I posted a picture of dinner on Twitter last night, and got an inquiry on if I do the grilling in my house. I in fact do. All of the cooking is my domain. I grew up watching and helping my grandma and aunt cook, and then working in restaurants as my first jobs (but I preferred front of house).
I was also asked if I’d like to mentor someone because they just hadn’t put the time into learning how to cook, and didn’t know where to start. That’s when I realized I had jumped into this KP Duty feature, without covering some basics first. I just started posting (and got overwhelmed by) recipes. So let’s start with some basics. Keep in mind, I started by cooking Hamburger Helper, Shake n Bake chicken, and spaghetti. It was really basic foods with a lot of boxed and frozen stuff from the store for help.
After ten years of experience and experimenting, I’ve gotten much more comfortable in my kitchen. I honestly don’t measure when I cook. That’s why it’s been so hard for me to remember to post recipes. What would I recommend to a cook just starting out?
1. Get good knives. You don’t have to spend a ton of money. You can get decent knives and other kitchen gadgets at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s on the cheap(er).
2. A good, basic cookbook goes a long way. Honestly, there are some things that are considered basic that I’ve never made, or that I don’t make often. These kinds of cookbooks will have everything from making a scrambled egg to making a full on turkey dinner. I suggest Betty Crocker (just the plain one), or Better Homes and Gardens . Even better still if you can raid your grandma’s stash. I have a cookbook my grandma gave me when I moved out on my own that I use the most of all.
3. Get a meat thermometer. It will save you from raw and dry meats.
4. Have a basic set of utensils (spatulas, wooden spoon, whisk, etc.).
5. Get a decent set of pots and pans. I’d suggest non stick for a novice. You may want stainless as you gain experience.
6. Get fresh ingredients. If you plan on making a beef dish but the beef is questionable, look for what’s fresh and change your game plan. Fresh makes all the difference.
7. Watch cooking shows. My husband and I have both picked up lots of tips this way.
8. Ask your mom, grandma, aunt, friend, etc. who you think makes yummy food to show you how to make your favorite dishes.
9. Good food doesn’t have to be complicated. You can put just about anything in pasta and call it a meal.
10. Have Plan B when you experiment. Be ready to call for pizza or have stuff for sandwiches, something, just in case your new recipe doesn’t pan out (I will never live down teryaki chicken).
For those who also like to cook, what other advice would you offer a novice in the kitchen?