Cooking gets a bad reputation as a dull, tedious activity that always takes much longer than it should and is very frustrating overall. Besides, who has time to devise recipes when hungry and waiting to eat? Surely the people claiming cooking and baking are their hobbies must be among the few and far between. For most, cooking is a chore, something you want to be done with as soon as possible to focus on more important tasks.
The truth is that developing a passion for cooking is more of an acquired taste for most than something that appears out of the blue. To become better at cooking and learning to enjoy the process, you must get creative in the kitchen and develop your skills step by step. Here are some ways you can go about it to become the resident chef of your household.
Table of Contents
If you hadn’t given cooking much thought before and just threw a couple of things in the oven to create a meal, you’ll see that making a recipe on your own can be quite challenging. Luckily, there are many ways to find inspiration from several different sources. The most classic is cookbooks, making it easy to follow a recipe. More technologically-based sources include blogs and video tutorials. The last one is similar to the first two, but you might find it annoying to pause the video to have time to get the ingredients in. Time skips can also be problematic when you’re a beginner since you’ll likely need to take it slowly.
You must also be creative in the way you arrange your kitchen. While it’s natural to want this place to be aesthetically pleasing, it’s important to remember that the kitchen must first and foremost serve a practical function. You must ensure sufficient cooking space and that all the required utensils and dishware are readily available. Choose a complete kitchen unit that can provide you with all the storage space you need. Various options include matt acrylics, solid wood, high gloss, and shaker-style cabinets.
After you become more accustomed to the kitchen, you can twist the recipes and add your personal touch. Replace some ingredients with others you like more, or find spices and condiments that enhance the taste.
You can’t expand your knowledge and develop without trying anything new. This is very much the case for any other task and is just as accurate for cooking. You must try new ingredients to test your creativity, even when unfamiliar. However, before buying everything in the spice and condiments aisle at the supermarket, you need to do some research and consider how you’ll incorporate the new foods into different recipes.
For instance, if you want to try shisho, a staple of Japanese cuisine, you must become familiar with how it could be used as a garnish. Add it to rice, fish and seafood, noodles, and salads. You can even grow it yourself, as the plant is generally sturdy and can thrive in most environments. Plantains are a type of banana and look very similar. However, their taste is fundamentally different. They have higher starch content and are less sweet, meaning they’re better suited to cooking various dishes. Plantains are popular in Africa, Asia, and Central America. They are largely unpretentious, so you can experiment with boiling, frying, and roasting them and turning them into dough.
Breadfruit, a staple in tropical regions, is fairly easy to roast or bake. Its name comes from the fact the taste is similar to freshly baked bread or potatoes. And if you’re looking to add something special to your spice shelf, look no further than Grains of Paradise. These dark seeds combine the zest of pepper and the fresh tartness of citrus and can be used in stews and curries, as well as a dry rub for meat or fish, before popping it in the oven.
Preparing a meal from scratch requires cooking skills and is a clear sign that you’re becoming more comfortable in the kitchen. However, you can also make homemade ingredients for your recipes. One of the most accessible ones is butter. There are many advantages to making your own, especially the fact that you can eat freshly churned butter and ensure no harmful additives. Besides, you get buttermilk, a byproduct of the churning process that can also be used for various dishes, including pancakes, biscuits, and scones.
Bacon, a favorite of many, can also be cured and prepared at home. Pork belly is the most common meat cut you can use. While the simplest, most straightforward method includes simply rubbing the meat with salt and letting it sit for a week before roasting it, when you discover that the recipe is very versatile, you’ll want to put more effort into it. You’ll probably have to go through several batches and trial and error before discovering your best recipe. Different wood species impart different flavors and undertones, while various amounts of brown sugar, garlic, and molasses will yield utterly different bacon. You need to be willing to experiment to come up with your signature dish.
Pickling vegetables is another cooking project you should try. You can preserve so many veggies in this manner, such as carrots, onions, cucumbers, asparagus, bell peppers, radishes, turnips, and green beans. Pickles are good for gut health and contain antioxidants that help your immune system. Fruit preserves, including jams and jellies, are also very versatile. They’re a perfect addition to a healthy breakfast but can also be added to curries and as a condiment to charcuterie or cheese boards.
You must be ready to experiment when you’re looking to expand your culinary prowess. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; you’ll be able to learn from them and do better in the future.