Many new cooks find the methods and techniques of cooking to be intimidating. If you didn’t grow up learning to cook from your mother or grandmother, the world of cooking can seem strange. That doesn’t mean you can’t master it though. Of course, there are some steps you need to remember. These steps are not only essential for new cooks, but are also steps that even the most seasoned chefs use.
Step #1: Read the Recipe Entirely
One of the biggest mistakes new cooks make is to jump into a recipe without fully reading it. This can lead to huge mistakes. Not only do you need to read the ingredients to make sure you have everything you need, but you need to read the steps carefully so that you can execute them properly.
Step #2: Reread the Recipe
Yes, redundancy is part of the cooking process. New cooks should learn to reread recipes in the very beginning. Taking the time to reread a recipe helps ensure you fully understand what you’ll need to do to make the recipe successfully. Do not skip this step.
Step #3: Look Up Any Terms You Don’t Understand
As a new cook, chances are there will be terms you don’t understand. In order to successfully complete a recipe, it’s important to know as much as possible. Take the time to go online and research and culinary terms you don’t fully understand. It may sound time consuming, but this one step can mean the difference between a recipe that turns out perfect or doesn’t turn out at all.
Step #4: Gather the Ingredients
Another big mistake new cooks make is to gather the ingredients as the recipe calls for them. The biggest problem with skipping this step is that ingredients often get forgotten, which means your recipe will more than likely not be successful. Another reason this step is important is that it ensures you have everything you need to make the recipe.
Step #5: Check the Expiration Dates
If you’re a new cook, chances are you may have some ingredients in your cabinet that haven’t been touched in quite some time. While you’re gathering your ingredients, be sure to check the expiration dates. Not only will this ensure the recipe is successful, but it can also prevent you from getting ill.
Step #6: Measure the Ingredients
This is a mistake that new cooks and seasoned pros often make. The reason it’s important to measure the ingredients before you start cooking is that some recipes go quick. If the ingredients aren’t measured out, you may find yourself scrambling to get everything measured, which can lead to mistakes.
Step #7: Pay Close Attention to Cooking Temperatures
New cooks often have trouble with cooking temperatures. More specifically, they feel that high is a good temperature for cooking anything. Don’t fall prey to this misconception. Follow your recipe and cook at the temperatures specified, If you’re unsure what a temperature term means, look it up.
Step #8: Use Meat Thermometers
A seasoned chef knows when a piece of meat is cooked properly. However, this is a skill that can take years to learn. As a new cook, you should always use meat thermometers. This will prevent the need to cut meat open to check if it’s done and can also keep you from getting food borne illnesses.
Step #9: Never Leave Food Unattended
As a new cook, you should always keep a close eye on your food. Not only does this prevent food from burning, but it can also prevent fires. Some ingredients, such as oils and even milk, can boil over and cause fires that will completely ruin your kitchen, and possibly your home.
Step #10: Try and Try Again
Cooking isn’t something you master with your first try. If a recipe doesn’t turn out right, don’t let yourself get discouraged. It takes time to fully understand and master the art of cooking.