Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cooking Tips For Beginners

Whether we want to or have to, there may come a time when you need to cook.
When I first got married…some 40 years ago…I decided to dabble in the kitchen.
I worked in banking and my wife was a dental hygienist. As a result, I had the traditional Federal holidays off but my wife had only the major ones like 4th July, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. Being “home alone” some days, I decided it would be a thoughtful gesture to prepare a nice dinner meal when she came home from work. Like most newlyweds we had a good number of assorted cookbooks given as shower or wedding gifts. The assortment included books for the beginner or “easy meals”.

That’s where you begin…

Tip #1-Get one or more of this type of cookbook. If you’re like me, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and these books usually include pics so you can see your creation. Helps build confidence plus ingredients are generally straightforward and as the book implies instructions easy to follow.

Tip #2-Review your pantry first and then make a shopping list for the needed ingredients. Over time, you’ll find that you will collect an assortment of spices and seasonings and just have to get the main ingredients. If you’re like me, you won’t check as often as you should and wind up with several jars of oregano, parsley, garlic powder, etc. Then you create a clutter problem.

Tip #3-Once you have all your ingredients, do all the prep work first. Chop the onions, slice the vegetables, mix all the liquids, measure out per the recipe…etc.

Tip #4-If you’re making a main course, one or more side dishes and maybe a sauce, check the time needed for each one. You don’t want to start a vegetable that takes 10 minutes if your chicken dish takes a 45 minutes to roast. While the 45 minute chicken is roasting, you can organize yourself for the other dishes. Tip #4-A would be to invest in more than one timer in your kitchen so you don’t get confused or forget when did I start that dish?

Tip #5-Take time to set a nice table. While you don’t have to do this every day, it takes little to no effort to use those nice placemats and napkins you got as a gift along the way and the “special occasion “dishes that were wedding presents. It will make the meal more special for your spouse, friend, or guest and make you fell even better about time you spent preparing it.

Tip #6- If you’re so inclined, enjoy the meal with a nice bottle of wine.

These are my ideas for the beginner. There are many others and over time as you find them, the better, and more enthusiastic a cook you will become. Besides that cooking will become easier and more economical. Some of the tips will become natural, others you may want to write down and keep for reference.

Over the years, I feel I’ve graduated from a “rookie” to a very good “amateur”. You don’t need years of training to enjoy a wonderful meal. Just the desire……

Hope this helps motivate you to expand your cooking talents. I welcome any commnents from those of you who found these tips helpful...or not.

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