Invest In Quality Tools
Instead of buying lots of cooking equipment you’ll never use (Where is that nutmeg grater, anyway?) invest in a few good tools. Things that get lots of use, like knives and pots and pans, are worth spending more on. Not only do you use these daily, but a set of high-quality pots and pans can really make a huge difference in your cooking results. You don’t need to go out and buy a 20-piece set with every possible size of pots and pans. Instead, think about the way you cook. Do you saute a lot? Then make sure to invest in some good saute pans. Do you make omelets every weekend? Then add a good omelet pan to your repertoire of cooking equipment. There’s no sense in having a bunch of pots and pans in sizes you don’t need or techniques you’ll never use.
Knives are another piece of cooking equipment that you should think of as an investment. Make sure to check out our blog “Why Is It Essential To Have A ‘Good Set Of Knives’ To Improve Cooking Skills?”(INSERT LINK FROM BLOG) for information on the three most important knives everyone should have in their knife drawer. Top quality knives may not be cheap, but they can make a job a lot easier and top-quality knives should last you a lifetime.
Learn from the Pros
If you’re just starting to cook and haven’t a clue where to begin there are lots of ways to learn how to cook today. There are lots of cooking shows on television that can teach you how to cook. Here’s a list of popular cooking shows from the Cooking Network. While some shows teach you how to cook, other shows like Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen show contestants cooking their way to victory. You can learn a lot about pairing certain ingredients together and what works and what doesn’t.
Sign up for a cooking classes. Lots of restaurants, technical schools, community colleges and higher-end supermarkets have cooking classes. You don’t have to earn a degree in culinary arts, but you can pick and choice those classes that sound interesting, like Wok Cooking, Italian Cooking, Basic Knife Skills, etc. Cooking classes are a great way to improve your skills and learn new things even if you’re already a seasoned home cook. Nothing beats a ‘live demo’ where you can watch professional chefs perform, learn new techniques, and ask questions along the way.
Books are another way to learn how to cook. Go to the bookstore or library and browse through the cooking section. You can find cookbooks on almost any topic and find an author that you resonate with and then read, read, read.
Blogs – there’s tons of them (including us J). Check them out. Type this command into your internet browser and you’ll have a whole list of where to start.
YouTube videos are another place to learn how to cook if you are more of a visual person. Type this command into your internet browser and again, tons of places to start investigating:
Experiment with recipes and techniques. Nobody becomes a gourmet chef overnight. You need to test recipes, adjust and adapt ingredients, learn about new ingredients. It is a process, but one that can be fun and rewarding.
Good Ingredients = Good Food
Good food usually means quality ingredients. When shopping for groceries look for fresh ingredients. Check expiration dates and ask the produce manager, butcher, and fishmonger what’s fresh and what just came in. ”. Buy meat, fish, and seafood unpackaged and from a butcher/seafood market whenever possible
Check food that go bad easily, fruit, vegetables, fish and meat, for any signs of age, like brown spots, mold or rotten spots.
Avoid using processed food as much as possible which contain preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and high amounts of sodium, sugar, and fat. Instead, make meals from scratch so you know exactly what goes into a dish, and you control the amount of salt, sugar, and fat.
Locally grown products and organic products almost always result in better tasting dishes. When food is transported over long distances there’s much more chance of spoilage due to potential damage or improper storage during transport. I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of biting into a beautiful red strawberry or tomato and asked yourself, “Where’s the flavor?” While they may look great, there’s no taste. That’s because many farmers pick fruit/vegetables before they’re ripe so that they can handle the rigors of shipping. This results in tasteless and inferior fruits and vegetables.