How To Ease Yourself Into Cooking: A Beginner’s Guide

It’s almost half-way through the year and you haven’t kept or achieved any of your New Year’s resolutions. No gym, no healthy eating and zero improvements in your spending habits. Cooking may just be a way of solving all of your problems, also, it’s a life skill that we think everyone should know. Cooking can seem intimidating—arguably, that’s why most people don’t even attempt it (apart from the fact that takeaway is so available). However, with a few basic techniques and a few dedicated attempts at trying, a home-cooked meal can be enjoyed every night instead of only when your mum or aunty cooks.

Start With Food You Enjoy

Cooking food you enjoy is way more exciting than cooking a dish that you’re not passionate about. Beginner cooks are bound to have a few mistakes (that’s okay, even professional chefs mess up sometimes) but, it’s easier to power through for the first few times when you really love a dish. Research your favourite dish and read through a few recipes in order to get an idea of the general method and ingredients required. This not only familiarises you with the techniques and directions but, it also ensures a more fluid flow during the cooking process. We also find that reading several recipes gives you insight into unique tips from different chefs and cooks that could make your dish easier to perfect. Try getting the recipe of your favourite aunty’s curried chicken dish, or an amazing chocolate-chip cookie recipe from a cookbook. Don’t get too scared if it sounds complicated, it may be even easier than you think. With that being said, we’re not saying to make a super-fancy dish, those will come with time.

Nail Down A Few Techniques

Nailing cooking and baking techniques make the world of a difference in your final product. Whatever it may be—perfectly grilling chicken until it is juicy on the inside and crusty on the outside or frying an egg with crisp edges and runny yolks or even something as simple as knowing how to boil pasta until it’s al dente is a skill that is immeasurable in value. These techniques are the difference between knowing how to make a good meal and knowing how to actually cook. It’s what makes persons talk about your dish and what makes you feel like you made something truly gourmet instead of just knowing how to feed yourself.

A few technique suggestions that you should nail are how to: boil pasta and rice, fry/boil/poach an egg, cook any type of meat to the right temperature and roast vegetables.

Of course, these are not the only techniques you should learn. Whenever you find a recipe you’d like to attempt, try googling the ingredients and learning more about the techniques involved (they won’t always be properly explained in recipes). This can go a long way in perfectly executing the dish and minimising mistakes.

Purchase A Cookbook That Inspires You

Some people have a hard time getting inspired to cook or make excuses for lack of time. However, we truly believe that there’s nothing a beautiful cookbook can’t fix. There are many cookbooks available filled with hunger-inducing photographs and drool-worthy descriptions. They also cover almost every cuisine and diet possible. So whether you’re on the Paleo diet or in love with Thai food, you’re sure to find a cookbook that you fall in love with and that will get your creative juices racing through your body.

Read through a cookbook find a recipe that catches your eye. It may be the flavour description, the main ingredient or the beautiful photography that will make you not stop thinking about it. Then, set aside time—whether it be on a Sunday or Friday evening—and commit to attempting the recipe. Ensure that you have all of the ingredients beforehand and read through the entire recipe. Follow it to a T—after all, you’re a beginner not a professional with skilled intuition.

Peruse Social Media For Help

One great thing about social media is that it is free (and we all love freeness). Apart from good bacchanal and hilarious memes, social media also has extremely good food content. Many food bloggers demonstrate techniques, step-by-step tutorials and simple recipes altogether with helpful and delicious looking visuals. It’s one thing to read through steps but, to actually see someone exhibit a technique or recipe is a different thing entirely. It can also be extremely helpful for those who learn visually.

Celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Marcus Samuelsson demonstrate techniques on YouTube accounts. Popular food magazines (plug, yours truly, Propa Eats) can also be a great learning resource by just watching their recipe videos and getting familiar with a process.

Enjoy What You’re Doing

Part of many persons’ aversion to cooking is that they think it’s a long, laborious process full of messes, rushing and confusion. However, it doesn’t have to be. As we mentioned before, familiarise yourself with the recipes, follow it carefully and lay out your ingredients. Put on your favourite music and take your time to prepare the recipe. You’ll find that it’s somewhat therapeutic and enjoyable.

Stephanie Pulwarty

Editor-In-Chief

Stephanie loves food, coffee and travelling. Good thing all three come in handy for her job.

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