Improving your cooking skills should be an ongoing project. With the past year’s events there’ve been more opportunities to cook at home, learn new techniques and recipes, and experiment. Even as the world opens up further, you might still feel a little reluctant to attend a class or the like. That’s okay. There are still ways to learn not only how to cook but also how to cook well in the comfort of your own kitchen. Here’s how to sharpen your cooking skills at home
Focus on Using What You Have
Here’s a way to combine a challenge with frugality. Take stock of all the ingredients in your kitchen, top to bottom, then plan a course of meals using only what you have. Several sites and apps can suggest dishes based on your available ingredients, so planning a meal can be a surprise and an adventure. This will not only teach you how to make use, and better use, of what you have on hand, but it’ll give you a better sense of the economics of meal planning and preparation as well.
One of the easiest ways to sharpen your cooking skills at home is to receive lessons from an expert. As mentioned, if you’d rather stay home or you live somewhere where adult education isn’t as easy to come by, look to the never-ending cornucopia of information and instruction that is the internet. Virtual cooking classes are a terrific way to learn about specific dishes or to brush up on skills like cutting, slicing, chopping, sautéing, grilling, and so forth. Likewise, there are thousands upon thousands of instructional videos available on YouTube, Vimeo, and elsewhere.
If you think your slicing, dicing, mincing, and other knife skills could use some improvement, force yourself to practice in a slow and methodical way. If you need to cut fruit, vegetables, meat, and other ingredients, don’t do it all willy-nilly. Take your time and cut them perfectly and evenly. As mentioned, a video can provide instruction on technique, but it’s the doing that makes you better. Turning a pepper, carrot, or piece of chicken into neat little cubes is more difficult that you think, but that’s the challenge! As you improve, practice different cuts in the same way. In no time at all you’ll emerge with better and faster knife skills.
You may know how to cook, but do you understand cooking? Learn more about the ingredients you add to your favorite dishes and why certain seasonings taste the way they do, what they bring to a dish, and why they’re added at specific points in the cooking process. Bone up on when to buy fruits and vegetables in season and how to preserve them for later use. Understand cuts of meat and why they need to be further prepared for use in different recipes. There’s so much to learn, but every bit helps you to become a better cook overall!
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Erika Marie is a fashion and beauty writer as well as a hardcore vintage clothing enthusiast. In her free time, she can be found thrifting for hidden gems to add to her collection.