Slowly, but surely, I have become a better cook. Cooking is no longer a chore or a survival skill. Instead, it’s something I love. From baking bread to braising meat, I have found cooking to be one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling things I do each day. Here are a few tips and tricks to become a better cook:
1. Get in the kitchen. This one seems fairly obvious but I know plenty of people who want to be better cooks, but they never cook! Practice makes perfect, as they say. With all the food blogs out there giving step-by-step photos and instructions, it’s hard to mess up a recipe.
2. Cook what you love. If you are a pasta lover, cook pasta. If you love homemade bread, bake it all the time until you’ve memorized the recipe. If there’s a dish your family loves, surprise them with it. Find your favorite recipes and spice them up a bit with new methods and fun ingredients.
3. Challenge yourself. Try making something you’ve never eaten before. Buy an ingredient you didn’t know existed. Look up cooking terms you’re not sure about. A few weeks ago, I made a shaved fennel salad. It was the first time I ever bought a fennel bulb. In fact, I had to tell the cashier what it was so he knew what to ring up. When I got home, I had to Youtube a video of how to do it.
4. Get inspired. For me, a little food writing does the trick. There are so many fabulous food memoirs and food blogs that make my mouth water. When I’m in a cooking rut, all I need to do is read a chapter or two of Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life. Like magic, I’m ready get in the kitchen again. For you, maybe it’s a nice meal out or a fun cooking show on TV. Whatever you need to be inspired, do it! (Then, get back in the kitchen.)
5. Share your bounty. Cooking for others is one of my favorite things to do. While there’s a bit of pressure to impress, I always do my best and take pride in the final results. Plus, it’s fun to share.