If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, it may be *slightly* apparent that I love food and I love to cook! I also love to help others, which is why my favorite past-time and this blog outreach go hand-in-hand. As I chat with some of my readers, Beachbody customers, and social media followers, I am learning more and more that not everyone likes to cook from scratch. AND/OR, not everyone finds it as enjoyable as I do.
I come from a long line of people who love to cook (and eat). Just“ last night, I was smashing some garlic on the cutting board and that reminded me of my dad, so I gave him a ring while I finished up dinner time prep. He loves all things kitchen and cooking as much as I do.
BUT, the good news is, cooking is an art perfected over time. In my case, it took a lot of time. But, like my dad always told me don’t ever use the excuse that you “can’t” do something. Just because you are having a hard time right now doesn’t mean you won’t mprove! Don’t expect to be a Master Chef or Cake Boss over night, but practice gets dinner on the table; and, practice makes perfect! When we got married almost 11 years ago, I knew how to make a grilled cheese sandwich and heat up soup in the microwave. I don’t even think I knew how to boil noodles, you guys. This blog is a real life example that you can learn even if you a.) know nothing and b.) have to screw up a lot of meals to get there. I’m going to leave a few more tips below to get you on your way.
- Invest in basic, but quality kitchen tools. I’m not telling you to go out and buy a $700 knife set, but if you cut corners when purchasing things – like knives, pans, and utensils, it will make your job harder in the long run. Make sure you have every thing you need and organize it well so you don’t have to search around and be frustrated as you learn the fundamentals of cooking.
- Watch cooking shows! When we were first married, my husband was finishing up his degree and while he was in class, I watched Rachel Ray! She is an amazing chef to learn from; Her recipes are not hard and she explains how to do things very well. I have a few of her cookbooks and love to watch her in action. She drops stuff and does funny quirky things, too. I always learned a lot from her show.
- Get your kids in the kitchen! One of the best ways to learn is to learn alongside someone else! I’m not saying that you want your kids there chopping veggies with a santoku knife right beside you, but get them involved in basic prep – you can then teach math, science, team-building, patience and all kinds of other valuable life skills while you’re at it!! If you have to slow down and explain something to them, you will learn it better yourself, as well.
- You’re probably going to mess up. If you’re a hardcore perfectionist, you’re going to have to get over it while you learn. Perfection comes with time. Things happen. Ovens don’t all cook the same; sometimes we crank the wrong burner too high and fail to notice; sometimes we throw dinner in the crockpot at 8am, leave the house and come home at 5 realizing we forgot to plug it in. Sometimes the phone rings and we turn around and burn the tar out of something; sometimes we mistake salt for sugar or we misread baking soda for baking powder; sometimes we forget an ingredient or substitute the wrong one; sometimes an experiment just doesn’t workout the way we think. It happens to EVERYONE! You just have to realize that learning to cook is trial and error; errors happen and it’s okay! It doesn’t mean you’re doomed or destined to be a terrible chef. Keep trying!!! You will get there.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. Not with drugs, you guys. Drugs are bad. With food. I would say 99% of things I make on a daily basis have no recipe. I know this makes some of you twitch, but guess what…that is also how we learn! Once you know the fundamentals of cooking and how different ingredients affect the way food cooks and sets, you can start getting really creative in the kitchen! Just this week I used quinoa in place of white noodles (for tuna casserole) and in place of meat for a quinoa “meat” loaf. Both turned out great! It just took a little thought and consideration. ALSO, if you have an idea, but you’re not sure how to implement it, do some Googling! See what others have done and then adjust to fit your desires.
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