- Start Simply
If you are new to cooking or have limited time, do not begin your cooking experiments with complicated dishes or with recipes that include ingredients that you are unfamiliar with. Follow these simple suggestions:
- Choose a simple soup or stir-fry recipe, broil a piece of fish or some scallops, or prepare a colorful salad.
- Prepare all of your ingredients before you start to cook so that you dont get flustered (which is why cooking always looks so fun and easy on cooking shows).
- Read the recipe a couple of times before you begin, so that there are no unexpected steps in the middle of your recipe.
- Learn Some Techniques
Take a simple class on knife skills. Ask the butcher the best way to prepare the cut of meat that you buy. Get a book that shows you diagrams of preparing different vegetables. Remember, every cook had to learn these things at some point.
- Cook What You Like
You will have more fun cooking if you are looking forward to eating the finished product. Even if your main goal is to cook in a way that is healthy, there are excellent recipes that use spices and interesting combinations of flavors to make things taste good without fats or sugars (or any other ingredient that you are trying to avoid).
- Plan Your Meals
Before you head to the grocery store, sit down and figure out a couple of meals:
- Look up the recipes, and write down the list of ingredients that you need.
- Know when you will eat each meal, based on when you have the time to prepare them (for instance, more complicated dishes can be served on the weekends, with more simple food or leftovers served on weekday evenings).
- Try to plan at least three days at a time.
- Start with Quality Ingredients
It is very important that all of your ingredients be fresh and of high quality. Not only will they taste better, but fresh food contains more vitamins. If all of your ingredients taste good on their own, it is hard to have a recipe that is a failure.
- Enjoy Each Step
Try to change your thinking about each part of the food preparation process and enjoy each step along the way:
- Go to the grocery store when it is not crowded and enjoy the achievement of getting all of the items on your list.
- When you chop your vegetables for cooking, take your time and notice the different textures and colors.
- Take special interest in the spices that you add and how each one changes the flavors of your dishes.
- Pretty soon you will be inspired to improvise by adding your own touches to recipes.
- Dont Forget Presentation
After putting effort into shopping, washing and preparing ingredients, and cooking the meal, dont just dump the food onto the plate:
- Take a couple of seconds to arrange the food on the plate.
- Add a lemon wedge or some freshly-ground pepper.
- Even if you are eating by yourself, make your food attractive.
- Be Proud of Yourself
You did it. You made the food that you are about to eat. You can take comfort in the fact that you know what is in this food that is about to nourish your body. After a couple of successful meals, you may find yourself addicted to cooking and excited to plan your next adventure in the kitchen.