things that we take for granted. A good home cook doesn’t look anything like this.
In the past, people that did these things were called professional chefs or as the French call them, “culinary artists.”
Now home cooks are an extremely strong and powerful group of people because they’re actually learning and growing every day as they cook for themselves and their families.
So let’s talk about some of the things that home cooks need to know.
1. Buy wisely
When you buy a recipe or a cookbook, look at what it actually costs, not what it claims.
A lot of times the lowest-priced cookbook will have great recipes. But the thing you have to look for is actually easy to follow.
If you’re new to the kitchen and you’re learning, you can’t spend too much time looking for an exact recipe.
This will just confuse you more. You have to look for recipes that give you the basics that you need to learn how to cook for yourself.
2. Play around
Once you get some basic recipes down and you’re able to follow them, then you’re going to play with it.
Play with the amounts of ingredients, the types of ingredients, the amounts of time, the types of oils, the amounts of herbs, the types of spices, the types of meats, the sauces, the types of knives, the types of pans.
You can find so many great recipes online.
Next time you’re in the supermarket, take a look at the cookbooks in the pastry department, they often have so many fantastic cakes and cupcakes.
Check out what’s in the grocery store. Go down the block and check out some of the bakers.
Go down to the flower section and check out the fresh herbs that they’re selling. Go to the dairy aisle and pick up some quail eggs.
Check out the meat department and see what’s in there. You have to be prepared.
3. Learn how to read a recipe
This is a very simple rule. If it doesn’t look like anything that you’ve ever seen before, you probably shouldn’t cook it.
You don’t want to invest your time and effort in something that’s going to turn out to be a disaster.
One of the best ways to avoid this is to never get a recipe from a book. You have to learn to trust your own instincts when you’re cooking.
If you look at the ingredients and see that it’s not something that you’ve ever cooked, or if you read the description and it sounds foreign to you, then chances are it’s not going to work out.
You have to take a step back and try to digest what it’s saying and use your own intuition.
Don’t just blindly follow. Trust yourself.
If it doesn’t sound like something that you’re used to, then it probably won’t work out.
4. Slow down and taste
Often people cook in such a hurry that they lose sight of the fact that it’s called cooking because you’re cooking with your senses.
Taste everything that you’re cooking and don’t be afraid to add or take away ingredients.
Most of the time you can’t taste an ingredient or a seasoning if it’s overpowered.
So taste everything to make sure that it’s in balance. Take your time.
5. Use spices as the final touch
There are some spices and herbs that you just don’t want to throw in everything. But these are very versatile and they add so much flavor.
You don’t necessarily have to use all of them if you don’t want to. Just add them as the final touch.
For instance, use fennel instead of celery. Use smoked paprika instead of cayenne.
Marinate chicken with fresh lemon, lime, and ginger. Then add it at the end and it’ll add a great citrus flavor.
6. When in doubt, keep it simple
Sometimes, things do go wrong. But you have to remember that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just make sure that you do everything the best that you can and that it ends up tasting good.
Don’t go by what you think you know about cooking. If you make a mistake, that’s not the end of the world.
Just take it in stride.