New to cooking

Whether you’re just starting out cooking as a teen in your mom’s kitchen, or are 30 and determined to break the fast food cycle, or you’re switching from cooking standard american food with many pre-packaged ingredients in favor of whole foods and traditional recipes, these tips will help you make sure the recipes turn out.

  1. Double check your recipe. Did you find it on Pinterest and does it seem super different than what you’d expect (ie no eggs in a cake, or only 3 ingredients in a casserole)? Check out the comments, or do a quick Google search of the recipe title.  Sometimes recipes end up on Pinterest that haven’t actually been baked before, and the picture is just taken off another person’s site and a made up recipe is used.
  2. Once you have a recipe from a reputable blog or cookbook, read all the way through before beginning to make sure you have all the needed time, ingredients and equipment.
  3. Plan on making the recipe first without any substitutions. If you have allergies, or can’t find an item, choose a different recipe that meets your needs.
  4. Write your shopping list for what you don’t have that the recipe calls for.
  5. Purchase needed ingredients. If you’re not sure what something is, a quick search on Google Images can help, as can most grocery store clerks.
  6. Give yourself plenty of time to cook. Even if the recipe says it can be made in 10 minutes, it often takes a beginning cook longer. That’s okay!  You’ll get faster with practice.
  7. Now start with a clean kitchen – I like to take out the trash, make sure all the dishes are done and the sink is empty so I can wash as I cook.  Clear countertops will help keep the process streamlined (click here for help keeping a clean and organized home)
  8. Get out all your ingredients and start the recipe as instructed.
  9. Pay careful attention to phrases such as ‘add the remaining…’ or ‘add all flour except for 1 tablespoon’ so that you don’t end up with extra ingredients that you forgot to add, or don’t add too much of something when you’re supposed to save some of it for later.
  10. As you use them, put the ingredients away. This way you’ll know if you forgot to add the eggs later, they’ll still be on the counter. Or you’ll realize that you *did* already add that baking powder, since it’s put away.
  11. Only try one new dish per meal. Food pictures can be inspiring, but it’s confusing and can get frustrating to try to do more than one new thing at once.
  12. Enjoy the process!  Delighting in the daily routines such as cooking and cleaning help us to live a more fulfilled life.