So you think you can’t cook?
I have to say that the one thing that annoys me more than anything else (in a trivial, first world kind of way) is when I hear people say they “can’t cook.” The words that are usually more accurate in this instance are “won’t cook.” Because honestly, if you know how to read then you can read a recipe, and if you can read a recipe, then you can cook. No, maybe not Julia Child-level culinary saveur, but at least a cook on a normal, everyday scale.
If you’ve never really cooked before but would like to try, then follow along with my five tips below to give you the inspiration you need.
1) Read a recipe not once but multiple times.
I can’t tell you the number of times over the years in which I missed a step or added the wrong ingredient amount simply from carelessness. The more times you read something, the more you retain it (although if you’re approaching the 50th time of reading it, step away from the recipe). It’s not always that a recipe is complicated, but you need to remind yourself you’re creating something from scratch and as such, you want to be meticulous.
2) When starting out, go for the simpler recipes
I still believe that there are few recipes one can’t tackle. However, it’s never a bad idea to start small and go big. So if you’re just starting it, there’s no need to go for the recipe that’s over a page long, nor the one that has 15 ingredients or more to it. Just because a recipe is on the shorter side and has a small number of ingredients doesn’t make it any less worthy or good. In fact, the more complicated ones often turn out being more trouble than they’re worth.
3) Ethnic cooking does not mean difficult
Many people have the misconception that to cook ethnic means having all of this knowledge and experience. They couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, numerous ethnic dishes are infinitely easier to prepare than items like rack of lamb or the perfect filet mignon that’s been cooked to perfection.
4) A one-time failure should never mean defeat
Over the years I’ve had numerous cooking disasters in the kitchen (ironically enough two of these were Julia Child recipes, maybe that should be telling me something?) I’m not going to lie and say those times weren’t incredibly frustrating between the money spent on the ingredients and my time being wasted. However, you should never not try again. If a recipe doesn’t turn out for me, I will either move on to trying something else or, if I really wanted to successfully make it, attempt it again in the future. For as the great Julia Child once said, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure.”
5) Enjoy it
Cooking should be fun and only you can make yourself feel that way. If you learn to relax, not worrying about messing up or fixating on the fact that what you make won’t look like the photograph on the recipe page, you’ll actually enjoy yourself. Half the time my dishes don’t come out picture perfect but that doesn’t mean they don’t taste delicious. So always be sure to remind yourself of that fact.
Are there any tips you would give for first-time cooks?