Cooking is a skill, a very impressive and useful one. But it is also absolutely one that everyone can gain. Being skilled in the kitchen is much easier than people think! These are my five ways to be a better cook.
Stress and cooking, for many people, can so often go hand in hand. I can completely understand why this is, of course, cooking requires a lot of timing and multitasking that can make it tricky. But the sooner you realise that it’s just you, the recipe, the kitchen and no one else, the calmer your cooking will be.
I think people place so much pressure and high expectations on themselves when they’re cooking, so much so that the kitchen becomes a place to be feared. This really doesn’t have to be the case. Take your time, relax and just go about cooking in your own laid back way. Only then can it become truly enjoyable.
I think another misconception people have about food and cooking is that it’s this strict regiment that has to be done in and taste a certain way. This, to me, is not what cookery is about at all. Experimenting in the kitchen is one of the best ways to be confident in it. Of course, if you are just starting out in cooking then recipes and advice from people who know good food are extremely important.
But once you have reached the point where you are beginning to understand cooking techniques and flavour combinations, its time to start experimenting and making dishes and recipes that you want and you think are good ideas. That way, cooking becomes more personal and therefore more enjoyable.
3. Never Admit Your Mistakes
Whenever she made a mistake like splitting an omelette on her shows about french cooking, Julia Child would confidently and breezily announce ‘you should never apologise’ for your cooking errors. This rule naturally only applies to when you are hosting and cooking for others, but it is worth remembering. If you’ve burnt something a bit or your cake hasn’t risen as proudly as you’d want it to, don’t announce this to your guests before serving and grovel for their understanding and sympathy.
Because as soon as you do that all they’re going to be thinking about when they’re eating is what’s gone wrong. Not to be applied to life generally, but in cooking admitting your mistakes is futile. You’ve cooked all your guests a wonderful meal, so what if something went a bit pear-shaped? Ignorance is bliss when it comes to what happens in the dining room compared to what has happened in the kitchen.
4. Be Ambitious
With relaxation and experimentation, as I previously mentioned, comes ambition. In order to be a better cook, there’s no use in sticking to what you know and never going out of your comfort zone, because then cooking becomes regular and repetitive. Cooking should not be placed alongside other household chores like cleaning and tidying, although it is necessary it can always be enjoyable. Without too much effort and with confidence and the willingness to try new methods and new flavours, cooking will always remain fresh and exciting. So be ambitious, otherwise cooking will always be a chore.
5. Have Fun
Being able to find the joy in cooking doesn’t take effort or strict commitment, but rather is about being open to the idea that it doesn’t have to be a chore and can be enjoyable if you allow it to be. By seeing the kitchen as a place to relax and enjoy yourself in, cooking will become less of a drag and your food will be made all the better for it. If you don’t see yourself as ever being able to enjoy cooking, then you never will. So try and find some fun in it like I do, it’s very easy.