Cooking Made Simple
When I first learned to cook about six years ago, there were no magazine articles or books in bookstores explaining how to cook; there were only cookbooks with recipes for one to decipher. Today, the articles and books that explain how to cook are minimal. Not everyone can compete with Julia Child in cooking gourmet food with the menu devised in our minds without referring to cookbooks, but many of us can learn to cook effectively. A step-by-step process should be followed to learn how to cook successfully.
1. Find a Recipe. First, search for a recipe you are excited about making; it helps when there are pictures along with the recipe because you'll get an idea of what the finished product should look like and whether it appears appetizing. Look through cookbooks and food magazines until you find a recipe that is pleasing to look at, easy to read with all the ingredients nicely specified and converted in U.S. measurements, has easy to find ingredients and is not something you've never heard of or something that's out of season.
2. Read the Recipe Completely. Once you find the recipe, read it thoroughly, making sure all instructions are perfectly clear to you. If some of the food terms are incomprehensible to you, you may want to refer to a good food dictionary.
3. Make Only One Recipe. Plan on making only one main recipe such as a chicken entree with a simple sauce and the rest of the menu should be simple such as a salad, a starch such as potatoes or rice and vegetables to go with the meat dish. For dessert, buy quality ice cream. Once you get more experience, you can gradually plan on making the salad dressing, fancier side dishes, and dessert from scratch.
4. Buy Necessary Tools. Make sure you have all the necessary tools such as measuring cups and spoons, sufficient pots and pans, mixing spoons and spatulas, knives, mixing bowls, a food processor, and a salad spinner. You may want to buy a book or borrow one from the library showing pictures of cooking tools and explaining their uses. Make sure you buy quality tools that will last several years versus poor quality ones that will need to be replaced within several months to a year. Shop at fine department stores where you can obtain advertisement brochures describing the quality cooking tools along with warranties. Having the correct tools makes the cooking process much smoother and stress free.
5. Buy Quality Ingredients. Write down your shopping menu and plan on buying quality and time-saving ingredients. In addition to shopping at your local grocery store, shop at the farmer's market for the freshest fruits and vegetables in season. In buying quality ingredients, don't be too thrifty because quality ingredients usually cost more than generic and non-quality ingredients. For example, buy butter instead of margarine, real vanilla extract instead of imitation, peppercorns instead of ground pepper, and low salt soup stock instead of bouillon cubes....